Talking about Death

The subject of death and dying has to be addressed as most children, even though they may not say it, are thinking about it when cancer is discussed.

If death is left out of cancer education, children will continue to believe that cancer causes death to everyone diagnosed with it, and they will continue to be fearful of talking about it.

Death is an inevitable part of life and it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that children are aware of it, and know that it is okay to discuss it. Death has taken on added mystery and, for some, added fear. If we allow children to talk to us about death, we can give them the information they need to prepare them for a crisis, and help them when they are upset.

It is surprising just how aware children already are about death. They see dead insects, dead birds and animals on the road, or a family pet may have died. Children read about death in their fairy tales, watch it in cartoons and even role-play death in school plays. Without realising it they already have some exposure to the concept.

If death is left out of cancer education, children will continue to believe that cancer causes death to everyone diagnosed with it, and they will continue to be fearful of talking about it.

Try this out!

During your session about cancer if no questions arise about death, tackle it head on. It is completely fine not to go into too much detail as every cancer diagnosis is different, and circumstances change. The important thing is that death has been discussed.