Pregnant after 35

If you've dealt with loss of a family member and talking to your children

My MIL has terminal cancer. She's quite well at the moment but gradually getting worse, she lives alone and doing things like her dishes has become challenging.

She lives about 5 minutes from us, and our girls, 3 and 5 yrs, see her regularly, although I wouldn't say they are close to her.

We don't know what time-frame we're looking at, but obviously the end will come, and I'm starting to wonder how best to talk to the girls about it. They know about death, and that it means never seeing the person again, and we're Catholic so there's also the religious element.

So I'm not really too worried about talking about death itself, as much as how soon is too soon to let them know that Granny is dying, and how much we should let them see of her when she's very close to death and things perhaps get unpleasant. DH doesn't want her to live with us when she needs more care specifically because his Grandfather lived with them when he was dying, and he doesn't want the girls seeing that kind of thing up close day in and day out.

Has anyone gone through this and have thoughts on ways to approach it?
Elizabeth 5yrs old Jane 3yrs old

Re: If you've dealt with loss of a family member and talking to your children

  • It depends some on your girls' personalities too.  How well they can cope with things like that.  Also, how tactful they will be when around their grandmother once they know she is dying. 

    If it were me I would probably at this point just tell them that Grandma has a bad sickness. That they might start to see her getting weak, unable to do some of the things they have seen her do before.  That some day she may get so sick she won't be able to leave her bed.  Let them know its import that they do all they can now to let her know they love her and enjoy their time they have with her.  Then seperate and aside from all that, walk with them about their faith, your believes on death, etc.  Not relating it to Grandma at all....Just setting a good foundation for when the day does come they have an understanding of what it means now and for their grandmother's and their futures. 

    I think they are far too young to see the details of impending death.  Its something you will probably just have to make the call as it happening when things are just too intense for them to process well.  The image I would want my children to remember would be grandmother as close to her normal self as possible.  Seeing her too terribly debilitated may leave that as the primary memory in their very young minds. 
  • marijaa333marijaa333 member
    edited March 2015
    I'm really sorry to hear about your MIL.

    My grandfather, who took care of me quite a bit when I was toddler, died of lung cancer when I was almost four.  My mother did not make me aware of the fact her dad was ill, and she didn't take me to the funeral. Other than noticing that he had a hard time going up stairs, I was basically oblivious until after he passed away, when my dad simply sat me down and told me that grandpa died. I was sad and a bit taken by surprise, however, I am pretty sure I would have been much more upset had I known in advance or had I gone to the funeral. So ultimately, I think my parents' decision to keep mention of this to a minimum worked well at the time and I would probably do the same with my child.

    Of course it depends on so many factors and the decision is ultimately yours and you family's.
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