No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes we have to be. It's difficult to communicate something that we know will hurt someone or make them feel upset. A Redditor wanted to know what that news was that people had to share.
Reddit user Necessary-Thought-91 asked:
What's the hardest thing you've had to tell someone?
Often times, these conversations are around death or people who are dying. It is a harsh reality that we often have to face, as it is apart of life.
Some people had to tell truths about themselves that ended up changing their lives for the better.
Here's a few of those moments.
Losing a loved one.
"I had to (separately) tell my two young boys, my sister-in-law, and mother-in-law, that my wife (their mother/sister/daughter) had died. It's been over three years and thinking about it is still devastating."
"I had to tell my sister that our mother died. Worst phone call I've ever had to make by a longshot. I'm so sorry you lost your wife."
"I had almost the same. Had to tell my sister our brother took his life. I don't think I ever cried so hard ever. Devastating. Sorry for your loss."
"I had to tell my grandfather that he wasn't going to come home from the hospital."
"I had to tell my 20 year old nephew that his grandma wasn't coming home from the hospital. I'll never forget the look on his face. He walked into the bathroom, shut the door, and cried his heart out."
"Had to tell my dad the same thing. He had leukemia and his platelets were so low he ended up getting a brain bleed. This happened while we were waiting for his count to get up high enough for him to have another bone marrow transplant. After the brain bleed everyone but him knew there was no chance of him ever getting better. It's been almost four years and I still burst into tears when I think about us having to tell him he'd never get to go home. I'm so sorry you went through that too, it's gut wrenching."
"When I was 14 I had to call my mother and tell her my eldest brother committed suicide. My dad could not call her because they were divorced and she had blocked him."
A truly devastating Christmas.
"Firefighter/EMT here. Had to tell a family on Christmas Eve one year that their baby was dead."
"I don't wish it on anyone. I also had the unfortunate privilege of being surrounded by fire, within inches of reaching a child making his last cries, and failing to reach him in time. That haunted me more than anything for years."
"PTSD and mental health issues in first responders are very real, and for every story you might hear from one of us, there are 10 we'd rather never speak of again."
Helping loved ones with Dementia.
"Trying to explain to my mom who I was to her."
"Ugh, that's always so hard."
"My dad was developing dementia."
"He kept thinking I was my mom, reminiscing about old times, funny stories. But he looked like he also knew it wasn't right."
"It's hard to accept and understand how someone knows you your whole life then the brain just flips. It's unbearable."
"My heart goes to you, it's absolutely awful."
Foster kid just wanting a mom.
"I had to tell a 4 year old that i couldn't be his mum."
"Context, growing up my parents fostered. Just before I moved out we looked after 2 kids under 5. I was reading him his bedtime story and out of nowhere he just said 'I don't have a mummy. Can you be my mum?' in this teary voice. Both siblings have a really happy home now but I went to bed teary eyed that night."
The unfortunate truth of terminal illness.
"My breast cancer has spread to my bones. It's stage 4. At this stage, the doctors focus on management rather than cure. The average time between diagnosis and death is about five years."
"I'm sorry. That's so, so hard. Telling my husband and daughter that I was terminal was heart breaking. I think it is so much harder for them than for me."
Reaching out for help can be difficult.
"Telling my parents I was a heroin addict. I was in an abusive relationship and hard into drugs and worried I would die. I needed help. My dad sat with me through the entire withdrawal and I'll be 10 years clean this November. I tell him all the time that he saved my life."
"Congrats on your sobriety. We are strangers but I want you to know that it doesn't matter and I'm extremely proud of you and happy for you! Your life matters my friend!"
And here's one, just in case you needed a chuckle.
The truth hurts, and it can be devastating to be the one to tell it just as much as the one to hear it. Though it is hard, sometimes the truth can set us free.
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One of the golden rules of life? Doctors are merely human. They don't know everything and they make mistakes. That is why you always want to get another opinion. Things are constantly missed. That doesn't mean docs don't know what they're doing, they just aren't infallible. So make sure to ask questions, lots of them.Redditor u/Gorgon_the_Dragon wanted to hear from doctors about why it is imperative we always get second and maybe third opinions by asking... Doctors of Reddit, what was the worse thing you've seen for a patient that another Doctor overlooked?
