Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 27
Anyone who would hide this type of information from their adult child is a complete, total, unrelenting, unforgivable A$$HOLE.

I'm not necessarily agreeing with the parents on this one (it drove me nuts when mine hid these things from me), but try to look at it from their perspective:

1. you are very sick
2. you are trying to go thru your own emotions
3. you may be trying to hold onto some hope -- however tenuous -- that there's a chance for survival/prolonged life
4. you may know that your kids have important and/or stressful things going on in their own lives -- when is the right time to add to that stress?
5. you may not want to be constantly dealing with others' questions and suggestions
6. you may want to minimize the drama you have to deal with from others' reactions

When my mom was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed her, my parents waited over a month to tell me even though the rest of the family already knew. I had a trip planned to come visit them and the parents wanted to tell me in person -- even though we talked on the phone several times a week. So I walked in the door expecting a nice visit and ended up going thru my own shocked/crying/denial/questioning the treatment plan (why no second opinion?!)/realization that this was probably "it" for Mom. I went thru my own period of anger about how they kept me in the dark and also told the 6 siblings not to tell me. Mom told me she wanted to be with me when I found out -- for MY sake.

The parents said that they were already dealing with a dozen calls every time after she had a test or treatment and they found it exhausting. EVERYBODY wanted to know EVERYTHING right NOW. Most of the time all they could do is answer "I don't know" and then have to deal with the caller's reaction. They reached a point where all they did was deal with the cancer -- there was no normal life, few small pleasures, and almost constant phone calls from family, friends, neighbors, church members, coworkers.

My mom and dad said if they had it to do over again, they would have kept it quieter in the beginning until they knew something more definite. It is amazing how much energy it takes to deal with sympathy and concern from others over your own illness -- even when they mean well! During the course of the disease, mom was hospitalized a couple times; when dad reported about it he was positive and said it wasn't too bad. I found out later that she had to be resuscitated once. I think he just couldn't deal with the inevitable loss that these episodes pointed to.

I hope that your friend doesn't decide to take this out on her mom. It is very easy to find a target for your anger, so you don't have to deal with the reality of your grief. Under these circumstances, the parents may have been doing what they felt was best for everybody in the balance -- including themselves. Is it okay to be a little selfish on your own behalf when you are dying? I hope so.

Best wishes to your friend and her family during this difficult time. As her BFF, you could probably help her best by not fanning the anger/hurt and by trying to help her move thru the experience at her own pace. You can never know what is truly in someone's mind as they approach thier own death. Parents still believe they are doing their best to protect and care for their children even when the children are old and grey themselves.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.