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OT- To tell the kids and bring them?

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  • OT- To tell the kids and bring them?

    I talked to my sister today and told her she really needed to figure a way to get out here soon. I know it is hard financially for her, and we and my brother will help her if we can. She has not told her kids that Dad is sick, she never told them about the Parkinsons, which was diagnosed 6 years ago.
    Now she does not know if she should bring them with her, or spare them the memory of their beloved grampa looking so weak.
    They are 11 and 7. I suggested she talk to a counselor and see what they thought. But I know many on here have lost family and have kids, so I thought maybe you could all offer some advice. The hard part is that we don't really have a prognosis, but I just have this knot in my heart that this medicine is not going to save him.

  • #2
    I'm so sorry! The holidays this year seem to be filled with as much pain as they are with joy...that said I think the kids should see him. There is something immeasurable about taking the time to say goodbye. I'd never want to take that from them. They might remember him frail, but-especially the 7 year old-they might not have many other memories of him at all as the years go by. I'd rather know and say goodbye. That's just me.
    There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


    • #3
      Do whatever you can to get the kids to see Grandpa NOW. They will remember spending time with him, that is what is important. Could it be that your sister might not want to see him?

      Don't take that the wrong way, I don't mean to sound harsh.

      I am experiencing a very similar family situation; Mom had been living with us for the past 18 mos. all was going really well. We loved her being here with us. There is only my husband and son, so Grandma made a family of 4! We do not live close to any other family. She came to lives with us as she was not able to be alone, tho' she did many chores to help out and prepared her own breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately last spring she fell and broke her hip, for those with elderly relatives you know this is NOT a good thing. Unfortunatley, her post surgical experiences were not good ones (I won't go into all of details).

      So 9 months later, she is permanently in a nursing home and not capable remembering she can no longer walk, as well as many other things... My son, at 14 is sad to his grandma and buddy not as she once was. He used to get home from school and sneak whole packs of Oreo's into her room so they sit and watch TV while I prepared dinner, they were really "bud's".

      I have a brother who has been twice to visit Mom. I suggested he come to see her while she is still "good". I have a sisiter who has yet, to call or ask how she is doing...

      My point is maybe your sister is not comfortable knowing Dad isn't who she knew him to be.

      I am sorry you are going thru this, more and more of my friends are sharing similar experiences.



      • #4
        I think I would bring them too say goodbye. They are at age where everything can be explained in a thoughtful, loving way. Such is life. We wish we could shield and protect our kids from all things sad and bad but I'm not sure that is possible. I'm wondering if your sister doesn't bring them, she might look back and wish she did. Just a thought. It is a difficult decision to make. She should look into her heart and she will make the right choice, whatever that might be. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Hugs to all.


        • #5
          They need to know and be able to see their grandpa.
          They are old enough to understand it.
          My grandpa was very sick when was little and he spent several month in the hospital. I was not allowed to see him at all and he passed when I was six. I hurt every time I think about him now because I was unable to spend any time with him before he passed away.


          • #6
            It would be best for her children to come but I would allow your sister to do what is least stresful on her. Everyone deals with stuff differently and now is not the time to try and change your sisters ways.


            • #7
              I'd probably leave the kids home. One less thing to cause a distraction. Kids of that age typically have little patience and tolerance for serious matters of this nature and would probably prefer to be home playing computer games.

              At the very least, have mom talk to them in advance, explain the situation in candid detail and leave it up to them if they want to come with her for the visit.

              Based on their age, if the kids don't know Grampa has been suffering from Parkinsons for six years, it doesn't sound to me as if they saw him on a regular basis anyway. So, are they really that attached to him it is important they see him in a suffering state prior to his death?

              When I was little I was put through one of these "she's old enough to understand it" episodes and the result was I became terrified my mommy and daddy might be next on God's hit list because they were "so old" in my childish mind - and old people got sick and died. Right?

              I think it is more important your sister come out. I'd classify the kids as optional.


              • #8
                Leave them home if possible

                Especially if they weren't extremely close, it's hard for children to deal with illness and death. Also, there is not as much for them to do and not a regular routine while they are out of their own home setting.

                I agree with others that say they do not need to be there and may not even benefit.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lexapurple View Post
                  They need to know and be able to see their grandpa.
                  They are old enough to understand it.
                  My grandpa was very sick when was little and he spent several month in the hospital. I was not allowed to see him at all and he passed when I was six. I hurt every time I think about him now because I was unable to spend any time with him before he passed away.
                  The same here. I loved my two grandfathers more than anyone. We were very close but I did not see them at the end. I was a kid and very scared but my mother should have made me see them. I live with that sorrow and regret. The children should see him. They may grow up and be haunted by not doing so.
                  That Tenacious Terrier!


