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Showing posts from March 20, 2011

Talking to Grandchildren About Death

My four-year-old grandson's father is dead. As a matter of fact, he never got to know his father because he was murdered prior to his birth.

Up until now, his mother and I have chosen not to discuss this tragedy but lately, this little boy's inquiring mind has been wanting to understand more about what life and death is all about.

Long before we realize it, children become aware of death. They see dead birds, insects, and animals lying by the road. They may see death at least once a day on television.

Meanwhile, we, as adults, do our best to shield our children from the sting of death. Many of us are inclined not to talk about things that upset us. We try to put a lid on our feelings and hope that saying nothing will be for the best. But not talking about something doesn't mean we aren't communicating. Children are great observers. They read messages on our faces. We express ourselves by what we do, by what we say, and by what we do not say.

Primary care physician Dr.…