How Do You Tell The Children That They Will Be Orphaned? The Drama Of A Mother Who Had Little Time To Say Goodbye To Her Kids
October 1, 2018 18:52 By Fabiosa
Imagine a single mother having to tell her children that she has little time left to live and that they will be left alone in the world. No doubt, it is really difficult to imagine such situation unless you’re experiencing it.
This drama is something that Samantha McConnell had to live through! She is on the final stage of cancer, and a few weeks ago she was looking for a way to tell the sad news to her children: five-year-old Grace and two-year-old Rory.
Samantha McConnell was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and her life immediately turned upside down. She began the race against time. With the knowledge of imminent death, she has tried to send positive messages to her children.
The worst part of this story is that Grace and Rory were born in the result of fertility treatment. So, there are only three of them in this world. Soon, one of the family members will leave the other two completely alone.
The 46-year-old woman was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer – the most lethal form of the disease (since it can remain undetected for years). She didn’t feel the symptoms until the disease progressed a lot. After the tests, the illness was discovered to have already spread to the liver and lymph nodes.
After receiving the devastating verdict, Samantha started preparing her children to live without her. She prepared boxes with presents, gifts for future birthdays, and a lot of teddy bears.
Soon, Samantha had to share the news. While lying on a hospital bed, she was straightforward:
I said I had cancer. Grace started crying and asked: 'Does that mean you’re going to die, Mama?' I said yes and told they would live in London with their aunt and would have a great time.
She massaged my hand and said, 'Mommy, is this going to make cancer go away?'
If your eyes have already welled up with tears, imagine what mother felt when she heard this. Samantha tried to make it clear to Grace that she would be fine and at peace:
That night, we were looking at the stars when she said she would like to live forever. Every now and then, she says she doesn’t want me to die.
Samantha said that Rory knows something is happening, but he is too young to understand.
After Samantha leaves, her babies will move from their house in Lincoln to London.
The mother has constantly been asking for strength from God to be able to give a few more best moments of joy to her children before the end. If this isn’t love, what else can it be?
How to tell your children that you have a serious illness
Terminal illnesses frighten adults no less than children. How do you tell your kids what’s going on? It won’t be easy, but it’s important that they know everything about you.
First of all, don’t let anything interrupt the conversation. Each child reacts in a specific way, and it takes time to deal with the emotions.
Use words they will understand and don’t mention the medical details; be careful to explain terms they can often hear because of the disease and let them ask questions. Answer all of them.
Don’t hide your feelings. It is important that you know that the child has noticed your real attitude. It will help both of you feel good.
How to talk about death with the little ones?
You must have heard that "the grandma went to heaven" and "the kitten turned into a star" are the best explanations. However, do they help the child deal with death?
It is good when the child knows the life cycles without euphemisms: people are born, grow up, live, and die.
If someone close to you has died and you don't know how to explain it to your child, first let them understand what death means. You don’t have to hide anything or invent stories. The more honest you will be, the easier it will be for a kid to understand. Act similarly to how Samantha explained it to Grace.
Don’t hide your suffering; don’t hide you will be missing them. Encourage the child to express their feelings as well. Never exclude the child from the conversation and always make it clear that they won’t be alone and there will always be someone for them.
Eventually, Samantha did exactly what she had to do with her kids, even though it was a very difficult mission.
What about you? Have you already had to explain death to your kids? Share your experience in the comments.