Dominic woke up one Saturday morning a few weeks ago earlier than I would have liked. Before I had my first cup of coffee, he kind of caught me off-guard. He said, "Grandma, live, heaven." I asked him if he missed her and he said, "yes." It took everything in me not to start crying. It was about this time two years ago that my mother-in-law starting slipping into severe dementia. She lived in an assisted living facility close by and we would visit her there and/or she would come to our house for Sunday dinner. Around Christmas of 2010, she was hospitalized for two weeks into the New Year of 2011. Shortly into the New Year, we moved her to hospice, where she passed away three days later. To say it was a traumatic time for our family would be an understatement. My husband is an only child and we had to make arrangements long distance (she was to be buried in Cleveland). We spent a lot of time at the funeral home, which isn't exactly the best place for kids. I think when someone passes that you are close to, it is hard to explain to small children what is going on. One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do is explain it to Dominic. Lauren and my stepson are older, but it was still very hard for them too. I have asked different people about how to go about explaining the passing of a loved one to a special needs child. Believe me, there isn't too much information out there. The best thing we have found to tell Dominic is, "Grandma was broken and she has gone to a place where they can fix her, that place is heaven." When he was asking about my mother-in-law, we went down to our basement where I have a couple poster boards full of pictures that we had at my mother-in-law's funeral. I told Dominic he could look at those pictures anytime he wanted. It's hard explaining loss to children and extra hard if your child has special needs. I'm glad that Dominic got to meet her and know her. My mother-in-law was a really big supporter of Dominic and all of his challenges. She would have been so proud to see how far he has come. She was a special woman and I still miss her a lot!!