Bill’s wife has cancer, but she hasn’t told their daughter. Bill feels uncomfortable lying to his daughter, but doesn’t want to break his wife’s trust. What should he do?
My wife has just discovered that she has cancer but, when our daughter visited recently and asked about the check-up, my wife told her everything was fine. When I asked my wife about it she said she didn’t want our daughter to worry, but I don’t feel comfortable lying to her. We never discussed not telling her. My daughter has the right to know, but my wife has the right to tell her in her own time. But if she won’t, whose trust do I break? My wife’s or my daughter’s?
A. It’s very common for people who are diagnosed with a serious illness to not want to worry their loved ones. In truth, most family members and close friends would prefer not to be protected from worry. That’s because worry goes with the territory when it comes to family and friendship. I wouldn’t break your wife’s trust, but I'd ask her to seriously think about how she’d feel if your daughter kept such a diagnosis secret from the two of you. Your wife needs all the support she can get and unless your wife doesn’t have a good relationship with your daughter, your daughter deserves the opportunity to be there for her mum.
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