I can't tell you how many times I've sat back and chose not to speak up when medical professionals just started rambling. How dare I speak up. What do I know? I flunked chemistry and got through Geometry with a "D". But a few times there were issues left not discussed and there were problems. Just listen up to some alarming experiences.
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Not a doctor, but my grandmother saved my father's eyesight because she didn't listen to their doctor.
As a child, my father had really large eyes, too large. My grandmother was concerned, but the doctor kept brushing it off as normal. That anxiety-ridden woman got her herself and my infant father on a train to SF to get to an eye specialist, against all others advice. My dad was diagnosed with primary congenital* glaucoma and his eyesight was saved. Go grandma!
The Mummy Appendage
When I was a resident, an 80yo female was admitted from the nursing home for confusion. Workup showed some mild UTI and we were giving her antibiotics. The nurse mentioned that her toe looked dark and asked me to look at it. The toe wasn't just dark, it was mummified. It looked like dry beef jerky. I touched it and pieces flaked off. So the patient from a nursing home, had a mummified toe, probably for months, that no one knew about.
The CT Save
Here's my story:
A guy came in to our ICU and was very septic but still talking. He had visited his primary care MD with complaints of a sore throat for a couple of days. Dismissed without any intervention since he didn't appear to have strep throat or the flu. At this point he was having pretty severe abdominal discomfort, so we sent him for a CT scan. As the scan was finishing, he coded and had to be intubated, multi-organ failure, etc.
The CT scan was horrible - he had all kinds of stuff all over his peritoneal cavity.
His wife told us that he had choked on an ice cube the day before he saw his primary care MD. Evidently he swallowed a whole double half-moon shaped ice cube that perforated his esophagus with a HUGE linear 4.25 inch tear, allowing a significant portion of his swallowed food and drinks to get in to his peritoneal cavity instead of his stomach.
To make things worse, he had some reflux that allowed stomach acid to get in there as well (likely while he was sleeping).
Once we realized what was going on, he went for extensive washout and exploratory surgeries to repair the damage to his esophagus and other organs. Thankfully, he made a full recovery, but he was very close to not making it.
When I was an ER nurse we got an elderly lady in for altered mental status from a nursing home, when we undressed her to put her in a gown and hook her up to the monitor, I noticed no less than 5 fentanyl patches on her, guess I discovered the cause of the AMS.
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Neurologist sent patient to our ED without informing her that imaging showed a glioblastoma assuring her impending death. He didn't overlook the disease, he overlooked the communication.
Lord healthcare is a minefield. If you want to keep living, survival requires communication, and if you can't do it... get an advocate. Clearly I'm not the only one going through this miasma. Wait until to hear the rest...
Mad Cow Realty
During my residency we had this lady in her 60s who was getting progressively more forgetful, just overall declining and getting less and less able to take care of herself. She had been seeing her pcp who diagnosed her with dementia. And she saw a neurologist who agreed. She was not really able to provide an accurate history.
After talking to her family and friends it became apparent that her symptoms were progressing unusually quickly. I remember seeing the point where her new hair growth met her bright red dye and also her grown out nails with hot pink polish thinking, wow, it really wasn't too long ago that she was not only taking care of herself but like, going to get her hair and nails done. The lady in front of me was so far from that.
The neurologist I was training with recognized this, had her admitted and did every test including lumbar puncture. Workup eventually showed Creutzfeld Jakob disease ("mad cow") which there is unfortunately no treatment for. She died a few months later but at least we were able to prepare her family that she would only continue to decline so they could make arrangements. Really sad situation.
I used to work in maternal-fetal medicine, and every single week, we would have women referred to us "because the doctor couldn't see something clearly with the baby and wanted to double check." Nope, they just didn't want to have to be the ones to tell you that your baby had a complex cardiac defect or multiple anomalies indicative of a genetic syndrome or any other of a large number of horrible things that can happen during fetal development. Still pisses me off when I think about how many women waited weeks for more information because their doctors were cowards who couldn't tell them, "There's something seriously wrong here."
