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Thursday, August 19, 2010

A tough topic

This morning I had to have a pretty tough talk with my kids. My husband's grandmother was admitted to the hospital a couple of days ago, and she has multiple tumors on her brain. The doctors think the cancer is  probably throughout her body.

She's not making too much sense and only remembers certain things or people. Although, we haven't gotten many details yet, I don't think she has much time. She's 83 years old, and has lived a wonderful life. She and her husband have shared a 53 year marriage.

My husband went to see her this morning, and his report was pretty much the same.

My husband and I haven't been faced with speaking to our kids about the death of a family member yet.

They have had friends who have experienced this, but they have never had to go through anything like this themselves. We weren't really sure what the right to do was. But I felt like we should tell them and they should be able to visit her. My husband was worried they might be scared, or that she might not remember them, and so forth. But, I still felt strongly about them having a chance to see her before she passes.

It seems like so many people are so hush-hush around kids with tough topics, but I don't want to be that way. They deserve the right to understand and say good-bye. I would feel awful if they missed the chance to do that. Kids are resilient and understand so much more than we give them credit for. We need to arm our children with knowledge instead of hindering them with fear.

Even if the topic is tough. I knew they would be sad and little scared, but they have a right to be informed.

So I sat them down (with my husbands blessing) and had a morning talk with them. I tried to be honest and to the point. It's tough because there's such a big age gap between them (11 and 5), but I think they took it well.

I had to let my youngest think on it for a bit, and then later in the morning I asked if he understood what I told him about Grandma Sam, and he was able to tell me in his own words...

"Grandma Sam is sick with cancer in her brain and she might die. But, if she does it's okay because then Jesus will come and take her to heaven, and we don't have to stay sad anymore and she will get better."

Well...I guess, he gets it.

He's not too sure about going to visit her at the hospital, but since he understands what's happening, I'm OK with that. He did say he might want to visit her tomorrow. This was tough too, because I felt like I needed to fair and warn him that might not be a possibilty. What if something happened to her today, and he was upset because he planned on seeing her tomorrow? He's five. He has his own agenda, and plans.

So, I told him that when we get really sick like this we never know when Jesus will take us to heaven. I asked him if he will be sad if he doesn't get to see her before Jesus takes her to heaven and he said, "No, that would be OK."

I don't want to force him to visit her, so I'm just going to let him make that choice. It could be scary seeing her, especially if she doesn't remember him. So I'm okay with that. I don't want to force him. 

My oldest asked me a lot of adult questions. Some of the same questions I have myself. What are the doctors saying? Where's Jaju (great grandpa)? Who does she remember? What if she doesn't remember me?

My response to the later is that that's a possibility. But she remembers you in her heart even if her body doesn't let her show it. The important thing is that you know you were able to see her and say good-bye. And she will know in her heart.

I'm going to take him up to the hospital this afternoon.



At August 19, 2010 at 1:08 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Oh Adrienne, I'm so sorry. I will pray for you and your family. I think you did the right thing by having that talk though, at least there can be peace when your kids look back at the situation.

At August 19, 2010 at 1:30 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

Sounds likes you and your boys handled it very well. I agree, children are usually capable more than what we give them credit for.

At August 19, 2010 at 3:26 PM , Blogger ~J said...

Honey I'm so sorry...I hope that her passing is as painless as possible...cancer sucks! Definitely take comfort in the fact she's lived such a great life.

I commend you on being so candid with your kids. That's how I am with mine too. I think it's important. Death *unfortunately is part of way around it. :(

I'll be thinking of you all! XO

At August 19, 2010 at 5:07 PM , Blogger Sandra said...

Wow...that is a lot for you and your family to deal with. Good luck. Your kids certainly seem to be dealing with it very maturily. Kids do see life differently than we do...I actually think it would be easier for us adults to continue seeing life through the eyes of a child.

At August 19, 2010 at 8:57 PM , Anonymous Miel Abeille said...

This is such a tough time for you and the family! I don't have the words to help you, but it sounds like you are a great parent and helping your children through this.

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At August 20, 2010 at 1:42 PM , OpenID dozenroses13 said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. As I started reading all I could think was "don't force the kids to go if they don't want to" and as I kept reading you mentioned the same though. So job well done. I hope that the visit goes well. {HUGS}


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