My dad has terminal cancer, how will I help my dd when grandad dies?

(19 Posts)
ljhooray Tue 17-Nov-09 22:10:06

My dad has terminal lung cancer, not sure how long he has but at best probably a few months although he is detriorating at the moment. Very scared as I myself have never lost a close relative ( my grandparents passed away before I was born) so not sure what to expect. What troubles me more than anything else is doing the right thing for my dd who just under 3. Lives her grandad very much and I'm already having to consider the time when it maybe best for her not to see grandad anymore which is breaking my heart (as anyone who has witnessed the progression of this cancer, it is terribly cruel and of course changes someone physically and mentally)

sorry this is so long but there's so much more going on as well as this but my dd is my priority. I'm totally heartbroken about my dad but what scares me most is not helping my dd in the best possible way.

OP’s posts: |
Ivykaty44 Tue 17-Nov-09 22:16:14

Itreally depends on how you are as a family, what you see will not be what your daughter sees

It will also be determind by your own dad and don't forgt he is your dad first and that is important to remember in all this. You will need support and time and then worry about your dd - you can't deflect grief it is something you will need to do otherwise it will come and bit you on the bum later in a serious way.

Cancer and going downhill happens to people in different ways, some will be stronger than others.

let your dad guide you ad also let your dd gude you whilst he is alive. Late r make sure you take time and care of yourself and your dd.

sad it is a sad time.

ljhooray Wed 18-Nov-09 20:32:38

Found out today dad may not make it til christmas, feeling very low

OP’s posts: |
LadyBlaBlah Wed 18-Nov-09 20:39:14

I am very sorry to hear about your dad lj. I recently lost my dad to pancreatic cancer and he had a similar prognosis to your dad. He was a much loved and involved Grandad and the DSs talk about him a lot.....a memory box would have been nice for them to have done together, it was all just a bit quick, so I would recommend trying to do for her with him and your dd (if he is accepting of his fate - my dad never was and to be fair it was quicker than expected)

Losing your dad is horrific, but 4 months later, I have happy memories of a lovely dad, it's just there is so much I would wanted to have shared with him during those 4 months. So, it is a very constant feeling of missing him, and it being such a waste because he was so young and so kind and so much fun. But actually my mum has been my major concern - being a widow is more horrendous than she ever anticipated.

You will make it through, just enjoy every moment from now on

moomonkey Wed 18-Nov-09 20:45:27

What dreadful news and poor timing before Xmas, i really feel for you. Terminal lung cancer is a dreadful disease and can affect people in different ways
As said previously you must remember that he is YOUR dad and You will need time and support from others too because the way you cope with things will have a knock on effect to your little one.
Spk to your dad about it...if you are still able to and talk things through with your little one.
If i were you i would stop visits up to a certain stage as things may be frightning for your ds..............
I dont really know what other advice to give, everyone is different, but that doesnt make it any easier, spk to the nurses and let them guide you on how to deal with things......
really sorry about your news.....

ljhooray Wed 18-Nov-09 20:46:47

Thanks lady blablah
like your dad, he's not accepted it although I think it's the hope that keeps him going.

OP’s posts: |
ljhooray Wed 18-Nov-09 20:49:52

Moomonkey so kind and really appreciate the support and you've hit exactly on the point with dd. She's only little so may only have a sense of him when she's older and I don't want that to be a feeling of fear. But still, they love each other so much, really sad for them both

OP’s posts: |
LadyBlaBlah Wed 18-Nov-09 21:32:24

I will just add lj, I was really concerned about how the DSs would be when their beloved grandad died, and they were quite frankly, fickle.

They talk about him and love him still, but were instantly accepting of him dying. I admit to being a little disappointed by that - but they are kids, they get dying better than we do.

I feel like they are missing an amazing relationship and more love in their lives, but they don't miss it and get on with their lives.

ljhooray Thu 19-Nov-09 09:21:03

Sorry ivy should have thanked you too. I'm afraid it looks like he is deteriorating quite quickly so not sure if it may be too much to ask of him to know what to do.

Would really appreciate advice on exactly what to tell a little one when a loved one passes away

OP’s posts: |
NotQuiteCockney Thu 19-Nov-09 09:24:04

You need to tell her the truth.

I don't find children are that affected by death, granted we've only lost my mom (who lived on another continent) and a much-loved cat, but my kids weren't that bothered either time.

Please please worry about yourself. It sounds to my ear like you are, on a level, very worried about how you will cope with your dad's death (understandably!) and don't want to deal with that fear so are worrying about your DD instead.

reallywoundup Thu 19-Nov-09 09:47:04

winstons wish (i think that is what they are called) are very good at helping parents and children deal with grief- they may be able to help you find a way of talking it through with dd? Sorry to hear about your Dad sad. But i will echo what someone else said- you will need time to grieve, if all of your focus is on dd's acceptance of the situation it could lead to you feeling more confused iyswim, take care and allow yourself some time as well. x

LilRedWG Thu 19-Nov-09 10:28:15

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad, ljhorray. We went through a similar thing last year. Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer two days before Christmas and died on 6th February.

DD was 2.8 when Dad died and she visited him with me every Dad. TBH she did not see what I saw - she saw Grandad as a source of biscuits and tv watching and someone to listen to me read a story with.