"I can't see it quite clearly," didn't sound serious, so the appointment wasn't made with any urgency, and now you're 24 weeks pregnant with a fetus that will not survive infancy, and have no options but to carry to term and hope for a quick and painless death shortly after birth.
I'm not a doctor, but a RN. This happened to me, but isn't nearly as bad as most of the stories on here.
When I was in college, I got to where I couldn't swallow. It started with difficulty swallowing, progressed to me having to swallow bites of food multiple times/regurgitating it, and then got to where all I could swallow was broths and mashed potatoes with no chunks. I went to the doctor multiple times, and was told every time it was acid reflux and part of my anxiety disorder.
I lost 30 pounds (was only 120 when this started) and was just generally miserable.
Finally my grandma was tired of watching me be sick all the time, so she called the GI doctor herself. They said we needed a referral, but she explained the situation and they got me in the next day. Did an endoscopy and my esophagus was 95% occluded at the gastroesophageal sphincter.
For some reason, some of my primary doctors notes ended up in my discharge paperwork (I guess they had to contact her to get my information) and she had told them it was acid reflux and basically I was being over dramatic. She stated she did not recommend them to do the procedure.
Needless to say, I switched doctors. Awful. Was not a fun year.
He put the pacemaker lead in the subclavian artery (and across the aortic valve into the left ventricle). The proper approach is: subclavian vein to right ventricle). And then he didn't notice it for over a year. I saw the patient (a 25 yo woman who didn't need the pacemaker in the first place) when she was in congestive heart failure.
The pacemaker lead had destroyed the valve! A surgeon and I had to do surgery to remove the pacemaker and lead. Then replace the aortic valve! Totally inexcusable. Well, 50% of doctors are below average, but everybody thinks theirs is in the top 10%.
Rattlesnake bite. On a 2 year old. Patient and dad out in the fields near a small town that is several hours away from the nearest big city, where I work.
Dad takes the child to the ER in the small town with an obvious snake bite, doctor there says "eh it's ok she probably didn't get envenomated." Doesn't give the patient antivenin, which they had at that hospital, and instead of electing to send the child to us by helicopter, he sent her by ambulance. Several hours later patient shows up to our hospital coding, and ended up dying.
Probably didn't get envenomated?!? What the hell kind of stupid fool idea is that. If a tiny child gets bitten by a rattlesnake, you assume they've been envenomated and you treat them as though that had been. That means antivenin, physiological support, etc. completely absurd.
So what have we learned? Medicine is a collaborative effort. We don't have to know everything, but we have to be vocal. More than one opinion = saving lives. More often than not... YOURS!
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We all have suspicions and questions when it comes to the behavior of others. It's a natural part of the human psyche..... natural and crazy. You just have to temper the crazy. Hiring people to spy and follow others at your request can be a bit over the top, but, can also lead you to a treasure trove of information. You just have to be careful about opening that Pandora's Box.
Redditor u/edgeworth_ wanted to hear all the details about certain discoveries many people may or may not have been ready to know by asking.... Redditors who have hired a private investigator...what did you find out?
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One of my jobs is to search for long lost relatives (usually several generations ago).
Typically, the case is about old plots of land where I should track down owners (or their heirs) to update the land registry because a state wants to build there something.
Let me tell you, the amount of information you can find on Google and in public records is astounding if you know where to look.
I had a girlfriend that worked for one for a while. She said that the majority of their work was insurance scams. She took a lot of pictures of guys who said they were hurt on the job playing golf and surfing and such.
There seems to be a lot of that in this thread.
Sometimes I wonder if I'd be able to pull off such a scam because any investigator would only be able to determine that after the 'accident' I didn't post my life on social media and I almost never engaged in strenuous activity outside the house... so no change there then.
My little brother hired one to find his dog. He was living in L.A. and his complex let the dog out on accident. Small dog some mutt of toy breeds. He looked on his own for two weeks and was devastated. My folks found this guy in Indiana who was like $3k to hire but he guaranteed he'd find the dog or he wouldn't get paid. My folks and I chipped in as my brother couldn't afford that. The guy found my brothers dog inside of a day. It was wild.
