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Telling our two year old that Charlie has died


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We lost our beautiful Charlie two days ago. We live in a small house and because of lockdown we have been in our front from for nearly a year for most of the day!

Charlie was such a big part of our 2 year old's routine, every morning we said good morning to Charlie and Daisy and he checked-in with them all day, stroked them, read to them and talked about them constantly, especially listing 'We all love mummy, daddy, Daisy, Charlie'.

He still does this but he also keeps asking to see him, we've just said that he has died because he was very poorly and we all miss him which is usually enough. At the same time we are surrounded by photos which he likes to look at and talk about 'Charlie in park' etc. We found an old video of Charlie ripping up a paddling pool and our little one thought this was hilarious, I wasn't ready to laugh at old pictures yet so I found this difficult. 

Does anyone have any tips for dealing with these, very basic, questions and giving a toddler information that doesn't scare/upset them? 

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MattB, I am so sorry. Hopefully someone here with children will be able to offer specifics to help you and your family navigate this very difficult time. Until then, the pinned thread entitled Pet Loss Support at the top of this forum contains incredible insight and links to valuable resources that you may find helpful.

In time, the tears will lessen and the photos and memories will be invaluable gifts as you think of Charlie. I wish you peace.  :grouphug 

 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Children are quite resilient and at age 2 your son will not really understand the concept of death. Saying that he was very sick may not be a good idea.. You don't want to make illness a scary thing. 

When he asks " where is Charlie" just say he had to leave.   You could say he went to heaven if that's your belief, or 'over the Rainbow Bridge'. 

Sadly your young son will recover from Charlie's loss quicker than the adults :(

My now teenaged grandkids have experienced the death of several of my dogs and horses over the years and we have always encouraged them to be sad and cry along with talking about their best memories. 

There are several excellent books that deal with kids and the death of a pet.  

And please know... We are all thinking of you  :bighug

 

 

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Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos).   Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) and especially  Nigel (Nigel), waiting at the Bridge.

 

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i remember DD was just 3 when our saluki was euthanized. she played with some play dough  at the receptionist desk while i was in the examining room. this was the first dog i euthanized. she knew that he was old, he didn't feel good and asked. i just explained that his time had come (as with old old old people) and that he was lucky to die with Jeff(our vet) being there. i did tell her on our trip to the vet that he was in a lot of pain and his body was not functioning any more. it was obvious since his urine was the color of dark tea and we always walked him together and that the dark urine and lump on his side was not going to heal and she was well aware of his condition.  i always have been very frank with our daughter and explained as much as possible and read tons of books to reinforce what i was teaching her. i think there are both sesame st and mr. rogers episodes on death as well. 

well, we were all devastated- to be expected! and we spent a fortune on a fish tank, pump, gravel and who knows what. kids(as well as us) need a diversion. building lego figures and bridges and finding ceramics for the fish tank filled our time.  

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It is hard to explain, and probably harder for your son to understand.  I like the route that your dog crossed the rainbow bridge and is in heaven.  I am sure that there are some children's books dealing with his issue.

I remember, when our beagle died, our toddler son was in his stroller calling for the dog to come out with us.  It broke my heart. 

Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

 

Irene Ullmann w/Flying Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul, Fuzzy and Shine
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

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No advice other than to be as honest as you can with him when he asks without getting too technical. It will help him deal with Charlie being gone, but I know it's also really hard for you.  I wasn't ready to see pictures or videos of Rocket for well over a year after he left us. 

I'm so sorry for your loss.  

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Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

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Thanks all and sorry for slow response - I always click follow but had removed that for some reason.

 

I've been matter-of-fact and just said 'Charlie has died, he was very poorly' and we will miss him. After some 'let's go find him' he then settled on 'Charlie gone home again' which felt quite profound.

