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To let my six year old make a get well card for someone who is dying of advanced lung cancer

74 replies

ReallyTired · 03/07/2015 22:59

My poor neighbour is dying of advanced lung cancer. Dd knows he is very ill, but does not know he is dying. Dd wants to make him a get well card. I dont know how the gentleman and his wife would feel about the card as he is not going to get well. I suggested to do that he draws him a nice picture.

OP posts:

Loric · 03/07/2015 23:01

Why not explain to wife I'm sure they'll understand a six year old won't comprehend a terminal diagnosis


MaidOfStars · 03/07/2015 23:02

Um, maybe not a 'Get well'?

Sure, she can draw a cuddly rabbit and a rainbow and a stick picture of herself. And she writes in it 'You are a good neighbour, I like your house' or similar.


Cirsium · 03/07/2015 23:02

Make a 'Thinking of You' card instead. Gently explain to your daughter (in age appropriate terms) that sometimes people are so sick they do not get better.


PleaseGetOffTheTableDarling · 03/07/2015 23:03

Could you steer DD towards 'thinking of you' or 'sorry you're not well' as opposed to 'get well soon '?


TestingTestingWonTooFree · 03/07/2015 23:04

If he's going to die, you're going to have to explain that relatively soon aren't you? I agree that "thinking of you" is more appropriate.


floatyflo · 03/07/2015 23:04

Oh god no. I wouldn't.


PuntasticUsername · 03/07/2015 23:05

What Cirscium said. I mean, not to sound callous, but if he is terminally ill then she's going to find out anyway, isn't she, before long? Sad

Thanks for him and his loved ones btw, poor man.


GirlWhoWearsGlasses · 03/07/2015 23:08

'Sorry you're not well'definitely


DragonsCanHop · 03/07/2015 23:13

Six years of age and a lively neighbour is a best of a bed situation to explain death. A thinking of you card or wishing you a happy day today card would surely be appreciated.

Get well soon isn't going to happen and may lead to confusion for your child.

We are close to our neighbours and DD would make a daisy chain and a have a happy day picture.


DragonsCanHop · 03/07/2015 23:14

Lovely not lively – bloody auto correct


MiscellaneousAssortment · 03/07/2015 23:21

Not 'get well' please don't. Please.

Why not 'sorry you are poorly'? It's not a get well card or nothing, there's loads of things you could say that would be appropriate.

I know you mean well but by asking them to make a special understanding for your child you are putting your child's desire to send a card above these peoples tragedy and grief. I know it's culturally accepted for most situations to be child focused and kind of sweet when they don't quite get it right, but this is not one of those situations.

The man is dying. The woman is losing her life partner and closet person to her ever.

Please don't put them in the position of having to be polite about you telling a dying man to get better soon. It's not respectful of their situation, and you are asking them to swallow their pain to make it about the child and not about supporting them through the terrible terrible thing they are going through.

It's just not the right time to make people have to slap on a nice understanding face and to forget about their own pain & the inappropriateness of what you've given them.

I feel strongly about this as I know how alienating and upsetting it is when people do stuff like this.

People did this to me and my parents when my sister died. And again when my dad died. There was a lot of 'ahh they meant well' or 'isn't that so cute look at my adorable child' type of thing when actually, we were falling apart and to be honest, it's other people's jobs to think about our feelings at that time, not the other way round. If you can't do that, I'd recommend not doing anything at all.

Ok, maybe they'll feel different, but I don't think people should knowingly put that on those in terribly sad Abd upsetting situations. It's not fair.

I know you don't mean to just like all those other people didn't mean to upset and alienate me, but I do wish people would respond to death as something that requires its own social conventions, and not ry and force people to pretend it's not a big deal.


ItMustBeBunnies · 03/07/2015 23:42

Sorry for your losses Miscellaneous. Flowers

I agree with PP, 'Thinking of you' is much more appropriate if they are not going to get well.


KondoAttitude · 04/07/2015 00:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KondoAttitude · 04/07/2015 00:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WickedWax · 04/07/2015 00:09

It's a really inappropriate thing to ask a dying man and his wife, to spend emotional energy on indulging your child.

Tell her to write 'sorry you're not well' or something instead.


wooldonor · 04/07/2015 00:11

Please try to explain to her that he isn't going to get better.

I was in a very similar situation at probably around the same age, I wrote the same thing in a card for a relative who died, also of cancer, and I thought for years that it was somehow my fault.

I have no idea to this day if my parents knew it was a terminal illness, it was many years ago and the relative lived in a country where the healthcare wasn't as good at that time but I wish they hadn't allowed me to write to him


MiscellaneousAssortment · 04/07/2015 00:14

Thabks Bunnies it's been a dreadful few years.

I'm more than adequately placed to know how grief and trauma can leave you needing the kindness of others, which mostly doesn't come.

I think what isn't easy for people to understand how they can make someone feel isolated by others trying to minimise and pretend it isn't the big deal it is.

So others expecting their or their families needs and wants to still come first, really rams it home that your families death or your grief and the collapse of your world is less important then someone's trip to sainsburys etc.

Or that the grieving person must somehow be understanding of others crassness & ignorance and thoughtless ness. I don't mean the good hearted person trying their best and putting their foot in it. I mean people who can't see why their lives and comfort must be interupted by the inconvenience of death and why can't everything continue to revolve around them.

I'm sure the OP isn't one of those people, as she wouldn't have written the thread of she was. But it is something that could be ok, or it could really upset them and add to their suffering.


deriant · 04/07/2015 00:16

There are times when children don't come first, this is one of them.


ToomuchChocolatemeansBootcamp · 04/07/2015 00:16

^ everything that miscellaneous said ^ couldn't put it any better. Anything except "get well". Please.


wafflyversatile · 04/07/2015 00:18

Maybe now is the time to prepare your son for the fact he isn't going to get well, but is going to die.

Other than that just explain before they open the card.


deriant · 04/07/2015 00:20

No wafflyversatile explaining before they open the card is not okay, for all the reasons mentioned above. It is very disrespectful and very easy to have a more appropriate message.


TaytoCrisp · 04/07/2015 00:24

'Thinking of you' would be much more appropriate and
I'm sure it would be appreciated too.


WhyTheDrama · 04/07/2015 00:26

OP, you were really considering sending a get well card from your child? Surely not.... Shock Confused,
Mumsnet is Making me WTF this evening. Confused


Mermaidhair · 04/07/2015 00:39

Please dont allow her to write a get well card. That would be very insensitive. If your daughter doesn't understand, it's up to you to find a way to explain it to her. Anyone reading this, please never do this. I lost my dh last year, so I have first hand knowledge.


MaidOfStars · 04/07/2015 00:44

I don't really think the OP is going to allow her child to write a Get Well card. She suggested up top that a nice picture would be her direction re: card. Don't pile in, it's well-intentioned and clearly with forethought.

Love to all feeling, well, feeling...Flowers

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