THE BLOG

The Importance of Open, Honest Communication During Difficult Times

02/05/2014 09:13 am ET | Updated Apr 07, 2014

It has been a difficult time for my family. Events have transpired which will change us forever. And led me to have a very hard conversation with my child. It was just the beginning of what will be an ongoing dialogue as we all struggle to come to terms with our new reality.

I have been away a lot. That's a big change for my daughter, but she's handled it well. She's gotten lots of quality time with Daddy and enjoyed fun playdates with friends.

She knows I need to be doing what I am doing right now. She doesn't know everything that is going on, and she doesn't need to. I've worked hard to keep her insulated from certain details that could be hurtful. But I have also been upfront and honest with her about the fact this is a tough time.

I have expressed my feelings and worked to help her explore and express her own. I think that is important.

For the most part, I've sat back and allowed her to process the information I give her and to ask for more when she is ready.

She does have questions. Practical concerns, like does BaBop have a bed to sleep in, and can he watch baseball and listen to music?

The other night during bath time, we went a little deeper into the situation. We were talking about something we'd like to do, and she asked if BaBop would be able to go with us.

"I'm not sure sweetie. I don't know what BaBop is going to be able to do. We'll have to wait and see."

"How long until the doctors make BaBop all better?"

"Unfortunately, doctors can't make him all better. Dementia doesn't go away. Once you have it, you always will."

"So BaBop is never coming home."

"I don't think he will, sweetie. No."

"Can we visit him at his new place?"

"Absolutely! Once he has had a chance to get settled there and the doctors feel he is ready, we will definitely go visit him. He misses you very much. He will be excited to see you. And I think you will like it there. We can take Shaggy, too."

"Can we take the cats?"

"I don't think they would like that very much. But Shaggy will love it. He'll get lots of attention. And you will have your very own therapy dog!"

"Do the other people living there have the same sickness?"

"Yes. They all have dementia. Some feel better than BaBop and some feel worse. But they all have the same sickness to some degree."

At that point my husband arrived home and the conversation ended. I'm interested to see where it takes us next...

This post originally appeared at The Writer Revived. It is part of a series I will be sharing here concerning my family's journey with dementia, and how it has impacted my parenting.