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My Sister Is dying...should We Tell Her Daughter?

My sister was given 4 to 6 months left to live. She has been battling oral cancer since April 2010. She has had most of her tongue removed and had a trach put in her throat. She has been in and out of the hospital a lot since it started. Her daughter is 12. She and my sister live with my 66 year old parents. my mom doesn't think we should tell her that my sister only has a few months left, but I think she should know. She is a very immature 12 year old. Her fathers isn't around. What are yall's opinions? Should she be told the prognosis?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all the advice and well wishes. I will speak with my mom and my 2 sisters and we can decide what to do together. My sister hasn't said one way or the other what she wants to happen. She's never been very honest with her daughtetr to begin with, so the rest of the family usually ends up picking up the pieces for her. Again, thank you SO much!

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I think she needs to know that it is a real possibility that her mother will not make it. Do not give her specific time frames as the drs don't really know--they're just guessing. My father was given 6 months to live and died 6 weeks later.

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I'd be a hard thing to do, but I think that she should know. That way, with counciling and family support she'll be prepared.

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I think at 12 years old, yes, she should be told. That will give her time to say and do anything she needs to say and do.

I'm so sorry.

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I think that she should know. I also think your family should look into grief counseling for her/you and consider bringing in hospice. Hospice is more than just helping people through the last days. It's for the family, too. I think that the girl, no matter how immature, would be devastated to think her mom was going to be OK and find out that everyone lied to her. Give her the news and give her the opportunity to tell her mom good-bye.

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Yes. She should know. She will never forgive herself or your parents if she spends her mom's last few months being a brat. She is old enough to know the truth, she is not a baby.

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I think she should know. At 12 you get death and she can go to counseling with her mom and talk things through or whatever. Everyone already know her mom is dieing and if she finds out later that she just wasn't told it can make her turn her back on everyone. At least she can have support and let go of her mom while she is still there to be had.

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First of all, I am so sorry about this. This has got to be very hard on all of you. I cannot imagine the pain you are all facing. Especially your sister.

Second, I wish I had the best advice or the right answer, we'll all feel differently on this one. But if it were me, Id probably tell my girls. It would give them time to accept this and prepare for my departure instead of it being a sudden shock- which can make the grieving process take longer.

I'd just tell the young lady that her mother has been told that her time on earth is ending soon and she is preparing to be an Angel watching over her.

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I think she needs to know that it is a real possibility that her mother will not make it. Do not give her specific time frames as the drs don't really know--they're just guessing. My father was given 6 months to live and died 6 weeks later.

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I think that you should tell her that things are not looking good and that the Dr. thinks that there is nothing more that he can do. I wouldn't say she has only 4 - 6 months to live though. The dr. could be wrong. She may die sooner, she may die later - you never really know. AND MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!! I think that she will cope with this better if she knows ahead of time. That is just my opinon and I have no first hand experience with this.

I am very sorry that you all are going through this. I am sure that it is hard for all of you! I will be praying for you and your family.

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I'd be a hard thing to do, but I think that she should know. That way, with counciling and family support she'll be prepared.

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My thoughts and prayers go out to you. Yes, her daughter needs to know so that she can come to terms with this and maximize the time she has with her mom. It's going to suck either way, but really, to just have mom surprisingly die on her would be awful.

I would talk to your sister's doctor, to the hospital social worker or grief counselor, etc. and get some professional input on the best way to deal with this. Grandmom is coming from a good place, but she doesn't have to deal with this situation all the time. Talk to someone who does. Your neice is going to need some serious support through this and pretending it isn't happening won't help.

I wish you all the best through this tough time. Take care!

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It would be best to tell her after the grief counselors are in place. When you are young you don't think of things like this are going to happen.

I lost my mom and then my dad at a young age (9 and 14). I wish many times that family had told me that my dad was very sick. The only way I put it together is that he had some of the same reactions my mom had before she died about complaining of the taste of food. So once that occurred I became prepared in my own way with no support back up. Families don't always know how to deal with the pending loss let alone tell a child about it.