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My dad hired a PI in the mid 90s in Eastern Europe to find out if one of his business partners was stealing from him. Instead he found out his own brother was stealing from him. He refused to belieev the PI and his brother robbed him blind. Took a huuuuuge amount of money and left him with gigantic debt. He still forgave him.
I was a private investigator for a little bit. Most work PIs do is searching financial/court records and serving documents. But one time I was paid by wealthy parents to stake out their college senior who had stopped returning their calls. They were worried about her. These parents paid like $40k for round the clock monitoring just to find out their daughter dropped out of school and was a full time ski bum.
Btw stakeouts are mostly just sitting in your car reading all day.
"you hurt her, you're dead"
Not me, but a friend hired one because he was suspicious his stepdad was being unfaithful to his mom. So, he asked me, and I put him in contact with a guy I knew.
Bit of a backstory, the stepdad is 5'10", 160ish pounds. My friend is 6'2" 235 pounds, ripped.
At 15, when my friend's mom and stepdad started dating, my friend gave the the typical "you hurt her, you're dead" speech. Also his bio dad walked out on him and his sister when my friend was like 4. It took a while, but my friend warmed up to the guy and he's a good guy (took my friend and I to an 49ers game once which was pretty cool).
Anyways, the PI said he wasn't cheating. Apparently there was a house on the market that my friend's mom wanted, and he bought it. He had been remodeling it for some time and he kept it a secret. As a 5-year anniversary gift to her, he bought it. Anyways, they live in a five-bed house now.
Had a babysitter we thought was stealing from us, luckily our neighbor was a PI couple and they ran a background check for $10. Babysitter had a string of DUIs and a few days before a large fine was due, my camera disappeared. He also stole money from my kids piggy banks.
He sort of disappeared but was also really into Instagram so I surreptitiously followed him.
He started babysitting again for a single mom (easy target) and posted a lot of 'fun' pics with this family. I tracked down the mom and sent her a long email detailing out his whole scam. She said we were right and it was clear he'd been stealing from her business.
He has since gone underground but I still Google him regularly to see what he's up to. He's been able to avoid arrests for a while now.
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I have a story about private investigators doing a hilariously crap job.
So, years ago, my brother injured his back at work because of his employer's unsafe work practices.
During the ensuing suit, my brother's lawyer was given a folder full of documents from the employer's team. Turns out, they had hired a PI to investigate my brother to prove that his injury was faked. Well, unfortunately, the PI had been taking pictures of ME, operating an ATV mounted leaf hopper. My brother walked into the court hearing and watched the color drain from the opposing lawyers' faces when he introduced himself, looking nothing like me.
My sister (mid 30s) is adopted and hired one to find her estranged biological father.
They came back saying that not only was he still alive and nearby, but he had a daughter. Meaning she also had a biological sibling!
Further digging from the PI uncovered that they weren't just similar ages either, they were exactly the same age. The evidence suggested that my sister had a twin and her birth father had taken the twin and vanished.
Huge, life-changing news.
Eventually, through more incredible detective work, the PI realized that the daughter was actually just my sister. There was no other sibling and they had just been investigating my sister the whole time accidentally. Needless to say, we asked for the money back.
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My grandmothers first "boyfriend" after my grandfather died said he was a retired cop and a veteran.
They enjoyed dancing to country music together, and bought a new car, in her name though, even though she can't drive anymore.
My uncles hired a PI. Turns out, that old b**tard had a habit of shacking up with widows and bleeding them dry. (The boyfriend not the PI).
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Bad news is something you relive forever. Learning about death and tragedy changes the course of life, it's unforgettable because you always remember the moment your life split in two. We always discuss the awful things we can never unsee.... we should also cover our ears. The screams still return in the dark.
Redditor u/ArethaZum wanted to see who was willing to share somethings they wish they had never heard by asking....
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My Mom was in a Coma, her mother, my Grandmother came to visit. At this point my Grandmother had buried 5 children and a husband. She sat next to my mom and told her to wake up because she wasn't going to bury another child.
There wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was heartbreaking.
Guess who woke up 2 days later? Yep, my Mom. We were making decisions for a long care facility etc. and she spontaneously comes out of her coma.
