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Open Mind...continued

First of all, this is a poignant situation. Not only is there the crippling news of a serious illness, but the weight of uncertainty about responding to children involved. When life feels chaotic and out of control, we want so much for there to be clear direction somewhere about something. Yet, even in this circumstance, there is no best way or absolute direction. Consider this. If the diagnosis means eminent loss, then the caregiving parent may want to bring all the children up to speed with all the data. A major change for everyone is coming. The caregiving parent will need the children’s support and the children will need that of the parent’s. On the other hand, if the illness prognosis will mean long-term treatment, chronic disease, and/or the possibility of remission, a gentle but honest and progressive release of information to the children might be more appropriate. Generally, in situations like this, a wise, inner part guides us with emotional efficiency. This wisdom knows that there’s too much to do in the beginning, and consequently “packs” many of the tough feelings.  That’s O.K. At some point in the future, when the externals demand less time, attention and energy, the internal life, with it’s emotions, will be addressed, as these feelings are then “unpacked.” Acknowledge all the thoughts and feelings that surface, let them pass through you, and trust yourselves and your journey. 
Greg Pacini, MS, LPC, CGP, CHTP
Psychotherapist, consultant and author of Journey Beyond Diagnosis: Support During
And After Illness for Survivors and Those Who Love and Care for Them.