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Any help? Grandad is dying and DS is beside himself

(44 Posts)
NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 22:28:30

.. just that really. Grandad is old and been ill, in and out of hospital last week for ops and deteriorated fast. DS has seen him 2 or 3 times in there and knew how ill he was but obviously clung to hope. He is twelve. I am a single parent and his father is NC and useless. Grandad was his No1. Tonight they are withdrawing help and he hasn't got much longer. I haven't given DS all details but he knows he is going to die and Grandad is sleeping and comfortable at the moment. He is distraught and blaming me at every opportunity as his grief has no where else to go. He won't let me hug him and is crashing around and crying his eyes out. What can I do? Can anyone help? This waiting to die is just the worst. We can't go and see him so are just in limbo. I feel such a failure. He has just told me I am a terrible mum.

Pallisers Fri 19-May-17 22:32:13

So sorry. Is there any palliative care service at the hospital? Could you contact them and ask for help. You know your son is lashing out because he desperately wants you to fix this but knows you can't.

And I am so sorry for you because you are dealing with your own fear and grief too.

Even if they can't offer you something right now, the hospital should be able to give you referrals to grief support afterwards. I think you should treat this like the loss of a parent for your son tbh.

Is there any way you could go see him and just have the 2 of you tell him how much you love him?

Again, so sorry. mind yourself.

blue2014 Fri 19-May-17 22:38:14

You are not a terrible mum. My love, you are doing all that you can. Grief is awful and anger is a perfectly natural part of that (you can tell him that if it will help) let him get his anger out in whatever healthy ways he can.

Yes he will be heartbroken but he will recover from this in time. Time is all there is.

Im so sorry for your (upcoming) loss

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 22:40:53

Thank you for replying. The hospital started palliative care yesterday and today said it was starting end of life. It will probably be over tonight as they are withdrawing things. His lovely wife is with him and has kept me informed of things but just close family now and we can't go again.

I'm trying to rationalise with my DS to say that Grandad has really been asleep since the last time he saw him on Wednesday and they had a little chat and lovely cuddles. It will be a nice way for him to remember him ultimately.

He is asking me things like 'will I never see him again?' and 'why didn't I know that was the last time?' and nothing i say is helping, I am trying to give him honest (but sensitive) answers and he just saying that I am being negative, he is just blaming me and v upset.

nailslikeknives Fri 19-May-17 22:45:31

I have found the website Winston's Wish to be helpful in similar circumstances. It gave me the language I needed to discuss death and grief in a child-appropriate way.
I'm very sorry you and your son.

nailslikeknives Fri 19-May-17 22:46:27

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 22:48:31

Thank you so much I will look at that now.

He has gone (stomped) to his room and he is quiet. I don't want to leave him alone but don't want to disturb him and set him off again. Arghhhh. I knew being a single parent would be hard just my God, this is awful.

Floggingmolly Fri 19-May-17 22:55:56

Don't you qualify as close family? sad

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 22:58:44

Large family unfortunately. And XH (DS's father) is there. Trumps my son even though he barely made any effort with his lovely dad ever and my DS saw him weekly.

Pallisers Fri 19-May-17 22:59:01

Is there any way he could have another visit? If your father is sinking fast then it won't matter much to his care and might make a big difference to your son.

Reach out to the palliative care team, tell them what is going on and ask for help - they've seen it all before and in my experience are there as much for the family as they are for the patient because they want the death to be as comfortable as possible.

So sorry - thinking of you.

Pallisers Fri 19-May-17 23:00:34

oh - it is your ex's father. I think a lot of this anger is probably related to your son feeling utterly shortchanged by his father. Again, sorry.

Is he completely NC? No use at all?

erinaceus Fri 19-May-17 23:09:27

This might sound trite, but have you considered suggesting that your DS calling someone like Childline or The Samaritans? It might help him to have someone empathetic to listen to all of his anger and rage, who is not you, if that makes sense? He can blame you to them, if that is what he needs to do. I don't think that you are in any way to blame, btw.

Sorry if this is an off-the-wall or daft suggestion. I am not a parent so this might be totally inappropriate. It's a sort of rapid route to something that is not quite counselling but is possibly a different take to the one that you can offer? The only other suggestion I have is give him pillows to hit, or cardboard boxes to stamp on, because life is shit and sometimes getting ones rage out physically can be cathartic.

So sorry. Big hugs to you and your DS flowers

DancingLedge Fri 19-May-17 23:09:28

Actually, you know, you're doing great.
Because you've created a family where your son is allowed to express his distress to you.Being so upset, and letting it out to you, is safe enough and 'allowed' for him.

Okay, he's not being very mature, or fair, but , you know what? he's twelve, and has some hormones swirling around, and he loved his grandad, so I think we can let him off being mature right now.

He's angry, and verbally lashing out. Very hard for youflowers. But, he will probably see this diferently, soon. Maybe even apologise.

You have done your best. Don't accept blame from him: you cannot foresee how these end days play out- none of us can . Equally, try to accept his anger, without blame and without taking it on board.Because there is often a lot of anger mixed in with grief.

Sorry, didn't mean to sound preachy. I really do wish you both all the best.

Don't forget to allow him to see how upset you are, too.