We gave credit to Grandma and my Mom's stubborn attitude. Mom lived another 13 relatively healthy years, far longer than she should have and Grandma passed away peacefully about 7 years after my Mom woke up from the coma.
When my grandma died my dad refused to go to the funeral. I was just a young man and didn't know anything so I tried to convince him to go. I drove by the house on the way.
He was crying, but this man was no wussy. I'd never seen him cry before, ever.
I told him to come with me - there was still time to make it and say goodbye... but he stopped me he said:
No I'm crying because this is one of the happiest moments of my life. I can finally go on without her. It's like my life starts now.
God that woman screwed him up.
When Clint Malarchuk had his throat accidentally slit by a skate during an NHL game, his main thought was to get off the ice as soon as possible so his mom wouldn't see him die.
He lived, barely.
"Malarchuk's life was saved due to quick action by the Sabres' athletic trainer, Jim Pizzutelli, a former US Army combat medic who served in the Vietnam War. He gripped Malarchuk's neck and pinched off the blood vessel, not letting go until doctors arrived to begin stabilizing the wound."
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My grandad crying as he kissed my mum's cheek and stroked her hair about 15 minutes after she had passed away. My mum was my grandparents only child. To this day I have no idea how they have managed to carry on.
I have a friend whose only child died suddenly in college from a never-diagnosed heart condition. Then her husband passed away a year later after a long struggle with cancer.
She always tells me to hug my loved ones tight and tell them I love them, because you never know what might happen, so I'm passing that advice along now to you all too.
I have a friend whose 9 year old son died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. At first they thought it was appendicitis. Then they found out the mom and younger brother had it too. Now they're on medication but they had to lose a son/brother to find out.
When my nana was in a hospital after a stroke, my aunt was visiting her after work, and was brushing her hair and asked her, "do you know who I am?" And my nana answered "you are a merciful lady." It broke my heart. She didn't remember any of her children. She died the next morning.
The Good Dude
My cousin was a really good dude. One of those smart handsome jocks that's also incredibly nice to everyone. Went to college in Chicago and ended up in a bad part of town at a bar to watch a bears game. He had no idea he was at a bad part of town and even though there were some sketchy characters there he chose to believe in the good in people and not judge.
Some guy angry that this young white college kid was at his bar bashes his head in with a beer bottle while my cousin is watching the game. Total sucker punch. The bottle didn't break and now my cousin his forced to life with my aunt and uncle and has the cognitive abilities of a seven year old. Freaking cousin prays for his assailant almost every night.
I was at a lake when a kid drowned while playing frisbee in the water. The mother screaming for her child was probably the most soul tearing thing I've ever heard.
Yes You Can
My son: "I CANT DO IT MOM! I AM JUST STUPID!" "I just want one good grade just like the others.." "I think I am just really dumb!"
It breaks ny heart. He does lag behind. He does have a learning disability. I did not realize he started to notice the difference until he was temporarily homeschooled because of COVID. He felt safe enough to express his true feelings and it kills me inside to see him struggle.
BUT: I managed to get him some help for self confidence issues and I organized a tiny "school practice corner" in our home where I am helping him with homework - tailored to his level by his teacher.
Last night, he finished a full page of maths without a single mistake. He cried happy tears and for the first time in a whole year I heard him say "So I CAN do it!!"
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Getting called annoying by someone you really care about.
I got called annoying and i guess i was. It was my need for approval that made me that way. They started ignoring me and you know what, my life is better without them and i have good friends who like me for who i am. You will get better people. Screw them.
Lessons at the Car Wash
True Story that happened 5 days ago. I went to a car wash and the older gentlemen asked me to turn my car off (I didn't realize it was on). We got into conversation and I just explained that I am new to where I live and I just said I wasn't familiar with everything. I needed loonies to continue my car wash, grabbed some change and asked him for some extra loonies and toonies, which he promptly got.
When he came back he was complementing me on the studded winter tires I had and the car I had just bought recently (2019 Mini Cooper Countryman). He came back when my car wash ended and reached into his pocket put 2 dollars in and told me to use spotless touch because it looks good on black and mirrors and stuff.
