My mum is unlikely to survive, what do I tell DD?

(17 Posts)
ZolaBuddleia Wed 09-Jan-13 21:45:12

Mum is in intensive care, and the consultant has told me she is likely to die. DD is 2.6 and I don't know what to say to her. She has good language skills but obviously she is still tiny. She knows mum is in hospital.

ohmeohmy Wed 09-Jan-13 21:54:59

Google winstons wish. They have a lot of stuff online and a helpline. Sorry about your mum.

Bluebell99 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:03:07

So sorry to hear about your mum. We lost my father in law this year. My children are older though. it's very difficult especially when you are grieving yourself. We had a month from him going in for a test to him dying so not much time at all. For younger children there are some picture books that might be helpful "Goodbye Mog" and "Up in heaven".

christmasmum Wed 09-Jan-13 22:13:04

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. My DH's mum died when my DD was a similar age. I think with hindsight that I somewhat fudged it but I was pretty blunt as I don't think kids that age have any of the adult Knowledge of death. I told her granny had died and that although this was very very sad and that we couldn't see her anymore that we could still love her just as much. I got a few books talking about the natural life cycle. But to be brutally honest she wasn't that upset as she just didn't comprehend it fully. We did go through a long spell of talking about death and what it meant though so the books were very useful in the long term more than straight away.

I hope you get through this very difficult time for your family.

ZolaBuddleia Wed 09-Jan-13 22:18:54

Thanks everyone. Yes, I'm sort of just blindly staggering on at the moment.
I don't think she will notice a change to her everyday life, but I just want to handle it in the best way. Oh god.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 09-Jan-13 22:39:51

There's a lovely book called Up In Heaven that although is about a dog obviously, is a lovely way of explaining death and sort of moving on. We bought it last year when my lovely DMil died for our dds to read. They love it and find it very comforting.

We told them Nanny is a star in the sky and when they see the stars twinkling it's Nannys twinkly little eyes smiling down at them. They seem to like that and it gives them a way to interact with her still.

God I miss her. I'm so sorry for you. I also lost my mum a few years ago. It's really shit isn't it? Hope you and your little one are ok.

t875 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:48:09

This is very hard as I have been through this 8 months ago.

I dont know the whole story of what is wrong with your mum and Im so very sorry this has happened to you and I really feel for you and if you need a chat please PM me, i know exactly what you are going through. My mum was intensive care after having a massive stroke, she passed away a week after although the 2nd day we were told she wasnt going to come back to us.

Still extremely hard now on and off and miss her terribly

My children are older than yours, im not too sure what to say, mine knew from the begining that my mum was in a deep sleep from what has happened to her and the doctors are hoping for her to wake up but she is very ill so we do have to prepare ourselves for the worst.

I did phone winstons wish though and they were amazing and gave me some good advise.
once again im so sorry and my thoughts are with you x

ZolaBuddleia Thu 10-Jan-13 07:37:54

Thanks again to everyone. She has been in ICU for a couple of weeks following an illness. Yes, it's really really hard. I'm just keeping going as best I can, trying to ask the right questions and be as informed as possible etc. There are times when she doesn't look like my mum anymore, if you see what I mean.

DD really loves her of course, so I want to choose my words carefully. She doesn't understand death, of course, and I don't want to say anything that might make her think mum chose to go away from her. Will have a look at the Winston's Wish site.

ZolaBuddleia Thu 10-Jan-13 07:41:14

We're not religious, and I don't know what I think about an afterlife, so I don't know whether to say anything about heaven. To be honest she's probably too little to understand the concept anyway.

throckenholt Thu 10-Jan-13 07:57:01

Our next door neighbour died when DS was about that age. Obviously not as close as a grandparent but it still affected us and him because we were good friends. We were honest with DS - told him that neighbour was old and when people get old their bodies stop working. And when they totally stop working the person dies and you don't see them any more. And that it can be sad - mum and dad may be sad sometimes. This is something that happens to very old people (don't mention the possibility of younger people).