Be kind to your niece and be there for her. When she needs a good firm hug give her one. You would be surprised what that means to a person.

I hope that all will work out and that when her time comes she will go with dignity, honor and love.

The other S.

PS I know what it is like to be left out of things and to be on the sideline with no one caring or worrying about you. So please do think of her when the time does come.

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I think she should probably be told, but I actually wanted to respond with a copy/paste of what one mom posted in a mamasource request yesterday. I copied it for myself to be able to make sure I journal or scrapbook these types of things for my boys should anything ever happen to me. Maybe you could start gathering this information now. I think her daughter will appreciate it when she is an adult.

Different children remember different things. I lost my mother at
11 years of age, (almost 50 years ago) and there is very little I remember about her. I think it is very sad. Keeping a journal and a
scrapbook is very helpful to help remind them of things YOU wish for
them to remember.
As an adult, I compiled this list of things I wish I could remember. Very
few of these do I have answers for, and likely never will. Hoping this might
help with suggestions for journalling. It should be a little satisfying that
your precious moments will not go unremembered.
THINGS I WISH I COULD REMEMBER ABOUT MY MOTHER

Nicknames she had for me
Nicknames I had for her
Gifts I gave her
Gifts she gave me
I made her happy when I ...
She always volunteered to../for...
Things I want to keep that remind me of her (clothing, jewelrey, photos, her bible, her favorite book)
I can honor my mother's memory by ...
Things she told me she wanted for my future
Her favorite chair
Her favorite spot in the house
Books, magazines she read
Morning person or a night person
Could she play a musical instrument
Did she like to dance
Favorite songs she'd sing to me
Political figure she liked
A favorite moment in our lives together
She made me laugh when ...
Things I wish I would have asked her that someone else
may be able to tell me.
She always cheered me on when I ...
Things she might say to me right now
Things she would want me to remember
My favorite thing she would cook for me
Some neat or funny things she use to do
The really special things about my mom:
Causes she felt stronly about
Ways in which we were alike
I hope to be more like her by...
Our family vacations we took
Things she seemed to enjoy as in :
Feeding or watching the birds/ducks
Bicycling
Fishing
Waterskiing
Sewing/knitting
Picnics
Making out cloud formations
Planting Flowers
Taking walks
Talking on the phone
My mother's favorite:
color
recipe
flower
perfume
aroma
restaurant
sport
food
snack
people
movie
movie star
TV shows
music
band/artist
jewelry
expressions she'd always say
joke
vacation spot
things she liked to collect
political party
church/minister
book
picture of me
picture of her

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UGH. I can't even begin to imagine what your family is going through. I would absolutely, positively tell her and tell her soon! She and her mother need a chance to spend as much time together talking, etc., as possible. I read a post yesterday on Mamasource. Go see it. It's a post for the question, "How am I needed or what is my purpose anymore." The response was from Judy P. I would have your sister do this for her daughter and then some. There is also a book called, "The Story of a Lifetime." You can buy it on RedEnvelope or Amazon. I would highly recommend your sister fill out such a book for her daughter (or you and your mom fill it out for her) if she is unable to do it herself. I don't know how she's feeling right now but the more information that can be documented, the better. It will become priceless to her daughter someday. Tell her, you have to, have to tell her. If you don't, you are running a serious risk of her resenting you all for the rest of her life. I do understand that once she's been told, this is going to upset her life and your family will likely be dealing with some behavioral problems. You just have to tell her though. I will pray your family, I'm sure this is an extremely tough time for you.

4 moms found this helpful

i think she should know. I would want to know that I only have a short amount of time left with my mom

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I think at 12 years old, yes, she should be told. That will give her time to say and do anything she needs to say and do.

I'm so sorry.

