Man diagnosed with a terminal illness Asks the Internet on how to tell his little daughter

https://yandex.com/images/

A man took to social media to seek advice after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The 35 -year-old man shared a touching post that he is looking for insight on how to tell his 4-year-old daughter that he is going to die. The number of interactions shared by many users was delightful!

More info: Reddit

Many people expressed their support for the author and shared different insights on how to confront his little daughter, with this brutal fact.

#1

Write letters to her for her mom to give her at various points in her life. Birthdays, christmases, High school graduation, College graduation, wedding, births of children.

Tell your exwife. Then you can tell your daughter together.

A unified front is important here, I think, if for no other reason than your ex will be dealing with this as much as you in your remaining time.

At some point, you'll want to sit her down and prepare her for what your remaining time will look like. Talk about how you'll get sick and what that will look like. She's old enough to understand what you being sick might look like.

#2

If you're familiar with This American Life, listen to the "Parent Trap" episode. It deals with a girl whose mom dies of cancer and has written letters to her to read after her death. It's very insightful, particularly about some of the negative ramifications. It'll give you some good perspective about what to focus on in your letters (or videos). Namely, in the midst of all the advice you want to give her, don't forget to give her the freedom to ultimately be who she wants to be.

#3

I'm of the belief of trying to create reminders. Letters or videos for her 18th birthday, graduation, her wedding, every birthday. Anything else you can think of. Try to let her know the love you have for her won't be extinguished when you are gone. If you can make a video diary for her, that will be given to her later, I'm sure she will appreciate that you spent time speaking to just her, that she can watch repeatedly.

I hope my ideas help, and I'm sorry for your news.

#4

My father died of cancer when I was 4 years old. Even though I saw my father's body before he was cremated and I understood what death was, I didn't understand what grief was. I went through life saying that my father's death didn't bother me because I was so young. In my 20s I was able to start to confront the profound effect it had on my life. Interestingly, losing my father opened up many possibilities in my life. Although, I was denied the experience of my father growing up, I was privileged to have other experiences instead. Honestly, the touch of death at a young age was the biggest gift that I was given in life. It gave me a sense of impermanence and a feeling of the shortness of the time we all have in our own lives.

Now, I have a daughter and I wonder how I would handle things if I knew my death was coming. The biggest things I would do different from what my father did were:

  1. Insist that I go to therapy as a child and in later in life.

  2. Give me a sense of my father's identity and my continuity to him.

  3. Give me a sense of my father letting go and trusting that I would be ok.

If your child is 4 years old, you may not need to bring the subject up until you are within a month of your death (if you can know with any sense of precision). In the meantime, spend as much time with her and let her know that you love her. Get lots of pictures taken.

#5

I've got 2 girls and this broke my heart, I'm sorry for your situation but I admire your resolve and the fact you are putting her first.

Everyone in here has had some great ideas so allow me to throw in my 2 cents.

Start and email account for her and you can send emails and pictures to etc but there is also a site called futureme.org which lets you send emails at a specified time (I've got one coming to myself in about 5 years saying I hope you have sorted your shit out Dave). You could set up a bunch of emails to send on birthdays, Christmas and other occasions. A bit morbid but if you do get a date when you are likely to go out then you could send one for that date every year.

You sound like a great dad, I hope you can enjoy the time you have left.

#6

My niece was 3 when my mom passed away. My niece knew my mom was sick and at the doctor's (hospital). After my mom died, my niece didn't want to go to the doctor or for any of the family to say they were going to the doctor. She thought we wouldn't come home. With that back story, it's really important to explain to your daughter that you don't have a sore throat or an upset tummy that the doctor can fix but something else and the doctor can't fix it. We told my niece that and said that my mom went to heaven and God could make her all better but that meant she couldn't come home.

Oh and I agree with another post, write your daughter letters for birthdays and all the big events, high school graduation, college, first job, marriage, kids. And then write down your life stories, tell her about your childhood, growing up, things from being an adult, etc. so she can remember you and get to know you better as she gets older. Hope this helps!

#7

Write letters to her for her mom to give her at various points in her life. Birthdays, christmases, High school graduation, College graduation, wedding, births of children.

Tell your exwife. Then you can tell your daughter together.