DS took it all in his stride and was absolutely fine and matter of fact about it.

For yourself - be kind to yourself and take it a day at a time - it is a really tough thing to go through.

PeriPathetic Thu 10-Jan-13 08:05:06

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum.

DD was about the same age as yours when my dad died. She adored him (as did I, of course) and it was very hard getting the words out to tell her.
I'm afraid I can't remember what words I did use, but straight, honest talking is the way to go. I'm not religious either, but I think I did use heaven.
She saw me cry. I don't think this is a bad thing.

Be prepared for lots of questions. For a long time afterwards.
DD had a habit of blindsiding me while I was driving in the car with a very hard question about Grandad's death. How, why, etc.

t875 Thu 10-Jan-13 08:08:25

My 8 year old took it really well in relation to my mum, still upset but like the above poster took it in her stride. The eldest was a bit different and wouldn't talk about her.

I did go down the route of she will still be around us and looking down on us, I did say she will be an angel in heaven and will be with our relatives that have passed on and will be with us in spirit.

Thinking of you through this hard time. xx

monairethu Thu 10-Jan-13 09:57:14

i'm so sorry for you and your family. we have just been through this and the initial bad news that my mum wouldn't pull through was the worst part for me personally. so i really feel for where you are at right now. my younger one is your daughter's age. we didn't say anything to him until after my mother died and he took it in and repeated what we said a lot but it's had no real impact on him tbh. little ones live in the moment so much - it's that very self centredness of theirs that is such a distraction and a comfort to me now and i'm sure your little one will be a great comfort to you in the months ahead. good luck - strength comes from the most unlikely places. xxxx

Cookingupastorm Thu 10-Jan-13 10:09:32

Sorry to hear about your mum. I can relate to this a little as my mum is in icu too and has been very up and down. My eldest dd has been upset but more interested in how she can help at home, my youngest ds who is a couple of years older than your littleun has been more concerned about who is going to make his tea! So use appropriate language and keep them informed but don't go over the top. Try and keep the routine going and make sure they know that they aren't the reason you're feeling sad. ( something along the lines of 'ohh, a nice big hug, that has helped me feel better' 'what a smashing picture, you really do make mummy smile') I'll keep my fingers crossed for you x

So sorry to hear this. A book we love is Badgers Parting Gifts She may be too young to really get it, but it is all about being older and tired. Agree with keeping the routine going - although you will be feeling rubbish. Thinking of you.

OldBeanbagz Thu 10-Jan-13 10:17:35

So sorry to hear about your Mum. We were in a similar situation when my DS was 2.10 (DD was 5.10) and got a lot of useful advise from the Winstons Wish website.

We never told DD & DS that my FIL was going to to die (even though we knew he was going to for about 10 days) as we were concerned that they would spend the whole time worrying about when it was going to happen.

I would just continue to tell your DD that Grandma is very poorly in hospital and if she asks if she's going to get better, then say no. Of course if she asks if she's going to die, then you have to be honest with her.

My DCs took the news quite badly when FIL did die (they were very close to their Grandad) but were fine the next day. DD (who was older) kept going up and down in her moods but we had great support from family, friends & her school.

She coped well with the funeral as the vicar gave the job of lighting a candle (she was the only child there) and we chose not to take DS to the funeral so as not to upset his nursery routine.

So hang on in there, it'll be tough but you'll get through it.

hels71 Thu 10-Jan-13 17:11:06

My DD is older than yours as she is 5. My MiL died at the end of last year. At first we explained to DD that nana was very poorly and in hospital so the doctors could try and make her better.

As it became obvious she would not get better we then chatted a bit about how when we get old our bodies don't always work so well and although doctors can often help sometimes they just can't and when our bodies just can not work properly anymor we die and go up to heaven to be an angel.

Her ,main worry though was would mummy and daddy die too so we had to have lots of talks about how usually people don't die until they are very old, although sometimes if they are very ill or have a serious accident then they might die.

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