 

What I've found difficult and beautiful is that he's looking at the pictures of Charlie, and caught us watching a video of him, and he laughs at them 'Charlie at Grandma's, Charlie in deep dark woods' and I feel gutted that he won't see him again. Also the fact that Charlie has been such a big part of his life but that will fade - I realise that's just me feeling sad and I shouldn't actively want my child to feel sad about Charlie - it's just conflicting. 

Grief eh! after a day of crying you start to feel slightly better and then you get up in the morning and it starts all over again....

 

Thank you all xx

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I am sorry your Charlie has passed. I dont have and advice to offer you but I send hugs to your family at this sad time.

 

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Caroline, Mom to Daphne (49B-50215) and Penny (41D-55779)
Remembering Bridge Angels Margo and Sabrina

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I’m so sorry for your loss. In time, you may also begin to smile at the memories. It may take a long time though.

Jan with precious pups Katie Crazykatiebug, Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si) Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; and Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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In terms of photos - what do people think? We'll be keeping them up on the wall of course but should we continue to look at pictures in albums/electronic devices with him? That feels a bit forced maybe? I'm just sad that he might not remember Charlie for long.

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Of course on all the photos - what comforts you will comfort children as well.  Our Ronee (rollover ronee) passed away when our grandboys were 2 and 4.  They live close and were  here frequently pre-pandemic.  Ronee was the favorite of our 3 greyhounds - super soft and always gentle ...the boys were frequently found curled up with Ronee on her bed sleeping.  For a year or so after Ronee died the second the boys came over their first comments were about Ronee “where’s Ronee” “Ronee died didn’t she?” “Is Ronee still in heaven?”  “We miss Ronee” .  We would quietly say we missed Ronee too and that she was very special.  

“. 

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A book I've always loved is Lifetimes:  The beautiful way to explain death to children.  https://tinyurl.com/ygwrx28r  The author and illustrator are Australian, I think, and the pictures of the animals from that part of the world are stunning.  It's not overtly religious or spiritual, but I prefer that because you can add your own beliefs and feelings.  It's a very comforting book for children.  Heck, it's a very comforting book for adults.

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After some 'let's go find him' he then settled on 'Charlie gone home again' which felt quite profound.

:weep

I'm so sorry.  

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Ellen, Milo, and Jeter

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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On 2/20/2021 at 3:14 PM, teri_d said:

Of course on all the photos - what comforts you will comfort children as well.  Our Ronee (rollover ronee) passed away when our grandboys were 2 and 4.  They live close and were  here frequently pre-pandemic.  Ronee was the favorite of our 3 greyhounds - super soft and always gentle ...the boys were frequently found curled up with Ronee on her bed sleeping.  For a year or so after Ronee died the second the boys came over their first comments were about Ronee “where’s Ronee” “Ronee died didn’t she?” “Is Ronee still in heaven?”  “We miss Ronee” .  We would quietly say we missed Ronee too and that she was very special.  

“. 

Thank you - on the photos, this is actually a good distraction I think. When our 2yo says he wants Charlie I now say 'So do I, but he has died and we can't see him anymore, but we can talk about him and we can look at photos and videos of him' then we do that for a minute and then he moves on.

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22 hours ago, MattB said:

Thank you - on the photos, this is actually a good distraction I think. When our 2yo says he wants Charlie I now say 'So do I, but he has died and we can't see him anymore, but we can talk about him and we can look at photos and videos of him' then we do that for a minute and then he moves on.

That sounds perfect.....so sweet.  We all grieve, but the innocence and love of a child is so special.

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I have found young children seem to accept and get over death pretty quickly even of loved pets. Like the animals they tend to "live in the day" and although they miss them they get on with their lives more rapidly than we do.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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How are you all doing? A friend just forwarded this to me.  :grouphug

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:
 
Dear God,
 
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
 
I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
 
Love, Meredith
 
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letterbox at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
 
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page were the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
 
Dear Meredith,
 
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.
 
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
 
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find. I am wherever there is love.
 
Love, God

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.

 

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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