Recently one of our rabbits died. We were all devastated bit no-one more than my six year old who was given the rabbit for her 3rd birthday. I don’t have any particular set of beliefs but my partner is a strong atheist, who has no problem saying there’s no heaven. What can I tell my daughter without infringing on how he feels about it? I want to make her feel better.

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  • Even for the religious, rabbits don’t go to Heaven. Do not lie to her.

  • Interesting question and interesting answers and ideas

  • If you don’t want to upset your partner with your explanation, tell him he can explain it to her, but in a nice, child friendly way

  • Say it’s gone to a magical bunny land.

  • a little star leaves the body shell when you die
    and floats up to light up another twinkle in the sky
    so you can look and talk if you want too
    as your friend is now shining just for you

  • I tell my son we turn into stars, and the ones that shine brightest are your family and friends watching over you.

  • Sounds like you were able to deal with it well. :)

  • What a really good outcome!!!

  • Maybe say the rabbits soul still is around and she can chat to him still..he will watch over her. From a special rabbit farm. Just say our bodies are a shell, it’s the personality that makes up animals and people

  • Glad you got some good ideas. I love the star idea,i think it is a great and something they can always look to in the future for comfort. Thanks ARCTICWYNTA

  • Thanks ladies! The star idea combined with the rainbow bridge worked perfectly, she loves looking out at her bunnys star

  • Just saying that the rabbit isn’t going to be around anymore, and is a happier place? I don’t believe it would be infringing on your partners ideologies to say this calming explanation to your daughter, but then you’d have to discuss it with him too. Hope it helps!

  • Both my husband and I are not religous and do not believe in heaven or hell. My 2.5yo has been to four funerals for family members (that he himself only met one of them) and we simply told him that they had gone to sleep and died, that their bodies don’t work anymore. Three of them were of an old age and the fourth has poisoned himself (long term drugs and alcohol abuse), we put it to him gently and not with a sledgehammer to the face and he has been more than happy with the explanation. It may help that we live on a farm and old animals die as part of life. He hasn’t been scared, confused or dramatic about death, I guess he may not yet be old enough and we will cross that bridge if and/or when that comes.

  • My Husband is also one but never pushed his beliefs on our children and I always found the best way was to let them pick a star and than that one was there beloved pet. My children and Grandchildren love that they can go out side look up at the stars and say that is which ever pet it may be.

  • An idea that is very popular with many animal lovers, young and old, is the idea of “Rainbow Bridge”. Perhaps you could use parts of this to create something that your daughter feels comfortable with, that’s appropriate for someone of her age.


    Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here,
    That pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends
    So they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine
    And our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour;
    Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
    Just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

    The animals are happy and content, except for one important thing:
    They each miss someone very special, someone who was left behind.

    They all run and play together,
    But the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.
    His bright eyes are intent, his eager body begins to quiver.

    Suddenly he breaks from the group,
    Flying over the green grass, faster and faster.
    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
    You cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

    The happy kisses rain upon your face,
    Your hands again caress the beloved head,
    And you look once more into those trusting eyes,
    So long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together ……

  • Just tell her to bunny went to heaven if it makes her happier.

  • I like Danish70’s idea. We are atheists and have had to explain his twin’s death to our son. We just talked about how people stop working and they’re not there anymore.

  • Danish 70, beaughtiful idea!

  • There is a blog on MoM about talking to children about death. It is worth reading. I think it’s just as important for ourselves to be able to cope with death as well as children.

  • DAMISH70 answer is perfect! star in the sky is a beautiful description, i think i will use this for my children as my husband and i have no strong beliefs either.

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