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My almost 3-year-old son has begun to ask questions about his grandfather - my father - who died just about 3 years ago – right before he was born. We have many pictures of my dad (along with the rest of our family members) around my apartment and I am at a loss as how to explain why he doesn't come to visit us.
Does anyone have any advice? This is still a little raw for my family so I'm trying to explain it quickly and gently without getting too emotional.
My son was just 4 1/2 in September of 2001. He asked a lot of very difficult questions, but he truly understood what was going on, and he was personally touched by the events. He has since lost three grandparents to cancer, as well as several beloved pets.
I suggest that you answer your child's questions honestly, but in terms that he can understand. Be sure NOT to spare him your feelings: if it is hard for you to talk about it, let him know, and let him know why. This is probably the most important life lesson that your child can learn.
I was extremely close with my grandmother, who died suddenly two days before my son was born (her first great-grandchild). I regularly share my memories of her with him (11 years later, it's still very emotional for me), and he knows that she was special to me. (He's got her exact hazel-gray eyes!)
Sharing is good. Stories, hugs -- it's all good.