was incredibly difficult,
but not because I'd really thought
of the significance for her entire life.
It was a difficult thing to do
because of the emotion involved,
but I think at the time it was just
"How do we find the words
to explain what's happened
and how do we do it
without completely falling apart?"
I had advice from the Child
Charity right at that very early stage.
I'd been put in touch with them
by the hospital,
which was absolutely brilliant.
When we're thinking
about explaining death to a child,
for a parent we need to remember
that it's natural for them
to want to protect their child.
They need to be honest
because on the whole
children do need to know the truth.
I just told her basically
that we'd had to take Papa to hospital
because he'd breathed in some poison
and that unfortunately
he'd breathed in so much poison
that his body had stopped working
and the doctors
hadn't been able to fix him
and so he had died,
and that meant
that he wouldn't be coming home again.
She told me what was wrong with Papa
and why he did it now,
because when I was younger
I wouldn't really understand.
And she tells me that he did love us
and that he did it
because he had an illness.
She didn't at that point show
very much emotion or interest at all.
Children aren't like adults
in terms of how they are
when they have
some bad and difficult news to manage.
They quite often take it on board,
they feel upset,
but they move off
the painful part of it quite quickly.
Children don't stay
with very painful news for long.
It's not that they don't feel it,
but they need to get on
and do something else.
And lots of parents and lots of
They think that the child wasn't upset.
Usually I asked, "Why didn't
tell us what he was doing?"
and "Why did he never say goodbye?"
Children learn about grieving
from watching us, from watching adults.
That's how they learn.
I didn't try to stop myself from crying
because I think I felt it was
that she saw me showing emotion
and that she could see
that it hurt me and it upset me
and it was difficult for me as well.
With something like suicide there's
a lot of anger associated with it
because somebody has chosen
to go off and leave you
and it doesn't feel very nice.
It makes me feel quite sad
and sometimes it makes me feel
quite angry with Papa for what he did,
that he didn't tell us
what he was going to do,
he didn't let us even try to stop it.
Most children worry a lot
about feeling angry.
They can feel very angry
for no apparent reason.
It's a natural reaction
to someone you care about
not being there any more, dying.
I understand how
that now he's not coming back... ever.
When you talk to a child
about death or dying,
it's really important to use the
"dead", "dying", "death".
Even quite little children learn
that "dead" means
that you're not there any more.
Be very specific,
very honest and very real.
I think it's very important
to tell children the truth.
In some ways it feels quite scary
and that you actually might be
more pain and more hurt,
it's quite a protective thing to do
because it helps them to feel safe,
it helps them to feel
that they can trust you.
Children revisit grief
at different stages and ages.
You have to keep answering
often the same questions,
and as a parent
that sometimes can feel frustrating
and feel as though you're
constantly going back over things,
but if you think about it it's the
that they deal with everything.
Children ask questions
to make sense of the world around them.
My mum got me loads of books
to explain death
and she got me loads of books that I
could write about my papa in, personal,
and that helped me quite a lot
because I could get my thoughts out
and not worry about them any more.
With any grief, with a child,
there are lots and lots of different
feelings that children will have.
They can feel very anxious.
Anxiety is a big part of grief.
Your whole world's changed.
That can make a child behave
in a very agitated way,
maybe not want to be left at all.
Children can feel very worried
that if one person's died in the
someone else could die.
When I was younger I was worried
that Mum would die as well
and that I wouldn't have anybody
to look after me any more.
Reassure them that they are safe,
that they are loved,
that they will be looked after
and that other people
aren't going to leave as well.
Grieving is about remembering,
it's not about forgetting,
so we need to help children remember.
When I did things
that weren't really funny,
he still laughed anyway.
As a child you do not expect
that you're going to have to live
your life without your mum or dad.
They're the one person
that normally loves you warts and all.
You expect them to be there for you
as you grow up.
He used to walk with me to nursery
before he went to work.
After work sometimes
I'd spend time with him,
but it's just that I wanted
to spend more time with him.
Being a single parent
is quite a lonely thing
and in that kind of situation
it's also scary for you as an adult.
Just because you're grown up
doesn't mean that things aren't scary.
So to have that support, to know
that it's there at the end of a phone,
that you can ring up and ask for advice
is so reassuring and helpful.