My wife and I altered our approach as our son became a teenager. We moved from 'telling him things' to discussing cancer and death' and listening to his concerns.

Becoming a teenager


Initially our young son was content to understand cancer and dying from an adult perspective where there were actions and things that just needed to be done.


As his Mum became more ill, we shared more discussions with him for his opinion and encouraged him to discuss anything with his counsellor. We worked together as a family. His opinion was valued as important. My wife was very concerned that she wanted to grow up to be a young man who was not angry about her death.


We both wanted him, as much as possible, to accept her upcoming death, remember the good times, live without regrets while she was alive. We did not want one drawn out tragic even to define his future life. His counsellor supported him and we had to listen to and respect his concerns even if they did not make sense to either of us, at that time.


As parents, we met with his counsellor to see if there was anything we could do to make his life easier. We both had to open to very upfront feedback about our parenting style too.


The conversation still continues today


His Mum has died now and he reflects back on events and decisions made. We still have conversations about everything that happened, the good, the bad and the ugly things. The conversations about his Mum happen only when it's right. I don't push it. Not every day. We have to let go too.


We have had to let go of all of the traumatic parts of palliative care, cancer, the myriad of hospital visits, pharmacies, dementia, clinics etc.


Now we focus on the funny things about Mum, the crazy things about Mum and how she used to spoil her child when Dad was not around! We smile more now than cry. (Although we do still randomly cry) .


Also, we talk about what she might be doing now wherever her spirit has gone.


My son has read everything that I have posted here. We hide nothing. I wished that my teenager did not have to go through this horrible situation however it has made him a resilient and caring person.


Seriously for both of us, after dealing with palliative care and dementia, day to day life is so much easier these days:


We are both now 'Happy Sad': Sad because we miss her and happy because she is no 

longer in pain.