We as adults are coming to terms with the huge sense of loss, but how do you tell a 4 year old with autism, delayed speech and understanding and his three year old brother who both loved grandpa dearly that he would no longer be coming to see them.
Being the modern parents we are we turned to Google, this I must admit scared the wits out of us. We read advice stating be careful of talking about him being good so going to heaven as they may think I have been good I will die. Do not say he was ill as they may worry if they get ill they may also die. We ended up convinced we were somehow going to scare our children for life on giving them the news.
At this point common sense coupled with a glass or two of red wine prevailed, we have to be clear and honest with them so a plan was formed. We read that they may mirror our emotions and also that little ones with ASD will most probably not get any emotions at all.
So this is how we told our boys, this is just about us and how we dealt with this situation. It has worked for us with careful thinking about our children's personalities and may not necessarily be how other children should be told or how they will react.
We all cuddled up on the sofa the eldest had to be rather hugged and held, we told them we had some sad news, we have to talk about the emotions in very simple terms. That when granny and grandpa come to visit it would now just be granny, as grandpa had sadly died and that means we can not see him again, but he was now a star in the sky and very happy. By this point tears were streaming down our cheeks and the youngest did mirror our emotions the eldest laughed and ran off.
But it's true children do not understand the concept of someone not coming back, they will ask all the time, when are granny and grandpa coming to see us and each time we have to calmly explain. Though when granny arrived our eldest did run to her with a smile and tell her grandpa was in the sky to which he got a massive cuddle as he had understood.
We have contacted pre school and school as it's necessary we are all saying the same thing to our boys, next is the funeral and that's a whole new set of worries.
We have learnt be honest and kind to our children, they then need a huge amount of reassurance. Especially as the routine of day to day life changes, hubby away for a day and night not knowing when he may come back home. We have witnessed our youngest behaviour not being great and yesterday he was sick and I know it was due to everything going on. Do not be scared of showing some emotion they need to see you sad and as I read do not expect to be a perfect parent, it's a tough time for everyone you will get somethings wrong xxx