1. Grandaughter 1

    Grandaughter 1 Registered User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Since my Grandad was admitted to emergency respite on Xmas eve my 2 children who are 5 and 9 haven't seen their Great Grandad.

    I did originally plan to take them to visit but Grandad was very tearful and unwell when he was 1st admitted and I didn't want to upset the girls.

    Now I am wondering whether I have done the right thing. Grandad was in hospital with a broken hip many weeks ago and now he is gravely ill with a chest infection and on morphine. This may well be his final days.

    Have I done the right thing by keeping them away?

    They don't seem to have been affected at all and hardly have mentioned him which I find a bit sad.

    I had to make a quick dash up to see Nan today as the home called with the news about his chest infection and my youngest just said "he's not been at home for a long time has he?" and " I wouldn't want to be a nurse, all that blood - yuck! My eldest said nothing and didn't seem bothered.

    I'm getting myself worked up wondering If i've dealt with this all wrong.
  2. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #2 Margarita, May 30, 2007
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
    Sorry to read about what is happening to your Granddad .

    sounds Like you have done a grand job in handling it all with your children xx

    I would say you done the right thing
  3. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    I doubt there's a "Right Thing" with these kinds of issues. Is it too simplistic to ask them what they want? To explain he's really poorly and ask what they want to do?

    I'll be honest, I don't have children so don't profess to know. What I do know, from work with lots of distressed adults is that keeping children away from funerals seems to have a long term damaging effect. A chance to say goodbye seems to be really important.

    Do remember to take care of yourself in what looks like being some difficult times ahead.
  4. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    I think I would consider taking them to see their Great Grandad for a short visit (say 10 minutes). You can explain to them that he is very sick and so they have to be quiet and gentle with him. If he has any medical equipment attached to him (such as a drip) prepare them for this.

    Children are amazingly pragmatic about such things, and they do not fully comprehend the seriousness of the situation in the way you do. But they will probably bring him some joy (even if he cannot express it) and I think you will feel better if they see him - at least once more.

    If your Grandad is in intensive care (or other such unit) you might need clearance from the hospital to take your children to visit . . . ??

    Perhaps your children could draw (paint, make?) a card each to take to Great Grandad and these can be put on his wall (chart, bedside locker, whatever)?? This would give them a focus point for the visit.

    Death is an inevitable part of life, and by taking your children to see Great Grandad when he is ill, his death may be easier to understand when it comes. I'm a great believer in not keeping the truth from children in any way - but also in making sure they are not confronted with things they cannot cope with.

    In the end it must be your decision - remember that whatever you decide you have done so with thought and care - so it is the right decision for you and your's.
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    There is no right or wrong when exposing children to illness. We can only go by our gut feelings and the knowledge we have of our children.

    Our grandchildren have seen thier maternal grandfather quite a lot. He has terminal cancer, but has recently stayed with them and they have visited him in hospital.

    They see my husband regularly, they know he has Alzheimers but they haven`t yet seen anything of his more dramatic episodes. If he were eventually in residential care, they would be older and I would just have to play it by ear. At this stage, I can`t plan for the future.

    Whatever we do, we are always going to question whether or not we do the right thing. We can only do our best, and you seem to be doing just that, dear Granddaughter 1.

    Love xx
  6. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Is there another adult available to take them out after a very short visit?
  7. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006
    Nell, well put I couldn't have put it better. Seeing is the best form of learning.

    I can still recall seeing death for the first time as a very young boy. Knowing the boy was off to Heven, I was envious of him going to play with His Father (which he didn't have on earth), His Son, and play hide and seek in the clouds with the Holy Ghost!

    Like loved ones with AD who knows what's in childrens' minds.
    Good luck in what you decide. Padraig
  8. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    Only you know what your children can cope with and accept, but on the whole I think we underestimate our little ones, children are so very resilient.

    Talk to them, see what they think, but either way, his memory will be alive in you, and the stories you can tell, and the photographs you can show.

    Best wishes

  9. Grandaughter 1

    Grandaughter 1 Registered User

    Jan 17, 2006
    Thanks very much for your replies.

    I have spoken to my Nan and my Mum and they both have said they don't think it is fair to take the children to see Grandad.

    They said it may frighten them as he is so ill and they would rather the girls remembered him sitting smiling in his armchair at home.

    As much as I still don't know whether this is the right decision, I think I should respect my Nan's wishes at this sad time.

    Louise x
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Can I echo what Aine said? I was taken to visit my father when he was dying in hospital when I was about 9, but not taken to the funeral. I know my mother meant well, but I would with hindsight much rather it had been the other way around. For several years I had fantasies that he hadn't really died, just had gone away. Seeing him extremely ill didn't really help me to connect with his death, if you see what I mean.

  11. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    I dont think theres any question that you have done the right thing
    Your children are too young to understand whats happened to their Grandfather and it would only distress them dreadfully

    Certainly the state on my Mother in her last 5 weeks in hospital and in her last year was no place for children or even young teens

    Our 4 older Granchildren were offered the chance to go to her funeral but all declined the 2 young ones were far too young anyway
  12. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    This is entirely a personal point of view.

    I lost 3 grandparents and a dearly beloved godmother (who was a second mother to me and my sisters) between the ages of 10 and 14.

