Did we do the right thing?

When my mum was fit and well, she always said she wouldn’t want to know if she was dying. She was so active and full of life, even after a fall, which left her unable to walk, she still did almost all the things that made her who she was. Like going to her local dance club, (she just danced in her chair), but still as happy as she always was. When she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, my dad all nine of us children, decided that we wouldn’t tell her. But she was very intelligent and every now and then, when she came round, she asked, am I dying? Do I have cancer? I think she knew in her heart, but we didn’t tell her. I always feel like I lied to her.

Theresa41, you did the kindest thing. You gave her peace of mind. x

Thanks Daffy. I always think of what I could’ve done or should’ve done. The crazy thing is I tell people all the time, no matter what anyone does when a loved one is dying, they always rehash it in their mind, thinking of things that wish they’d said or done. And I always tell them, u did the best u could in the time that u could. I need to start listening to myself and people like u Daffy. I think if we have told her, she would have been terrified. Not for herself, but for us and Daddy. And she did go very peacefully and said everything she wanted to say, that’s how I think she knew. Ah well, ur still right, she went with peace. Thanks so much Daffy.

I had the same with my mum last Summer. She was a very active independent lady. She was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had already spread. We didnt speak about how aick she was. I asked mum if she wanted to discuss anything and she didnt. I asked the specialist nurse if I should broach it with mum and she just said take your lead from mum. Mum even had the physio round which I couldn’t understand but the nurse explained it was just to give quality of life . Mum kept saying she just wanted to walk again and looked forward to them coming round. Even though she couldn’t stand unaided by this point. I didnt shatter her hope of walk. She knew she was dying but didnt know how long. Even when she was fast tracked at the end to a nursing home I told her she was going there to rest as it would be quieter than the hospitil ward. Ahe seemed to accept rest. I wasnt lying but we never discussed how long she had. It was heartbreaking. Did she know? I dont know. But I gave her chances to talk about anything and she didnt want to. So I just tried to be positive to her about the home move. I didnt realise she would pass only 2 days later. I think now maybe I should have pushed a conversation but I followed her lead as the nurse had advised. I’m glad I did as I maybe didnt lie but maybe gave mum the impression she would be ok for a while. Her passing has broken me. So please dont feel guilty. You spent time with your mum and showed her your love and I’m sure like my mum that was what they wanted. Xxxx

Oh my gosh let me tell you. My mum had a 50 year terrible fear of cancer. When she collapsed and was admitted to the hospital with a chest infection. She kept asking if she was dying. We laughed and said course not. Well 4 days later they told us actually it was cancer she had a week to a few weeks left. I said “please don’t tell her”. They said it’s the right thing to tell her. And they got up walked off and told her. Well let me tell you I never want to see that kind of fear in anyone’s eyes again. It will haunt me til the day i die. She used to cry out in fright at random times. She died two days later. Thank god it was quick. I could never have watched her frightened like that for much longer. And I think the shock killed her. I wish so much she never knew. Why they told her I never will know. But dad agreed with them so I can’t officially complain. But dad doesn’t even remember the conversation!!!

No However when she asked “how long”. I told her I didn’t know. And that the main problem was the chest infection not the cancer (lie). That if she could shift this chest infection then we would take her home (another lie). Anything to try and ease her fear. She never discussed it again with us. But I used to get the Macmillan nurses to go in and talk with her. As I knew she would talk to them. She wouldn’t with us as I knew she wouldn’t want to upset us. But I knew she was in turmoil. But she literally shut down. She made up yer mind that day she wanted to go quick. She refused her antibiotic drinks. Her food. And never wanted her oxygen mask on. She gave up. I tried desperately to act normal. I never cried in front of her. I kept making jokes as if to say all normal here. I tried so hard to undo those consultants words “you have terminal cancer”