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FIL dying, what to say to 5yo DS1

(11 Posts)
LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 15:44:33

My FIL is currently dying, probabiy only has a few days left.

The back story is he has terminal cancer and was told a few weeks back that he had about 6mths to a year. We were dealing with this as a family only for him to have a stroke 2 weeks ago. It was a major stroke and now his organs are shutting down.

So far DS1 has been told that Papa is sick in hospital. When he firat had the stroke I told DS1 that he may not get better. He said to me 'He might get worser and he might die' I was honest and said yesy that might happen.

As we know the end is coming now do I tell DS that Papa is going to die or do I just leave it until it happens? Anybody with any experience of this would be great. He already uncerstands death as my Grandmother died earlier this year.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 16:00:05

Bump smile

tots2ten Sun 31-May-09 16:15:34

I am sorry to hear about your FIL. sad

When my mum was dying, i explained to my dc's that grandma was not going to get better but we didnt know how long she had left.

my ds1 is also 5. When we brought my mum home from the hospital, i didnt say anything more to the dc's, although we knew that the end was near. She passed away after being at home 4 days.

TBH i wouldnt have told them that grandma only had days left otherwise i would have been asked hundreds of times, was today the day?


LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 16:35:07

Thanks for your reply tots2ten. I think my concern was saying that he doesn't have long left, then being asked if he's died yet all the time. Especially as this may then upset DH.

Also he is unable to go and see his Papa as I feel it would be too upsetting to see him as he is. He also probably wouldn't recognise him as he looks so different since the stroke. DS1 will be sad to be told he can never see him again

tots2ten Sun 31-May-09 16:55:08

the week before my mum died, we took the older grandchildren into see her one at a time. dd1 is 10yr, dd2 is 9yrs, ds1 is 5. my nephew is 8yrs, I also took dd3 (2yrs)

Ds1 was the worst and was very quiet, he wouldnt give her a kiss when it was time to leave, but it also made my mum uncomfortable. if i had the time again i dont think i would take ds into see her. Mum has lung cancer and had oxygen via nasal tubes. ds still talks about the tubes helping grandma breathe.

that was my biggest concern was also being asked if today was the day grandma was going to die.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 18:59:56

FIL is very thin and frail and doesn't look like himself. He also would not want DS1 to see him like that. I think I'm just going to leave it for now. If he asks any more questions I will answer them but other than that will just leave it.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 19:01:00

Thank you again for your help. It must bring back painful memories for you, but I really appreciate your responses

Hammy01 Sun 31-May-09 20:03:14

Hi there
We were in the exact same situation in Feb this yr. My FIL was diagnosed with aggressive terminal lung cancer just before christmas and he too suffered a stroke 4 weeks after his initial diagnosis.
He couldn't talk and he also became frail with organ failure in his last few weeks.
We took the children into see him (DSS 5, DS 2 and DD 10 months) more for FIL as he still was aware of what was going on around him he just could not speak. Bless him, his eyes lit up when they visited sad
We nursed him at home for the last couple of weeks before he died and the children still saw him for brief intervals. The younger ones didn;t really understand but DSS kind of did,we told him that grandad was very poorly and to give him special 'loves' (kiss) when we said goodbye.
Now, when we talk about grandad or visit his grave we say grandad went 'nightnights' and he can can still hear us so its ok to talk to him or talk about him and they seem ok with that.
We often watch home dvds or look at photos as we want the children to talk freely about him, as he was such a pivotal part of our family.
I think the kids handle death better than us adults!
My sincerest condolences on this particularly dfficult time you are all facing.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Sun 31-May-09 21:09:49

Thank you Hammy. It sounds like a very similar situation that you were in, although a different kind of cancer for us. Now I just need to deal with DH being all quiet and not telling me how he is feeling. We also live 2 hrs away from IL's so it is difficult.

Sassyfrassy Sat 13-Jun-09 18:15:15

Hi, I'm in a similar situation to you with dd1 who is 5. My fil has terminal cancer and has refused to give us much info until today when we were told it's a matter of weeks. Dd1 knows he has been poorly and we told her today that her granddad is so poorly that he won't get better and that soon he will die and be gone. She's talked about it all day and asked lots of question. She only got upset once when asking when she could be with granddad again after he died and I had to explain that once he was dead we couldn't be with him anymore. It's very upsetting for us all.

He is going into hospital tomorrow and we are planning on taking dd1 to visit and see him. They have always been very close.

LadyPinkofPinkerton Thu 18-Jun-09 21:02:12

Hi Sassy, have only just noticed your post. My FIL passed away on 4th June. DS1 was sad, but took it quite well and matter of fact. They arevery good at dealing with it at that age. Unfortunately he couldn't go and see his Papa before he passed away as it would have been too upsetting, as the stroke had affected the way he looked.

Sorry to hear about your FIL.

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