My son's friend from the hospital passed yesterday...

I can’t believe how hard this is hitting me; I didn’t know her very well - I had seen her numerous times, but my ex had a lot more contact with her and her family than I did. The few times I did have contact with her were a joy, though - she was very sweet, very upbeat.

Riley sure liked her, that’s for sure. They were diagnosed around the same time, both had the same type of cancer, both were the same age. Odds were that when Riley was in the hospital, she would be in the room next door. They became friends and playmates during those tough neutropenic times when they couldn’t play with other kids who weren’t in the same condition. They were quite the pair as the Prince and Princess of the local cancer charity, riding in the parade in their best clothes and little crowns.

Alas, though diagnosed around the same time, they caught her leukemia a good bit further along than when they caught it in Riley. She had a real rough time with treatment - I never saw her with hair in the past year that I had known her. This last month, things got worse - they hit it with the hardest, most aggressive chemo treatment they could, but it did nothing. She as scheduled for a bone marrow transplant on Friday, but they canceled it at the hospital - her body was just too weak to undergo the treatment. They sent her home with hospice. Yesterday she passed.

My ex and I have jointly agreed not to tell Riley about it, not yet. He’s a sharp kid - he is very aware of what he has and the fact that she had the same thing as him. Right now, his positive attitude and strength of spirit is one of the things the doctors think has helped him battle this condition so well - and we don’t want to weigh him down with thoughts of his own mortality. Even his doctor thinks it best that we not bring it up yet, but we all know that it will likely eventually come up. He’s going to notice that the room next door is empty, or that some other child is there that isn’t her. Again, he’s sharp. Neither of us know how we are going to deal with that, but we’ll cross that bridge when we reach it.

I’ve been on the verge of tears all night, barely slept, and continue to find myself feeling weepy about this…and it feels ridiculous. I hardly knew her! And kids die every day - its unfair, it sucks, but its life. But my little boy loved her, the way little kids love all their friends. And my heart breaks for him, even though he may not know for a while what has happened.

And a part of me feels guilty for thinking, thank Og it wasn’t him. I don’t know why my son thrives and soars through his treatments when other kids have it so rough, but I am thankful for it. I know that’s natural - it’s perfectly alright to be happy that my boy has it relatively easy, but for some reason, my heart hurts to think that.

I don’t know what the arrangements will be for her funeral, or how to handle all that. It seems wrong, somehow, to not do something for them, to not try and be supportive in what I know, what I feel in every part of my being, has to be the hardest thing they will ever face. But I don’t know how to face them, these relative strangers, to tell them how sorry I am for their loss, while my boy lives and thrives and remains strong.

I’ve rambled enough…I guess I just needed to get this out.

Woeg, my sympathies and hugs for you and your son - I’m so very sorry!

That’s very sad news, Woeg, and I’m not surprised it’s hitting you hard. I am very sorry for your family and hers, and I think you’re probably right not to tell Riley right now.

Cancer *sucks *:frowning:

If there’s a way to get their funeral arrangements, though, I do think you should let him know in time to attend. Even if they only seemed to be acquaintances, he should be allowed to say goodbye. I think he’ll resent it later on if you try to shield him from this forever.

Oh I’m so sorry.


Her poor parents and your poor little son.

I worry the same, Rachellelogram - I’ll have to have a serious talk about it with his mom tonight. Right now, I’m not even sure they are doing an open ceremony - they requested privacy when they went into hospice and asked others to please not intrude even with condolences. Whether that will change now that she has passed, we don’t know yet.

Sounds like you are in communication with the family. I would think just asking “would it be better for YOU if we came or we did not come?” might be a good idea. Funerals are for helping those close to the dead deal. They are certainly closer than you and I would say their wishes should get first priority. If you don’t go you can certainly express your feelings and support in other ways.

My condolences for a generally crappy situation all around.

Oh my… Many hugs for you, your son, and anyone affected by this.

How old is your son? IMO if he’s school-aged or older, you’re doing him a disservice by cheating him out of his grieving for his friend. HE KNOWS he’s mortal, he’s been facing it since his diagnosis. Tell him! Even if her parents don’t want you at her funeral, he can still properly grieve for her.

I think Riley just turned six.

He did just turn six - he is school aged, but has yet to actually attend school for more than a couple of weeks total, having spent his entire kindergarten year home-bound, save for a few days a week in the last part of this past school year.

He is sharp though, and more and more, I think he should know what happened. Unfortunately, his mother is the type that, once she decides something, it is quite near impossible to change her mind on it. I will try and talk to her nonetheless, though I fear her natural tendancy towards antagonism with me may make it futile. If I take action and just tell him regardless of her feelings, she can and will make my life and my visitations a living hell - I know, because she’s done it so often in the past that it’s nearly routine. When she does, it stresses the hell out of my kids, and there’s not much I can do about it - but maybe, this once, she’ll listen to reason. There’s a first time for everything, right?

I am not in direct communication with the family - I only ever met her parents together once, and usually only saw them in passing at the hospital. My ex was closer to them, but not being the friendly sort in general, never went out of her way to get to know them despite our shared circumstances. I have asked her if she can find a way to contact them that I can at least pay them my respects, but she has yet to respond. I may have to go through another venue.

My parents did face a similar decision at one point and decided not to tell, but I don’t know what works best with a six-year-old. Yes, Riley knows he has a serious illness, but finding out that a fellow patient who was very similar to you has just died of their disease has to be a very scary thing.

6 is a little young to handle it. By “school aged” I was thinking more like 10.