I was 12 when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I over heard them telling my grandma about it one weekend.
2 almost 3 months later they finally told us. I went through hell for those months knowing that this was going on but feeling like I couldn't say anything because I wasn't supposed to know.
Even after we knew he had cancer we weren't told anything. We were never told that the doctors told him even doing chemo wouldn't get rid of the cancer. It would only give him a few extra months.
This was and still is very hard for me because I have so many unanswered questions. My mom has answered some of them, but she still won't open up about other things.
I refuse to do that to my kids. I have told them everything that's been going on with their dad from the beginning. In August 2009 what was supposed to be a doctors appointment at Stanford turned into 2 weeks in the hospital, him coding (the kids were in the room for this), having pacemaker replaced, and shocking him to get his heart out of AFib.
During that time the kids were staying with a friend of ours. I found out that he was telling the kids some off the wall updates. He didn't and still doesn't feel like the kids should know what is really going on.
I didn't agree with this. I was pissed off when I found this out. The kids were in the room when Tin Man coded. They were sitting on the bed with him. They were scared and wanted to know what happened and why it happened. As soon as I knew myself, I told them. I didn't and still don't want them to feel like I'm keeping things from them. I learned the hard way that when our questions aren't answered our imaginations fill in the blanks.
Even now both kids have watched videos of heart transplant with me. We've taken the kids with us to meet the doctors and so they can ask the doctors questions. Both kids have also sat down with the transplant surgeon and had him explain to them the process from start to finish.
This friend still does not agree with this. He thinks we are scaring the kids and they are going to end up needing therapy because of it.
I spent most of my teenage years in therapy trying to deal with the death of my dad and the year leading up to it. I'd rather be open with my kids and them have the truth rather than their imagination's version of the truth.