In probably the most depressing study currently published this year, researchers from the University of North Carolina looked into the psychological situation of dying parents. As it turns out, psychotherapy should be offered to dying parents of young children.
The very sad facts
Led by a psychiatry researcher at the University of North Carolina, Dr. Eliza Park, the study focused on the emotional needs of dying parents with young children.
According to the study, not only do the surviving family members require psychological counseling, but so do the terminally ill patients.
It’s true, suffering of a terminal illness can be terrifying and emotionally devastating for everyone, but for those terminally ill patients that are parents to a young child, the experience is even worse.
Having to worry about your child’s well-being, combined with your inability to be there for their growing up, and maybe even the insecurity of how exactly to tell them that you’re not going to be there for them anymore can be emotionally devastating for anyone.
The situation is even worse if the patient or the child haven’t experienced death before, as it adds a whole new layer of emotional distress.
Usually, what dying parents want to do is spend as much time as possible with their loved ones, even if in some cases it interferes directly with their well-being.
The even sadder statistics
The test was performed by Dr. Eliza Park and her colleagues on 344 widowed fathers, whose spouses previously died of cancer.
The average death age for the spouses was 44, and the average family had two children under 18 years old, with the youngest child being an average age of 8 years old at the moment of death.
43% of the women that died, died from metastasis that had started before the diagnosis. 41% of the women died at home, and half of them died at their location of choice; only two thirds of them had received hospice care.
Out of the 344 women, 26% were not accepting of their deaths at the moment it happened, and a huge 38% of mothers didn’t manage to say goodbye to their children.
To further amplify the need for emotional counseling, 90% of the women were worried about what their deaths would mean for their children.
Image source: DeviantArt