When he left I couldn't find him to say thank you, I called the store and got him on the phone to say thanks and he told me I reminded him of his son who had passed at 17 a couple weeks prior and started tearing up. I pulled over because my heart stopped and he told me "My son didn't live long enough for me to teach him everything I knew, when I saw you, I saw him, and wanted to teach you something I never got to teach my son."
TLDR: I went to a carwash and the old man there taught me something new because I reminded him of his son who died two weeks ago.
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I recently had a fight with my mom for some stupid reason and we haven't spoken for like 3 weeks and two days ago, while i was still in bed i overheard her telling my father that even X was a better child than me. X is this ex-best friend who i called out for spreading rumors among my classmates about my mother. And now that same mother decides to praise X, knowing very well what she did. :(
A week after my brother got diagnosed with cancer (leukemia), my dad told all of my family, but waited to tell my Aunt and Uncle. He wanted to wait because in 2014 their son died from leukemia at 18 yrs old and my brother was also 18 when he got diagnosed. He wanted to figure out how to tell them because my cousins death destroyed them, especially for my Uncle.
When they asked to speak to my brother over the phone they both started crying because my brother sounded exactly like their son.
They talked to my brother as if they were talking to their son and apologized for his death while continuing to cry. They both feel extremely guilty for their sons death and the only reason my Uncle hasn't killed himself is because he still has another son and doesn't want to leave him without a father. It also doesn't help that their son died on the anniversary of my grandpa's death who also died from leukemia.
Stay with Me
When I was 8 my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. For three years she fought it and in those three years I saw her a handful of time cause she was always in the hospital. One day my dad says let's go see mom. I get all excited and worked up cause I hadn't seen her for 7 months. She was staying at a friend's adult family home and I remember walking down this small hallway and hearing the nurse tell my mom "stay with me, stay with me, stay with me."
When I walked in my mom was laying on the bed with 3 nurses next to her. They were trying to stop her from bleeding out of her colostomy bag that looked like a red balloon ready to pop. She died before the ambulance even got there.
My neighbor's children. They're 8 and 10. I only know that because i came home one day and my wife had them at our kitchen table. Their dad's a single, working dad so I'm sure he tries his best. Haven't met him too much. But one day i guess the kids asked my wife if they could have a cup of water because dad was at work and their water didn't work. We sent them home with a few cooked meals and a case of water. For the first time in about 20 years i cried quietly.
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I saw a photograph in an article about Syrian children separated from their families. The girl had drawn on the ground a sort of stick figure female that was her mother that she missed so much. She would try to hug the ground to get some comfort. The image was of her laying inside the outline arms spread trying to hold her as she slept.
Today, I read about a policeman who picked up a little boy wandering around, alone at night trying to sell his teddy bear for food (In the US). I cried like a baby for all of the other kids who don't get rescued by policemen.
As my senior season of football was coming to an end. A coach of mine had one of Those heart to heart talks with me. About how no matter how "Good" you may be in life such as the way you treat people and show kindness, there will be others who just seek to cause harm. His brother died earlier that week, shot point blank after helping a woman in front of a 7/11 I think late at night from a creepy dude who was harassing her.
Really hit hard especially since he wasn't one to open up and share sensitive experiences.
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A few years ago my brother (a firefighter) saved a man stuck in a tree over a flooded river. he had been holding his 80 yr old father for as long as he could until the river swept him away.
Being a teacher means you must learn to juggle many hats. Teachers are secondary parents, counselors, buddies, mentors... the list is endless. And as much as the job of a teacher is fulfilling, it is also stressful and tear jerking. Sometimes being the bearer of that news in unavoidable. And there is no easy way to say it.
So be kind to teachers, they have pain too.Redditor u/CTE2028 was hoping the educators reading would be willing to share some stories by asking.... Teachers Of Reddit have you ever had to explain a students death if so what did you tell them?
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A kid in one of my high school classes died in his sleep over Spring Break. Some sort of random heart failure.
They didn't make an announcement but word traveled pretty quickly because he was a prominent member of the cross-country team. Anyway, 3rd period rolled around and his best friend walked in smiling and laughing with someone. When the bell rang, she asked someone near her where her friend was. We all heard and realized she didn't know yet. My poor 25-year old, fresh-out-of-college history teacher had to pull her aside to tell her that her best friend was dead. She ran out of the room crying and he looked sick to his stomach. Then he had to teach our class.