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I agree with Amanda V. she needs time to say good bye and you all should seek some kind of help dealing with this. What does your sister want if she is able to make decisions it would be best to do what she wants. I am very sorry about your sister and I am sending Hugs and Prayers to you and your whole family.
Kay

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I think you should atleast prepare her for death. I wouldnt necessarily tell her "your mom is going to die in 4-6 months". Otherwise she is going to focus on those dates.
I would tell her the process of what to expect in the near future and tell her that her mom isnt going to be around much longer. If you belong to a church, have her talk to a pastor. They would be able to help her understand the process and talk to her from a non-families point of view.
Prayers to your sister and the family!

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I would want to know if it were my mother ! I would want to appreciate the time I had left with her. I'm sorry this is happening to you all. Be Strong for her!!!

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yes, you have to tell her. when i was 12, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. she had surgery, she was fine for a little while (i don't know the details. i didn't even know what kind of cancer she had til right before she died.) but when i was almost 14, she started getting really sick again. she would be in the hospital, at home for awhile with nurses coming to our house.

my parents never really told us what was going on. maybe they wanted to wait til we asked questions, but i was naive then. my mother wasn't going to die. that wouldn't happen to me. even towards the end, i thought she would be fine, because they didn't make a big deal about it. but a few days before she did die is when my dad decided to tell us. maybe they were hoping she would get better, and i don't want to blame anyone. but, i wish i had known. i really do. and even though your niece will be sad, she will act nicer. sometimes because i was so tired sometimes, i wasn't the nicest i could have been to my mom(no mean words said, just i wouldn't be very nice when i had to help her.)

so tell her. she needs to know.
and i don't know if you should tell her exactly 4-6 months. if you do, maybe mention how one mom on here said, that she might live longer, maybe not, miracles happen. but she does need to know that it is happening.

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In my opinion she should know. She's 12, she knows about dieing, but most importantly how does her mother feel about letting her know. I would honor your sister's last wishes. I think your niece would love to know how much time she has with her mother and make the most of it.
Praying for your family!

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She should be prepared. My middle dd was 12 when her dad passed and it has been very difficult. It was unexpected, and hurt her deeply. She didnt have time to say goodbye, have unanswered questions answered, to understand, and shes left with a memory of him suffering. I would have grief counsellors involved asap, she will likely see and hear alot of sad and hard to understand things in the coming months. Make the time she has left with her mom really count. If she's living with her, and mom has had her tongue removed etc, Im sure dd knows siomething is very wrong. Get as much professional help that you can, starting now.

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YES! She should be told. Immature or not. You do not have to go into great detail. She will feel betrayed by you if her mom dies and you didn't tell her it would happen. Telling her will also help her understand what will be happening as your sister gets worse. This is not a pretty death (I know from experience) and your daughter will see all of it firsthand. My Mom was VERY sick with Melanoma before she died and I am very greatfull to my Aunt for telling my. My mother didn't want me to know.

This is a good lesson and she needs to learn it. Death is nothing to be afraid of and there are some great moments that daughter and her mother can share through the process.

THere have been a lot of "famous" mother's dying and leaving video messages for their kids. You should google that.

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Hi,

What a terrible thing to be going through. I'm so sorry.

I would tell your niece, but not a length of time. However, I would tell her AFTER you have lined up a grief counselor or therapist for her to see. She is going to have a lot of questions and want to know why. Of course you and your family will be able to love and comfort her but she will need time to sort all this out with the help of a professional. Also, make sure you will be able to answer the question of "Who will take care of me?". Telling her you don't know yet will just add more fear. Oh, poor baby. This is going to really stink if you chose to tell her, but in my opinion it is for the best.

I will keep your family in my prayers.

