My grandfather has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has less than a month to live. I am already having a hard time coming to grips with the inevitable, but I am wondering about how I approach this subject with my 3 and 4 year old children. We are going to visit him before he passes here in a week or so, and my children only know there papaw is really sick. I don't plan on explaining too much to them do to their ages, but if they ask how would you suggest to go about it?
A Lost Soul
Your question was regarding the kid’s upcoming sad days rather than your own, so to that I comment. The fact is, little kids can feel the sadness, but not as intensely, nor for as long as we do. Don’t expect them to necessarily grieve much. Additionally, at this tender age, the chances are they may not have much memory of your beloved Grandfather as time goes on. I believe we can pay proper tribute to important people by sharing pictures and stories throughout the upcoming years. In this manner you can derive some comfort in recalling your Grandpa while helping your kids to have a memory of his importance in your life.
There is also the significance in our own grief that reflects the greatness and great fortune in knowing and loving the person we have just lost. Refer back to the March 24th column of this year (http://www.brownwoodnews.com/hey-john-advice-column-grief-process/ ) to read about a person trying to properly deal with losing her Mother. If lessening our sorrow meant lessening our relationship and memories, which would you rather have? It sounds like your Grandpa was as lucky to have you for his granddaughter as you were to have him.