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 23:09:28

Worse than no use at all. And married to the woman from hell who has treated my son appallingly and never wanted him in their lives. He just seems to go along with everything she says and does - even when she has abused my son.

We have no contact (at my son's request) and haven't seen them for a couple years. It is actually better for him than the hell he was going through with them before.

But of course he is going through the full range of emotions now. His wonderful grandad (who was disgusted by the way his son and wife treated my DS) was utterly loving, supportive, kind and just a wonderful example to my son of how wonderful men can be. And he really needed that in his life.

I've just been upstairs and managed to get him in his pyjamas. He is terribly upset saying he didn't get to say goodbye and why didn't the medicine work and will he ever see him again. I am just lost for words and totally failing him. Just don't know what to say to him 😢

erinaceus Fri 19-May-17 23:11:40

You are not failing him. I agree with pp that you are doing great. flowers

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 23:12:28

Thank you so much for all of your kind words. Parenting at times like this on your own is a bloody lonely scary place.

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 23:17:20

I failed last week because when he came into my room to talk to me at 1am very upset and asked me if Grandad was going to die, he had just come through 2 ops and things were looking so much better. We had seen him and he was happy and chatty and he is a tough old boot 😉 I stupidly let some hope in because I wanted to be positive and I wanted my DS to rest and be capable of school in the morning and I basically tried to fix his pain. I think I gave him false hope - I was hopeful! And I wanted to be positive. But it seems to have led us down a worse path and now I don't trust myself to say anything.

Lapinlapin Fri 19-May-17 23:18:58

You've done brilliantly to facilitate the lovely relationship your son had withhe his grandad, despite how your ex behaved. In time your ds will realise all this.

The truth is there really isn't much anyone can say to someone who's grieving, is there?
Your poor ds. You're certainly not failing him though flowers

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 23:19:53

Just read my pp, my son isn't the result of an affair or anything - I think it may have read like that. We were together for years and split up when he was one because he was unfaithful, he met new gf online v soon after and they are now married with DCs.

erinaceus Fri 19-May-17 23:21:38

Nope, still not failing him. Hope is a human thing, and I am not seeing any false hope here. I don't know all the details, but Grandpa had come through 2 ops and was happy and chatty. Crudely, if there had been no hope, Grandpa would not have been operated on.

You're doing great. Keep going. You will get through this, as will your DS.

Cup of brew

erinaceus Fri 19-May-17 23:22:36

That was an offer/suggestion: cup of tea for you? As in, take care of yourself.

DancingLedge Fri 19-May-17 23:25:53

Things were looking better, but now there's been a change for the worse.
Your son's old enough to understand that.
You could share with him that it's really hard for everyone, not knowing what will happen when someone's seriously ill.
You didn't fail him: you felt some hope yourself last week. But things took a turn for the worse, and now suddenly that hope is gone.

NameWithChange Fri 19-May-17 23:39:48

Thanks Erin. Much appreciated. Oh the joy when someone else makes you a cuppa! I have just poured myself a glass of wine.

DS is in bed and sobbing loudly. I have been up twice more and said I am there for him. He said he just wants Grandad.

BluebellsareBlue Fri 19-May-17 23:51:22

Hi name, I'm sorry you're both going through this. I lost my DM on the second of this month and she was my DS best friend. (It was a long illness but very quick, unexpected decline at the end). DS is 13, I was absolutely honest with him during the last few days, told him what was happening and that gran would get sleepier and sleepier. He was obviously distraught during that time but held it together most of the time when he was with her.
I brought my DM home to her house four days before I lost her, I asked DS if he wanted to stay and he said yes, I slept on the floor by her bed at night and held her hand sitting in a chair during the day. DS stayed one night in her bedroom with me, we brought his mattress in and we chatted and spoke to gran and had little laughs at things. DSwas able to come and go as he pleased and I just tried to keep things as "normal" as possible, he stayed off school on the Monday and Tuesday (she passed on the Tuesday afternoon) as he decided he wanted to be with gran, although I was the only one to stay in the room with her all the time, he was able to go out with grandad but he felt like he was there.
I was alone with her when she passed and obviously DS was distraught she had gone but he has bounced back, he's subdued at times, but is back at school and is occasionally his cheeky teenage self. Your DS will bounce back. They are more resilient than we are.
Me on the other hand, I've lost my soul mate and best friend and still haven't grieved yet, I just keep pushing it out and making myself so busy I'm exhausted, and I'm so so scared for when it kicks in.
I wish you peace for your DF and DS and you xx (sorry for war and peace)

NameWithChange Sat 20-May-17 00:35:38

Thank you Bluebell, I am so sorry for your loss.

I am glad you could bring your DM home and it almost sounds like the perfect passing. She must have felt so loved with you constantly there and caring for her.

My DS has stopped sobbing and although not asleep is resting now. Unfortunately my other young DC has woken with a nightmare and now in my bed so it will be a long night. Sometimes there just isn't enough of me to go round!

I wonder how Grandad is. Wonder if he has passed yet. I don't think they would text/call us in the middle of the night. It's a weird state of affairs. Oh the life of an ex wife! DS desperate for news but nothing I can do for now. I just want us all to sleep, my head is pounding. I'm going to try and rest my eyes.

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