1. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello All

    I have a six year old. My mum is in a home and has alzheimers and my dad died last September.

    I thought my daughter was coping well, we have always been open with her about everything that is happening and she was visiting mum with me and getting on well with her,always cuddling her and making each other laugh.

    Five weeks ago we went to visit mum and I could see a difference in my daughter. When we got into the car she said "Nanna feels different" and I told her it was all because of Nanna's illness but she didn't have to visit her with me if she didn't want to and she seemed relieved.

    Since then she has been really grumpy with me and last night she was obviously trying so hard not to cry. I asked her if she was missing Nanna and Grandad, and she sobbed her little heart out for ages.

    She is as they always looked after her while I worked in the school holidays and when she wanted to go to the park, they always took her, but yesterday I said we couldn't go there, and that was what triggered her tears.

    She has worked out that if she doesn't visit her Nanna she will never see her again, but she is not sure that she wants to visit her as Nanna is not cuddly any more and on the last couple of visits totally ignored my daughter. At six years old that must be almost impossible to understand, it is hard enough as an adult.

    Strangely, she is ok about her Grandad,as she says he is always in her heart, and she dreams about him a lot,which is so sweet and yet the Nanna she knows is still alive but not the same person she knew, so she feels she is "nowhere".

    Has anyone else had this situation arise and what do you feel is the best way to handle it.

    Kathleen
     
  2. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Nada

    I have read the fact sheets before and re-read them from time to time, but I suppose as my daughter can't remember her Nanna when she was well, it never entered my head that she would be so upset.

    As adults we remember the mother we had for so long and grieve for that lost relationship. As a very young child, she took everything in her stride and any questions that arose were always answered honestly by everyone concerned.

    I suppose that as my daughter is growing up and becoming more aware of others, she has probably just realised that the nanna she remembers is now lost to her and that is obviously a scary feeling for one so young to deal with.

    We have spent the morning looking at lots of things we are "looking after" for nanna and chatting about all the things she did with nanna and grandad, so today she is more relaxed.

    Thanks for your support

    Kathleen
     
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Thinking of you Kathleen and how difficult this must be for you and your daughter. My son is 15, so he remembers his Grandad when he was 'alright' and he's ok about visiting but I also sense his relief sometimes when I say he doesn't have to go today. Children often say out loud the things we are frightened of admitting, don't they? It sounds like you're doing a great job being so open with your daughter and allowing her to express her feelings about her nanna and grandad.

    All the best,
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Why not try a "Let's Remember" project?

    It could take many forms - I put together all the 'special' pictures I had of Jan, and that helped me, and I now have them as a continuing memory to consider when I return from visiting her, as today.

    It could be a number of little memories of shared times, or of things she said, or did, or how she grew up. Obviously her Nanna probably won't be able to join in [but there's no harm in having a go] though you and your daughter could make it something very personal.

    These sorts of things help us to come to terms and it can be quite difficult to remember the past times when we are in the middle of the bad times.

    Of course, what works for one person doesn't always work for others!
     
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Brucie, thats a lovely idea. Love She. XX
     
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    It is something I always wish I had asked my grandparents and my Mum to do before they died. No dementia involved in their cases.

    I'm pulling together stuff that I remember from my childhood and beyond so that, should anyone in my extended family want to know what it was like trudging to school in Maindee, Newport on a wet day back in the mid 1950s, they will have a feel for it [ah, the smell of coal fires, the wet pavements, and the sound of coal trains coming from the valleys to the docks].

    All this is so much easier to do now we have computers to help us assemble the words and pictures.

    More importantly, it is something that very young people can also become involved in, collecting bits and pieces of stories over time.
     
  7. noodle31

    noodle31 Registered User

    May 1, 2005
    81
    kent
    Hi Kathleen

    I have 4 children aged 12, 9, 4 and 5 months....

    It is so difficult isnt it?

    It is also something i have difficulty tackling...

    I wish i could offer you some advice, but am desperatly trying to understand it all myself, and do the best for my children :confused:

    wish this was easier

    thinking of you

    hugs

    Jane xx
     
  8. Elise

    Elise Registered User

    May 12, 2005
    23
    Hi Kathleen.

