Should I tell Mum that her partner has died?


Registered User
May 26, 2011
Blackpool, Lancashire
Hi all. It's been a while since I've posted but I'm pleased to say it's because everything's been going so well. Up until today, that is.

My mum met Frank 14 years ago. Frank sold his house a few years after they met and they lived together as 'husband and wife' for a couple of years until he eventually bought another place of his own. My mum stayed there the majority of the time but maintained her own home. They didn't do well living together 24/7 and had a turbulent relationship hence the reason he bought another house and she kept hers.

He played a big part in looking after her when her dementia started getting worse and when she moved into the care home he continued to take her out on a twice weekly basis. Sadly due to his own poor health (heart failure) he had to drop this down to once a week. The home tells me she often asks if he is due to visit that day and that her face lights up when he arrives.

I found out today that he's died. I don't know whether we should tell Mum or not. It will break her heart. She doesn't really mention him when she's with me and she never has any recollection of him taking her out. If we tell her she will forget almost immediately which means having to tell her all over again. It seems cruel.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


Registered User
Nov 23, 2013
My family and I are in a similar situation. My dad passed away in November, mum is in a Nursing Home and has dementia. When she calls for dad we tell her he is very tired and is asleep.

This seems to pacify her and we change the subject very tactfully to other more pleasant things.

Having spoken to a psychiatrist about mum's predicament he has confirm that this is the appropriate tack to take.

Good luck and thinking of you all.


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
If we tell her she will forget almost immediately
If you're sure that would be the case (my dad had a tendency to forget what you needed him to remember, and remember what you wanted him to forget :rolleyes:) I would tell her once, but if she forgets and asks when he's next visiting, I would go down the white lie route. If however you think telling her could cause her ongoing distress I wouldn't cause her unnecessary distress.

Tilly Mint

Registered User
Jun 14, 2011
At the start I made the mistake of living up to my honesty being the best policy way of being but that way was hurting my mum over and over so I soon stopped it.
Whenever she asks where her mum or her husband are I tell her that they are at the shops or Dad has gone fishing.
It felt so wrong lying at first but it keeps mum content and that's all that matters and all that my nan and my dad would want.

Now mum talks as if she has met them and spent time with them so who am I to burst her happy bubble and say otherwise. If her memories feel as real as if they had just happened I'll just go along with it and ask if they were well and if she had a nice time with them.


Registered User
Jan 22, 2011
I never told mum her sister had died in November or toook her to the funeral.
They cannot process death and all the other emotions associated with it like we can.
She's never asked for her either.

Or my father who died 17 years ago.

It's almost like they need all the brain power they have left to cope with their world and keeping themselves going within it.

I wouldn't. I'd just say he's moving house and he's busy. I'd maybe even try a oh, he came last week but you were out/ asleep/ having lunch and he said hell come next week just to see how she processes that information