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by Abigail Van Buren

When to Share News of Mother's Suicide With Young Son

DEAR ABBY: My son moved in with a 22-year-old woman in 2009. She gave birth to a baby boy in 2010. My son, who is older, took on the responsibility of raising the boy. In 2018, she walked out on them both and wasn't heard from again. Through public records we found out that she had committed suicide.

My grandson is now 9. My question is, is he old enough to be told about his mother, or should my son wait until he's older, like in his teens? I'm just wondering what's the right thing to do. -- RIGHT TIME IN FLORIDA

DEAR RIGHT TIME: When your grandson asks about his mother, he should be told that she is no longer living. As he begins asking for more information, his questions should be answered in an age-appropriate way. He does not need to hear that she committed suicide until he is old enough to understand what she was suffering from and how sad you and your son are that her life ended the way it did.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death