The Worst Day
I was a long term sub for a middle school band teacher out on pregnancy leave. Two weeks in, the Principal let me know first thing in the morning that the teacher I was subbing for had lost her child and I should let each class know. The students were close to the teacher and they should know he said. This was 25 years ago, so no internet. I was fresh out of college and I suggested that perhaps he should do it or maybe even a counselor.
He let me know that everyone was too busy and if I had a problem I could quit. I was only a sub after all. So for the next six bells, I let each class know that sometimes life doesn't go as you hope and that parents can lose a child before they are even born. It did not get easier as the day went on.
It is still the worst day of education in my entire career.
Caleb & Alexa
A couple years ago one of our Pre-K students had a little sister die from a congenital heart defect. We live in a small area and all the kids knew her because we had had a bunch of fundraisers and the student talked about his sister often. When she died we felt very unprepared to talk to the kids about why Caleb wouldn't be at school and what had happened to his sister. My co-teacher bought a book to read them (can't remember the title now). We were all crying when we talked to the kids, but trying to stay calm. We explained how it was okay to be sad, that Caleb would be sad when he came back to school.
We told them it was ok to ask about Alexa but Caleb may not want to talk much about her and that was ok. I remember specifically my co teacher saying "I know we all prayed for Alexa. And God did give her a new heart, but she had to go to heaven to get it." One of the absolute hardest days in my life. The kids were very sweet and understood way more than we thought they would.
At the school my mom works at, a 3rd grader died from a glioblastoma. She was really well known in the area; her parents did an amazing job bringing awareness about this particular form of cancer, and they did a lot of fundraisers for her treatment/travel expenses. My mom works with kindergarteners, and her students didn't really know how to react regarding the death. My mom and the other teacher (my mom is a paraprofessional) decided to mention it, and if anybody wanted to talk about they would (and they did).
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My mom died when I was in the 5th grade.
I knew the teachers told everyone before I came back to school because they all treated me like I was going to explode. When a friend finally asked me a question about my mom, another student said that the teacher told them not to say anything to me about it. It left me feeling like I couldn't share my grief or my memories of my mom with my school friends.
Not a teacher, but we had a student in one of my smaller university classes pass away unexpectedly one day. The teacher came into class looking clearly upset and simply told us what had happened. We all just sat there and took a few minutes to soak the news in. I'm pretty sure we wrote some condolences to their family at one point. No one could really believe it. They were really outgoing and had a good rapport with everyone, so the whole dynamic of the class felt a little off after that. It felt so strange seeing that one desk remain empty for the rest of the semester.
Teachers need more love in this world.....
Not a teacher but had a fellow student die in middle school on Mother's Day. It was very hard for my teacher to explain, because it was an accident, she was hit by a car while at the beach with her mom. I remember the teacher crying and giving us all time to process, but I think she did the best she could do in that situation. I can't imagine how teachers deal with this sort of thing. Teachers need more love in this world.
After the Bliss....
I didn't have to explain it, but I did have a student die.
It was a week after "remote learning" had ended for the school year this June. It was basically ungraded remote learning, meaning only a small percentage of students actually logged in. I can't say I would have done much work when I was in middle school and knew it was ungraded. This particular student never did any of the online work.
I got a call literally on my wedding day from my principal. The ceremony was over, and I was having a meal with my parents and new husband. The principal explained to me that the student had passed away in a car crash the day before. Apparently, someone took a video of the aftermath, and some of the kid's severed body parts were visible. My principal told me to watch out for any students grieving or mentions of the video (never heard anything). It was an odd conversation, as after talking about a student who had died, my principal then congratulated me on getting married.
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I had a girl die in my Spanish class in HS that I was somewhat friends with. Very sad... went missing one day and was found about 3 days later in the back of a burned vehicle.
It was awful because we had a clock with 12 hours each hour representing a partner to practice with. Jasmine was on my clock. Every day someone didn't have a partner on that clock because one of us was murdered... and this was in a small town where that evil doesn't happen. First person I ever somewhat knew that passed, all because a boyfriend and a different girl got in some stupid dispute and then decided to kill her...
