Bereavement advice for toddlers

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  • 13 subscribers

Seeking advice/guidance for my wife /son & daughter-in-law how to explain to my 3yr old granddaughter I have terminal bowel cancer which has now spread to my brain.

  • Dear  ,

    Thank you for getting in touch. I'm so sorry to hear that your illness is now terminal and has spread. I completely understand that you would like advice and guidance in trying to explain this to your granddaughter, especially at such a young age so I hope I can provide some information which may help support you and your family when having these discussions.

    May I ask if you have looked at our website please? This contains a wealth of information and links to support services that are there specifically to support children who are affected by cancer, and bereavement if needed, so please find the link to this page below:

    Macmillan - Talking to children

    We also have some booklets which may help support conversations about your illness with your granddaughter so I have attached these below for you too:  

    Talking  to  children  and  teenagers  when  an  adult  has  cancer

    Preparing a child for loss

    Receiving a terminal diagnosis can be so difficult and it's only natural to think of your family's needs first, particularly when there are children involved. However you don't mention in your message how you are feeling about your prognosis  so please know that we are here at Macmillan to support you too. We also have a team of cancer information nurses here who you can chat to from a medical perspective about your illness and prognosis too if you feel this may help? If so, then please know that you can chat to a nurse by using the ‘Ask a Nurse’ option on the online community or you can call our freephone support line 0808 808 00 00  and press option 1 then 3 to speak to that  team.  Their opening hours are 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

    I really hope this information is helpful. And please do remember we are here for emotional support too as we understand how difficult a situation like this can be so do get back in touch if you have any questions or need further support.

    Take care,

    Marie S - Macmillan

    Cancer Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.

  • Marie, thank you so much for the prompt response & highlighting the appropriate links. We shall certainly digest the content & discuss a suitable approach when raising these issues with the “light of my life”, my beautiful granddaughter Penny. As for me, I’m fine, “Terminal” is only a word & absolutely not my mindset, I’ve always been stubborn! With the support of my loving wife, 2 grown sons, siblings, wider family & a great circle of friends they collectively see to all my physical & emotional needs. I’m very grateful that they’re in my life.


    I’m also grateful for the support & advice that you & your colleagues provide.

    Kind regards 

    Guh guh