Death usually strikes at the most unexpected of times. And who it strikes and where it strikes are equally puzzling and unpredictable.
Paul Brager of More Precious Than Rubies is very young when his mother dies in a car accident. She leaves behind her husband, her son, Paul, and Paul’s younger brother, Adrian. All are understandably devastated when she dies.
Although Paul’s situation is set in a fictitious novel, it is not uncommon for such a tragedy to occur in real life. When children lose a close family member to death, the grief intensifies since children are still developing their coping skills. They are not always mature enough to handle death the way adults can. True, adults suffer through a loss, too; they just have more stable emotions than children.
Talking about death is never a pleasant subject; however, it can be dealt with in a non-threatening, sensitive way. Parents should start talking about death when their children are still at a young age. This is a good preparation since we all face the subject numerous times in our lives. Obviously, the topic should be approached in a way that does not terrify the child or give him/her nightmares.
Simply talking about the natural progression of a life cycle (e.g., a plant’s beginning of life in spring and death in fall, and even its renewal of life the next year) can ease a child into developing a better understanding of death.
Since such topics tie in with lessons taught at school, teachers can help children learn about the transition from life to death. Parents do not have to take on the subject by themselves.
If adults overlook the general fear of death that most people have and start discussing the topic with children as they grow up, perhaps this will make the child stronger when confronting unfortunate circumstances in life.