Yours is a heart-breaking situation; most of us have to deal with it in some capacity at one time or another. Recovery from a stroke is a long and often agonizing process, sometimes with excellent results and sometimes with continuing disappointment. And, in truth, it is often difficult from the severity of the stroke to predict how much recovery will take place.
What I’d do with your son is to speak very optimistically about the prospects for recovery—even if the words differ from what the doctor is telling you. Yes, I’m suggesting that you might need to tell him a little white lie. Tell him that it will take a long time for his grandfather to recover but that gradually he will get better.
Urge your son to draw pictures to take to his granddad, or let him dictate letters that you will deliver and read. Don’t encourage your son to stay in the room with his grandfather for more than a few minutes at a time.
Tell him something like, “Because of his stroke, Grampy tires very quickly. So you go in and tell him hello and talk to him just a minute and then tell him you’ll see him again soon.” If the actual recovery process does not follow this optimistic course, tell him “Your granddad is sicker than the doctors thought, and he may not get much better. But we’ll continue to come and see him. Seeing you makes him feel better than just about anything.” Your son will gradually adjust to the reality of the recovery drama. And let’s hope for a positive outcome.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.