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Dealing with Autism, a toddler and Death

You may have noticed we have been a little quiet in the MC&W household, tragically and very unexpectedly Mr MC&W father died in his sleep on Easter Sunday night. I can not put into words the whirlwind we have been living in for the last few days.

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

The Dad Network

Mami 2 Five



  1. By the sounds of it you did everything the way you should and could have. It is a sad and terrible time for you all and it won't be 'easier' for a while. It's good that your eldest understood. It's going to be unsettling for you all so it's expected with your youngest as much as it would be for any child. When we lost my mum it was as long time until the boys stopped asking. But you calmly explaining is all you can do.

    You all are still in my thoughts.

    1. Thank you Martyn, i am sorry for the loss of your mum. I think the best advice I read was to accept your human and will make mistakes. As a parent it's hard to have to keep talking about the loss but slowly it gets easier.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss.

    To me it sounds like you did everything right for your family. We went through it last year and I know how difficult it is to think clearly when something like that happens. It's easy to rush into the moment of breaking the news but you took the time to think carefully about what to say for the sake of your boys and I applaud you for that. Sending my thoughts and best wishes to you and your family at this sad time. x

    1. Thanks Kate and I am sorry for your loss. I hope a simple blog may help others when they have to do that google search xxx

  3. So sorry to hear such sad news. You have written such a brave and honest account of the challenge involved in breaking this news to your children I am sure it will be of help to other parents at such a difficult time. X

  4. Thank you it has been hard but we seem to slowly coming out the otherside. I hope it may help others when it happens. People seem to have liked that we have shared this xx

  5. Just to say that I'm so sorry and thank you for writing this post as I'm so sure it will help others. Do take good care of yourselves. I found when we lost my Mum that the first year was the hardest but it's so different for everyone xxx

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Its still very hard to believe we will never see him again, but we just need to take time xx

  6. It sounds a very similar way to how we dealt with telling my three about my Nana. Different fir everyone but you can't be wrong. #sundaystars

    1. Your right, you worry but simple and talking is what's needed xx

  7. This is a really interesting post. We thankfully haven't had to deal with deal as a family yet (long may that continue) but it's really given me a lot of food for though, especially contacting the school so that you are all on the same page.

    I think you handled it beautifully.


    1. Thanks for your kind words Lora, talking with school and ore school is key. Also with changes of behaviour we have seen xx

  8. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news, and that you had to work out how to tell your children something like this when they are so young. I think you explained it in the perfect way. I can also understand how your older son reacted could bring more emotion out in you. I know it would me! How amazing that he proved he know what you had told him.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)


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