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please help me figure out how to tell DD 13 about her Dad

(31 Posts)
GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sun 29-Sep-13 17:43:50

I haven't posted for a very long time but a terrible tragedy has happened and mumsnet was the first place I thought of.
My DD is currently having her dinner with DP and my DS and it is probably her last meal before she finds out her father is dead.
I was divorced from her father and my DD did not see him very often, the last time was on her birthday. He was an alcoholic and things were not great after DP and I packed up the kids and moved to Hertfordshire, leaving him in London.
The bloody bugger has only gone and hung himself. I found out about 30 mins ago. It is horrendous as you can imagine and I don't want to tell her he has committed suicide but we do have a policy of honesty. However, protecting her trumps honesty. I feel so devastated that my DD will now have her whole life shaped by this and I don't want it to impact too negatively.
One of my worries is that if I don't tell her that he killed himself she will find out from his dysfunctional mother and brother and then she will have trust issues. Fuck, it is such a mess. I haven't processed how I am feeling yet, I just feel awful that he was in such a terrible placeand awful that my DD is soon going to learn about it.
Can anyone come and hold my hand, please?

sara11272 Sun 29-Sep-13 17:45:44

Have no helpful advice but do have a hand to hold. All the best with getting through this, I'm sorry.

rockybalboa Sun 29-Sep-13 17:48:12

Oh bloody hell. I can hold your hand but I have little useful advice to offer. Have you tried googling? There must be advice out there for the children of suicides. I hope she takes it as well as can be expected.

knittedslippersx3 Sun 29-Sep-13 17:48:35

Hand hold here.
As awful as it is, I think you know that you have to tell dd the truth. Better coming from you than someone else telling her out of spite.
All you can do is be there for her. So sorry for yours and dd loss.

17leftfeet Sun 29-Sep-13 17:49:11

Here's a hand

I think you do need to tell her the truth though, a friend of mine believed her dad died in an accident when she was 2 and then googled his name when she was a teen -you can't protect her from the information

He was ill and that illness drove him to it, it was no ones fault

School will be able to arrange bereavement counselling for her but all you can really do is be there when she wants to talk

GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sun 29-Sep-13 17:50:26

Thank you <grips hand till knuckles show white>
She knows something is up as I got the call, realised it was going to be bad and went upstairs. However she heard me being sick and crying so she knows something has happened.

MrsSJG Sun 29-Sep-13 17:51:29

I'm very sorry to hear that you are in this awful place, I think you need to tell her the truth as you know it will come from other family members, at least from you, it's the truth and nothing can be twisted by the dysfunctional side of the family. I am here holding your hand sad

MrsMongoose Sun 29-Sep-13 17:52:27

I wouldn't lie to her. My mother did this to me and I've had trust issues ever since I found out the truth. For example, when she insists my elderly, thinning grandma is okay, I don't 100% believe her.

GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sun 29-Sep-13 17:53:34

Yes, my instinct was to tell her the truth but the sheer horror of telling my sweet, innocent, moody, beautiful thirteen year old daughter that her Dad hung himself is too terrible to contemplate. I have googled but there is conflicting advice. Thank you all for posting.

GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sun 29-Sep-13 17:55:13

I am just aware of the line in the sand she doesn't realise she is about to cross. She is L** but soon she will be L* with a dead dad. Sorry, that is stark.

OhDearNigel Sun 29-Sep-13 17:58:08

Ring CRUSE. They have counsellors that specialise in bereaved children that will be able to help you all through this.


HootShoot Sun 29-Sep-13 18:05:22

Definitely ring Cruse, they will help you with how to tell your poor DD. I am so sorry you are going through this.

NulliusInBlurba Sun 29-Sep-13 18:08:29

Hi Ghost, so sorry for this happening. Whatever you do, please never lie to her about it being suicide, if she asks. You can choose to omit certain facts (like the exact method) until she's older and more able to deal with it, but if she asks a direct question - whatever it is - tell her the truth.

