Search this site
Please login to your my.Macmillan account.
If you currently have an Online Community account, you will be asked to create a my.Macmillan account the next time you try to login.
Don’t have an account? Create one now.
What is my.Macmillan?
My life with stage 4 malignant melanoma
Putting my two youngest to bed tonight, my 4yr old said, 'I'll be sad when I'm grown up because I won't be able to see you anymore'. 'Why's that?' I said. 'Because I want to be a horse rider'. She seems to be thinking that when you grow up, you are either one thing or another, and not, say a Daughter and a horse rider and a Mum etc! So I explained that I would still see her no matter what she was going to be, I pointed out that I see my Mum, her Granny, and that she only lives around the corner. I carried on that I would always see her, although I started to lose track and stumble, trying not to say the wrong thing.
Then my 6 yr old piped up 'What if you die?' OMG I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. The obvious answer of course we all want to say is, I'm not going to die, don't worry about that, but I couldn't say it. On the spot I said 'Well if I die then I won't be able to see you will I?' Matter of factly, 'But I promise if I die I will always be looking down on you, from the stars'. 'The stars?' she says 'Yes, I'll be the brightest star in the sky' 'But I thought people go to heaven?' Eek! 'yes we do but thats in the sky with the stars isn't it' I said. 'But how can you see us?' 'Well' I said its like magic when you die you can do anything you want, and I would want to be watching over you'. 'So is Great Grandpa a star?' 'Umm, yes probably'. 'I don't want you to die' she says, repeated by 4yr old. 'I don't want to die either!' I said 'I want to be with you always'. But of course you know everyone has to die eventually. Now stop worrying about that and get to sleep'.
Thank God they were happy with that little explanation and went happily off to sleep. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I left their room. How random was that? Are they picking up on whats going on? I mean I know they know 'Mummy's poorly' and I spend a lot of time at the hospital but I look well. Hopefully it was just typical kids wondering about the bigger picture. Now I'm thinking back over it, did I say the right things? I was so on the spot I just tried to carry on chatting like normal.
Sorry if this is a little too personal or emotive, but I wanted to share as I'm sure I'm not the only one here dealing with this type of thing.
You are one very caring loving and understanding lady. You could not have explained in a better way what life and death are all about to a 4yr old and a 6 yr old. they are two lucky children to have such a positive thinking Mum. Well done,and Good Luck for the future.
Take care and be safe Love Sarsfield.xx
I had the same sort of conversation with my 6 year old grand daughter two years ago, we are very close and it broke my heart when she asked me if I was going to die, all I could say to her was that I didn't know and that I was going to try very hard not to and she clung to me crying, so I am amazed with you, what a wonderful mum you are my love and yes you said the right things, children only leave it when then are happy with answers we give them, just be honest with them. Good luck for the future and you take care....love Carol xx
Children have an uncanny knack of asking awkward questions and it sounds as if you handled it incredibly well.
Thanks Kate, Carol and Sarsfield. Your comments made my cheeks glow! How very kind of you all I really appreciate you taking time to reassure me. Its so hard sometimes especially when we are all hurting so much inside..
All the best to you all, Ruth xx
I think you handled it just right, sounds like they got exactly what they needed from the conversation. Its very hard at such a young age to know how much information to give but it sounds like guided by them you got it spot on. Seems like they may have picked up on things and been curious and like any good mum you reassured them with just the right words.
Just before Christmas we lost a very close friend and my 14 year old daughter was devastated, crying every night, after a few nights I asked what was it that was really upsetting her and she replied what would I do if I lost you or dad. My response was hopefully you'd still have one of us and that just because bad things happen to some people it didn't mean that they'd happen to everyone. I couldn't promise nothing would happen to us because no one knows the future but that we can't live our lives waiting for bad things or else we're not really living at all.
Boy did those words come back to haunt me in the New Year. By the end of January I was having tests for breast cancer and by March it was confirmed. Being older, 15 now, we went for the totally honest approach, where she knew everything as soon as we did and thankfully its worked for us.
I know my daughter is older but we never stop needing Mum and Dad, at 44 I know that to be true.
Keep talking like you do and they, and you will do just fine.
As a mother, I can't imagine how unbelievably hard that must have been for you. You're an amazing person - and very brave to share such a private moment. Wishing you all the very best, Val X
As you say, kids always ask the akward questions at the wrong time, they pick up on the vibes..... but everyone has to die sometime, sooner or later. It is no good hiding it from them as if it happened they could well resent it, and you for not being honest.
I think your answers to children that age are all they need at the moment, and they will feel comforted with your reactions.
Thats so moving and so loving - think u had two contented kiddy winks settling down to sleep last nite
hmm, kids are like little radar machines with the abilities to drop you in it, i think you did really really well, dont forget the conversation,they will remember it somewhere down the line, just keep on giving the best explanations that you can for young ones of that age, my daughter is a single parent and my wife and i have helped bring up my grandson,were very close, he was 9 when i was first not well, so my conversations with him on subjects he brought up were a bit different to yours, we have talked about a lot of things and i think i explained them as best i could, he seemed happy enough, but the dreaded question did come up recently, he is now 11, so i think the explanations and understanding, were a lot more in tune. all the best regards to you and the children.
If you have any questions about our organisation our Macmillan team would love to hear from you
You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.
© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
what are these?