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Yes, you should. You can't keep this a secret. She will eventually pick up on this anyway whether or not you all tell her. Just because she is immature doesn't mean that she deserves to be left in the dark.
I was 12 myself when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. My father was also not around. My older brothers and my mother thought it was better if I didn't know and told me she was going in the hospital for minor surgery. The daughter of one of my mother's friends told me about my mother's cancer at school one day. I was completely stunned, like I had been slapped in the face. I was also heartbroken that they didn't tell me themselves, and I had to hear it from someone outside the family. I was so angry with them, but I matured literally overnight. I'm not going to downplay it- it was terrifying to hear about where I would go and who I would live with, but they kept me in the loop from them on. It was touch and go for a while with a lot of uncertainty, but she survived this (and breast cancer 12 years later).
She deserves this time with her mother, and it's important that she and her mother talk about what is going to happen. It's so scary to be a child in this situation, and hopefully her mother can ease her fears and get her prepared for what is going to happen.
I am so sorry you and your family are having to go through this. My heart breaks for you.

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Yes, your should definitely tell her! She needs to know at least that her mother is terminally ill. You may not need to tell her all the details or the exact prognosis. Answer her questions with a short answer and see if she wants to know more. If you go to church and have someone you trust there you can ask for support, advice or counseling. If not ask at the hospital if they have a support group or can recommend a counselor. There may also be a hospice type program as your sister gets toward the end. Many times they have counseling for family members. Starting counseling before her mom dies can be very helpful so she already knows the person.

It can seem easier for the adults involved not to tell a child but it just isn't fair to the child. If a child is preschool age or older they need to get age appropriate information about a parents' illness and/or death. I say this now just as a counselor but because my best friends lived through a very similar situation and her parents handled it very badly.

My best friend's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was about 9. Instead of telling kids about it the mom send them to sleep away camp and then dumped them off to live with their father because she was too sick to care for them. The father was a mediocre parent at best and did not provide much emotional support other than taking the kids for counseling. The mother refused to see or talk to the children most of the time she was sick. My friend found out her mom was sick by accident when she heard her mom and older sister talking on the phone. She she talked to her mom once on the phone and saw her in the hospital once, a few days before she died. Her mom died 2 weeks after she turned 13. After 20 years in and out of therapy and struggling with depression she finally got herself on track in her early 30's and is doing well now. But had her mother handled things better I think it would have saved her a lot of difficulty making sense of things.

Please tell her with as much support as you can and don't get angry when she acts out by acting younger than her age, misbehaving or having her grades drop. Children and teenagers don't have as many was to cope as adults and it is not easy to lose a parent at any age.

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My sister babysits a 5 year old girl whose father was dying of cancer. The parents told her everything and told her , her dad would die in about 3 months. So everyday she kept asking why are you still here? Her father lasted an additional 8 months. My sister felt like they told her too much, because she was only 5 and not really grasping the signifigance of the situation. But your niece is 12 and should know approx, how much time her mom has left so she can tell her whatever she wants, so there are no regrets of not having the chance to be with her mom the way she wants.

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I think that she should be told. I know for me, that if I know someone is sick and is very likely to die, I can adjust my mind to the idea during the weeks or months before they actually die and it does not hurt so bad when they do. An example would be my grandparents who were very ill for years before their death and I knew that they would not be with us long. I was able to grieve slowly over those months and spend as much time with them as I could. When they actually did die within a week of each other (my grandmothers kidneys were failing, my grandfather died on a Sunday morning in his sleep with a heart attack {he had had serious heart problems for as long a I could remember} and my grandmother died the following Friday because of the kidney failure), it did hurt, but not as bad as a sudden unexpected death. If you have ever knew someone who was with you one day and you had no idea that they would not be with you tomorrow, you are in shock and grieve harder when they die maybe in a car accident the next day. That grief is a very painful grief, because it came as a shock and you did not have time to adjust to the idea. At 12 years old, she does not necessary realize the possibility of death with such an illness. If she is not told ahead of time she may become angry and uncontrollable when her mother dies when she find out that others have known its possibility for months and she was not told and able to prepare herself for the possibility.

