My lovely FIL is dying. How do I deal with DH and DCs?

(28 Posts)
Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 21:33:54

My lovely FIL is dying after a very long illness. He is in a hospice hundreds of miles from us. We are going tomorrow to say our goodbyes. DH seems very calm but must be tearing up inside. The DCs are 5 and 3 and love their grandad. Are we best not to take them to say goodbye? They saw him at christmas and will remember him as having had an illness for a long time but able to sit and talk to them. He is now bed ridden and on morphine. Dh said he will go first to see if he looks OK before bringing children in whereas I think he should go without us and I will come down once my sister is able to take the children. Any opinions on which is best? What do we say to prepare the children for his death (my five year old is particularly switched on and asks about death alot. Once he has died what can I do to help DH. And of course my MIL who will be so far from us.

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MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 21:42:37

I think go with your instincts.

Re dh,being there for him and listening is the best thing you can do

re children.Tough one.ds was 6 when his dad died and fully understood what was going on.When they took him off the ventilator I was totally honest with him "Ds,you know how daddy has been very poorly for a long time,well the drs and nurses have tried very hard but daddy is just too poorly for them to be able to make him any better.he is dying.Do you want to go and see him?If you do I will take you in to see him but if you don't thats OK,whatever you feel like".he had been visiting dad in icu regularly.He did go in and hold dps hand but briefly.I would say play it by ear,you know your children best.

so sorry you are in this situation xx

Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 21:47:02

sad so sorry to hear that ME.I can't imagine having that conversation with my 5 year old about her 85 year old grandad let alone about her daddy. I am normally so together about these things but have turned in am emotional wreck. Must pull myself together for DH.

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Sexonlegs Fri 11-Feb-11 21:51:44

I am so sorry

FWIW, my Mum was at home for her final weeks, and we ummed and ahhed about the dd's (7 and 3) seeing her. My mum was worried the girls would be frightened.

Anyway, both dd's went up to Mum's room on Christmas Day for a few minutes and my youngest daughter had no idea what was going on, and my oldest daughter said "Gran wasn't scary at all"

I am so glad they got that chance; Mum died on NYE.

Wrt to support, dh has just been there for me, and that's all I could have asked for.

I wish your family love and strength.

MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 21:54:14

Kids will suprise you I think.My ds has amazed me.I think honesty is the best policy truly.If your 5 yo has being asking about death maybe you could explore it further.If going is not for you then that is fine,but what i am trying to say is trust your instincts.There are no right or wrong answers in this situation xxhow is dh coping?

Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 21:54:47

Thank you and so sorry to hear about your mum. This all comes on the back of DH losing his job last week. Feeling very sad right now about everything. Think I need to go and count my blessings.

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Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 21:58:44

Sorry cross posts. The bit about the mum is aimed at sexonlegs. DH is in the pub which pretty much sums it up. He seems very stoical (I think that the word I want!) but am guessing it won't hit until it happens. FIL has been poorly for years and in many ways we said goodbye to him along time ago but its still awful.

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MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:01:22

Poor dh.normal you are feeling sad.Go and give your man a big cuddle!go with how you feel if you think its not right for dcs go with that,but be honest about what is happening.Thinking of you tonight,take care,Mavis xx

pagwatch Fri 11-Feb-11 22:05:39

When my dad died I felt numb for ages.
What my dh did for me was just to wait until I was ready to talk and then to listen.

The dcs don't (in my experience) have one big reaction. They absorb and try to get to grips with it over weeks and months.
Just tell them honestly what is going on and make sure they understand that they can ask question.

Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 22:08:20

OK thanks. I will do that. DS is too young for much more than the basics. DD will need a bit more. Still not sure if we should all go down there tomorrow. Its a pig of a journey at the best of times and think DH might prefer to do it alone for now.

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JoyceBarnaby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:09:34

So sorry you are going through this. My FIL died last year, after a long battle with cancer, so I understand a bit what you are going through and it's total shit.

