A mother of two children ages 8 & 6 is dying of Cancer. She was diagnosed a long time ago and has outlived by 4 years what the doctors predicted. She is taking all the medications that Cancer patients take. Question: Should she tell her children that she will soon be gone from their lives?

    If she had told the children at the time of diagnosis, they would have lived with this news for years and years.

    +6  Views: 1502 Answers: 14 Posted: 12 years ago

    i tried to label this question so I would know how to find it but I was unable to do it.
    Labels: Death & Dying, Family Relationships. Psychology, Health, Chronic Pain

    14 Answers

    I think 8 and 6 are a little too young to tell the whole truth about their mother's situation. Spending as much quality time with them would be more beneficial in the long run. Even if the parents don't believe in "heaven", I see no harm in talking with them about a pleasant afterlife for people that pass on...

    This is true,but reality is reality,the sudden shock of them waking up one day to the news that mommy is gone could be to much for a 8,and 6 yr.old to have to face,some preparation could help psychologically.

    I respect your view, but believe that at that age knowing ahead of time will not cause less of a shock.

    Flip, I think that "pleasant afterlife" is a good idea. The main idea is to keep the scary Hell component out of the mother's story. I went to a Catholic School in the First Grade and the nuns scared me so bad about Hell that I'll never step foot in a Christian church. The mom with Cancer is like me in that respect.

    To each his own view I guess.:)
    Children are incredably resilient, in most cases more so than we adults.
    It must be heart breaking for the parents but the children must know mummy is sick so I feel it is right to prepare them that one day mummy is going to sleep and will not wake up but she will always be here in your minds.
    I would tell them both together so they are supportive of one another.

    If there has been a family death or even a pet I would use that by way of explanation.

    "Remember how Aunty Peggy died and went away? Well Mummy has to do that. But we still remember Aunty Peggy in our minds and the fun we had with her, well it will be the same when Mummy goes for the long sleep" My thoughts go out to you for peace and happiness.
    ed shank

    Well said old man.

    Hey! ed who the @&^%$#*(& are you calling old? :)

    PL: You made me cry. You said that so nice, young man.

    Well said. Succinct. TU


    Thank you itsmee and Yvonne, nice to know people care.

    Itsmee your "young man" was greatfully appreciated by a young man of 79, you are as old as you let yourself become.
    Has she gone to Cancer Centers of America? I know they have a much higher success rate, maybe she could look into this? There are also special diets available online as well. They gave my mom three months to live three years ago, and she's still going strong.

    My dad has been in the hospital and his lung cancer is back, I lost my step dad to colon cancer who was my father growing up and adopted us. I know how terribly difficult it was for me to handle the loss of my dad. My suggestion would be to start letting them know how serious the problem is without mentioning death yet.

    If you can ease them into it a bit first, they may be more prepared when it comes time to explain the gravity of the situation. I hope you seek alternative treatments like the one I listed above, children take the loss of a parent horribly, but if you can soften the blow by gradually preparing them it may be a huge difference. Hope this helps.

    Leeroy,the mom is under Hospice care now. Hospice people are the greatest.
    You gave some good advice for others.

    Thanks itsmee, appreciate the follow up. Sorry it took so long to check the comments I had over 1700... Hope all is well with you!!!
    Wow as a mom to three young children that is such a sad reality for one to have to face,but I would prepare my children for my death,because to me sudden deaths are always extremely difficult to get through.Do they have a faith in any particular religion at all?
    ed shank

    I agree, they should be made aware that mother is sick and sometimes the sickness can't be cured. At those ages kids are understanding of life and death. It would probably bring them closer together.

    Thanks ed!:)
    That's a tough question; but she might tell the older ones---'' Mommy has been having such a hard time fighting this illness that Mommy is going to heaven soon to be with Jesus and will become an angel and will watch over you ''

    The Angel part is a good idea. Angels aren't a part of traditional Christianity.
    From a similar experience that happened to a friend of mine with children of those ages.......her children were very astute and I believe old enough to see the obvious process of the disease with their own eyes....their mom was gentle with them and explained to them about death in increments...often mentioning how their pets had died and sometimes people must sad though...I think each parent has their own gut feeling on how to proceed....gently seems to be the key to me and also the kids had their own eyes and seemed somehow to I mentioned they were and still are very astute...definitely though a tough one...perhaps google it and see what folks say on the topic and weigh the answers...(:

    See my comment to Leeroy.
    old hipster, I haven't seen you around much. Maybe it's cuz I haven't been around much. How are you?
    They are old enough to understand. Children know what is going on in their homes and with their mom. There are gentle ways to tell them and suggest the family contact the local Hospice for some help with this question.
    The children need to know they will be taken care of.
    Mommy loves them but is very sick and will soon be going to her heavenly home and will watch over them.
    The Dad and rest of the family need support also.
    The family is not traditional Christians.

    I don't understand why someone gave you a thumb down for the above statement. Anyway I gave you a TU.

    I was wondering that to Optimistic.:?

    Shucks, let me give you a TU too.

    Huh? I missed it but I've got my thumb at the up and ready.
    I really do feel that she needs to seek top professional advice, and the children should also recieve counseling from qualified persons. Does she have family to support her and help the children?
    That's for the best, Maz.
    If it were me I would be honest that I have cancer.. But wait for the news of my passing until it seems to be close.

    Be clear and honest about having an illness.  This makes it possible for the children to recieve support, resources, education, spiritual guidence etc.  There is alot of amazing programs available for the children who have a serious illness.  (specifically terminal cancer.)  There are organizatiopns that provide everything from meals, to homework assistance, social gatherings with a chance to bond with children who are experiencining the same things.  There are even local groups that will provide simple tasks  (the ones that often are neglected when a parent is ill), like taking kids out for haircuts, school supplies clothes and shoes.   Unfortunately, all of the wonderful and helpful even fun resources these caring organizations provide nothing can ever properly prepare a child for the death of thier mother.  As far letting them know she is dying, the answer to that is easy: I would never be so arrogant to assume a time limit, or place any sort of time frame on my own  or anyone elses life.  A few doctors are still around who like to predict; "two weeks to live, six months to live, etc.", however you will find more and more doctors, especially the ones who have seen the wonderous effects of medicine and the even more powerful effects of prayer who today prefer to practice science and medicine, but will agree that some things you just need to leave up to God.  Including miracles. 

    Tell the children that their mother has cancer.It's better than lying to them or waiting till she's in the hospital dying.The children would find out soon when she dies...

    P.s. I feel sad,and I bet it would be really hard to say to them that you won't be there for the children to grow up.


    Oh, it's such a sad situation.
    maybe it would be best just to tell them that mommys going on a vaction for a while, when they get old enough daddy can explain to them what really happened, why traumatise their shildhood.

    do not think that is a good idea my dad lost his 7 year old brother to menigitus and was told he had gone away he always says he was younger and he should have been told the truth,he was always waiting for him to come back.

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