(quote) Marge-938695 said: Situation:
My brother has been diagnosed with a serious cancerous tumor in his brain. He's in a civil marriage to a Catholic-turned-aetheist, after his divorce (without annulment). He has three teenagers, all educated in Catholic schools but not baptized.
How do I help the kids handle their father's illness and eventual death when they have been raised to be aetheists? (Their mom chose Catholic schools for the academic strengths.)
Grateful for any suggestions.
Hi Marge! First, let me say that I am very sorry about your brother's illness and the impact that it will have on your family - both his and yours.
Based on my mostly personal and somewhat professional experience with hospice, my suggestion regarding how to help his children handle their father's death is to meet them where they are in their faith (or lack thereof) journey. Their experience with their father's death will be between him and them. Your experience with your brother's death will be between him and you. You can only be an example of your faith in practice.
In my humble opinion, it's more respectful of the family and their feelings to let them process this in their own way. With that said, it may open the door to their Catholic upbringing, if they have questions. This is where you can be an example of strength and practice for them.
Otherwise, I fear you risk alienating them from and depriving yourself of a necessary familial connection. My heart really goes out to you! Chelle