31 answers

How to Tell Child Parent Is Dying...

My husband has been battling colorectal cancer for a year now. This past Wednesday we found he is terminal and we only have a short amount of time with him. We don' t know how to tell our 5 yr old son. He loves his daddy very much. He still believes daddy is going to get better and it breaks my heart. He also lost his papa 6 mth. ago and still isn't' t over that. if anyone has been through this and has any words of wisdom please share. Thanks.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I'm sorry to hear of this. I've seen this book recommended in similar situations and it gets great reviews:
"Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children" by
Bryan Mellonie, Robert Ingpen

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I am so sorry for you all. There is nothing I can say but I would ask the doctor if they are putting him in hospice care. Then ask the hospice staff for some help. Kids can handle much more than we think, and he will have to handle the loss of his father anyway. Let him get the chance to say goodbye.

Has your husband still got the strength to make him videos or write him letters for the future?? That might help you all.

My condolences.

13 moms found this helpful

I didn't even want to click on this, so very heart-breaking.

I have no experience or advice, just wanted to send my heartfelt sympathy.

I am so very sorry L..

~Have you taken lots of home videos? Maybe your husband can make a special video just for the kiddo?

11 moms found this helpful

I have not much advice, just sympathy.

My husband's cousin adopted a little girl who's mom had been her best friend and had passed away. Before the biomom passed away, she bought Hallmark cards for each major event in her daughter's life, 16th birthday, graduation, wedding, birth of first child, etc, and the cousin/adopted mom is holding on to them until the appropriate times to give them to her. I thought that was a lovely gesture.

10 moms found this helpful

When I talk to the siblings of kiddos in my unit who are dying, I just try to be very concrete, and avoid euphamisms. I ususally sit down with the child and say, "You know your brother/sister has been very sick. Unfortunately, nothing we can do will help anymore, and he/she is going to die. We will help keep him/her from hurting until she dies. We're all very sad that he/she is going to die, and it's ok for you to feel sad, too. It's also ok for you to feel angry about it." Then we let the kids ask all the questions they want, and try to validate their feelings. And we encourage the kids to spend time with the sick patient.

I think the more concrete you can be, the better. If dad wants to be involved in telling kiddo the actual news, then that's great - he can help reassure kiddo that dad is being taken care of, that dad is not hurting, and that just because dad is dying, kiddo is still safe. It's very important that kiddo is reassure that he is still safe and is not going to die, too. Time with his father will be important, but don't force it.

I wish peace for your husband as he goes through this transition, and peace for you and your kiddo as you all go through it to.

10 moms found this helpful

My cousin's husband died with colorectal cancer several years ago. They did family pictures, had a very nice one done before he couldn't sit up, and he wrote notes, letters for certain ages for the kids, etc. The kids are now 16 and 18 or something close to that. They still have very good memories of their dad since he took that time. IF your husband isn't able please let him talk all he can to your son and tell him how he loves him, will miss him, what he thinks about him and things he'll remember. Tell him sometime God has plans we don't understand. Be honest and open is my advice. I am so very sorry you are having to face this loss and I will pray for you and your family. Do you have a pastor who could spend some time with you all too? Hospice helped so much when my dad died with colon cancer. Contact them and they are so helpful and part of your family almost in a time like this.
EDIT:
The person I mentioned did what Sara B said with cards. When his daughter gets married she already has a card and message waiting for her to read, open, etc. and all events were planned for in this way. Such a great idea.

9 moms found this helpful

I don't have any advice but want to send you and your son a big hug! I can't imagine how hard this is. Prayers are with your family

8 moms found this helpful

I am so, so sorry.. I cannot even imagine what you are going through. The only thing I can think of is to talk to someone from hospice and have them refer your family to a grief counsler. If hubby is able, have him write letters to your son and start a scrap book of daddy and son together. Your son will cherish this forever. I will pray for your family. Again, I am so sorry you are dealing with this.

6 moms found this helpful

I am so very sorry that you have to go through this. My brother in law passed away about six years ago from pancreatic cancer. My nieces were 13 and their brother was 16. I would have your son spend as much time as possible with dad. I agree that if possible, help him to write some letters. Maybe he can write letters for things like college graduation, wedding, big future events, so he knows that he will be there for your son on those days? Talk about fun times that you all had together, help cement those great memories. I know my nieces and nephew were much older, but we just tried to follow their lead- hugs when they needed hugs, talk when they needed to talk, do fun stuff together when they were up for it. We tried, and still try, to keep all of the family memories with us as we move forward into the future without trying to live in the past.
Sending you lots and lots of love from our family to yours.

6 moms found this helpful

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