Thursday, December 4, 2014

Discussing Aging and Death with Kids {Mommy Cab Discussions}

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles


Happy Birthday, Mom

{Mommy Cab Discussions}


Today is my mother's birthday and it reminds me of that saying I've seen around the internet, that we shouldn't forget that as we age and watch our children grow, our own parents are aging, too.  In a recent car ride with my son which I now like to call, "Mommy Cab Discussions," I mentioned my mom's upcoming birthday to him.  He asked about her age and then began to freak out when I told him how old she would be because it was a big number to him.  (Anything past 20 is a huge number to him)!  He then questioned her dying and about my dad, his grandfather, dying.  It was a tough conversation to have with him as I'm sure it is for everyone who speaks to young children about death.

Our Parents Are Growing Old

When our son realized that my mom, his grandmother whom he calls, "Lala" will one day be gone, he realized how it could affect him:

"So one day, Lala is going to die?
I don't want Lala to die.
So Dodo (his grandfather) will die, too?
If Dodo dies, who will take me to school?
I can't walk to school."

His grandfather usually takes him to school three days out of the week to help out since it's easier than me getting everyone ready and hauling both the kids in the car every morning.  My son has come to rely on him to give him rides in the morning.  It makes me wonder what they talk about in the car!  

BTW, the Filipino word for grandmother is "Lola" but he calls her "Lala" because he couldn't pronounce it correctly when he was younger.  Grandfather is supposed to be "Lolo" but he changed it to "Dodo."

Death is Not Real...Not Yet

I didn't go into death too much with my son because I didn't want to overwhelm him and make him more sad.  I only told him that everyone eventually dies and that it's the circle of life to grow old and pass away.  He didn't question it anymore after that and I don't think it's really sunk into him yet the reality of death.  He hasn't experienced any deaths with close family members that he is old enough to remember or feel affected by its presence.

We Can't Avoid Death Nor Talking About It With Our Kids

I know one day I will have to have a more in-depth conversation with my kids on the topic of death.  This discussion made me realize that it is true, one day, our aging parents will pass away and so with every birthday that comes, it should be cherished and celebrated while they are here with us.

Happy birthday, Mom and may you have many more to come!

Have you had to talk with your kids about death? Are there any tips you would like to share?

***This post contains affiliate links in which I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links. All opinions are my own. Read my full Disclosure Policy.***

If you are looking for a book on death and dying, here is a highly rated book found at that discusses the topic:

On Death and Dying
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 Here is another book found at meant specifically for the person facing death:

The Art of Dying: The Only Book for Persons Facing Their Own Death
Patricia Weenolsen; Bernie S. Siegel; M. Brewster Smith

Mommy Cab Discussions

My series, "Mommy Cab Discussions" was inspired by the talks I have with the kids in the car where it seems many important, inspiring and funny conversations take place.  It's become our special place to catch up and let my kids, mainly, my son, discuss what is on his mind.  I find I'm learning a lot during these car rides and I am happy to have a place away from electronics and other distractions (aside from driving) to have heart-to-heart talks with my little ones.  Every week, you're invited to join us for the ride!

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