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Books for child whose father is dying

(39 Posts)
Granash Sat 14-Jan-17 08:27:22

I would like to hear your recommendations for books. My 50 year old nephew has pancreatic cancer and has been given three months to live. He has a 4 year old daughter. I don't live near enough to visit regularly so I would like to send her a book that will help to get through what she is/will be experiencing. Thanks for your help.

Granash Sat 14-Jan-17 08:32:05

I perhaps should have added "books that her mum and she can read together".

Jayanna9040 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:09:09

Such a sad situation. Other than Grandma's Bill and the Mog book by Judith Kerr I can't name any that deal with death in a way that will help a young child. And neither of those are really appropriate.
Has Mum asked for a book to read with her daughter? People deal with death in different ways.

Jayanna9040 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:14:03

Badgers Parting Gifts. Still not really what is needed but a lovely book.

annsixty Sat 14-Jan-17 09:18:09

Is there no organization local to you or them who deal with cancer patients and their whole families who you could ask. McMillan nurses may be the first point of call.

morethan2 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:30:48

McMillan will know. I have one hidden for when the time comes called water bugs &dragonflies Its is part of the Looking up series It's very short and simple but is meant to be read following the death. I'm sure you'll find what your looking for with one of their publications. In the meantime hold on tight and I wish you and the family the strength to cope during this sad and difficult time. It's not fair is it, it's just not fair.

cornergran Sat 14-Jan-17 09:32:05

Try CRUSE, talk to your local branch or have a look at the website. Many areas have specialist children's counsellors who could advise. So sorry for the situation, very sad. Just one thought, it's an understandable urge to help but if you haven't done so probably best to check with the child's Mum if she is OK with a book arriving and whether she would prefer it addressed to her.

morethan2 Sat 14-Jan-17 09:51:58

Your right cornergran that's an important point. We'd be very upset (well more than upset but I can't think of another word) if my grandchildren received this kind of book. No matter how well intentioned.

Swanny Sat 14-Jan-17 10:01:23

I know of a couple of organisations that may be able to help - Child Bereavement UK and Winston's Wish. I'm sure there are others too. My best wishes to all facing this distressing situation x

paddyann Sat 14-Jan-17 10:37:29

Tear Soup ,might be good for her mum to read to her,it just explains that everyone grieves differently and that the "ingredients" for tear soup vary .Its a very nice picture book ,recommended to me by a lovely youn GP when my dad died,my son was only 5 and a half I would think its available on Amazon

grannypiper Sat 14-Jan-17 14:52:47

Laura's star by klaus Baumgart is very gentle, more about loss than death.

Christinefrance Sat 14-Jan-17 16:39:15

Having been in this situation with my grandchildren Grannash, I would leave it unless you are asked to help. Do let the family know you are thinking of them and offer to help if needed. Families have different ways of dealing with loss and your way may not be what they want or need right now,.

Nelliemoser Sun 15-Jan-17 08:44:42

Granash Contact this organisation Winston's wish. Child bereavent is what it's all about.

It will work if you copy and paste it.

I keep getting messages from my Firefox browser that "a security feature will not bring up the link on here" because the site is not properly configured. It might work on other browsers.

janetmaile Sun 15-Jan-17 09:33:14

I agree with Christinefrance. My son and daughter-in-law's baby died in the womb, at a stage where it would have survived if born alive. I felt I could not grieve properly unless I had some details, and wanted to attend the cremation service, but they did not want to talk about it and did not invite anyone to go with them to the funeral. Granash, I suggest you ask your nephew and his wife what help they would like. Sometimes the best thing we can do is keep silent, however difficult that is.

Marion58 Sun 15-Jan-17 09:39:00

As mentioned McMillan are very supportive and offer services whereby the children are supported during the final weeks, both as a family and individually - whatever mum and dad think will help.

My friend's 3 children were young when their dad was diagnosed as terminally ill. He was very brave and wrote individual letters to all of them to be read after his death and directed his humanist burial too. As had been said everyone deals with death differently. My daughter passed away 16 years ago and I still can't face looking at her photos and never will.

ajanela Sun 15-Jan-17 09:41:51

I agree with Christinefrance. The parents will be given information on various organisations who can support them at this time. There is a small survival rate for pancreatic cancer and I expect everyone still has hope for this little girl. Only send a book after discussing it with the parents and make that conversation very tactful.

