Our expert says:
Sounds like a mild over-reaction, and possibly not actually ( though it would appear so ) about the death of the grandfather she never even met, but maybe more about her current awareness of and concerns about death ?
And indeed their later comments confirm this they're grappling with the idea that moms and dads also die, and then what will happen to the kids - and maybe even wondering whether they too will die at some time.
It was realistic to gently admit to them that eventually, everyone dies, but usually when they're old, and that they are not likely to be deserted before they are also adults and well able to care for themselves.
The crying is not about the picture or the man himself, but about the idea of death and finality and feeling potentially abandoned.
Maria's thoughtful response is really useful.
Like Maria, I wonder why this has become a major issue for them NOW, and it won't be about the photo - maybe there's been a death in the family of a friend of theirs.
I don't know that you need to get into the issue of your father having been an unpleasant person - they're upset about death, not so much specifically that he died, or that he personally was an enormous individual loss.
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