Our teacher didn't exactly handle it well though to answer the question. It was a very difficult time for the whole school.
Could've done better....Tea Smh GIF by moodmanGiphy
Same. Watched my girlfriend's little sister die in a car accident with her family. Threw up for days after. So sad. Got a "you shouldn't have missed class" from my professor for missing class that day, when he knew what had happened, and an "I don't care what happened". He apologized for being hard on me for that a few weeks later, but still...
Also someone I sat next to in high school died in a car accident the night before class. A high school counselor came in and said one of our classmates had died. Didn't say who. My good friend was out that day in that class, as well as about 5 others. Didn't know who it was until the bell rang and finally found someone that knew and everything went on as normal. Handled so poorly.
Oh my god. I actually left teaching for a year to do administrative work at the end of the year when this happened. We had a particularly beloved junior in high school who was murdered by a family member. The event was so shocking it was all over the news about as fast as the school learned about the event. It happened on a Tuesday night, we learned about it Wednesday night via email, and there was a school announcement the next day over loudspeaker.
When students asked what happened, one student pulled out his phone and showed a news article around to several students in the class. The class was so horrified, they asked if we could pause the day, and then there was forty minutes of sniffling and crying and I think that was the worst classroom experience I've ever had.
Several students who didn't even know the guy who died couldn't stop themselves from crying because of recent deaths in their own family.
To top it all off, it was during spirit week and many student had shown up in costume, and they slowly started to take off distracting pieces, and asked around for jackets or something to cover up their attention grabbing outfits. I would wish that experience on no one.
I had twin brothers. Both missed school for a while. One returned with a note from his aunt. She wrote that their parents didn't write the note because they were in their country of origin because of the brother's death.
I interpreted that as the uncle (the parents' brother). Instead, the family had visited their home country, and one of the brothers died.
The surviving twin came back to school, but the parents were mourning and taking care of the dead twin's funeral.
When I eventually figured out my mistake, I notified the counselor. A week later, because the school moves slowly, one of the wellness counselors came to my room to announce the dead twin's death to the class. I hope to never have to do that again.
She was young....Sad Pauly D GIF by A Double Shot At Love With DJ Pauly D and VinnyGiphy
Not a teacher. In Grade 1 a girl died at our school. I remember our teachers being very sad.
She was always sick and very tiny. On her last birthday she brought lots of nice stuff for us cake, junk food and we had so much fun. I remember these meringue thingies with different colors. Apparently she died of HIV. It was the late 90's. I don't remember what we were told exactly just that she wouldn't see her again.
Not a teacher but I've had several situations like this.
Elementary school teacher was killed in a car accident on her way to school. She was my older sister's teacher. Small school in southern Oklahoma, so they brought each grade to the auditorium one at a time to give us the news. Counselors were available. Handled very well by an otherwise fairly crappy school.
In high school, my senior year. First period, the principal comes in, which is exceedingly rare, and tells us a classmate had passed away. He and I were practically inseparable in middle school, but had grown apart in high school. Barely saw each other or spoke. He had dropped by my house a few days before and I basically told him I was too busy to talk to him and sent him on his way. I carry a lot of guilt over that. Never found out 100% what happened, as the rumor mill started immediately, but I believe it was suicide. Tearing up just thinking about it. Janusz, I'm sorry man.
I have taught for 18 years and fingers crossed, have never lost a "current" student (I teach music so I get my kids for 8 years). I have, however, lost two former students. One to a motorcycle accident, and my favorite student I have ever had killed himself two days after my youngest child was born.
He was only 21. I still think about him all the time, and it has been 9 years. Smart, creative, funny. Not a chance I wouldn't have been absolutely broken if I had to explain it to other kids. I am so sorry for you teachers who have had to.
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A girl killed herself my sophomore year and they just sent a mass email to the teachers so they could tell us.
I was in math at the time and my teacher just told us what happened then said we shouldn't let it get in the way of our lesson and kept teaching. Messed up thing is she was in his seminar which in our school was where a group of students is assigned to a teacher freshmen year through senior year and he just could not have cared less.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/