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not to want to take the DC to their grandpa's while he dies?

(33 Posts)
docket Fri 03-Jul-09 20:15:40

I realise I may be, or perhaps selfish.

DH's dad is dying, he has 'days' to live. His condition unfortunately means that his death isn't going to be pretty.

DH is understandably distraught - he lost his mum 6 months ago and although his dad has lived for a long time with a terminal illness, the speed of his decline has come as a shock.

The plan is for him to die at home with DH and (daytime) hospice care staff looking after him.

DH says he would like me to go down there and stay too with DS and DD (4 and 3) and I really don't want to. There's not really anywhere for the kids to sleep, I am pregnant and knackered and it just feels wrong, I don't want them to be around it all really. DH thinks it will be nice as he lives by the sea etc but it just seems macabre to me.

Is this just one of those things that HAS to be done?

MIAonline Fri 03-Jul-09 20:18:48

No it doesn't have to be done.

If you feel that it will be difficult for your DC and their last image of their grandpa will not be a memory you would like them hold then I wouldn't go either.

Let the children remember their Grandpa for all the good times.

Sorry for the family, it must be adifficult time for you all.

AvengingGerbil Fri 03-Jul-09 20:21:06

Does your DH need your support? If so, you need to go. 3&4 yr olds won't remember/know much about what is going on, but your DH's needs should come first right now.

I know it's difficult and unpleasant, and I'm really sorry you are all in this position.

dizzydixies Fri 03-Jul-09 20:21:16

oh how awful for you, I was in the same place last year as I watched my mum die whilst 39wks pregnant with a 4yr old and a 2yr old in tow sad

is there anyone who can look after your DC so you can go down and be with DH? its not an easy time for him and maybe just having you around will give him comfort

my thoughts are with you all at this sad time

imaynotbeperfectbutimokmummy Fri 03-Jul-09 20:21:24

I can understand why your DH wants you there, but i really don't think it would be good for the children. Is there any way you could find someone to look after them for the weekend so you can be there for DH?

SarahL2 Fri 03-Jul-09 20:25:40

I certainly wouldn't take them! At 3 and 4 they are too young to understand what is happening and being in the house while their grandfather dies will just be distressing and upsetting for them.

If his death isn't going to be pretty, it may also not be silent - I know my Grandmother wimpered and screamed in her final hours - and I would not want my DS hearing that.

It seems very macabre and unnecessary. If your DH needs you then maybe try to find someone to look after your children while you support him but don't ruin memories for thier grandfather and future seaside trips for them by putting the children through this.

Boys2mam Fri 03-Jul-09 20:26:06

I'm so sorry for you all.

I echo the others, I understand your DH needing your support but even at 3 and 4 your DC will sense something and they don't need to be around this.

Can your parents help at all? Any family friends?

thisisyesterday Fri 03-Jul-09 20:30:05

could you go with him but stay in a hotel or something?
be there for support for DH, but not be right "there" iyswim?

you know, your DH may be wishing that the children could see their granddad one last time, and perhaps depending on how he is at the time then you could take them in for a few minutes just to say hi or something?

docket Fri 03-Jul-09 20:32:16

Thanks everyone for your replies.

DH does need support, I might be able to persuade my mum to help, for a night at least. My sister would usually help but she's hideously stressed with her studies at the moment so I couldn't ask.

Thanks.

thisisyesterday Fri 03-Jul-09 20:32:47

oh, meant to say as well, I was around a lot when my Grandpa was dying of cancer. I was 5. I knew he was dying, and I remember seeing him when he was very, very ill in the hospice.

it wasn't in any way traumatic or upsetting for me tbh. I think we often over-estimate what a child actually takes in and understands of a situation and we under-estimate how well they can cope with things.

fruitstick Fri 03-Jul-09 20:33:24

I wouldn't take them. I watched both of my parents die (before I had children) and it is incredibly tough, both physically and emotionally.

I am sure your husband wants your support and his children around him but he is going to go through a lot and I think will probably need some space to react to things without having to put on a front for the children or deal with their demands for Peppa Pig.

Also, the last thing my Mum wanted was her grandchildren around her. She didn't want them to see her but also couldn't bear the rowdiness.

Can you leave your children behind with someone or stay somewhere nearby so you can leave if you need to.

He is going to need you for a long time to come so I think you need to do the thinking for all your family at the moment and decide what is best for them, which may not necessarily be what your husband wants.

I am so sorry for you both.

dizzydixies Fri 03-Jul-09 20:36:20

agree with thisisyesterday - my girls don't remember anything from last year

we told them that the hospice was a hotel and Granny was just sleeping

Mintyy Fri 03-Jul-09 20:36:53

This is very sad and my heart goes out to you all, particularly your dh, but yanbu, I do not think your children should be there.

You must feel very torn. All my sympathies.

chegirl Fri 03-Jul-09 20:40:17

I can understand why your DH wants you all there. I dont think that kids always need to be protected from death but there a quite a few reasons why I dont think it would be a good idea.

Having two very young children around may be pretty hard going for grandad. People in pain are irritable. People can become disorientated in their last days.

My DD was very close with DS2. He was only 3 when she died. He couldnt understand why his sister wouldnt talk to him or play with him anymore. It really upset him.

Before she was unconscious she would get upset if he climbed on her because it hurt.

It could be really hard for you DH to concentrate on his dad if his children are around.

