Saying Goodbye: Talking to Kids About Death

Q. Since my mother died, I've been crying a lot. Will it harm my kids to see me like this?

A. No. Watching Mommy break down might frighten your kids, but only for a moment. And it will also teach them an important lesson: Adults cry when they're very sad too. So if you can't leave the room to be by yourself, sob away. Just make sure they know you're okay and that you'll take care of them like you always do.

Clare Leschin-Hoar faced this situation when her father died of lung cancer when her children were 7 and 4. "I didn't try to hide my grief," says the Mansfield, Massachusetts, mom. "I wanted them to see how much I loved and missed my dad." To her surprise, the kids wound up comforting her, which eased her sadness.

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