Hi there Gaya, Thank you for taking time out of your day to have this interview with me, I know that your father has recently passed away, my condolences. I also know that you have two young girls. This must have been tough for you. I just have a few questions, I am hoping that this article will help other families who are going through the same thing you are and will help them with telling their children.
Let’s start the interview
Did your girls know that your father was ill? How did you tell them?
My dear Dad sadly passed away from cancer 2 months ago. He was in the hospital for a few weeks so the girls had seen my dad quite ill. We told them that’s the doctors couldn’t do anything for him anymore. Sometimes you get so sick that the doctors cannot make you better.
Did you find it easier to be open and honest with them or come at it from another angle?
I was open with them. My twins will be five in June, so I was not sure how much they would understand but I wanted, to be honest with them. They saw my Dad ill and I kept telling them the doctors might not be able to make him better.
Telling kids about something like death can be incredibly tough, not only because of their age but also, because you are going through a hard time. Did you tell them immediately after he passed or did you wait a while?
No, I told them the same evening. My husband and I sat down in our bed with the girls and told them. They cried their eyes out! Well, we all were crying. I think it’s good that children see parents express their emotions. Makes us humans and I wanted to ensure that my girls know it’s ok to cry when you are sad!
Some people are not fond of letting their children attend the funeral services of family members fearing that it may be too hard on them. What is your opinion on this?
My children attended the funeral. I told them to get a teddy that they can put in the casket for their Grandad. I explained that this teddy will keep him safe. They also drew pictures for their grandad. Let them express their emotions through art.
Did your children ask you any questions that were tough to answer? If so, how did you answer them?
I tried to answer them honestly as possible. They asked if they will ever see him again. That was a hard one to answer but I said they will see him in their hearts. They already understand that he won’t be here for their birthday in June.
I have read about families working on a legacy project with their children after a family member has passed, to preserve the best memories. Is this something you would consider with your children?
I am busy making each an album of all the pictures of them and grandad. Hopefully, this will keep the memory alive! We often watch home videos together. They do say they are sad that cannot see him again but its ok to be sad! We loved my dad so much and he has left a hole in our hearts.
We make plush toys for a living, so I have decided to make teddy bears using my Dads clothing for the girls. Something for them to hug and hold.
Did you let your children’s teacher know about the situation? Would it be a good idea for other parents to consider doing this?
Yes, I did let the teacher know what’s going on. She was super supportive! I suggest letting the teacher know then she can also keep an eye on the kids at school and give them extra cuddles when it’s a tough moment.;)