Please also see my blog post entitled: “Helping your child through Grief”.
(1) Telling your child when your spouse is sick. Your child will sense something is wrong and if their parent does die, it will give them the message that people lied to them and they didn’t get the closure they deserved.
(2) Have the parent who is sick make videos for the child so that the child can watch videos later. Make a video of the parent reading a book to the child so that if the parent does pass away, the child always has his/her parent reading their favorite book. Make a special video for the child’s wedding day, another video they can watch on the day their child is born, etc. This may seem morbid, but at least it gives that child the choice of watching them or not.
(3) Always be honest with the child and make sure there is someone the child is talking to (an aunt, uncle, older cousin, or a professional therapist).
(4) Allow the child to be a part of the funeral if they want by giving the child some decisions (what type of flowers would the parent want at the funeral).
(5) Get your own support. Often times your own support network of friends and family who have been there for you since the death will subside 3-4 weeks after the funeral. People will go on with their own lives and you may feel bad asking for support. Call to get your own therapy so that you can get through this very difficult process in the best possible way. This not only helps you, but it is also important so that you can be there for your child in their grief.