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Helping Children with Hospice...

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Just curious if any of you have suggestions on helping children deal with the hospice phase of life? Mom will meet with the hospice counsellor this week, and I've asked her to ask that question.

My kids see my mom every day. We are trying to be as honest as necessary (that's how I word it, at least). I want to help prepare my kids (soon to be 13 and 10), and I don't want to lie to them, but I don't want to overwhelm or depress them either. We are trying to keep this time as positive as posssible for Mom, but I don't want to teach the kids to bury or deny their feelings.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. You guys always help me so much!

:) Kelly

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I havent been down this road yet... tho I feel we may but I have hope.

my kids are 11, 5, and 2 the youngest doesnt really know whats going on tho the 5 yrs old seems to be hugging his granpa more lately. My 11yr old we have been up front without trying to scare him. we told him granpa has cancer and that we are going to try to fight it. there is a chance that granpa could get sicker and die. we called his school counselor and told her the situation and she in turn let the principal and his teacher know so that if there are any emotional issues they could be adressed with the knowledge of whats going on. I am a firm beliver in telling the ones that can understand the concept of death the truth because it can help them deal with their feelings as they happen instead of all at once

I hope that helps some... I know its just one persons opinion.

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When my MIL passed away from ovarian cancer my daughters were 5.5 and 4 and we consulted with a family friend who is also a pastor and he told us to be honest with the girls and to let them participate in all aspects of the grieving process, except anger, with us.

We told them that their Nonna was very very sick and she was not going to get better. We told them that when she did die she would no longer be in pain and she would be back to her normal self and that even if they couldn't see her, that she would still be in their hearts forever.

That was the most difficult conversation I have ever had to have but it was very beneficial. They were able to say their good-bye's on their terms, when they felt comfortable and for that I am very grateful.

That was almost 5 years ago and they both still talk about her on a regular basis, they haven't forgotten because we won't let them and because they were able to spend time with my MIL when she was declining, they both were able to relive their favorite memories with their Nonna.

Best of luck to you and remember that the kids will get through it, it will not be fun but they will be OK.

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I have a 13 year old who held his fathers hand in our dining room (where the hospital bed was) when he died. In the first few monthes of Gerald's illness Sean had all the positive going to beat this disease attitude in the world. As Gerald became skinnier, sicker and needed to go on oxygen Sean intuitively spent more time with his dad but at the same time spent time with his friends and led his life. I would talk to the kids in the car as we didn't talk doom and gloom at home. I spoke to Sean and asked him did he think his dad was getting sicker, he replied yes - and asked "do you think he is going to make it". It broke my heart to tell him that I didn't think so - cause I was then breaking my own denial. Sean replied that he had figured this out and come to terms with that. Many children are more intuitive than we may think - he suprised me - that is for sure, give them choice and ask them what they want to do and how they feel and let them know that it may get tough. That is my reccomendation. Maybe it isn't the right thing but I don't regret it...and I don't think Sean will later in years either. I am not sure about a 10 year old - my niece is that age but she wasn't around all of the time. She didn't really understand the oxygen or why Uncle Gerry was so skinny....just told her that the cancer was making him very sick. Also afraid of telling her much more lest she slipped and got into the dying conversation when talking to him. I am sorry you have come to this stage. It is really hard and I still keep an eye on my 13yr old and 16 yr old for any abnormal behaviour and always emphasize the stories of others who have lost parents to accidents and heart attacks that at least we were lucky that we did get to spend extra time with him even though he was sick - we had that time to say good-bye. Best wishes, Heather

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