Our DS wasn't even 2 yet, so too young to have any level of understanding which in many ways was a blessing, so I'm afraid I don't have any advice regarding your kids. I just wanted to say that as far as your DH is concerned, please try to discuss with your DH if there is anything he needs to say to his dad.

Due to the nature of FIL's illness, we had time to discuss this sort of thing and I knew DH wanted to tell his dad he loved him and would miss him. This sounds simple, but I had to arrange an opportunity for DH to do this and almost force him to, but he has said a number of times how much comfort he takes from having done this.

I'm so sorry I can't offer more advice - it will be a horrible time but you will get through it x

MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:10:54

Ask him when he gets back form pub.And still give him that big hug

MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:11:57

From even,lol

Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 22:16:17

Joyce - Sorry to hear about your FIL. Thats a great idea. Sadly Dh has alot of unfinished business with his dad. I think he needs to acknowledge that as he hebours alot of resentment. This is what will resurface later I am sure.

Thanks to you all.

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Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 22:17:00

I mean harbours. Would help to see if I would stop blubbing hmm

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MavisEnderby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:17:56

fs hugs xx

JoyceBarnaby Fri 11-Feb-11 22:26:39

Oh FS, I wish I could give you a RL hug!!

Feelingsensitive Fri 11-Feb-11 22:49:45

Thanks so much. I am overly emotional at the best of times. Going to bed now before DH gets in so he doesnt see my puffy face. Will decide in the morning whether to go to Cornwall or not.

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JoyceBarnaby Sat 12-Feb-11 08:11:18

Good morning FS. Just wanted to say that I hope today isn't too utterly horrendous. Will be thinking of you x

mrsmeadweed Sat 12-Feb-11 08:56:54

My dad died in July, from cancer. I went to see him on my own, but that was mainly because I had to rush to see him as he developed pneumonia, and when my mum called he only had 24 hrs left.
He chose to stay at home which was another reason I left the DCs with my DH - if they had come they would have seen him (as he had a bed in a downstairs room).
Luckily they had seen him a couple of weeks before that, when he had been sitting up and able to chat to them.
If you do take them, I'd say check beforehand, as I found it quite distressing to see him like that - he was struggling for every breath.
I must admit I found it a lot easier being there without my DCs (also 5 &3). I could help my mum with practical stuff (like registering the death, helping with the funeral arrangements) without being distracted by them, and I knew they were ok with their dad.
Both children were very matter of fact about death - when I told my 5yr old, I explained that my dad was ill and that he was going to die soon. She asked why he couldn't have more more medicine, and I said that he was so poorly the medicines didn't work any more.
They did both come to the funeral - I thought that was important.

Feelingsensitive Sun 13-Feb-11 15:11:31

Thanks again to you all. Sadly FIL died on saturday morning. DH and I are in Cornwall with his mum. We didn't get to him in time but DH seems OK about that. Next step is the funeral. Not sure if the children should be there.Its going to be a burial in the village church with less than 10 people there sad FIL didnt have many friends sadly.

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kaumana Sun 13-Feb-11 15:18:05

I'm so sorry to hear your news. Big hugs to you and your family..

kaumana Sun 13-Feb-11 15:36:51

Meant to add, my mum died over a year ago and it was a great comfort to my dad and family to have my DS (only grandchild) at the funeral as we could see that her life lived on through DS.

kaumana Sun 13-Feb-11 21:38:16

Just checking in to see if you are ok?

Portofino Sun 13-Feb-11 21:49:32

Sorry to hear your sad news! sad FWIW my BIL died recently. Dd (6.11) was very fond of him and we took her to his funeral on Monday. She was more curious about what was going on than upset by things. In fact she wanted to move seats as she didn't have a good enough view! hmm She wrote a lovely letter to my SIL though.

My mum died when i was small, and I personally don't believe in hiding these things away from children. They did that to me, and it gave me "issues".

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