More on death from Marlee’s mom

Marlee’s mom’s response which is also really helpful.

Colleen,

I think you handle this all really wonderfully. I just have one more story to add that might be helpful to some parents who have kids that might be extra-sensitive like my oldest Sophie.

About a year or more ago, (it seemed to start when Sophie was around 4??), Sophie became very concerned about death and dying. It seemed to come out of nowhere really–just that time in her development I guess. She wanted to discuss what happens when you die, what happens in heaven, why you die, lots of details.

Trying to be very honest, we talked about how “some people believe….” etc. and that “most people die when they are old or sick.” I won’t go into all the details, but this kind of conversation went on for a long time and then eventually turned in to her saying randomly “I’m thinking about dyeing!!” and then she’d start crying and become very upset.

It came to a point where I became concerned that we needed to get professional help. I called Colleen’s trusty play therapist that she recommends, Jean WRight. Over the phone she helped me immediately. In essence, she said kids at this age need black and white answers and even though she was pushing me into the realm of theory, religion and philosophy, she wasn’t really capable of understanding.

Jean told me to say to Sophie “You are not going to die. I am not going to die. Your Papa is not going to die. You are meant to be here now and We love you very much.” Immediately after I got off the phone I said these words to Sophie and voila, she seemed to lose the intensity of her concern. She would still bring it up once in a while and I’d repeat the phrase and she’d drop it, rather than intensify her crying. Death is now of interest still but it is just kind of interesting and something to talk about and consider.

This summer we had a close friend die of cancer. Mark and I were very sad about it and especially concerned how to tell Sophie. Well, we needn’t have been. She took it very matter of factly. She saw that we were sad but understood that Amy was gone but it didn’t worry her or upset her. I was expecting a lot more especially about someone that she knew so well and has a daughter a bit older than her.

Anyway, I hope this helps a bit too. Every big concern seems to eventually fade away and we run into new ones!!

Sarah (Marlee’s mom)

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