how to deal w/ death of family friend

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2005
how to deal w/ death of family friend
5
Fri, 10-09-2009 - 3:53pm

So I have no idea what to do.... thoughts, ideas, opinions.... TIA for reading!

My mom has a good friend (a much older man) whom she has become over the years his best friend and has really been there for him much more than his own children and family have been. He is sick and has decided to just be done with it all and they have disconnected all machines and he is quitting his dialysis; all of this at the recommendation of the Dr.'s due to quality of life issues if he were to continue them. He LOVES N and has always loved visiting and seeing him and he has been to all of N's birthdays and such and when my mom was babysitting N he would come over at least once per week to see N.

I am struggling with whether or not I should take N to the hospital to see him.. My mom said he is not 'sick looking' so it shouldn't scare him but is N too young to say 'good bye'? I don't want to shelter N but at the same time I just don't know if he is too young for this all or if I can even do this on my own (husband is out of town til Sunday).

I was not particularly fond of the guy personally (just for things I didn't really care for) but he was great to my mom and Noah?

sigh........ Advice?




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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2005
Fri, 10-09-2009 - 5:06pm

Did Noah visit you in the hospital when you had A? If he did well then, I'd take him in for a visit. You don't need to explain all the death and dying, just say you're going for a visit to cheer him up when he's sick. For Noah, it will be his mom, grandma and someone he knows in a bed, so I don't think it should be too traumatic.

Here's my iffy commentary--If Noah doesn't currently see this friend regularly, I'm not sure you totally need to explain his death at all. You can get by with he's not here, or he's sick, etc, if N asks, since N is young enough to soon forget him. If he's enough of a presence that you will need to explain it to N, I wouldn't do it before the visit since that's a lot to process for a little guy. You can explain that later, when he'll have already had the hospital and sickness process so it's more of a gradual step instead of a big thing he needs to figure out all at once. Again, this is all JMHO, but that's what would be going through my head if I was considering taking Owen.

If Noah was weirded out visiting you at the hospital, then I'd skip the visit and send a card or drawing from Noah with a photo. Either way, it seems like a nice thing to do for a man who's dying, whether you personally like him or not.

Could you drop A with your grandparents or Cheryl while you do the visit? That would make it easier for you, I imagine. Sorry for the tough situation, especially with A out of town. ((hugs))


Avatar for indy_baby
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2005
Sat, 10-10-2009 - 12:57pm

I like Amie's advice a lot! It's a kind gesture and would bring a little light into the man's last days. Totally agree that I'd make it a friendly visit rather than a last goodbye, and a relatively brief visit at that.


Good luck, and let us know what you do and how things go. So sorry for your mom's loss of her dear friend.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2005
Sat, 10-10-2009 - 1:00pm

Thank you two VERY much! I talked with DH and then my mom and we decided last night not to take him up to the hospital as he was at that point on morphine and hallucinating and not really aware of who was there or not and so he wouldn't know that we were there likely and certainly wouldn't remember us being there. I feel like it was the right decision. I was going to make a card or picture today as I thought that was a great idea as well but he passed this morning.

Thank you again for your input... such a hard time at this age as they are so aware yet unable to understand everything!




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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 10-17-2009 - 12:12am

I'm sorry to hear he passed away. Our ducklings are at a difficult age where it can be hard for them to understand large concepts. Nathaniel has been to several funerals, 2 of those were our grandparents who died in Dec. I, personally, think it's a natural part of living & teaching my kids the importance of human life when we go to a funeral as a family. It teaches them respect & compassion for the family. Again, that's my personal stance on it.

Hugs to your mom!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2005
Sat, 10-17-2009 - 1:11am

Tiffany,

I agree with your stance. If there had been a funeral I would have taken him and used that opportunity to teach like you said. We have been very fortunate to not have to take Noah to any funerals at this point.

Thanks for your input, as it makes me feel better about how I would have handled the funeral situation if it were to arise.




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