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tell her. Its going to happen anyway its better the girl knows so that she can enjoy the last precious moments she has. My mom died when i was 8 and i wish id have known it was her last month, week, year, whatever. Even at 8 i would have tried to make the most of it.

God bless

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I sat and thought about this for a few. I think I would want to know so I wouldnt feel cheated, but with knowlege is responsibility and at 12 you dont know what you can do to really help or make things "right". The 12 yr old will need a very pro-active support person once she is told.
My sis got cancer when I was 11 and she was 8. It was VERY hard for me. They told me the truth but I dont think I was told enough to really understand what I should do at that juncture. Just make sure if you tell her, you are also there to support her because she will feel very alone and helpless.

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Tell her! Your sister is terminal, so her life will come to an end soon. Your niece needs to prepare for her mother's death and be able to say goodbye. She will probably feel betrayed if she isn't told. Your niece obviously knows something is going on since your sister has a trach and has been in and out of the hospital. Yes, she also needs to know the prognosis!

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We told my daughter when my mom started going down hill battling her cancer. Even though my daughter was 6 at the time, I think it did make a difference. We kept telling her that she'd only be able to see Grammie for a couple more times before she'd have to go home to be in Heaven. I really do think it helped brace her for that dreadful day that actually came much sooner than anyone'd expected.

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This is a hard one. The information will hurt her, but if she finds out later you all knew and did not tell her, that could be bad. I would have your sister tell her so they can spend time together and say goodbye in their own way.

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I think she should know even if you say she's inmature are you talking about she's still acting as a child or she's starting to have a teenager attitud?
if mom thinks is ok maybe this will help her to mature more or at least she will have time to be with mom in a very special good bye manner.

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I think you should tell her that way she can start dealing with it in her own way. She may be angry if you don't tell her and it comes as a shock to her when it happens. I don't think that adults give kids enough credit...they can handle much more than we think they can. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear about your sister and I will pray for your family during this time. When things seem down, look up!

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Yes, I believe she should know. Tell her mommy won't be getting better, so she can begin to come to terms with that and possibly start the mourning process. She needs to be able to do things that she will have for a lifetime to remember her.....like have her make a scrapbook with her mom telling a story of their time together. Make recordings so she can hear her voice after she's gone. (Hallmark has recordable books, or you can have her tell stories of her childhood on video, etc.) Above all, PRAY!

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Yes, her daughter needs to know. I was this age when my father was also battling fatal cancer. It's better she know now so she can prepare and get some quality time with her mom, than to be shocked when her mother is dead, and resent you all for the rest of her life not not telling her.

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I'm very sorry that you are going through this.
While I don't think your niece should be told her mom has "4-6 months to left to live" I do think that she should be told that the doctors have done all they can to try to help/cure/heal her mom. She will figure out the rest.
My son was a lot younger (2.5) when my SF was dying and we told him Pap had cancer, he knew Pap was getting help from doctors and medicine that they had to help him, but we ultimately had to tell him that his Pap was too sick for the medicine to heal him. I think something along those lines would be appropriate for your niece. IF your sister agrees--can she communicate so you know for sure?
Keeping you in prayer.

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Yes, her world is about to be in turmoil. That child needs a chance to say goodbye and know it is goodbye.

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Are you sure she doesn't already know? Kids know more than we give them credit. Yes, you should confirm what she probably already knows. She needs to be able to say goodbye, as well, so does your sister.

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Absolutely tell her! Contact the counselor at her school and have her see the counselor often, also make sure she knows what will happen to her when her mother does pass. I'm sorry you guys are having to deal with this but her daughter needs to know and needs to enjoy what very little time they have left.

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I agree with everyone else unexpected deaths are harder to deal with than expected deaths. her immaturity is probably cause she knows but doesnt know how to handle it my dad died of throat cancer and cancer is tricky one minute they are fine and the next dead and when you expect them to die they dont. and she needs to be told that. but my dad also got 41 yrs after his first round his second killed him. that is what I told my son and said it may or may not happen again be prepared for it not to happen again but dont expect him to die either. but my dad was getting treatment. so my son knew to expect he was going to die most likely i explained to him that most people who get it die from it but he had beat it once. but the odds were higher of him dying.