    Firstly, my mum's mum died in our house, where she had been living for the last 9 months, when I was 10. The afternoon she died my sister and I were sent out to play tennis in the garden - although it was February we didn't at the time think this was strange. :) I remember being very sad as I witnessed the grief of adults but not overly traumatised. She was lucid until the day before - drinking vodka and tonic and eating strawberries and cream. What a lovely way to go.

    Secondly my beloved godmother died after a short illness. I was closer to her than I can say and 28 years on I can still cry at her passing. I think a part of that was that my Mum would not allow me to go to her funeral. From my mum's point of view I think this was partly a belief that funerals are not a place for children and partly a worry that I would find it too upsetting. I think, even now, that my mum was wrong - although well meaning.

    Thirdly, my Dad's mum died in hospital having suffered from dementia for a short time. The few times I did see her when she was suffering from dementia were upsetting and I'm glad my Dad didn't take me to see her in the final stages as now I remember her as she was.

    Lastly, my Dad's dad died at our house (yes, in the same room my grandmother had died in just over 3 years before!) having lived with us for about a year I think. This was the first funeral I was allowed to go to and I found it an enormous comfort. (although by this stage I was 14 and thought that you lost someone close to you every year).

    I don't know if any of this helps, but I think you, or your children should talk to your grandchildren to tell them the truth and ask them what they want to do.

    Sorry for the boring personal history!!

  13. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    [QUOTE=Lonestray]I can still recall seeing death for the first time as a very young boy. Knowing the boy was off to Heven, I was envious of him going to play with His Father (which he didn't have on earth), His Son, and play hide and seek in the clouds with the Holy Ghost!

    Padraig, what a beautiful, touching and hilarious vision you have conjured up for me! Thank you!! I must say, I think the Holy Ghost would have distinct advantages in playing "Hide and Seek" ;)
  14. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006

    That is just one of many stories I can recall and I'm still only a big kid at heart. I'm happiest in the company of young ones, sadly they have all grown up (the grandchildren) and some heve their own kids. There's one I get to see, that's our ealdest grand son's little girl, Ellie. Sadly he's out in Afganistan for some time yet.
    I have a DVD of her as a two year old, she's climbing on her potty to reach her great Nan in bed in an attempt to kiss her.
    I'm looking forward to seeing her soon, she also loves sneaking a kiss on Jean's hand.
    Children give you food for thought: one grand daughter when young was watching me shaving: "Granddad how long have you been married to Nan"
    "35 years love"
    "And you haven't left her yet?"
    The youngest G'daughter now 17, then three. I was explaing the difference in Swans, the Cob, the Daddy, the Pen the Mun. "When the get together they stay with one another for the rest of their lives"
    "You mean they keep their promise".

    There are many stories showing life through the eyes of a child in my book that I'm sure would make you laugh. EG As a seven yesr old I had to learn the ten Commandants and the seven deadly sins before I could do my First Confession. Trying to work out what sins I'd committed: I felt sure I hadn't committed Adultery, but was unsure about Coveting my Neighbour's Wife.
    That was a heavy load to lay on a child when the Nuns never told us there was a difference between boy and girls!
    My start left me still finding it a strange fun world!
    The more I learn about AD, the more I discover I don't know. Thanks Nell. Padraig
  15. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #15 Margarita, Jun 1, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
    Not being negative , but as a Child I was always scared of the holy Gosh, because saying Gosh can be very scary to a young child mind , when they are so many people telling scarred stores about Ghost even on TV . then they Holy so that mean they have more power then me , so may take me away from my family on earth ( my child mind ) I had 2 parents

    I always remember staying at my cousins in Essex , we was al 9 years old when a friend of my cousin got knock over on her bike & died For some reason we all went to see her in the chapel of rest . I was ask if I wanted to go , I went out of curiosity , because for a few days after she got hit buy the car we did not know if she was going to live or die .

    I also remember the build up to the funerals but was never ask if I wanted to go to the funeral , which I wanted to go , because for some strange reason I could not process in my mind seeing her laying they , that she was dead because she look like she was sleeping and going to wake up any moment

    Going to the funeral would of put closure to her death for me at that young age

    I do believe children should go to funeral , because they trust adult when they someone dead & in a box gone to haven .

    children yes are resilient cate said and if someone did want them to see a love one Just before they are passing away , make sure that they are not seeing the person suffering looking distress , then take them to the funeral .

    Now your Nan sounds like she taking from words of wisdom :)
  16. sunny

    sunny Registered User

    Sep 1, 2006

    I agree with Nell
  17. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    #17 Lila13, Jun 13, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
    The youngest child at my mother's funeral was 7, (cousins' children), they seemed OK, I think perhaps it was a good idea for their parents to take them to the funeral of someone who wasn't a very close relation and whom they hadn't seen recently, getting them used to the idea before it affects their own nearest and dearest.

    When I was a child we never went to funerals, we were often taken to visit elderly relations etc. in hospital but it usually meant just being taken in for a short "hello" and then being sent to sit in a waiting-room, not to tire the patient with long visits.

    I don't know if it would have made any difference to me if I had been taken to grandparents' (etc.) funerals.


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