The Challenge and Burden of Sharing Difficult News

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The Challenge and Burden of Sharing Difficult News.

When I think about the subject of having to tell someone some bad news, I think of the conversation:  “I’m not gonna tell them – YOU tell them!”  “No, I’m not gonna tell them – YOU tell them!”

No one wants to be the harbinger of bad news – especially news that will change peoples’ lives forever.  When friends and family need to hear the news that someone in the family has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia you wish it was as easy as the task you avoided at work – telling your cubical-mate that he has bad breath.  Nope – when lives are at stake – and quality of life issues are at stake – the ballgame changes – certainly not for the better.

In the attached article above, you’ll read the story about a family who had to make the agonizing decision about who to tell about a wife’s early dementia diagnosis – and when to tell them of the news.  What’s so beautiful about this husband’s telling of the story, is how much he took his wife’s feelings into account when determining the best conversational course to take.  The route he and his adult stepchildren chose was not one of denial, such as can be the case in some instances, rather, they faced the reality of this cosmic shift in their lives, and did what worked best for them and for their loved one.

Each circumstance is different – and those involved need to make appropriate decisions that fit the dynamics of their particular situation.  (It’s certainly not a one size fits all solution.)  And let’s face it – when someone starts out on this caregiving journey – it’s definitely a matter of on-the-job training.  In the above family – it appears to have been done quite well.