We have an utterly stupid situation in our family. DD1 was 13 when her beloved uncle killed himself - there was no chance of getting advice beforehand about breaking the news because she was standing next to me when the phone call came and saw me break down. Of course she was shocked, but she appreciated our total honesty and was able to understand that he'd only done it because of an undiagnosed mental illness. Her cousin, however, who was 10 at the time, asked his parents the dreaded direct question (did uncle X kill himself?) and they've invented a heart condition instead because they didn't want him confronted with the reality. Now, a few years later, the cousin knows something is up, but I'm forced to remind my own DC not to let the truth slip out. He's a clever boy and once he finds out he will absolutely remember his parents' lie - and then he's somehow got to trust them again. It's a bad scene.

Antidote Sun 29-Sep-13 18:10:25

Google a technique called "layering".

It is sometimes used to break down bad news into manageable chunks. For example you might tell her now that her father had been found dead, or has died, but you will be getting more information about what happened / how he died later. It is one way of letting her process what has happened more slowly.

But a charity like cruse will also be able to advise.

I'm sorry this had happened to you and your family.

MissMalonex2 Sun 29-Sep-13 18:12:08

Please ring Winston's Wish - having been through a similar situation with a friend who took her life, I know that their advice is to tell the truth but they can give you guidance and support in how to do this (her children were both under 10 at the time and were told). There should be stuff on their website - they also publish a booklet covering this situation. So sorry that this has happened, your poor DD.

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Sun 29-Sep-13 18:18:36

Wins tons wish website good starting point. Has info about suicide. They do weekend for bereaved kids if you think that might help in time. Agree best to be truthful but she may not need all the details right now. Sorry you are having to deal with this. Your local hospice may have bereavement support service. Isabel hospice covers north and east and has child bereavement specialists, GP can refer.

GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Sun 29-Sep-13 18:25:31

Have looked at both those websites. It's just that I'm not sure how to ring them without being overheard.
You lot are ace, you know. Thank you.

sunshinemeg Sun 29-Sep-13 18:38:46

I can relate my experiences if it helps.
I grew up fully aware that my maternal grandmother had killed herself (I won't go into details, her method was very gruesome) I was brought up very understanding that sometimes the pain to carry on is simply too great, that its not being a coward to commit suicide, its because they can simply not see another way out of their own personal hell. My mother comes from a very close knit family, there was never the believe that the family had failed her or anything, it was just that my grandmother was a very damaged person herself.
My cousins, who were twins 7 weeks older than me, weren't told how their grandmother had died, but as children talking you can understand this came out. Mum never knew they didn't know, so wasn't to know it was information I shouldn't pass on. The fall out from my aunt not telling them the truth was far worse than the suicide itself.
Be open, be non judgemental of what he has done, and be as supportive as you can for your DD.

Its a tough road, just don't let her feel he was a coward for what he did.

Badvoc Sun 29-Sep-13 18:43:43

I am very sorry op.
But I really advocate honesty.
It will be hard, of course, but she will find out - some "helpful" friend or family member or social media....
Think how you would feel if she found out that way.

LIZS Sun 29-Sep-13 18:50:12

What a horrible position to be in . You need to tell her the truth , presumably there will be an inquest and maybe publicity which her peers could pick up on let alone toxic family. Be open to questions but also you only know the minimum so no harm in admitting that too.

Groovee Sun 29-Sep-13 18:50:37

I am so sorry OP. I hope telling your dd goes ok. Having a 13 year old, I know she would want to know too and I would try to tell her as simply as I could.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 29-Sep-13 18:52:18

Go for a walk and phone on mobile?

I'm sorry to hear about what's happened sad

juneau Sun 29-Sep-13 18:53:45

No advice, but if you want to call without being overheard take your mobile and sit in your car - or go outside.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 29-Sep-13 18:59:49

I think you have to tell her. This happened to a friend of mine and her mother didn't. Probably when she was about 14. She wasn't in contact with her father or his family though - he had been off the rails for a long time. Unfortunately friend contacted her father's family hoping to make contact and when she turned up for a cup of tea she was told her father had died four years before. She pretended she knew already not wanting to show up her mother but never ever trusted her mother again.

LEMisdisappointed Sun 29-Sep-13 19:06:17

so sorry to hear this sad

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