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Telling your DC's that a parent is terminally ill

(23 Posts)
FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 21-Jan-18 17:48:11

Just how, decided that next weekend is the time to do it and shitting myself. Will be calling hospice next week for advice but DH wants us to do it again ourselves. DC's are 9 and 12, parents of their friends know about DH so will let the know that next weekend is when we are going to tell them.

chicken75 Sun 21-Jan-18 17:54:28

I'm so sorry Five. My FIL passed today and my young daughter has cried but not taken it in.
I tried to ready her for this day but for the young I dont think there is a way to make them understand.
Thinking of you and you family.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 21-Jan-18 18:03:50

Oh chixken sorry to hear your news, big hugs to you x

chicken75 Sun 21-Jan-18 18:35:41

Aww bless you. I just wanted to let you know someone is here and listening.
I really feel for you, my DC is also 9yrs old.
Have you thought of contacting Winstones wish? A fab charity who I'm sure could be of great help to you. xx

LittleLights Sun 21-Jan-18 18:39:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleLights Sun 21-Jan-18 18:41:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sun 21-Jan-18 18:42:16

I'm so sorry about your husband. What have the children picked up so far about his illness and diagnosis? Is this going to be a huge shock to them or something they've been dreading?

MrsMozart Sun 21-Jan-18 18:49:49

No useful words, but sending a handhold lass.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 21-Jan-18 18:52:49

DH got diagnosed in September 2016 so they have lived wth 9 cycles of chemo, liver operation and then bowel operation, we thought all was good until end of November, when we learnt it had spread, so quick holiday, Christ,as, New Year, back to school, DD's Birthday today, but can't delay it any more.

user1493413286 Sun 21-Jan-18 18:58:04

I’m very sorry for you. The main thing I would say is to us the proper words as brutal as it sounds it’s best to say that the person is going to die rather than pass away or not get better as that can be very confusing for children. I’d also reassure that them that it’s unusual to die at a younger age and they may need reassurance that you will be ok.
I’d be ready for some fairly brutal questions too as children often want to know what happens to the person physically after they die. I’d try your best to explain in simple terms what might happen as the person gets more ill as well.
You may also find that afterwards it takes a bit of time for them to really take it in.

BIWI Sun 21-Jan-18 18:59:42

No advice, but just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear this latest news sad

ForestFrump Sun 21-Jan-18 19:03:08

I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this.

MyBrilliantDisguise Sun 21-Jan-18 19:06:11

That must have been incredibly hard for all of you.


Have they ever asked whether his condition was terminal or whether he'd get better?

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sun 21-Jan-18 19:09:54

So sorry to hear this. What a difficult thing to have to do. flowers

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 21-Jan-18 19:25:14

We have never promised he would get better, just given them the same information which the surgeons gave us, unfortunately what was thought to be fluid following bowel surgery turned out to be more tumours, another stor

Wallabyone Sun 21-Jan-18 19:50:43

I'm so sorry to hear this. Two children at my school recently lost their dad to cancer after quite a fast decline. I don't think anyone ever told them he was definitely going to die, but they are coping with it remarkably well. Children are much more resilient than us. I'm so sorry you are going through this xxx

HelenaJustina Sun 21-Jan-18 19:55:46

So sorry, I only have experience of much older children being told (teens and above). I think being honest and age appropriate is obviously a given, and you can’t do better than ask specialists for help, be that charities or the hospice.

Love and prayers flowers

PeasAndHarmony Sun 21-Jan-18 20:03:59

I'm so sorry to hear your family are going through this.

I second the suggestion of contacting Winston's Wish, their support and advice to friends of ours in a similar situation to your own was absolutely amazing.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 21-Jan-18 20:10:31

flowers it's so difficult. We have had to do this, in the last week. DS is 17 and DSS are 30 and 37, so while it's easier in many respects because they understand and you can be totally upfront and honest, it is also hard because once you have that knowledge and understand it, it's more likely that you will ruminate and worry more.

We don't know whether DH has 6 months or 6 years, so we are going to try and pack as much time together in as a family as possible. The Macmillan support linked upthread is excellent and we found it helped us to make the decision to tell DS everything from the beginning.

It has impacted on his school work though and he has dropped an A Level down to an AS, but school are really supportive and have put in place facilities for him to take time out or come home if he is overwhelmed or upset, and he has a named teacher he can go to. I would recommend speaking to your dc school either before you tell the dc, or very soon after.

fleshmarketclose Tue 23-Jan-18 21:43:53

Not sure of your children's ages but a lovely book that allows discussions to open is Badger's Parting Gifts
It fundamentally tells the tale of the sad passing of Badger all the while emphasising the role he played in other's lives and how his memory will live on through them.
So sorry Five flowers

myrtleWilson Tue 23-Jan-18 21:54:39

Hello Five - so sorry to hear this news. We have had to go through this for my niece when her mother (my sister) had her terminal diagnosis and subsequently died. However, my niece was a lot younger and in some ways I think at an easier age (am not saying by the way there is an easy age - just that in some respects her normal life included her mom being in and out of hospital, being sick etc so she just adjusted). Her dad took advice from support services at hospice etc but haven't yet had to use them much - but mom, dad and daughter did make some memory gifts/arts & crafts (including voice recordings - which I think will be helpful). Telling the school was important though as they've been able to keep an eye on her and liaise with family. Also as you've already pointed out telling your children's friends parents will be a great help - we did similar so my nieces friends weren't spooked (too much). Its a truly horrible experience and I wish you all love

Willowkins Wed 24-Jan-18 02:37:10

We have also been honest with our DCs but I think as time goes on (it's been 18 months since the diagnosis) they think that maybe it's going to be alright. So sorry you're going through this. flowers

Hotpinkangel19 Wed 24-Jan-18 07:19:29

I had to do this last year, my Mum was put on end of life care in April, she passed away in June. My dad was taken in to hospital 4 weeks later and diagnosed with a terminal disease - he passed away 4 weeks after that. Explaining to my 3 school age DC's who were close to their grandparents broke my heart.

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