Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    We belong to a camping club that camps together as a group several times a year. This weekend was the year's last campout.

    Saturday night, after dinner, wee difficult child went to bed about 5:45. Everyone was putting up dishes from the pot-luck supper. At 6, Mrs T yelled out from her camper that Mr T was not breathing. Wee difficult child heard it, but was close enough to asleep that it didn't really sink in. He said "they sure are being loud" and then was asleep as I stepped out of the camper to help.

    Mr T was 75-ish and had heart trouble. We started CPR, and the medics arrived and worked him there at the campground and pronounced him there after an hour. Besides our group, there was no one else around (tho an ER nurse was camped somewhere else in the campground and came to help).

    I stayed out of the way, and wee difficult child stayed asleep, but husband and I were both concerned about his reaction to a death so close in proximity. He still gets stuck on my dad's death, and dad's been gone almost 3 years. He worries about his grandma's dying; heck, he worries about something happening to me.

    We packed up camp Saturday night and pulled out very early Sunday to avoid rehasing the events. We think/hope we got away without him even being aware.

    We will see these people again at the funeral, and in less than a month at our Christmas gathering. We're worried, among other things, that if difficult child finds out Mr T died "while camping", that it will be a new place to get stuck, and we camp often. We're also worried just about general setbacks if he's aware how close in proximity he was to it all (they were the camper next to ours).

    Are we being overly concerned? Or is the concern valid? And if so, what things do we watch for to know he's aware? Or should we be up front and tell him and get him into his counselor to hopefully work him through it (cause unless we hide him from these people for the next 6 months, he's going to find out it happened and where).
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    A situation like that would be upsetting to anyone....

    Would it help to phrase it that he was "very old and died when his heart couldn't work any more" rather than "died while camping"?

  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It would concern me, too.

    I think honesty is the best policy. But, I would tend to consult the therapist first on this one. See what he/she recommends.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    It sounds like he was not awake enough to realize what was going on. This is a good thing. Sometimes it is the noise and intensity of everyone's actions that promote the fear. The more dramatic the event the more he is likely to struggle with it. Since he slept through it, he won't relive it.

    Since he knew Mr. T and will likely notice he is not around, you need to tell him he passed. I agree point out that he was old, and had a heart attack. You don't need to explain how close it was unless he asks or hears it from someone else. Don't require him to talk about it, but be ready if he wants to talk about it. Let him drive.

    A while back a restaurant I had lunch in exploded one hour after I left. I believe I had the last meal made there as the power had gone off while cooking it. The explosion was filmed and was shown all over the TV, and my difficult child in training (now easy child in training) had a very difficult time dealing with it. The same sort of thing, worried about me dying. My big mistake was making a big deal about talking about it and showing the video around. I should have kept quieter. It took hugs and reassurances, and a little extra one-on-one time.

    At your difficult child's age one technique to help might be play therapy. It is a way they can address and beat their fears better then talking. For the younger ones having the ability for form the words needed to say what is bothering them can be difficult.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I agree that telling him honestly would be best, but phrase it as the others have suggested, that he was very old, etc.

    Hugs to wee difficult child. I'm glad he wasn't awake enough to fully understand what was happening at the time.