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Old 12-30-2010, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,620,437 times
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I have a different take on this matter. Heart disease tends to run in families. I assume your ex was fairly young. If you contiue to let these boys think their father died of a heart attack, you are giving them a burden to worry about for the rest of their lives.

My father died of a heart attack at 57. Ditto for my brother. As I approached my 57th birthday I felt I was living on borrowed time. This has caused me a great deal of worry and anxiety.

Also these boys will have to list cause of death of their parents on every medical and insurance form they fill out. Listing heart attack will possibly cause their insurance premiums to be higher than not. It might impact their ability to get life insurance for the protection of their own families.

The truth is always better than a lie, and a lie is the absence of the full facts.

You could use this as a teaching moment. Tell them their Dad was so broken by addiction that he eventually lost all hope and made the decision he did. This may very well lead them to make better decisions about drinking and drug use for their own lives. They will have first hand experience of the dangers of drugs and can make better plans for their own lives.

Recently we had a dear friend who hanged herself. Our daughter was on the phone with their daughter, Sue, when she discovered her mother's body. She totally lost it and when she found out her mother had attempted suicide in the past Sue was furious at her older sisters who never told her about it. The older sisters decided not to "burden" Sue with the fact their mother suffered from bi polar and extreme depression. Sue was 21 when this happened.

Sue feels that if she had known the extent of her mother's illness, she might have made different choices about what she said to her mother, how she handled arguments, etc. On top of all the grief and shock they all have to deal with guilt.

I personally think a 15 year old boy should know the circumstances of his father's death. Believe me if he finds out from someone other than you -and he very well might- he will be furious at you for keeping this important fact from him. They both need to know and the sooner the better.

Please consider what I have said.

In addition, not telling them or anybody else perpetrates the myth that survivors should feel shame and guilt over the suicide of a loved one. We need to all work on that in every way we can. There should be no shame in being the survivors of a suicide. It reminds me of the shame years ago of having a relative die of cancer. Education is the key.
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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no kudzu, you bring up good points, but they don't need to know NOW, while they are in the throws of teenage hormones and emotions.

And she only just found out by accident. It's possible that she might not have ever learned the truth.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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Are death certificates public records? I'd tell them as gently as possible. I'm with No Kudzu on this one. Plus (once again) in today's world 10 minutes on the computer after they Google their dad's name could result in them finding this out.

Better to be told by someone who loves them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Thanks for the opinions-I hadn't planned on telling them anytime soon.
I was just shocked that the grandmother hadn't told me the truth -I asked her what the cuase of death was and she said heart atatck so i guess I was asking how to approach her and the kids-not the kids anytime soon.
This grandmother doesn't deal with reality very well. Still isn't doing well after the loss of her 2nd husband in June. I feel like i should have been told the truth. My oldest girl has been to therapy this last year -she doesn't need anything else on her plate while trying to deal with college decisions etc.
Noone else knows and I'm sure don't really care sicne this was 1 1/2 years ago.
He was not a part of their life anyway so maybe I just shouldn't tell them -I hope they don't ask to see the death certificate though- we are going Monday to get passports.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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I see no purpose in confronting the grandmother. After the cat is out of the bag, there's no telling what she could do especialy since she's has a few screws loose.

I just don't see any point in talking to the grandmother about it. It would only be for your satisfaction, but you'll be talking to a crazy person so it wouldn't be very satisfying.

If they ask to see the death certificate when getting the passports, tell them you'll show them when you get home. When you show them, explain you just found out yourself.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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I would tell the truth.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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No---- useless to talk to granny about this. she just very well might have convinced herself it was a heart attack by now, especially since you say she can't handle reality well. She is suffering the survivor shame I spoke of earlier. After all it was her son. Imagine the guilt she is feeling.

But these boys will indeed be seeing the death certificates sometimes in their lives. To apply for benefits -are they entitled to survivor benefits from their Dad? And when you die and one of them has to settle your estate, they will need death certificates as well as birth certificates, marriage, on and on it goes. You can't keep it from them forever but I understand you need some time to process this yourself. Perhaps one or both will want a heart to heart about death in general, durg overdoses, suicide, etc. I talked about all those things with my kids from a very early age.

The Dad might not have been a part of their lives but he helped create their lives and he was their Dad, if only in a biological way.

Good luck
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:00 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,620,437 times
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And another thing.....before you know it these kids will be facing college. Didn't you mention you had a daughter in college or facing it?

In order to qualify for financial aid, student loans, etc they will need to have their dad's death certificate. And as they get older, they will have a natural curiosity about their father and his life and death. Reading the death certificate is only natural.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Kansas
19,189 posts, read 14,062,995 times
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I would rather be told face-to-face and have a chance to discuss it rather than order the birth certificate and read "suicide" or even worse, come across someone that knew what happened and confronted me with the information. I would agree that with a drug overdose, it would be difficult to determine if it were suicide though. Would you have an answer to "Why didn't you tell me?" especially after the child was confronted by someone else. Maybe if needed at this point, a counselor could be involved and you could get a handle on it. Secrets are poison.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:00 AM
 
43,012 posts, read 88,958,716 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
In order to qualify for financial aid, student loans, etc they will need to have their dad's death certificate.
That's not true for divorced families. Student loans and financial aid are calculated on the income of the family with custody---the income of the parent and stepparent the child lives with when they turn 18. The nocustodial family's income isn't taken into consideration.
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