I was sat on the sofa with Dexter at the weekend, having a rare cuddle with no phone or laptop interrupting us, and somehow we got onto the subject of death.  Nice.  I should point out it wasn’t a subject I raised but moreover, I think it was prompted by something we were watching on TV.  Damn you Surprise Surprise!


I could see the cogs turning in that smart head of his – he was coming to terms with the fact that he knew I was going to die (at some point) and the realisation suddenly kicked in.  Poor kid was in pieces.


Of course, I comforted him, reassured him he’d never be alone, I let him cry and reassured him that yes, it was inevitable, but that it was a long LONG way off yet but in that moment, his pain was palpable.


The thing is, I felt totally useless in that moment.  It wasn’t something I could lie about (unfortunately) – he was right, I would die … eventually … but I wanted to be able to comfort him and make him feel that everything would be OK.  The thing is, he doesn’t have his father in his life and so it’s just me.  Dexter’s world is ME … and when I go, everything will change for him.  It’s an awfully big cross to bear.


I don’t know if it’s normal for children to think about their parents dying at this age.  Dexter is 9, but older and, most of the time, wiser than his years, and as much as he loves Minecraft and WWE and spending his pocket money on sweets … he has a serious soul and ponders on things that I wish he wouldn’t at this tender age.


Does anyone else have children who have broached this subject with them?  And, more importantly, what on earth did you tell them to make them feel better??





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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. Our children use to ask about this off and on, in particular if something was on the news, or if we had lost a family member (sadly this happened a lot when they were young). We were honest and told them that we didn’t plan to die just yet, but that if we did, then plans were in place to ensure they were looked after and we told them what they were. I particularly remember a conversation with the boys while we were going shopping, they were asking about if they could have a dog. I said not until I am much older and I probably wouldn’t have a dog unless I needed one to keep me company, eg if Dad had died. The boys ran indoors when we got home and told Dad – When you’re dead we can have a dog!

    If I remember rightly, you have also recently taken D to a family funeral, so he has probably put two and two together and may even have been thinking about this off and on for a while.
    There is nothing you can say to make it better, because should something unimaginable happen and the unthinkable happens earlier than you hope (and after all, we never know when the end will come)he will then perhaps think that you lied.
    All you can do is put plans in place and make sure that D knows what they are and that everyone is comfortable with them (perhaps live with his older brother?). Perhaps then laugh with him about it all and that you will still be around making his life hell when he is in his 40s!!
    Our boys are now saying to us – when you are dead, I want this or that – most disconcerting, but very funny, especially if they both want the same thing!!
    It will work out, it is one of those conversations that will re-occur from time to time, but it will be ok.
    A bit rambly, but I hope it helps.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write this – it really helped. I would imagine it won’t be long before Dexter’s eyeing up my laptop – he’s already asked who gets ‘all the money’ when I die. Hate to disappoint him by telling him there isn’t any 🙂

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