People Share The Hardest Bit Of News They've Ever Had To Tell Someone
It's hard enough receiving bad news––imagine when you're the one tasked with relaying it.
We all have to be that person now and then, as we were reminded when Redditor tobymyoby4321 asked: "What was the hardest piece of news you've had to tell someone?"
"When my grandmother..."
When my grandmother passed we knew it was coming as she had been ill for a very long time. I was at home with my mom when my aunt called with the news that she was gone. My younger sister was at school so we went to pick her up, when she was called to the office and she saw us there I think a part of her knew why we came to pick her up, but that didn't make it easier to tell her.
Telling my sister that our Dad's heart attack was indeed fatal.
"I had to tell my wife..."
I had to tell my wife that our 8 year old son had died in the night. He was on hospice and it was expected but that was still hard. Then I had to phone my older children and tell them. Thursday will mark 2 years.
Professionally, I had to tell the parents of a 20 year old basketball star that his drug use did not account for his unusual thoughts and behaviors that he was, in fact, psychotic and likely schizophrenic.
Definitely telling my grandmother that her daughter (my mother) had just died. Nothing quite prepares you for telling someone about a death.
My brother, who was active military at the time, had to be granted emergency leave for my mother who was on her deathbed after a short but destructive battle with cancer. They took more than 24 hours to sign one name on that document to release him, even knowing the circumstances. When he became noticeably upset that they were taking their time with it they pulled him aside and threatened to make him undergo a psych evaluation for being (understandably) angry.
She died while he was on his flight home. I had to tell him over the phone that he missed the passing of our mom and he wouldn't ever be able to say goodbye.
That was rough.
"I had to call..."
I had to call my friend's girlfriend to let her know he'd been killed in an accident...and then share that news with his best friend on a pursuant call.
"When I was 22..."
When I was 22 my parents asked me to come home and watch my grandma, who had dementia and needed a caregiver, while they went to visit my brother who was living out of the country. Two days in, my grandma died in her sleep. Not only did I have to deal with being the person who found my grandma dead by myself, but I then had to call all of my various family members, (parents, aunts, brothers) to let them know what happened.
"Had to call..."
Had to call my girlfriend's parents at 1am to tell them there was a bad accident, that their daughter was en route to ER and I thought she would be Ok. She died on arrival. Worst day of my life.
"I had to tell..."
I had to tell my boyfriend his best friend was the body found in the river after he had been missing for two days.
"One of my very first weeks..."
I worked as a pediatric psychology fellow while in graduate school (PhD clinical psychology). This invoked providing psychological services for all children in the hospital.
One of my very first weeks I was shadowing a more experienced fellow and we encountered a family whose child (7yo F) was hospitalized after she was in a car accident with her father. Her father died in the accident and no one in her family was comfortable directly explaining this to the child.
They had used a lot of religious euphemisms about death (he's watching over you in Heaven, he's with you in spirit) but this language is not concrete enough for a young child who doesn't really understand death.
Sitting with this child (body brace, lacerations all over, very flat affect) and explaining to her what death was, that her father had died, and having to ask questions to make sure she understood was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my graduate training. I can still vividly imagine her face while we were telling her and the tears silently rolling down her face.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.