Monday, April 20, 2009

How Do I Explain Cancer & Death to a Two Year Old?

As you can imagine, I hear a lot of cancer stories in my line of work. What you may not realize, however, is that I mostly hear about diagnosis and survival, not death. People come to Fertile Hope, and me, when they are first diagnosed and want fertility information or as they become long-term survivors and want to fulfill their parenthood dreams. Well, today, the reality that cancer kills broke my heart. Someone who touched our family dearly died of cancer over spring break. She left a week ago healthy – or so I thought – and never came back. I am devastated, and I have no idea how to explain this to a two and a half year old. Any advice?

1 comment:

  1. I will be honest - a simle malfunction of my lapto brought me to your blog...however as a peds oncologist helping children cope with death is part of what we do. From a developmental standpoint kids who are 2-3 are still pretty much the center of their world. They are starting to notice that their actions may influence others but mostly they focus on what affects them from day to day. Now that's not to say that we as parents shouldn't try and help them recognize emotions in others. I suggest explaining to your child (I assume?) that you are sad and why you sad. Explain how being sad makes you feel and act. Talk about how a cry or a hug etc... might make you feel better. Don't be disapointed when your kiddo runs off happily as soon as the conversation is done though! Good luck and I am sorry for your loss.