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How do I tell my kids their uncle is dying from Cancer???

I recently found out my 18 year old brother is dying from cancer. He has lung cancer in both lungs and spinal cancer which will spread. He just turned 18 this February. He and his fiance just had a baby. It is so difficult for me to talk to anyone about it because I can't control my emotions, not with this. I was strong with my Mom because she needed me to be strong when she was breaking down. I have not told my husband what I know yet. I looked on the internet and my little brother's life expectancy is anywhere from a few months to a year. I am so angry because we could have saved his life had a doctor not misdiagnosed him with common broncitis 2 years ago. How can I break this kind of news to a 10 year old, a 7 year old, and a 6 year old. ???? I know it's going to be bad and I am dreading this. I also have a brother in the army overseas in Korea. How do I tell him & can he get early leave to see his bro before he passes?

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Asked by lunarlady at 6:43 AM on Jul. 3, 2009 in Relationships

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Answers (8)
  • I am so sorry this is happening to your family. Tell your husband first, so he can help you with your children. As for your brother in Korea, tell him your other brother is sick and go from there. As for him getting home to spend time with your family, he could check with his first shirt and see if they can help. Check with the USO and red cross. Spend time with your brother and allow him to go through all his feelings. Ease his concerns and give each other strength. Again I am so sorry that your family is going through a tough time.


    Answer by pnwmom at 6:52 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • I agree tell your DH first, then just be gentle with your kids but honest. I am not one to hide death from a child. Its a part of life, even though for those left behind, it sucks. They don't need to know all the medical details at this point, but give them what they can understand at their levels. You may want to tell them separately as a 10 year old understands more, and may be closer to your brother than the younger ones are. My g-grandfather whom we lived with died of Lung cancer and I was about 10 or 11 and my sister was about 7 or 8, we knew he was dying and we knew from what. It didn't scare us, we had questions, but mom answered those honestly. I was old enough to know that people could fight it, and wondered why he wasn't, those kinds of things. My sister wanted to know how had gotten it, if she could get it, etc. If you hide it they might be afraid to be around him, due to him being sick or how he looks, etc.

    Answer by Lesli at 10:14 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • Hugs and prayers for your family. It will be difficult on everyone, but enjoy all the good memories you have and can still make. You may want to start a scrapbook about your brother, because those memories will fade over time. Or help him start one, especially recording things that his child might want to know. Ask what stories he would like you all to remember and share later. Its hard to talk about, but important. Don't wait until he's too ill to ask.

    Answer by Lesli at 10:21 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • Very seldom am I at a loss for words but this one knocked me for a loop. I wasn't prepared for him to be so young. I'm not military so not sure what to even say about that. I know the Red Cross flies some folks home for things but not sure what all they bring soldiers home for. You could call them and ask. My mom died of lung cancer and we made each day with her as good as we could. We laughed and joked and had a great time even up to the day she died. She was lucky as the cancer went to her brain and ate through her pain center so she felt no pain. She was up trying to learn Tae Bo kick boxing 3 days before she died. She was weak and only 89 lbs but she gave it her best shot! My sister and I took turns with her so she was never alone but sometimes we had to walk away and do our crying. She was a great person to know in this lifetime. I'm sure your bro is as well. Just tell the kids what's up and enjoy his last days together.

    Answer by admckenzie at 10:35 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • I am sorry that this is happening to your family. When my nephew died is was sudden. My youngest was four at the time and I had several older than her, each two years older then the next. Of course, this being sudden there was a lot of visible emotions. When my sister died a year later everyone knew it was going to happen and the children were in on what was going on. Please do not try to hide this from your children. They will know that something is up and will wonder about it. Also, they need time and patience to deal with all of their emotions also. Be there for them.

    Answer by momtoeight at 11:19 AM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • First of all very very sorry for the diagnosis but I am certain your brother can get a pass to come home, the sooner you tell him the better. The kids , I do not know if you have already explained the concept of death to them , I also do not know your beliefs but if they are christian just explain to them that their uncle is very sick and when he dies that the is going to heaven explain that it is a beautiful, peace ful place where he will not be sick anymore. He will run ,play, laugh and be strong and they will be with him again one day.

    Answer by my2kids312 at 1:12 PM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • When my mother was about to start her chemo for breast cancer 2 years ago, I had to explain to my then 5 year old that Nannie had CANCER. I never used the word SICK because I was told that would make children afraid of getting sick with a cold, tummy ache, splinter, etc. Honesty is the best policy. I had my daughter color in a journal when I could tell she was having a bad day seeing her Nannie not feeling good. When my mom went bald, their were slick headed barbies all over our house. Of course I didn't get mad considering we have also had one legged barbies after a little girl with a prosthetic leg came into my daughters class room. Children are stronger than we think and honesty is the best with them. You may be surprised and find that they are your strongest support system. Let them express themselves to you and always listen.

    Answer by Mrs.Phillips007 at 5:01 PM on Jul. 3, 2009

  • I've always been an upfront person. My dad died from lung cancer A year ago and when I found out I told my daughter who was 13 at the time. She cried and I took her to the hospital to see him he lasted about 8 months after we all found out. I say the best thing is to be upfront and real with everything don't try to sugar coat it. People will cry and be upset then everyone will come together and support eachother. it is a mixture of emotions that I can't even begin to explain. especially since me and my dad weren't that close but him and my daughter were tight. she sometime tell me that he was lecturing her while she was sleeping.

    Answer by godsgrace1 at 8:24 PM on Jul. 3, 2009

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