Gransnet forums


Books for child whose father is dying

(40 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.

hulahoop Mon 16-Jan-17 09:09:22

I was her age when I lost my dad I know children are more aware of things now my memory is I just accepted it I think I missed him more in later life eg when I married . 💐 To you all

Granash Mon 16-Jan-17 08:11:11

Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to reply, and for your kind thoughts. I will take it all on board. You have been very helpful.

shirleyhick Sun 15-Jan-17 19:00:38

My thoughts and prayer are with you at this very sad time.

leemw711 Sun 15-Jan-17 17:56:57

It is really painful helping a small child deal with the loss of a loved one. Following my husband's sudden death, my son told his little daughter, then not quite 3, that Grandad was not here any more but was now a star twinkling in the sky. She is now nearly 4 and each evening she spots the brightest star in the night sky and sings "twinkle, twinkle little star" for him. I sometimes hear her talking to him and I find it really comforting that she still remembers him so well and loves looking at photos of him.

Morgana Sun 15-Jan-17 17:06:55

As someone up thread said a collection of memories is always recommended. Usually called a memory box
Good idea for anyone really.

MargaretX Sun 15-Jan-17 15:07:42

I feel you just have to remain patient until you see how the situation develops. Children accept death sometimes better than adults.

In days gone by there was often someone in the family dying and
although she will be upset she will get over it and forget him.
Its her mother who will need help. I think her little daughter needs space and no expectations on how she should show her grief.She might forget and play and sing and its hard for the others grieving but is natural reaction from someone so young

Pamish Sun 15-Jan-17 14:57:31

For all kinds of difficult 'issues', including bereavement, Letterbox Library has a very good list. They are a mail order company that's being going for 30 + years. Set up as a kitchen table venture by two mums who could not find the books they wanted. All books are tested on a range of readers including children.

Please don't use their list for research and then order from Ama*on, that's what is bankrupting so many small booksellers and so minimising choice.

Kim19 Sun 15-Jan-17 14:19:11

I'm totally with janetmaile. Offer them any support they might choose from you then butt out graciously if nothing particular is requested.

grandMattie Sun 15-Jan-17 13:47:46

Any mention of Michael Rosen's "book of Sad"? He wrote it for small/young children after his own 17 year-old son died suddenly overnight of ASDS. It is beautifully illustrated, and in inimitable Rosen style, very apt.
But I do agree with other posters that you shouldn't just send the book - either send it to the parent/s or ask first.

Sheilasue Sun 15-Jan-17 13:28:36

So sad to hear your story I noticed that someone has already mentioned cruse. When my son died they were amazing and helped not just us but our gd. Go on line and look at the information.
Please accept my condolences.

Lewlew Sun 15-Jan-17 13:01:42

I would collect things, such as photos or mementos you have and assemble them for the future when she's older and asks about what he was like when younger. She may truly appreciate those some day. She is so young right now, her memories will only likely be of the immediate situation.

A real photo album/scrapbook is well worth collecting/assembling. I actually like to 'scrapbook digitally' and did one and printed it A3 size for my dad's 90th BD. We also displayed it at his funeral where so many got to see his life's story.

My heart does go out to you and your family at this sad time. flowers

Jalima Sun 15-Jan-17 12:54:16

I really feel for you all but, as others have said, I think you need to discuss it with your nephews wife before sending anything.
I agree

It is up to her mummy how she explains things to the little girl.

I am so sorry for all of you.

craftynan Sun 15-Jan-17 12:50:05

It is a lovely thought, but do you know for certain that the little one knows what is gong on? Some people prefer not to tell a child until later in the illness. I really feel for you all but, as others have said, I think you need to discuss it with your nephews wife before sending anything.

Anya Sun 15-Jan-17 12:42:54

Not a book Granash though it's a kind thought.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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.

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.