    I have to say, reading your message brought tears to my eyes. It is hard for us as you said, as adults to deal with let alone a child trying to understand why nan or grandad has become so different to them. Your little girl is a very brave little thing and what a sweet thing to say about her grandad. It has to be so hard to place her nan somewhere because she just does not understand the change and difference, but I'm sure one day she will have a very special place to put her nan. I have two children my daughter 11 and my son 4. Dad has always been very close to my daughter and always spending time with him. Grandad this and Grandad that and when is grandad coming over to see us. Since he became ill 8 months ago she does not show a lot of her feeling about his illness and sometimes i feel that she does not care anymore. I know this is wrong to feel like this, as i have come to realise that she finds it so hard to deal with, and knowing her as i know her she is very deep with her feelings. My son on the other hand asks me constantly why can't grandad come home and when can he see him and still wants him to watch spider man with him, making him things at nursery for me to take to to the hospital. With my daughter, when i ask her does she want to come with me to see him she is reluctant, and at first i would get aggitated with her for being this way but i know now i have to let her feel what she wants to feel and she can only deal with it how she feels best, and not the way in which i want her to deal with it. When she feels ready she will ask me questions about her grandad and hopefully will feel better about things. All we as parents can do is be there for them

    All the best and thinking of you and your little girl
    Elise
     
  9. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    It's not just the emotional aspects of this illness that children have to deal with - partly when they visit they are just plain bored! (I can remember having to sit for hours in visits to older relatives - yawn) Add to that the inevitable sadness that's hanging around all the adults, is it any wonder they're reluctant?

    When my son does visit his Grandad I try to keep the visit shorter than normal and make sure he has plenty of things to do. In the fine weather we can sit in the garden and take a tub of bubbles (can be messy!) or a ball to play catch - Dad's still surprisingly very good at this. In the winter we take jig-saws and duplo bricks etc. (Although my son, at 15, couldn't admit this to his friends :eek: )

    The activity works on many levels. Son is occupied - so less time to dwell on his Grandad's illness and my Dad usually seems to enjoy watching or joining in. Dad's span of attention often matches my son's!

    Bruce's "Let's Remember" project is a great idea. As an aside, my Mum is cutting out colourful pictures from magazines ready to get Dad to 'help' stick them in a scrap book in the long winter months. I guess I'm just a believer in activity for all!

    Best wishes,
     
  10. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Thank you all so much for your replies.

    I love the memory box idea, especially as the long summer holidays need filling!

    We are making a start by looking at all mums "treasures" we have here and writing down little things we remember about them.

    We found a wind chime and it sparked a memory straight away.

    "Nanna said I could take this home, but when you picked me up she forgot so I thought I had better let her keep it, Nanna was so funny sometimes."

    And yes she is a lovely girl even though I say so myself. She was a surprise baby as our other girls are all grown up.

    We say she is "the best mistake we ever made"

    Have a lovely day everyone

    Kathy
     
  11. noodle31

    noodle31 Registered User

    May 1, 2005
    81
    kent
    Hi Kathy

    well all of my children have now visited dad.

    The 2 older ones were yes bored. but seemed to cope with the visit very well

    my 4 yr old however became very very upset. She kept saying she missed grandad and he was different. She has since become very clingy and cries when we go to the hospital to visit him, i leave her with my mum or a good friend.

    I have asked her if she wants to visit, but she says no, but she doesnt want me to visit either :confused:

    very difficult at the moment

    how are you getting on with the memory box? have the children visited?

    love Jane xx
     
  12. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Jane

    The memory book is going well at her pace. I don't know if she will want to visit again or not. I leave it open each time I go and sometimes she says she will come along, then changes her mind at the last minute, which is fine.

    I think she would like to go as she has worked out for herself that if she doesn't visit Nanna she will never see her again, but is too anxious about how she will be to go to see her.

    All our grown-up children visit her regularly and tell her some of the funny things that happened so she is never excluded from how mum is getting on, but we obviously give her an edited version sometimes.

    Your 4 year old may think that visiting your dad will upset you as it did her, they don't always understand their own feelings when very young, let alone the feelings of others,do they?

    love Kathy
     
  13. noodle31

    noodle31 Registered User

    May 1, 2005
    81
    kent
    Hi again Kathy

    you very right there. Bless her i dont think the late nights have been helping, we have now moved her bedtime to 6.30 so she is in bed before i go to the hospital, she is much more refreshed and slowly getting back to her bouncy self.

    children are sensitive little things arent they?

    we always tell her bits and pieces too about dad, and she does say she wants to visit but then like your daughter changes her mind at the last minute

    love Jane xx
     

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