Tanya (9)

Its been three years since my mom died. Why am I still wondering about why she died?

Thats a good question. Lots of children re-grieve when they get older and think about their persons death in different ways. At your age children usually want to know more details about their persons death.

I want to know more of the facts about why my mom had to die. Can you tell me how to find out the details?

I will tell you whatever I know. Why dont you make a list of the things you want to find out the most? Most children your age are curious about the facts. They think of questions they couldnt have thought about when they were younger.

What happened at the accident? Who was the person driving the car? Where did it happen?

These are important questions, Tanya. If I dont know all of the answers we can find out together. The accident happened at the end of your street, the corner of Elm and Mulberry. A man named Mr. Adams didnt see your mom crossing the street and struck her down with his car. The doctors said your moms heart stopped and she died right away. By the time the ambulance came she had stopped breathing.

But what happened to Moms body?

I dont know that answer. Maybe your dad does. Why dont you ask him?

Tanya (11)

Its been so long since Mom died. I still get sad . Why do I miss her so much?

Lots of children miss their mom for a long, long time. Sometimes birthdays and holidays make them remember. Sometimes seeing a butterfly reminds them of their person and brings back a special time.

No one can take your moms place. I know you told me you miss her at school plays and piano recitals. You realize she isnt there and feel sad. Maybe you could wear her heart necklace for good luck and invite your favorite Aunt Nancy to be there for you.

What can I do? I still dont understand why she had to die. Can you help me understand why she died?

You are 11 and growing up. Young people at your age are looking for different answers. Its understandable you want to know even more about your moms death. Maybe you can ask your relatives and your moms friends if they can explain the reasons for her death. You might get lots of surprising answers.

Can you tell me about the man who was driving the car? Someone told me he was a drunk driver.

Im glad you found out the answer to your question. He was a drunk driver. That should help you make more sense of the car crash. It wasnt your fault or your moms. It was the man who drove the car. He had been drinking too much alcohol and wasnt driving carefully. He had a very bad driving record and had been arrested several times.

Im never going to drink and drive. And I won't let my friends. I am so angry. He should be punished. Why wasnt he paying attention? What was he doing? Did he go to jail?

I agree, Tanya. Drunk driving should be punished. And you have every right to feel angry. Lets talk to your father and find out what happened. Its helpful to ask family members about different things. I am glad your dad explained the drunk driver was arrested and tried for drunk driving, and found guilty. He did spend some time in prison. We could also look up newspaper articles about your moms death in the library and find out more facts about what happened and the statistics of drunk driving accidents and deaths.

No matter bow much time he spent in prison it wouldnt be enough - not enough to bring back my mom. Can I help stop drunk drivers?

Yes, you can. You could write a story or give a talk. Do you have any other ideas?

I thought of a project. I would like to help my school have an assembly on drunk driving. Do you think I could tell my story to other children?

Yes I do. Thats a great idea. It might help a lot of children. Because a drunk driver killed your mom, becoming an advocate against drinking and driving can help give meaning to your moms death. Service to others adds significance to why your mom died. And you can help other kids to think more about the consequences of drinking and driving. It just may save lives.

Who can I talk to about this? Who would understand?

Sometimes other children your age that have been through similar things can understand. Young people your age like to talk to other children for support. Maybe a peer support grief group could be helpful. Why dont we find a grief support group for children your age? You could try it one time and see if you like it.

Concluding thought

Children are unique and so are their questions. We must respond to every child according to his or her age and developmental understanding. We must also respond to the same child in different ways as they get older and revisit the death of a loved one at a new age and new level of understanding. We also need to recognize that not every question has a factual answer. Some things can be mysteries.

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