Questions Kids Ask About Death, Dying, Funeral and Grief

March 7th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Kids are often interested in the physical aspect of death and mechanics of the wake and/or funeral. Here are some questions and answers that might help you respond to their curiosity.

If the body is dead, why does it need to be preserved? Using child friendly language an appropriate answer is a dead body will decompose very quickly. Therefore, it needs to be embalmed so that it can be view by visitors. That means that certain chemicals are injected into the body, like a transfusion, to preserve it until it is buried. The body is cleaned and the hair is washed. The openings of the body are disinfected and closed so that fluids will not leak out. If parts of the body are damaged because of injury or disease, they are specially treated and restored.

Sometimes children are disturbed by the change in appearance of his or her loved one. Why can’t the funeral home people let the person’s body alone when they die? Why do they have to put make-up on him and make him look phony? An honest direct answer would be no one is trying to make the person look like he did not die. The people at the funeral home just try to make the dead person look like he did when he was alive so that his loved ones will have a nicer image to remember.

What is a wake? A wake is a time to honor and recognize the deceased, and a final viewing of the body. It is seen as a sign of respect. Before the deceased is buried, many people like to gather in the presence of the dead person and talk about him or her or tell stories of the deceased life. They do this to pay their respects to both the dead person and the family of the deceased.

What is cremation? To begin with, it is probably easier to explain what cremation is not. Cremation is not a final disposal of the deceased remains or type of funeral service. Cremation is a process by which a dead body is burned and turned into ashes. Sometimes the ashes are stored in a special jar called an urn, sometimes they are buried, and sometimes they are scattered over the ground or the ocean. Sometimes the deceased will leave specific instructions as to how his or her ashes should be handled.

If death does not hurt, why is everyone crying? Help the child understand that physical death, in itself does not hurt. The family is crying because they hurt inside. The sadness comes from the fact, that a relationship that meant much to everyone has been lost.

Why do I feel angry and mad? Anger is a natural emotion, feeling mad is not a bad thing. Recognize the anger and find acceptable way to express that emotion.

Sometimes I am very, very, sad. Why do I feel so sad? Death and separation brings sadness. Crying, talking, praying, and patience will promote healing. These are feelings that we want a grieving child to express openly.

Is it okay, sometimes I want to be alone? Being alone is completely acceptable. Let the child know that you are available.

Is five years old to young to go to a funeral? Young children should be allowed to attend a funeral, but they must be prepared first about what to expect. The size of the room, where the child will sit, where the casket will be located, and if the casket will be open or close.

Why do people send flowers? Isn’t it a waste, since the dead person can’t see them? People send flowers to show the dead person’s family that he or she was important to them. Flowers are appropriate not only because they are beautiful, but because they symbolize life and death. In place of flowers, some families prefer donations to a favorite charity

You do not talk in Italian if you are speaking to a Frenchman, talk to a child in his or her language. It is essential that kids be allowed to ask questions and adults answer with honesty and an age appropriate response.

Discussions on Death, Dying, Grief and Loss

February 7th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Death is a mystery in anyone’s terms. A person is here one moment and gone the next… forever. Yet, we never think of them beforehand as gone, even if we’re expecting them to die. We are never ready for death; theirs or ours.

It’s the absence of the person that we grapple with. We just cannot reconcile it, and as human beings we don’t like to be in positions like that.

Death itself is not a popular topic for discussion, generally.

I was so shocked recently to learn of the loss of a geographically distant but close enough friend. We had helped each other, prayed for each other and each other’s family, and journeyed together from opposite sides of the globe. Now he’s gone. He was 47.

I looked at a photograph of this man with his family – taken years ago – and they had so much potential. None of what we know now impinged on that perfect image.

If only we had insight into how things might turn out; about who may not be here in a year or two, six months, or tomorrow. We take too much preciousness for granted.


Because events like death are so finalising, and so incomprehensible, they invite discussion if and when we’re ready. We need to talk about it when we are ready.

If we’ve not been lacerated by the claw that is death we are possibly in awe of the mystery of the concept, which is no morbid appreciation besides an abnormal preoccupation, which might invite worry on the part of loved ones regarding potential for suicide, possibly.

Death gives us a better appreciation for life. It puts life into a more awesome and delicate perspective; life suddenly takes on more of an eternal value. Appreciation for life creates energy and energy finds an outlet in discussion and spending time together. The togetherness exacted from discussion promotes healing. These are transactions of love to fuel life.


What is certain, however, is that beyond discussion death is likely to silence us into a reflective mood which reminds us that we all owe God our physical death. It’s the price of life, for what is living must eventually die, just as what goes up must ultimately come down.

Beyond that, if we believe, we have Glory to look forward to.

But death is beyond discussion when all is said and done. So many parts of the dying and post-death realities cannot be, in truth, value added through talk. Nothing can add value to death unless we consider the person dead to be in heaven. Even then there’s a limit to how much we can discuss the fact.

And concepts of heaven have us marvelling at what that might be like; for we see a creation that is mind blowing – how might heaven be supremely more stupendous?