This past November, Coco the Goldfish passed away after five long years of living in the Ota household. I got Coco in January of 2005 as “decoration” for an open house that we had at work. (It was an Asian theme, and we placed goldfish in bowls all around the office.) Everyone kept one, and eventually, each fish had died, except Coco. When I left, Coco came with me (after being babysat by Jaime while I was on maternity leave), and had been a part of our life ever since. Let me explain that further–for my five year old son Kieran, Coco had been there his entire life. Which brings me back to the beginning–Coco died in November and my husband and I were not prepared for the grief that Kieran felt. Endless crying, constantly asking questions about what happened to Coco now, telling everyone he encountered that Coco died–the guy was clearly affected. Today, he’s okay. However, if Kieran experienced this type of grief with his fish, I am afraid to see what will happen when his good friend Maddie will no longer be with us. This time, I want to be prepared in explaining what happened. So, Breezy Mama went to expert Russell P. Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation, Inc. and co-author of THE GRIEF RECOVERY HANDBOOK for help on how to explain death to children.
From Russell P. Friedman:
We [The Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation, Inc.] are co-authors of When Children Grieve, which bears the sub-title, “For Adults to Help Children deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving and Other Losses.” It is not actually a book for children, but for anyone who has a custodial relationship with children.
As a generality, children fall into three broad categories when it comes to dealing with death. Up until age 5, or 6, and in some cases slightly older, most children [Read more…] about Explaining Death to Children