Children can see death as separation or abandonment and may have no cognitive comprehension of death. Some may perceive death as a temporary reversible condition and are all the more devastated and confused when the condition is not reversed. The fear of death that inevitably follows us for many years makes it a difficult subject to bring up as we cling to a child-like belief that by not talking about death, it won't happen.
If we are lucky enough to not experience the loss of a loved one at a very early age, we need only look at our TV commercials with their emphasis on staying young and healthy in the hope of living forever to see that we live in a culture that prefers not to think about or even acknowledge the existence of death. (Santrock, J. . A Topical Approach to Lifespan Development.) This is part of the reason that when the death of a loved one does occur, we struggle to understand the feelings we are experiencing. Through it all however, it is usually our parents that lovingly comfort us and reassure us that all will be OK.
As our parents grow older they tend to become more practical about matters and even see death as a major event in their life that needs to be planned for. Buying a funeral plan has many financial benefits, but our parents are probably not motivated by the financial gains but rather by the thought that they are still taking care of us. They are ensuring that when they have gone, we will not have to deal with any of the funeral arrangements or even pay for them and this allows them to protect us even after their own death, for in the eyes of the parent, a child never really grows up.
Many people though, who are practical enough to prepare for their mortality by purchasing a funeral plan, can still be reluctant to discuss their mortality with their children, as children may be to discuss the mortality of their parents. So is there an easy way of bringing up the subject? Probably not, so 'biting the bullet' and simply starting to talk about it is just as good a way as any other.
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