Question: Dear Luise: Just this morning i got a call that my 7yr old’s dad was killed. he was assaulted by 3gang members. he was 27. i have no idea on how or what to say to him. his dad lived in Oregon and i live in Washington state. my son looked up to his dad, his dad was everything to him. now i dont know what to do, im going crazy, trying to hold back my tears. i want to let him know whats going on but dont know how to explain it with out it sounding bad.. when i tell my son, i know he’ll ask how and why? again i dont want to tell him he was killed. this is the hardest thing ive been through.. i have never been through this. i have never lost anyone close to me.. Luise PLEASE help me! C.
Answer: Dear C.: I would consult with a child psychologist to see if there is a way to support your son in knowing and facing the truth.
It’s going to sound bad when you tell him because it is bad. Seven is very young to be given such information but I think withholding information can be even worse. He is going to find out someday and then you are going to be the trusted person who lied to him, if you don’t tell him the truth, now.
His dad is gone…he was hurt by some really awful people and he died. My take is that your son needs to know that and to process it to the best of his ability from the place of very limited life experience. Let him know that it’s terrible for you, too. There may be details that you don’t want him to know. If so, keep them to yourself. I think that’s what I would do. You both deserve so much better than this…and life isn’t always fair. Blessings, Luise