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Yes! She already knows, on some level, that her mother is not healthy. She deserves a chance to know what to expect (as much as anyone can know) so that she and your sister can spend quality time together. When my brother was dying of cancer, my SIL was totally in charge of everything that happened. My mother came from out of town to look after my 7 year old niece, but while she was in school, my SIL would not allow my mother to spend time alone with my brother, her son! I tell you this as a way of showing how my SIL made poor decisions. Because my niece was young, my SIL did not want her December birthday or Christmas "spoiled" by talking about my brother's illness. He had chemo, so it was obvious that something was going on. He spent his last several months in the hospital and died in March. My niece did not visit him much, I believe, because no one tried to explain anything to her. I realize that my SIL was trying to deal, but I felt that she should be thinking of my niece. After my brother died, my niece started talking baby talk, sucking her thumb, and otherwise regressing.
I believe that children can understand difficult things when they are presented on their level. (My ex-husband died when my daughter was 13, and she and I were there when he died, because she wanted to be there; she was very mature and had counseling before and after!)

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I don't think YOU should tell her. She needs to know. Her mother should tell her, in any way that she can communicate (in writing, maybe, if she can't speak).

But I think before anyone talks to her, you should figure out at what will happen to her, so she doesn't think she will have to decide on her own, or so she won't freak out. She'll need some security. Who will she live with? Will her school change? Try to have answers for all her questions, and I would call her school and arrange for her to get counseling there.

1 mom found this helpful

I believe she should know (at her age), be prepared and have counselors around her to deal with and discuss her feelings. Let her know that it is "a possibility she will only live for 6 mos" versus the fact that "she will die in 6 mos". (careful with the choice of words). She already knows her mom is sick and knows about the concept of dying. She is probably already feeling the loss anyway, so tell her. She needs to know.

If you land it on her unexpectedly like a bomb shell, she will have a more traumatic way to deal with it.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any advice to give...all I can say is I'm soo sorry to hear about your sister. I will keep your family in my payers*MAY GOD BLESS YOU*

1 mom found this helpful

I say "yes", she should be told, but everybody has different circumstances.
When I was a child, after my mother died, so very suddenly, we were not encouraged to even talk about her because we just tried to get back to some kind of normalcy. I regret it. The questions that I had then, are still unanswered 50 years later. I say "talk about it". I think that if it happened to me, that I would make it my last mission to prepare my child to live the rest of her life without me. I think that the possibility that you would regret letting daughter share this precious 6 months with her mom in a very meaningful
way is far less than her feeling deceived and cheated for the rest of her life
if it were kept from her.
I am so sorry that you are losing your sister. I've read that, at the end of
one's life, they wish for these things: to know they will be remembered,
to know they were loved and they loved in return, and to know they will be missed; that their life mattered. Maybe you or her daughter can help her journal what she would want to be remembered about her; what she would want for her legacy. This will help her daughter. This could be a very dear time that they can really get to know each other. Best wishes for your family at this very difficult time.

1 mom found this helpful

While I agree with the posters below about the needs of your niece, I think you should tell her so that your sister can be honest with her. Surely your sister wants to tell her daughter that she is proud of her and will miss her and has everything set for her to be taken care of. Your sister shouldn't have to keep that secret from her daughter when they can have that time together.

I have been tearing up reading all the responses. I hope your family finds peace.

1 mom found this helpful

I am so sorry about what you are going through. I can only tell you what some people in my environment have been gone through and you can maybe take that into consideration when you make your decision about telling her daughter.