CaliBoingo Sun 15-Jan-17 09:58:03

I'm so sorry for the pain you and your loved ones are going through. Your concern truly shows what a caring person you are! Have you heard of Grief Encounter? It's a bereavement charity for children. Martin Lewis, the money saving expert, is a patron (at age 12, he lost his mother). They may be able to help.

Chrishappy Sun 15-Jan-17 10:45:00

As suggested, 'Waterbugs and dragonfliies' is a wonderful book. Simple to understand and beautifully told for young children to get to grips with.

Glamdram Sun 15-Jan-17 10:49:35

I'm so dreadfully sorry for all of your family who Re hVing to deal with this terrible situation.

My husband died 20 years ago very tragically..leaving me at the Age of 38 with 2 small children aged 4 and 8 .......with all the will in the world we got through......friends rallied was quite an awful time . My thoughts are that your local CRUSE group would be able to help talk through with you in areas that you could help your nephews family .
My suggestion is that constant contact from you to them...especially the wife and son would probably be more welcome than maybe a book at this calls etc....
Don't forget the wife, as well as the child will be having to prepare themselves for what's to come.
It's a very sad and upsetting time for all.
My thoughts are with you at this very sad time .

annifrance Sun 15-Jan-17 10:50:15

Granash, how awful, but take hope that progress in the treatment of pancreatic cancer will give him a bit longer than three months. I know two people who are now not suffering from this abysmal type of cancer. One was given three months two years ago, but has responded to chemo and is doing an 18 hole round of golf every week, travelling abroad for a week at a time. Obviously it takes its toll but she chunks life down into positive manageable time scales. the other is my daughter's DMiL, it is only 6 months ago that she got the diagnosis and has responded to treatment, did Christmas Lunch (with some help), talking about a holiday abroad and has given a normal life span. If it's two years then so be it, but hopefully 5.

Keep hoping and thinking positive. I can't help with books, but the previous posters have some good ideas, when the time comes for my DGCs to face this with their other gran then I shall refer back to GN.

Flossieturner Sun 15-Jan-17 11:00:27

I don't think you should send the book. People need to process these things at their own pace. If it arrives,the child sees a parcel, asks what it is, you could put the mum in a very difficult situation.

cathymum Sun 15-Jan-17 11:03:56

I agree with Christinefrance and others, you and your family have been dealt a terrible blow and my heart goes out to you. Could your idea of sending a book stem from your own grief and feelings of helplessness? I think as mum's and grandparents our instinct is always to try to make things better when our family is in difficulty and to do something practical gives us the feeling of having some control over the situation.It is ok to feel scared and grieve, if you need help you could contact the McMillan help line to get some support. I will be thinking about you flowers

Annierose Sun 15-Jan-17 11:05:39

I would hope that they are in touch with one of the fantastic organisations that help families & children through bereavement. As the names vary with locality, it would be good to find out. There are usually specialist nurse and psychologists who offer help to the family, including a reading list.
However, my own favourite for this age group is The Snowman- both the book & film. Because the book has no words, the grown-up and child can talk about what is happening (neither does the film, but of course moves at its own pace).
It allows a small child to absorb what they need to at their own pace. It does not give a specific message that a child may have difficulty understanding (especially time scales at age 4) so it can be generally useful.
It is a nice way to let them know you are thinking of them.

I was interested to see that the Bear Hunt film on this Xmas added in a gentle message about missing someone.

Yorkshiregel Sun 15-Jan-17 11:07:12

God NO! Do not send a book to a 4 year old. How is she supposed to cope with that? She would think it was a nice present. You mean well I know but a letter would be better, to her Mum, not the child. Mum will talk to the child in her own time, in her own way. You should just be there to support them both when it is needed. Offer to give them a break at your house or something but no, not a book. Who would read the book to her? Her Mum? No, that would be cruel imo although sent with the best of intentions.

Such sad news and I am so sorry for you all.

tinkerbelle Sun 15-Jan-17 12:08:32

Water bugs and dragonflies is an excellent book for explaining death to children, such a tragic and distressing time for all concerned.
Maybe send the book to the mum who can read it first to ensure it is what she wants for her daughter. It may also help the mum, sometimes the simplest is the best.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the family.