Kids & Grief

Tonight as my 2.5 year old slept peacefully I stared at him thinking of a few special people I wished so much that he had the chance to meet. Then my eyes flooded with tears. How do I convey to this little spirit the idea and the reality of death, that these people impacted and shaped me and therefore are a big part of him? How do I prepare him for and teach him about such big concepts?

I am 35 years old. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about my dead father. The emotion is raw and undeniable that of a little girl who wishes desperately that she had had the opportunity to know her father. My tears would be “normal” if we had lost him 10, 15, 20 or even 25 years ago but we lost him 35 years ago, six months after my twin sister and I were born into the world. He died tragically and suddenly. His death not only shook our family but our entire community.

So I have no memories of my father. But I do. I have physical memories of my father. Somehow I can feel his touch, very deeply. He is a part of me. I just wish I could find some way to pass those feelings onto my children.

My point in writing this post is to offer some pieces of advice:

  1. Give kids credit for the emotion they feel all around them. Even the very young have the capability of feeling and comprehending the world. Adults often underestimate this quality in children.Speak to them honestly and with real adult words, explanations and emotions.
  2. Your parents impact your view of the world and your parenting style, the good, the bad and the ugly, whether you like it or not. So, accept it. I did not realize it until I had children but my mother’s single parenthood journey impacted my motherhood. The bar she set was high. I never knew when she had a bad day, I never knew when she felt lonely, hurt, sad or depressed. I never felt without…kuddos to my mother for her strength. Undeniably I grew up with that strength being a part of who I am, much of which I carry with me every day, but, also, much of which is unattainable by most of us.
  3. If you have lost a spouse, the father or mother of your children, be proactive and seek counseling for yourself and for your children, talk about the emotions. Help yourself and your children grieve.




If you cannot find what you and your family need, please contact me. I will help guide you.

Thank you for visiting. I hope I inspired you today.


  1. says

    Marnie, A friend of ours died days before Christmas, leaving her husband and their your daughter. He’s been blogging about life after her death and I thought that it might be another resource on your blog. If nothing else than to honor her life and the legacy she leaves behind in a child who will have only vague memories of her own lost parent.

    This is a nice tribute to your father. My own grandmother just died last week and I’m so grateful that she was able to meet my son who was born in December. Her passing spurred me to buy tickets to take him to visit his remaining great-grandparents in New England at the end of this month. There’s no time like the present for spending time with loves ones.

    Kindly, jenn.
    Jenn recently posted…Maple bar doughnutsMy Profile

  2. Debbie says

    This is a very powerful message you have shared. I recently lost my Dad at the beautiful “young” age of 90 – I was blessed to have him for so very long. My own daughter who is 32 has never really experienced death until now. She and I were extremely close to my Dad and struggle every day with his passing. We still are fortunate to have my Mom (almost 91). One of the things you spoke of was about your Mom never letting you know if she had a bad day while you were growing up. I’m ashamed to admit I as a somewhat single parent didn’t do that for my daughter. The truth is both she and I always relied on my Dad for our comfort and now that he is gone, I am struggling terribly. I have a 2.5 yr. old grandson who has just his short lifetime of memories of my Dad and I pray as does my daughter that this little boy will know the impact he had on both of our lives.

    • says

      Thank you, Debbie. It’s comments like this one that motivate and inspire me. Take care of your family. You are clearly a strong woman and a wonderful mom and grand mom.

  3. says

    Just been working on a post on this very subject myself after a friend in a Women’s Facebook group posted that she was going to have to explain death to her young daughter for the first time after a sudden loss. We’ve had 13 deaths in our family in the last 3 years so we’ve had to be very honest with our 4 year old daughter because many of them deeply affected her. Because we were honest with her on the “less hard” ones, when her best friend died suddenly at age 5, she had a foundation to build on regarding death and dying. We’ve been on an emotional ride with her this last year since her friend died, and I have learned so much about helping a little one grieve – but much of it has been by trial and error!

    I am thankful that you shared this message, to remind parents to be honest with their kids. It was a beautiful, concise post, full of emotion and conviction.

    • says

      Wow, Megan. I’m so happy that you connected with me. What strength your family must have in your hearts! I look forward to reading your post! Warmly, Marnie

  4. says

    What a great post. We did with this issue in our family in a different way because both of my husband’s parents passed away before either of our children could meet them (actually, my husband’s father died one month after our first son was born and 10 days before our planned trip to visit him — his mother had died a decade before), and my father has heart problems. It pains me that our children have only 2 living grandparents. My husband’s mother played such a huge role in his life (she was sick his entire life until she died and was told, when he was born, that she would not live for see him grow up — she defied all the odds and passed away after he graduated from college). Even though the boys are little, we talk about his mother and father and try to make sure they are part of their lives. As you point out, the most notable way they are present is through my husband and he carries forward all he learned from both of them. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Jen Fischer recently posted…Alphabet Sensory Bin: Fun Early Literacy ActivitiesMy Profile

  5. says

    what a touching post. this is one of those issues that is so tender and hard to talk about sometimes. i think that you gave some helpful ideas on it. thanks for sharing this with me on KBN.

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