My SIL was twelve years old when her mother passed away. Her mother had been sick and knew that she would pass away. It was an incredible shock for my SIL when her mom passed away, what she considered "out of the blue". Even though she knew that her mom was very sick and was in and out of the hospital, at that age she was unable to connect the dots. It took her a long time to get over the loss. She also says that she felt resentment towards her family - because they knew and nobody told her.

Last year my sister's husband was terminally ill and eventually passed away last November. They knew around April that there was nothing left that could be done. When my SIL (from above story) heard about it she really urged them to tell their kids. They did tell them. Naturally, there was a lot of crying right then, but I really think that it helped the kids prepare for the loss.
I think I would tell her if I was her mom (I think it's mom's job to do it, with support from grandparents and siblings, of course). Give the child a chance to prepare, to say goodbye her mom.
I hope this helps. I wish you lots of strength!

1 mom found this helpful

I think she should know that her mom could go any time in the next few months. I wouldnt' say that she has 4-6 months to live because she could pass before that or after. i would say that the cancer she has is very hard to treat and the doctors are doing everything they can to help her mom. But she is dying so she should spend as much time as she can with her. I would be extremely gentle with this info and since you said she is really immature, keep it brief and give her just enough info that it doesn't completely overwhelm her. I am so sorry you and your family are going through this.

M.

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First off, I am so sorry for your family and what you are dealing with. Cancer is extremely difficult and my heart goes out to all of you. Secondly, Absolutely tell her. She needs to make peace with it and have time to say goodbye to her mother. If she ever finds out this was kept from her she will have serious trust issues with her family which will not serve her well later in life.

I'm so sorry for this tragedy in your family.
My aunt died under similar circumstances many years ago. She had throat cancer, lived with her mom (my grandmother) and stepfather, and had a 15 year old son with dad not around. My cousin knew his mom was dying and had some time with her before she was so ill that she could not communicate. I strongly feel that your niece should know what is going on. She probably has fears about it now, and being kept in the dark is not in her best interest. She needs to be able to share as much as she can with her mom NOW.
My other concern for her is what happens after her mom is gone. My grandmother raised my cousin, and it was not a good decision. She was alternately too strict and too permissive. My parents wanted to take him into our family, but my grandmother wouldn't hear of it. Your sister needs to make decisions about her daughter's life while she can.
Again, my prayers and best wishes are with you all in this terrible time.

I lost my dad out of the blue. On Feb 15th It will be 6 years. If I would have know that my dad wouldn't be in my life anymore, I would have been by his side every moment that I could. I was 17 at the time when he died.
I can tell you right now, I'm sure she will feel the same. This could be the kick in her immature butt. Knowing that life is out there and that her mom isn't going to be around, is going to be a huge eye opener.
What if it gets out that you guys all knew that she only had 6 months tops to live? What will her reaction be? Will she hate you when she's older? Will she resent you? I wouldn't hold anything back so she knows the truth, so she can face reality.

Doesn't your sister have a say in if her daughter knows or not? I'm assuming that she may have har hard time talking with the lack of tongue and the trach, but does that stop her from communicating? This is a private decision that she needs to make, not you or your parents. This is her daughter that she is leaving behind and she NEEDS to be involved with how this is handled.

J. J
www.delaniesdoggy.org

You should definitely tell her, that is her mother she needs to know that she will not be around forever and unfortunately has very little time and maybe this will help her to mature but either way she should know.

Yes I agreed with everybody. Please have her mom tell her no matter. If she can't, then one of you will have to tell her. She has every right to know about this even she is mature or not.

A friend of my daughter who were 5 years old and her young brother were 2 years old knew their mom was dying of brain cancer before she died few years ago. They were very close and spend the time together as much they can. At first it was very hard on them, but they were ok right after her death and knew she's in better place after they saw how much pain she went thru. Of course, they missed their mom all the time. Their mom made some videos or scrapbooks for them to remember her whenever they need her from their hearts. They have wonderful supports from friends and family who were there for them by take the kids out for few hours, all day, spend the night, and bring their meals . It would be nice to let her friends, family, and teachers know about this to give her and your family full supports to be there for her daughter.

