Is it 'ok' to break bad news via email rather than on the phone?

(10 Posts)
oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Tue 10-Aug-10 22:52:26

My dad has a terminal condition and I have to get round to telling my brother who lives abroad. He's likely to react very badly and only hear the key words like 'hospice' if I were to phone him. I'm thinking that it would be more logical to write him a carefully worded email that he can take in and digest properly.

With all the appointments and stuff going on here as well, I won't be able to talk to him properly (when he's available too) until at least Sunday.

Or do I wait anyway and do the phone call regardless?

OP’s posts: |
nigglewiggle Tue 10-Aug-10 22:59:08

I would phone and maybe follow it up with an email if you think that some of the key details have not got through.

I would personally not like to get this type of information via email, but I'm sorry that you are in this situation.

faeriefruitcake Thu 12-Aug-10 15:51:57

My Father told me my gran had died by e-mail, I was in the house alone and it was deeply unpleasant. It's been 7 years and it still upsets me.

If you can't actually give the words voice is their somebody who could speak in your place?

MollysChambers Thu 12-Aug-10 16:01:57

Really sorry you're going through this. Agree with niggle - phone then email with all the details so he is fully informed. If it was a more distant relative email might be okay but I think you have to phone. Just seems kind of cold not.. Sorry.

TanteRose Thu 12-Aug-10 16:04:20

please phone - I live abroad and would hate to be told by e-mail...

an e-mail follow-up is a good idea

RiverOfSleep Thu 12-Aug-10 16:09:11

Sorry to hear about your dad.
Definately phone. Its your responsibility to break the news as 'well' as you can but remember its not your fault how 'well' your brother takes it. Its awful news and its normal to be really upset.

Good luck

mumoverseas Fri 13-Aug-10 16:15:18

I'm very sorry to read about your dad but I wouldn't do it by email.

I received an email from my brother last year headed 'times up' which was his way of telling me our mum had died. Not a very nice way to find out sad

SoupDragon Fri 13-Aug-10 16:18:54

sorry to hear about your dad. i think the idea of breaking the news by phone and saying you'll email with further info is the way to go.

wahwahwah Fri 13-Aug-10 16:24:52

Can you e-mail his wife and put her on altet so that when you phone she can be hovering?

I had to call my sister to tell her that our mum had died (very unexpectedly). I suppose it was 'fortunate' because I never call her and her daughter answered as she was out. She realised what had happened and had calmed down by the time I spoke to her.

I am sorry you are oging through this. mumoverseas - are yo one of my sisters? That sounds like my brother (although he'd probably have worded it less sensitively 'aye, she's deid')

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Sat 14-Aug-10 10:25:26

Thanks. You're all right: I will phone, probably today and make sure his gf is around to talk to him afterwards then will send an email with all the details. His gf lost her dad suddenly last year so she knows (kind of) how he is feeling.

Trouble is with my db, he does have a habit of thinking he is feeling everything much more acutely than everyone else, and I find that fairly difficult. This news will preent him with a problem/choice about whether he decides to come home for the rest of dad's life or whether he leaves it til later (too late?). I guess I also slightly resent the idea that he has a 'choice' and this seems quite a luxury. I have no choice about how much I am part of this because I'm here, and also because I couldn't not be there for dad when he needs our support. I'm just finding it hard with the whole situation and how much support dad needs, as well as be there for the dds, etc. Sorry - just having a moan!

But I know my db will be hurting wherever he is, and he will have to come to terms with what he decides and I need to let him do whatever he decides to do.

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in