mother and child

This video got me thinking about how I have lied to my loved ones.  I lied to Nicholas when I said it would be alright after his hip surgery (the truth is, I had no idea… and in the end, it wasn’t alright).  I lied to Nick and to my Mom when I said “honestly, it’s no trouble at all!” (and I will continue telling this lie until I can no longer be of help).  I lied often when I said “I’m fine!”

But I tell the truth, too.  If a procedure is going to hurt, I always tell Nick.  If I’m worried, I tell my loved ones.  And if I think we should go to the hospital or call the doctor, I tell them – I tell my family the plans I believe we should make for their care.

What lies do you tell your loved one?

Donna Thomson is a caregiver, author and activist.  Her book, The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving (House of Anansi Press, 2014) is available from all major booksellers in the USA and Canada.

Originally posted on The Caregivers’ Living Room

Written by Donna Thomson
Donna Thomson began her career as an actor, director and teacher. But in 1988, when her son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities, Donna embarked on her second career as a disability activist, author, consultant and writer. Donna is the Special Advisor for Caregiving at Tyze Personal Networks and is the International Advisor to the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship. She is the co-founder of Lifetime Networks Ottawa, a PLAN affiliate and is a member of the Cambridge University Capability Approach Network. Donna is also an instructor at the Advocacy School (Ottawa, Canada), teaching families how to employ best practice political advocacy tools when advocating for care. Donna holds degrees in Fine Art (Theatre), Education and Theatre in Education. Donna’s interest in new modes of social engagement for marginalised families led her to sit on numerous boards, such as the London International Festival of Theatre, Women for Women International Leadership Circle and Dovercourt Community Association. Donna has spoken on disability and family wellbeing extensively, including at the London School of Economics, the Skoll World Forum, and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability.

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  1. I have always been a stickler about telling the truth. It’s a matter of integrity. But I’ve had to learn to lie to my mother, about almost everything. She has Alzheimer’s and the truth no longer works with her. I’ve never even told her that her best friend since they were two has died. Can’t even tell her where we are going because she’s afraid of everything. Lying has become way too easy.

  2. And I am guessing most patients lie to their caregivers as well. I know I have said, “I’m doing okay,” when I wasn’t. I have said, “Oh, it’s no big deal, I can manage,” when my caregiver could not be there for me, even though I really needed help. I sometimes pretend to be hopeful when I am not. I don’t know if this is wrong or not, but I know it is what we do to get by in these stressful, pain-filled lives. It is what we say to each other to keep peace and to help our partners to get through the days. I think it is evidence that we care for the other person and do not want to add to his/her difficulty and pain or make the burden heavier. God bless you for what you do as a caregiver. It is not an easy job!

  3. I often lie to my mom when she keeps asking for my older brother who passed away in September. I’m glad with her stage 3 Alzheimers when she believes me when I tell her he was just here then went home.
    if she was to find out the truth, she would have a mental breakdown.


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