My Mother Keeps Asking Me Where My "Dead" Father Is. What Should I Say?

Question

Asked by scotchie42

My Mother Keeps Asking Me Where My "Dead" Father Is. What Should I Say?

My 90 year old Mom, in an Assisted Home, questions me daily "why did Harold just leave me out here? Why doesn't he come to see me?" She acts like Pop is still alive and that he has abandoned her. When I tell her that Dad died 15 years ago, she acts as though it the first time that she has heard about it, and she wails and cries and mourns.

My question is should I just lie to her and tell her that Dad his just on a trip or something, or should I continually tell her that he has passed on. It seems cruel for her to have to hear that news over and over again daily, like it was the first time.

She acts like she has been abandoned by my Father as it is. If I tell her that Dad is just on a trip or something that will reinforce the idea that he has abandoned her.

Answer

This is one of the hardest things we deal with. Not everyone agrees with me, but I think there is a point (and your instincts are telling your this) that a "therapeutic lie" is kinder than the hard truth when they must grieve over and over. Telling her he is on a trip but that she will see him soon, that he loves her and wants the best care for her, etc. may help. Each day will be different, so each time you will have to go with your gut. Many of us have been there, so we are with you in our hearts.

Carol