If I Shall Not Return

Widowed parents must adapt to new roles and responsibilities as “sole” parents. When the death of a spouse occurs suddenly, little can be done to prepare for this daunting transition. But in situations where one parent has a terminal illness, steps can be taken ahead of time to facilitate the surviving parent’s adjustment.

Several of the men in our support groups expressed regret for not talking with their spouses when they had the chance. Many wished that their wives’ doctors had initiated candid discussions about prognosis and the benefits of preparing for the transition to widowed parenthood.

With this in mind, we created a short educational film to raise awareness about parenting concerns when one parent has a terminal illness. The film is intended to facilitate discussions among medical professionals about improving care for parents with serious illness and their families.

Bruce and Russ, two fathers from our original support group, share their stories in the film. As you will see, these men are remarkable in their openness, and offer invaluable insight for doctors and their trainees.

We invite you to watch this film and use it in your own hospital or clinic setting.