My father died of heart attacked when I was 18 years old- 1 1/2 month before my graduation from high school. It was hard for me not saying good bye to him. I was most grieving and angry. I've seen a lot of people who were dealing with dying people were hard on them at first, but they were, will be okay, and know they are in better place after death. They were thankful to have their time for each other before their death.

I am so sorry for your family. My heart goes out to all of you.

I have a hunch she probably has a feeling about this anyway, but do not give your sister the same death sentence. And your niece will be anxious with or without the information. I seriously get upset at doctors who have a precise length of time as there are many survivors of many 'time designated' illnesses who fool a lot of people. I realize that your sister is going to in all probability die within the next couple of years, but I'd wait. Her daughter can be told when doctors are extremely aware that this could be the moment. In the meantime, love, love her and I like the backup of having grief counselors available to her as well as all of yourselves. You are strong but please vent, this is difficult.

I would, that will be alot to take in. She will need the time to prepare for what is coming as well as enjoying quality time with her mother. Our neice passed away 4 months ago, and we still have moments daily where it is all too much to handle. She was in remission and passed in 3 weeks, so it was very unexpected........ So sorry for your family :(

Oh my!!

It's unfortunate that she's gonna have to grow up fast.

Yes, she has EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW her mother is dying. Can you imagine the anger she will feel that people are keeping this from her?

She may be immature but she is probably smart and knows that things are not going well for her mom. So she may be acting immature to help herself cope with it.

No, I dont think that u should tell her. Give it a little more time, at least another 2 month or so. Just because the doctor says she only has so long to live does mean that her situiation wil not change. I dont know what ur religion is but I believe in God and a doctor does not know God's will. There is no need to worry ur neice with troubling news that is not 100% accurated. Tell her now is not gonna make it any easier when and if it does happen. If she asks then may u should break it down but make sure she knows that it is in God's hands. That is just my opinion.

at 12, yes, tell her. Even if it's "mommy's sick, you know that. the doctors said she's not going to get better. The medicine won't work." Tell her your plans (fun stuff y'all can do) and ask her questions about how it makes her feel. Inform her about where she will live and so forth. I say be open with her. Why does grandma think it's not the right thing? Daughter deserves to be able to say goodbye to her mom, not just come home from school one day and find out bad news. Hang in there, sis. Be a strong sister, strong daughter, and strong aunt. Wont' be easy, but hang in there thru all this. <<Hugs>>

By "immature", do you mean she is somewhat naive and gullible, and more like an innocent younger child? Or that she acts more spoiled and has a bratty attitude?

Either way, she needs to be told, but how you go about it might depend on her personality. I would discuss this with grief counselors and see what they recommend, then have them available to talk to her once she knows. Has there been any discussion about hospice care? Hospice services usually include counseling for family members and anyone else that needs it.

If you do tell her, some points I would make would be that the doctors have done all they can do but there's nothing more anyone can do - some things happen that are beyond our control and now we need to make the most of the time we have left with Mom. However, we really don't know how much time we have - doctors are thinking 4 to 6 months, but that's only a guess, it could be more or it could be less. That's why we need to do everything we can to let Mom know how much we love her.

I am sorry for what you and your family are going through...blessings to you all...

Sorry that I am chiming in late. I just saw this tonight. If you tell your niece, be sure to give her something to do. She will feel helpless and will need ideas of what she could do to make her mom's last days better. It will give her an opportunity to grow up and not think about herself but her mom's needs, it will give her special memories, and it will give her comfort knowing she made a difference in her mom's last days. Have her pick out stuff to read to her mom, be in charge of doing her nails/hair, make some loving artwork to hang at the hospital and/or her bedroom, have her be in charge of keeping a bag packed in case her mom has to suddenly go to the hospital (magazines, lotion, hair care, etc.), have her give foot massages - you get the idea.

I'm so sorry for your pain.

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