The night my Dad died DH was away on business and I got the call at around midnight. I had no choice but to go and wake DD and tell her that Grandad needed us. I put her dressing gown on and slippers and popped her in her car seat. On the drive to Mum and Dad's (about 20 minutes) I explained that Grandad's cough was worse and he was feeling very poorly and that I would like her to sit quietly on the sofa when we got there (Dad had a hospital bed in the lounge). As soon as we got there I called my PIL to collect DD but it was a while before they got there. When they arrived I picked DD up for a cuddle and told her that I'd see her tomorrow and to kiss Grandad goodnight. I lifted her up and she kissed my Dad on her forehead. Even though he was heavily sedated I am sure that he knew. He passed 30 minutes later.

The next day DH and I went to collect her from PIL and I told DD that Grandad had gone somewhere where he wouldn't feel poorly anymore and wasn't that lovely for him, but that we wouldn't be able to see him anymore and that Mummy and Daddy were upset because we would miss him very much. She accepted it amazingly.

My Mum died two weeks later and DD accepted that just as well. If you ask her where they are now she'll tell you that they died and are in heaven.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted you to know that little ones can and do cope with loss amazingly.

LilRedWG Thu 19-Nov-09 10:35:05

I've jsut realised that my post is only about your DD and not you.

Please do take care of yourself and take time for yourself. Your DD will not suffer from staying with family/friends for a night so that you can have some space, but she will suffer if you do not take care of yourself.

Be prepared to feel every emotion possible in the space of an hour or two and then to feel numb also. It is a nasty rollercoaster you are on, but there are plenty of us on MN here to chat to.

I'm not sure if you are in contact with Macmillan but if not, do talk to them. I have started having counselling with them in the past few weeks and they ar so supportive.

Come on here and talk/rant/cry whenever you
need to.

DrNortherner Sat 21-Nov-09 17:29:04

Hi there ljhooray. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. I have no experience with dealing with a terminal illness and preparing yourself, but I lost my own wonderful dad in April suddennly to a massive herat attack.

I agree with what has been said here. Your dd will eb amazingly fine. She will ask questions, and may cry if you cry, but kids are just more accepting of death then we are. My ds is 7, and like others on here, I found it hard that my ds was not pining for my Dad after his death. Of course he talks about him, but he somehoe just gets on with it.

It will be you who needs support over the coming months. Do you have a good network around you - dh/friends etc?

It will be a terrible time for you all, all we can do is be here. I wish you all strength.

ljhooray Sat 28-Nov-09 07:17:05

sorry I haven't been on for a while to thank you all for your help. Dad passed away on Wednesday pm - can't describe what it feels like, swing between utter devastation and numbness. Been strugling with the fact I was the only one of my family who didn't want to see him (my mum and 3 sisters did). But I left hospital about an hour before he died, he said he wished I didn't have to see him like this. He was a very dignified and traditional man so wanted to always be strong for his children. Then he gave me the biggest smile and told me how much he loved me. So when we went in once we had the news, I just wanted to save that smile - I hope I haven't let him down.

He had put me as first contact so I got the call, worst moment of my life.

Will tell dd today, so busy helping mum and arrangements I haven't had an opportunity to tell her when it's not been first thing in the am or last thing at night. Will most certainly take everyone's advice here about being straightforward and honest.

OP’s posts: |
ljhooray Sat 28-Nov-09 09:59:07

Told her about an hour ago and she totally took it in her stride. Preparing myself for lots of questions as the days and weeks go by.

OP’s posts: |
magicOC Sat 28-Nov-09 12:19:13

So sorry lj sad

Take care of yourself.

I watched my dad die of cancer as well, we had 2 wks to prepare. My Nephews were a bit older tho.

Don't worry about letting him down not seeing him, treasure that smile. The way I looked at my own dad was it was only a shell lying there, he had already gone on to a more peaceful, pain free place.

If it helps you, why not write him a letter to put in with him, perhaps even a pic of your DD and a drawing she could do for him?

One of my charges was 2 when they lost a GF and of course they do pick up on the feeling of sadness around them and your DD may get upset too. I dealt with it by saying that it was ok to be sad because we were going to miss GF very much, but, that GF was very sick and in a lot of pain and was sad because the doctor couldn't find special medicine to make his pain go away. Now he has gone to heaven (whatever is apropriate) all his pain has gone and he is very happy.
You cant see him, but, he can still see you and loves you very much and doesn't want you to be sad anymore.

There are special pictures in his bedroom of him and GF and he talks constantly about him.

Was very unsettled for about 2 or 3 wks after the death tho, but, i'm sure that was because he could sense everyone elses sadness.

Do look after yourself.

Wishing you strength in the coming days/months.

LilRedWG Sat 28-Nov-09 14:42:03

LJ, I'm so sorry for your loss. Having being through the same thing I can go a little way to understanding you emotions. Please do not beat yourself up for not seeing him - treasure that last conversation and smile, please, it will carry you through a lot.

I was with both of my parents when they died (Dad of cancer and Mum of pneumonia) and went to see both of them at the funeral home.

I am so glad that I went to see Dad, he looked so smart dressed up in his suit and I put a long letter and some photographs in with him.

I didn't want to go and see my Mum in the funeral home, when she died two weeks later, but thought that I should as I had been to see Dad. It was the worst decision of my life and one I will always regret.

What I am trying to say is go with your gut and do what is right for you.

I post on this thread a lot. We have all lost parents very recently and it does help to chat and 'compare notes' as it were. The ladies on here are a great support. When you feel up to it please come 'see' us.

Take care. xxx

PictureThis Mon 30-Nov-09 22:17:18

LJ I just want to give you a big squeeze and lots of tissues. My Mum had a terminal diagnosis made just 4 weeks ago so I will be walking in your shoes at some point far to soon in the future. My DD is just 2.8 and adores my Mum. Hearing how your DD has taken this news in her stride is of some comfort. Take care of yourself x

Join the discussion

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

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in