Understanding what has happened

It is hard to understand why people die when they do and what adults tell us about this. We often have lots of questions about this and when we cannot find good answers to them it can cause worry. If we have worry it can make us sad, angry, unhappy and make it difficult for us to concentrate, have tummy pains and headaches and get good sleep.

Why has my important person died?

People die because an important part of their body has stopped working. When this happens all of the other parts of the body stop working too. Sometimes people die because they are very old and when this happens, important parts of their body stop working properly. This is what happens to most people. No one lives for ever.


Sadly, sometimes people die before they are old because they had a serious illness or a part of their body was badly broken or damaged in some way. Doctors and nurses work very hard to make us better and look after us when we are ill and most of the time we get better but sometimes not even the doctors can make everyone better. Then the person’s body stops working and they die. It is very unusual for children to die but sadly sometimes this can even happen to them.

It is important that you understand what has caused your special person to die so that you don’t worry about the same thing happening to you or others in your family. You might have lots of questions to ask before you can understand things well.

Don’t worry about asking questions, even if people cry when they talk to you about what has happened. You haven’t done anything wrong. This is just their body showing you and them that they are grieving. It is good to cry when this happens so that our body can let out its sadness. In time you and they will be able to talk about the person who died without crying. This does not mean that you have stopped loving them or caring about them this is just how things are when someone dies.

Finding our more:

  • Why not write down the list of questions you have about what happened and ask the adults who care for you to explain. They might need to ask the doctors and nurse who looked after the person who died to find out the answers.
  • No question is too small or silly to ask- if it worries you or you don’t understand it is important to ask! There are some good books to help you understand- ask your grown ups to look on our book list on the links page for suggestions.
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