After losing my daughter, in the beginning, I found it very hard to talk to my remaining two children about what had happened to their sister. At the time they were only 9 and 7 and the oldest of the two was the one that found her. Fortunately, my son was not home at the time so he was completely lost as to what had taken place.
How do I explain mental health and suicide to children that were so young and happy. Well it took a lot of praying and patience.
You have to be honest with your children so they don’t grow with unanswered questions. Explain the situation and allow them to ask questions in regards to all of the information you have provided. If it’s hard on us as an adult, imagine how children feel.
Allow yourself to be open and available at all times. They may not be open to talking about all things at your pace and that’s okay. Always keep the window of communication open. Talk together and cry together. You owe it to your children to not only display their emotions but to also see you at your lowest also. It’s important to know that the grief is shared and that it is normal to show emotions.
Not all of their actions will require a response. Sometimes all they really need is a comfort and a listening ear. Be honest with them on what’s to come. Let them know that their is a long road ahead and that not all days will be good. Give them the confidence in knowing that you have each other and that you will get through it.
Keep the memory of your loved one alive. Don’t be afraid to celebrate their life with one another. Set new traditions as well which will give your family something to look forward to..In doing so, don’t allow the sad emotions to take over. End things with an uplifting, humorous memory that will change the mood a bit.
Just be there, and love on one another. I got through my toughest days from hugs, love and laughter from my kids and I’m sure they will agree the same goes for them.