Explaining death to a child, parent passed away 3 years ago

AuntVeronica

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Nov 10, 2020
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I will try to be brief. My brother passed away 2 weeks after my niece’s first birthday. She just turned 4 this week. She doesn’t remember him obviously, but knows him from photos and videos. As far as where he is now, she thinks he “lives in the clouds” but obviously doesn’t grasp the idea of death. Her mother is, for lack of a better term, an absentee parent... and my mother has joint custody of her/spends all the time she can with her, but she isn’t really one to talk about my brother (it’s still to fresh for her. And me of course) or anything emotional/touchy-feely so for a while I’ve been assuming I’ll be the best one to explain it when the time comes. We’re extremely close so I think it would be good to come from me. My brother died of a fall/BFT so I’m worried she’ll think every time she tumbles off the couch she’ll think she’ll end up like Daddy. The main advice I’m looking for is 1. How to explain what happened without her assuming that it will happen to her, 2. What would be the appropriate age and, 3. Just some general advice on how to tell her about it.
I’ve scoured the internet but almost everything I come across is about explaining death of a parent in the present tense. I just want her to know what kind of person he was and how much he loved her, and that he’s not gone because he wanted to leave.
Thank you SO MUCH I’m advance for reading my rambling and I appreciate any advice you could give. XO
 
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