A unified front is important here, I think, if for no other reason than your ex will be dealing with this as much as you in your remaining time.

At some point, you'll want to sit her down and prepare her for what your remaining time will look like. Talk about how you'll get sick and what that will look like. She's old enough to understand what you being sick might look like.

#8

I think introducing her to the concept of death in a gentle way would be a good start. There are childrens' books designed for this (to help young children cope with grief). When you talk about death, compare it to falling asleep etc.

I think it's important to be honest because she will feel pain when you are gone. You cannot protect her from that part. By explaining to her that you are sick and there is nothing anyone can do, she will see that you aren't leaving her on purpose. If she wakes up one day and you are gone, she might feel abandoned etc. Fill your last days with her with love and reassurance, and help her understand that you don't want to leave her. Write a letter, something tangible that she can hold onto when she grows older. She will never forget you, and understand her father loved her.

#9

Telling a child this age may damage her. Maybe just not being there one day may be best and have a letter or few letters and video or multiple videos for her support later when she needs it. Having kids this age i know trying to explain something like this can go horribly wrong because they just arent able to process this stuff yet. So have your goodbye with her but dont fully explain what is happening just make her feel your love so that is what she remembers(love and fun memories). Later on when she has questions and can understand, she can go to the video and letters. Also it sounds like you have an ex. Dispite whatever relationship you have with her now, dont involve her with the letters/videos. Leave these things to her with your parents and also make note of them in your will. Purhaps keep them in a deposit box at a bank that she only has access too. Im sorry you are leaving this world early. Enjoy what you have left and by that i mean you little girl.

#10

I'm the stepdad to a girl who lost her father when she was 6 (so around the time she's projected to lose you) and my fiancé and I agree we should have gotten her therapy. I'm not sure why we didn't at the time, but the next 2 years were brutal to watch her go through. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. We eventually did get her into therapy which did help. Kids can bottle that stuff up and it's not healthy. Get her talking about it while your still alive, no matter how hard that might be for everyone.

And let your wife know it's ok, and healthy, to cry in front of your daughter after your gone. It lets your daughter know it's ok to cry and grieve too. She'll be taking cues from her mom on how to handle this stuff. We didn't cry in front of her cause we thought it would cause her pain, or bring up feelings, and we both feel like that was a horrible mistake in retrospect. Teach her it's ok to feel what she's feeling, and let it out. She'll go through stages of grief, rage, sadness. She may have emotional outbursts that your wife will never see coming, in places you wouldn't expect. To say it would be easy is a profound understatement.

There was a similar thread sometime ago, I don't have the link unfortunately, that brought up the idea of leaving letters/recordings/videos for her after your gone. I was surprised, but the response were a mixed bag. Some people loved it, but some people felt like it was the ghost of their loved one hovering over them, and it made it harder for them to come to any closure and find peace. Some said it was like a scab getting constantly ripped off.

Now I'm not telling you NOT to do it, just some perspective. Before that I would have thought that it was a great idea! Why wouldn't someone want that?! After reading the post it gave me pause. Seems like it's a 50/50 chance it could be received well, or badly.

Here are some ideas if you want to go ahead with it.

1)Maybe talk to your wife and see what she says about it, and see if you guys have a feeling on how your daughter may handle it.

2) Go ahead and make the stuff and have your daughter and wife (or therapist if she's seeing one) talk about how she felt about the experience. Let her know it's ok if it was too painful and she's not comfortable seeing the rest of what you left for her. Let her know if it EVER gets too painful, she can stop, and she shouldn't feel bad about it.

3) If she does want to stop, make sure what you left behind is held on to, and have her mom let her know it's there for her if she ever wants to see/hear/read it. When your daughter is grown up, your wife could give it to her to hold onto. She may want to revisit how she feels at different time in her life. How she takes it in her childhood may be vastly different than how she takes it in adulthood.

Sorry this is long, I just hope you can learn from our mistakes. On the plus side, she has a very healthy relationship with the loss of her father now. She remembers him fondly, and remembers more than O thought she would, which makes me happy. She asks questions from time to time, and yes, she misses him, but she's more at peace with it now. The pain will never completely go away, but it's also made her, partly, who she is today.

I'm so sorry you all have to go through this, and I really hope you read this, and it helps. Wishing you all the best possible outcome in this.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.