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Old 05-04-2018, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Tucson
125 posts, read 109,553 times
Reputation: 393

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Ken, you have my deepest sympathies. I can only imagine how hard all of this is to deal with.

Is there a trusted guidance counselor at the school your 12-year-old goes to? They might have advice about how to deal with this.

I hesitate to give any advice because I am not a parent and have not been in a situation quite like this before, but I'll say a couple of things nonetheless. I do agree with those who say that you should not try to hide it from her--unless, perhaps, she has mental health issues, too (I might have missed something in the discussion). Because realistically you can't guarantee she will not be told, please consider determining what the best, gentlest way for her to learn this tragic news will be and then doing that. It surely won't be easy, and there will be no way to protect her from the pain. But if you don't do this, she is certain to learn it in an even more harmful manner, out of your control.

You clearly care for your daughters.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:14 PM
 
6,103 posts, read 3,041,208 times
Reputation: 9516
Based on what I've read thus far:

It's still not certain how this occurred, despite what you've seen throughout your life. There is absolutely no reason to breach the subject matter at this time. You can assume, and maybe be entirely correct, that this is a suicidal act. With the absence of words from your Dad's mouth or a note/letter regarding this incident, at this time this should not be a compelling reason for you to discuss suicide.

But, with that being said, the flip side is when your kids have approached you and specifically inquired about suicide with this incident. If so, then in my opinion it's time to put on the real hard teacher hat on top of the parent hat and go to work. Once asked, the ball is in your court. We need to have no fear teaching our kids, for I believe that is part of the problem in society today. Fear wins out over difficult teaching situations so many times, and I'd be a hypocrite (liar) if I said that never happened to me. If it's been put on the table in front of you, then I feel you have no other choice but to dig in.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,436 posts, read 15,849,423 times
Reputation: 38608
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobodysbusiness View Post
Can't believe how many people think you should go into the gruesome details. It is not necessary.

Just remember him well - what was good about him and share that with your family. When he is gone, nothing is going to bring him back. You do not have a "duty" to share his private medical history with your family.
Of course, you should emphasize the love that he had for his family and remember the good times.

But, if the father died (as an example) from colon cancer wouldn't you tell his children and grandchildren how he died so that they would get regular colonoscopies to help prevent them from dying from the same disease? You would not be ashamed or embarrassed to share that information with them. And, I am sure that you would do the same with other illnesses. How is this any different?

(BTW, there is a reason that I mentioned colon cancer. My FIL died from complications connected to colon cancer but his wife, my MIL, never shared that with her son, my husband. So when my husband was asked at a check-up, when he was 50 years old, if he had a history of colon cancer in his family he said "No" and the doctor told him that he could wait until he was 55 to have a colonoscopy. At age 54 my husband was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and nearly died several times during the year that he was fighting cancer. The doctors told him that if he had a colonoscopy at age 50 it would have only been in the very, very earliest stage and would not have been life threatening).

The 12 year old daughter already knows that her grandfather has had life long depression and previous suicide attempts and is now asking legitimate questions. I have recommended that the OP discuss this with someone familiar with suicide and children to get their expert opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emm74 View Post
just because your sister isn't willing to live her life according to your terms doesn't make her a bad person. but that's off topic for this parenting question. In this case, the relevance of your sister is that she and her children will know the truth about your father's suicide which means that sooner rather than later (and likely sooner if your children spend time with their cousins) your daughters will find out too.

And frankly, I think wanting to keep it secret means you are the one stigmatizing suicide and making it seem as if it's something shameful, something to be embarrassed about.
It's not. It's a very tragic expression of your father's depression. It's sad, not shameful.

Last edited by germaine2626; 05-04-2018 at 07:32 PM..
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:45 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,502 posts, read 8,704,650 times
Reputation: 20786
Ken, first let me express my heartfelt sympathy to you. I am so sorry to learn that you are going through this. I do not believe this is the time and place to air your grievances with your mother and sister. Focus on your own family. I agree with a previous poster who suggested that you report the physical effects of his overdose by saying simply that his heart or respiratory system failed as a result of taking too much of his prescribed medication at once. There will be time to tell them the rest of the story later.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:57 PM
 
7,794 posts, read 3,796,038 times
Reputation: 26841
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
The 12 year old daughter already knows that her grandfather has had life long depression and previous suicide attempts and is now asking legitimate questions. I have recommended that the OP discuss this with someone familiar with suicide and children to get their expert opinion.
Actually, I think the older daughter knows the history and is asking questions. Not the 12 year old.

It seems the OP doesn't think the 12 year old is mature enough yet to process that information. It seems he thinks the older daughter is mature enough, but that she will tell the younger sister.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,436 posts, read 15,849,423 times
Reputation: 38608
Quote:
Originally Posted by hertfordshire View Post
Actually, I think the older daughter knows the history and is asking questions. Not the 12 year old.

It seems the OP doesn't think the 12 year old is mature enough yet to process that information. It seems he thinks the older daughter is mature enough, but that she will tell the younger sister.
You are right, I misread, I thought that the oldest daughter was 12 and the OP was concerned about her younger sibling.

It is a very difficult time for the OP. I really wish you and your entire family well.
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:00 PM
Status: "be kind." (set 15 days ago)
 
2,667 posts, read 3,872,048 times
Reputation: 6211
I would tell them the truth. 'Grandpa took too many of his pills and his heart stopped'. If they ask is he did it on purpose you say it is possible that he did.

I would rather tell them the truth now that have it backfire later.
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:34 PM
 
226 posts, read 76,610 times
Reputation: 519
So sorry for your loss.

The truth is overrated. Sometimes a parent's lie is easier than a child's feeling of abandonment.

Don't dwell on how he died. Say the doctors aren't sure, they are doing more tests.

BTW, I've lied to my adult children when they were teenagers. They knew I was lying. In fact, it was a relief to them. Never been any backfire. Children know when a parent is trying to protect them.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:08 PM
 
226 posts, read 76,610 times
Reputation: 519
If it helps, I have a sister-in-law from h-e-double hockey sticks. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have similar self-centered personalities. I've often wondered if it is genetic personality trait rather than a learned environmental behavior or a choice.

I would not be surprised if you and your father had similar personality genes and your sister and mother share different genes.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:28 PM
 
Location: The analog world
15,502 posts, read 8,704,650 times
Reputation: 20786
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotteborn View Post
I would tell them the truth. 'Grandpa took too many of his pills and his heart stopped'. If they ask is he did it on purpose you say it is possible that he did.

I would rather tell them the truth now that have it backfire later.
I agree with this. If they ask, just tell them that it's possible but it could also have been a tragic mistake. While nobody really knows for certain, what you do know is that he took more medication than he should have and that it caused his death.
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