Which one?

Which one? way to prepare my children for the death of their grandmother?

My mother is at the end of her life. I try to keep my head up, but I blame myself because I often "crack" in front of my children. In addition, questions obsess me: will it take my daughter 4 years at the funeral? Allow him to see his dead grandmother? Sabine, Nimes

Claude Halmos

Psychoanalyst

answers

You do not have to blame yourself, Sabine, for "cracking" in front of your children. On the contrary. Your sorrow is normal and legitimate, and there is no reason to hide the causes from them by explaining to them, as you do, that you are tired. They know their sick grandmother, they have often seen her at the hospital. We must now prepare them, gradually, to an end. It's not about throwing them in the face: "She's going to die." But to explain to them the gravity of his condition and the outcome, which is inescapable. Seeing the elderly die is a test of life. There is not to hide it from the children but on the contrary to accompany them. And they need to be allowed to participate, in their own right, in the grief of the family.

Your 4-year-old daughter was very close to her grandmother. It would therefore be profoundly unfair that she should not be allowed to accompany her, too, to her "last home", as we say. A funeral is a lesson in life. Human life and humanized. It shows a child that a human being keeps, to the end, his quality, his human dignity. And the funeral to which he is entitled is the proof. They are a first inscription in the memory of those who loved him and who will live after him. You ask me if your daughter should see her dead grandmother. There is no standard answer. We can suggest it to her (by warning her that it can be difficult for her) and, if she responds positively, accompany her and talk to her afterwards.

You will not be grieving your children, Sabine. But grief shared and spoken with the adults he loves is also part of things that help a child grow up.

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