                  • #10
                    The kids used to see them more often when the parents lived in Texas- Sis is in Louisiana. Since they moved to Oregon, they have seen them every other year, this would be the year they would see them, but they came to see me graduate!
                    So the kids have seen Dad while he has had the Parkinsons, but it has been fairly well controlled so far. They knew for two years before they told us, and only because we kids started asking if dad was ok because we had noticed some things.
                    Thank you all for your input. I will share your thoughts with her. She wants to come, but I am unsure about her kids. I just don't know if they would be able to handle having to be quiet and calm and well behaved. I think they should see him, but I don't know if the rest of us have the strength to deal with them. I know that sounds awful, but her kids are horrible, and she thinks they are awesome. They still throw screaming temper tantrums when they don't get the attention they want right then.


                    • #11
                      I would be more compelled to take the kids to see him not only to let them say good bye, but to give the grandfather a chance to say goodbye as well.The ages of these kids they are old enough to understand he is ill and yes it will be sad for everyone, but they all need the chance so the grandfather can go in peace knowing he has grandchildren that do love him when its his time.


                      • #12
                        first off im so sorry for what you and your family are going through
                        i think kids are alot stronger than we give them credit for,i believe the kids need need to say there good-byes it will be good for them and give them closure,when my mom was found dead 4 years ago,(i was never close to her)but the kids who were 10&15 were very close to her,were happy they could be with me thru the whole awful experience and they handeled it way better than i did,i say give the kids a chance they are strong
                        again im so sorry


                        • #13
                          I don't think it is fair, or right to hide death, and illness from children.
                          When my dad died, my daughter was 5. My husband, and I had moved in with my parents to help take care of my dad. He had cancer, and wanted to spend the last of his time at home.

                          The day we knew he was going to be leaving us soon we made sure everyone was there to say goodbye. My daughter was told grandpa wasn't going to be with us much longer, my mom and I took her in the bedroom with him. She hugged him lay with him on the bed, and talked to him. She talked of things they had done together, memories she had, just likie any gropwn-up would. It was very sad, for all of us, my dad included (he knew what was going on right up until the very end). But we felt she had every right to say goodbye, especially since we never hid his illness from her either (cancer). If she had questions, we answered them.

                          When he did pass, she wanted to pick out the clothes he wore to be cremated in. She picked out his favorite jeans, and a "Worls's Greatest Grandpa" shirt with hwer hand prints on it that she made for him for father's day.

                          Even with the animlas we have never hid anything from our kids. When our old Chi Mr. Potaot Head was put to sleep, we all went (me, my husband, our daughter, and our son who was 3 at the time). I understand people wanting to shelter children thinking they are keeping them innocent, and that they shouldn't have to deal with death.

                          To us death is not just a "grown-up's" issue. Death is a part of life, children need to understand, and have closure just as we do.

                          Sorry this got long, I feel strongly about this.
                          I am also very sorry for everything your family has gone through this year. I hope the New Year finds things better for you
                          If you sweat the small stuff, all you have is small soggy stuff.....


                          • #14
                            First of all, let me say I'm sorry that you and your family are going through this.

                            As far as the kids are concerned, I think I'd leave it up to them. They're old enough to make the decision.

                            And from my own personal experience; I was 10 when I lost one of my grandfathers. I was forced to visit on several occasions, and the only thing I remember about my grandfather is how he looked when he was near death, and what he looked like in his casket.

                            Since then I've lost several other family members and friends, and I've noticed the same thing about them. When I see them in my mind's eye, all I see is them laying in their casket. The only two people I can picture as they looked when they were alive are an uncle and cousin who had closed casket funerals.

                            I think it's a tough call, and I'd certainly get the kid's input.


                            • #15
                              I am sorry you have to go through this. It is difficult to watch someone you love suffer.

                              My father passed away from lung cancer after an 8 month fight. My children were 7 and 5. We did not hide this fact from them and they visited him often despite the fact that he looked terrible. We gave them the choice once we had a family meeting were my entire family was present to discuss everything. Watching my dad go through chemo was a very difficult thing to see especially for small children that loved their grandpa, but they wanted to see him. It was the right thing to do and they were happy to have those moments with him. Even though my dad knew the chemo was only prolonging his life my mere months he did it for us so that we could have him for that small amount of time. Honestly the kids did better than the adults.

                              I would tell them the complete truth about the situation and then allow them to make their own choice.