How do you tell your children that Dad is sick, and not just sick but has a real possibility of not being here to see them graduate High School, to teach them to drive a car, to help fix that car, to walk them down the aisle, to just be there!!! as always.
I recently had to confront this head on when my husband was diagnoised with Pancreatic Cancer, whilst dealing with the disbelief, the pain, the anger and the shock. I needed to talk to our 4 children – All of whom are extremely different by both age (24,21,15,8) and temperment so a different approach to each was needed.
I agonised over what I should tell them and just how much, should I tell them the prognosis??? (not good between 8 to 12 months and 5 years at a stretch if we got lucky) should I leave the worst bits out? will the youngest understand? will they rebel? will they ask question I couldnt or for that matter, didnt want to answer?
I called a family meeting, not a first but its usually about where to go for a family holiday or something else now seemingly mundane. Everything I had rehearsed in my head dissappeared instantly and I had no idea what to say. I promised myself I wouldnt cry, they needed Mum strong. I managed that for all of two seconds. So I just blurted it out… There was strange silence and then a couple of choice words from someone (they went unpunished – to tell you the truth they were probably from me) Miss 8 said something funny, though no one can recall just what, and then there was guilt because we were laughing at a time like this.
In the end Miss 8 took it in her stride (she has coped with cancer herself and as a result is a little more resilient than the others). Miss 15 screamed, shouted, cried and felt sorry for herself, Miss 21 suprised us all by offering to cancel her long planned trip overseas and become his carer so I could continue to work. Miss 24 did her usual and came and sat on my lap, telling me she loved me and that she would help in any way possible.
We are only a couple of weeks into what could be a a very long journey, all of us are coping as best we can.- but we have all decided that My husbands Battle is our battle, and that we will support him until he wins. Because no one should fight alone.
Posted by mayfair, 29th April 2013