It is also quite likely that day/night will become a bit meaningless towards the end with DH dozing whilst grandad sleeps and being awake at odd times of night.

You are not being selfish. Coping with this whilst pregnant, looking after two little ones and worrying about your DH is hard going.

Are there any family members who live nearby? Could you stay with them?

I think this could be something that DH has to deal with on his own. Its afterwards he will need you most.

But unless you discuss this carefully it could be the cause of a lot of resentment in the future.

Maybe you could go down with him to visit and then come home again the same day? That way you have said goodbye.

I am sorry that your DH is facing the loss of his dad so soon after losing his mum.

wrinklytum Fri 03-Jul-09 20:41:27

I guess it largely depends on how you feel about it all.

TBH I think children this age are incredibly resilient,more than adults in some ways.I was around my grandma when she was dying of breast cancer,my mum had to take me and db round there as she had no other childcare available.I don't recall it having any negative effects,as mum was always open and honest about how poorly gran was.I do occasionally wonder if it subconciously affected my later career choice (I work in oncology and have worked it palliative care).If I look back I just remember her being poorly,and me going in and talking to her when she was ill in bed.

It is a tricky one.I guess you must do what feels right for you,and if you think it is inappropriate and have family on hand who will takethe children whilst you support your dh then maybe this is the best option for you.

I am sorry you are in this sad situation and am thinking of you and your dh xx

nickytwotimes Fri 03-Jul-09 20:44:21

Sorry to hear about your FIL, docket.
A very tough time for you all.
I am in two minds about this.
On the one had your dh needs you, and probably needs his lovely dcs for cuddles too. Death is a messy business, but I don't think hiding it from kids is a very effective way to deal with it. I certainly don't think they ought to be hanging around or making a noise when he is so poorly or when he might actually pass away, but they needn't be shielded from it. Imo, this merely makes it more scary and shocking.
COuld you stay soemwhere nearby where the kids can have a bit of space, but you are all still handy for your dh?
It does not HAVE to be done, but do not underestimate how important you and your children will be to your husband at this time.
Sorry it is such a horrible time. sad

NightShoe Fri 03-Jul-09 20:45:17

How difficult for you, you really have my sympathies. Is there any way you can stay in a hotel or B&B nearby to give support to your DH, but still not involve your DCs directly? I mean they can visit but they do not need to be there.

I work as a nurse in dementia care and I feel upset whenever I attend to someone who is dying, although I act professionally it is one of the hardest things about my job, I couldn't imagine putting a small child through that, and I am somewhat "hardened". When my Grandad was dying of cancer I took DD (then 2) to visit, but I would never have dreamed of her being there when he went.

On one level I can understand what your DH is saying, because when someone is dying you feel incredibly powerless and maybe he thinks that it would make a difference, however small, for your DCs to be around for his father.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Fri 03-Jul-09 20:48:00

Again like the others have said I can 100% see why your dh wouls need the support. I also agree that children don't always need to be protected from death they would not be my worried really in this.

The others have made some great points about keeping odd hours and the possible added stress to you FIL and DH having 2 small children there. Also what would worry me and probably more so than a lot of the other points is that -especially immediately after the death- is the other adults in the houses reaction to it. When you FIL first passes your DH may be quite upset and extremely emotional and there may be visitors that come and go at points soon afterwards are the same and that bit in itself can be the bit that is most frightening for small children rather than the loss of the person themself.
And it is at that point that the children will want to be the small children they are and playand laugh and do what children do and it may be hard to keep them entertained and possibly away from people who at that moment are just not able to deal with it.

FairLadyRantALot Fri 03-Jul-09 21:04:09

so sorry o hear about your fil...!
is there any chance that you could be with your dh and fil and sometimes have kids there, but mostly it is just you and dh with him? Is there anyone who could elp you with your Kids?

FairLadyRantALot Fri 03-Jul-09 21:05:51

and, if you are anywhere near me..would be happy to help...and I know you don't know me...but if there is anything I could do, I would be happy to help out!

docket Fri 03-Jul-09 21:10:59

Thanks again for your very helpful comments.

I think DH needs to come first but I can't shake the strong feelings about not wanting the DC to go. Perhaps it's entirely projection but I think it will frighten them, particularly as he's got a blood condition that means he is now covered in bruises and burst blood vessels etc as well as being painfully thin.

There are some great suggestions here. I will talk to my mum and/or investigate booking into a local B&B or something which I think could work too.

Thanks again for your support

docket Fri 03-Jul-09 21:12:50

FairLady that is so kind of you!

He lives on the Devon coast.

I'm going to phone my mum now and sort something out..

Pitchounette Fri 03-Jul-09 21:40:45

Message withdrawn

wannaBe Fri 03-Jul-09 21:59:10

I agree that children don't need to be protected from death, in so much as that they need to be aware of it, but at three and four I certainly don't think they need to witness it.

I understand that your dh needs your support, however your children do also need to be considered in all this, and if you feel it is inappropriate fr them to be there, then you have to do what is best for them. Your dh is an adult after all, and you can explain to him re your fears for the dc, but your children are only little, and shouldn't be made to witness a death just because your dh wants them there.

piscesmoon Fri 03-Jul-09 22:16:07

I think that from the point of view of your FIL he wouldn't want them there. From my experience at that stage people drift in and out of consciousness-they can't cope with the social niceties and shouldn't have to worry about others. I would try and support DH but get the DCs looked after.

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