My sister passed away four weeks ago, how to tell mum?

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Mum is 86 and has dementia. Dad passed away 20 years ago, and she still sometimes waits for him to come home from work. My sister and I would remind her of his passing. Our brother died about six years and sometimes we would have to remind her of his tragic death. Now my sister died from a brain tumour. We had a lovely funeral send off for her, but excluded mum because I thought I could not bear to remind her of another family member's death. Yesterday, Mum had been trying to call my sister to wish her a happy birthday which was on the March 1st, but her number is disconnected. Mum wants me to give her the new number. Should I tell her the truth? and then the consequent sadness and tears for me, and then forever reminding her of the passing of her eldest child. The anguish of my sister's death is enormous as we were very close. I am so tired and sad of reminding my mum about my dad and brother. I feel terribly guilty about not telling mum, as she has a right to know. The last few day when my sister was in hospital dying, I cried so much the thought of not having her around and how to tell mum, my gorgeous sister said "don't tell her" and at the time I thought it would be best not to also. And now if I do, how do I explain the funeral, the burial, and how she died (she was cremated and ashes scattered to sea). Mum still lives at home in the country and I work in the city but I visit her every Saturday to do shopping, cleaning, have a meal together. I having been dreading the day when mum would realise she has not heard from sis (sis would call every day in the morning and I would do the evening calls) and that day has arrived. I am making myself sick thinking of what to tell her... pretend to be my sister on the phone (we sound the same); tell her she went to the funeral but has forgotten, or what? The last time mum saw sis was at Christmas and was shocked at her diminutive (she does not remember) and sis told her she had cancer and had 12-18 months to live but the disease took her early, well in my mind too early - it was almost 12 months since diagnosed. I miss her terribly. I don't know how I will cope without be best friend, adviser, critic, confidant and everything else a sister can be. I will be calling mum tonight to see how her day was and hope she does not ask about sissy.

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thank you so much
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I cannot advise you "Devastated" but I can tell you that my mom is advanced enough that I don't know if she would understand if my sister died or one of her grandkids, although at times she says amazing things and makes comments that come out of nowhere...i just know it would be not understood or too confusing for my mom; that is what I would do. I think it depends upon your mom's level of cognition but if you tell i would have support on hand; if your sister had hospice they have/offer grief counseling and so can a clergy person...the death of a child is devastating .....plan to spend the remainder of the week end with your mom and observe how mom is doing.

@Joanie76 i have no advice for you either except to say trust your heart (just take your brain with you). What a heart wrenching situation for you....i am sending prayers your way as your grief is paramount right now. When you do tell your mom please have support at hand as you may both need it.
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my sister just died. my brother called me tonight. im so heart broken i cant stop crying. i cant tell my mom . she has her mind but its 7 days to xmas and im dying inside. i dont wanna ruin her xmas. its been hard enough to get her to celebrate. she has been sick for almost 4 months and i dont want to kill her. my sister and i were fighting and havent talked in a few years and im sick. i knew this would happen. i wrote her a letter back in july and never mailed it. i was just saying i love her and wanna talk to her but never act fast enough. i need some advice i dont wanna tell her until after xmas atleast or at all. im trying to hide from her now cause my eyes are swollen from crying. my mom is 74 and lives with me. i work 10 hours a day and cant leave her alone with the thought of her daughter died and we werent there for her. not just that but my moms health is bad and she has high blood pressure. i honestly dont know what to do. my sister hasnt called my mom in a while and my mom has gotten used to that and wont expect her call but would die if she knew she died. im so scared and hurt and wish i could wake up from this nightmare.
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Tell mom when you are with her on Saturday. Perhaps visit a church if you think mom needs to and I would encourage you to spend the night with your mother just for emotional support after hearing the sad sad news. God Bless you and your mom.
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Devastated..you are going to have to tell her. But I would wait until you and her are together on Saturday. Or you can make a special trip to see her.
Your mom know in her heart something is wrong and you are killing yourself over the guilt of not telling her. God Bless
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Devistated: One of these days your mom's voice will be in the wind too. She and your sister will be together. Maybe that is something you can remind her of. She will be reunited with her children. So sorry. Cattails.
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Devistated: I think you are going to have to tell your mom that your sister passed. You don't have to go into the details of the funeral, etc. You can just remind her that your sister had told her at Christmas that she had cancer and that she passed away. I think I would be honest with her and tell her that it just broke your heart to have to tell her the truth. You can tell her that your sister was in a coma state and could not be spoken to, you can embellish that so your mom realizes that she could not have actually spoken with her daughter.

You have so much grief over your sister's death. I can really understand that it is not something you want to talk about with your mom. For one thing, she will be heartbroken to hear the news, for another, it will be such a blow for you every time you have to explain it again. You miss your sis so much and she was a real coherent part of your life support system.

Your mom, however, knows enough to realize that she can't find her oldest daughter and that must be a worry to her. I've read on this site that it is better to tell a dementia patient the truth than it is to tell them an untruth when they keep asking about a person. You mom has a right to grieve for her lost child. Maybe it would be a comfort if you told her it was a peaceful passing. Maybe it would be a comfort if you could cry together.

I'm no authority on this. You'll get other responses and I hope someone can give you a solution that you and your mom can live with. Let me just say that I am so sorry for you and your mom. I am especially sorry that you will not have the comfort of your sister in the years to come and I know you will miss her everyday.

A friend on AC told me to remember that every time the wind blows, it's the sound of the ah ha's of those in heaven who have gained peace and total understanding. It's your sister's voice supporting you and loving you and being by your side. Breath in the wind and know that your sister is always with you. Stay in touch with us. Love and Hugs, Cattails.
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