Delivering bad news is never pleasant, especially when it involves death or something equally as devastating.
In this article, people on AskReddit revealed the hardest things they ever had to tell someone.
1. Worst day of my life
“I told my grandfather that the surgery he was scheduled to have in less than two hours, which was necessary to save his life, was going to leave him unable to take anything by mouth ever again- even water; and leave him hooked to an IV pretty much permanently. Being a fiercely independent person, he of course refused to move forward with the surgery (which he had previously agreed to, not knowing this). Then I had to inform my family that I had told him the truth, against their wishes, and that he had decided against the surgery.
It was the worst day of my life. I did what was right, even though it meant he would leave us within weeks, and I don’t regret it, but …damn. I still cry when I think about it.”
2. Family drama
“Not me but I had to watch my step-sister tell my step-mom that my dad was sending her very inappropriate text messages. I watched a daughter completely destroy her mother’s world and have to still be there for her daughter.
A few days later my step-mom seemed to have blocked the whole thing out and essentially pick my dad over her daughter. That’s when I realized I hate them. Even worse, I was the one who told her to rat on him.”
3. Cut from the team
“I was asked to co-coach a competitive traveling baseball team of 10 year old boys (my son included). We had a try-out and would have to cut about 7 boys. I saw right away that my son would not be on the team unless I was the coach. We had 2 days of try-outs and after the first day my son gets in the truck and tells me that it was the most fun he has ever had playing baseball and he can’t wait to spend the summer hanging out with his friends and me.
I had to tell my son right then and there, with all the hope and excitement in his eyes that he was not good enough to play on the team. It was the right thing to do but that didn’t make me or him feel any better. Cutting your own kid from the team you are supposed to coach makes you feel like a d!ck head.
I resigned as coach and spent that summer practicing (his request) every day after work. The next year he made the team, was selected as an All-Star of the league and led his team in batting. I’ll never forget that day in my truck as long as I live. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”
4. Please shut up
“Had to tell a friend she talks too much.
She’s genuinely a good person so it hurt but she literally can’t have silence at any time.
We can’t just sit and enjoy something, she has to be talking. The minute someone has silence longer than a second she’s talking about her job or what her mom had for lunch.
It’s a constant stream of consciousness that never ends.
A movie? She’s talking about what just happened on screen like she’s the narrator.
Friend comes over who I haven’t seen in years? She was talking over our whole greeting.
It’s time to go? She doesn’t get the hint and just…keeps…talking.
She asked me why people seem to only hang out with her once and then stop…why her bf was distant.
So I told her it’s probably the amount she speaks. I asked her why she feels that it’s weird to have silence.
She just said it made her feel uneasy when people weren’t talking.
I told her it’s worse to talk when you don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation, and it’s okay to have silence every once in awhile.
She’s gotten better and thanked me because no one else had the heart to tell her.”
5. Ups and downs
“In the course of my job (police) – I have had to deliver more death messages that I could count. It never gets any easier….
The worst was an elderly women who had died overnight. From the moment I arrived at the address the phone was constantly ringing….after an hour I had to answer (even though procedure is not too) as it obviously a loved one trying to get in contact.
I had to break the news over the phone to her daughter that she had died. She was hundreds of miles away….it was heartbreaking. She broke down and was sobbing. I told her I was with her Mum and would look after her. I told her to call me back when she was ready.
Her daughter (the granddaughter) called me back about 30 mins later. I explained what would happen and that they could contact me at anytime.
I understand they came into the station a few days later. I wasn’t on duty so missed them. I wish I could have met them to pass condolences and just explain that I found her peacefully.
As all jobs – you get ups and downs. This was a down.”
6. Just stop
“A friend and I were going through divorces at the exact same time. Both of our divorces were hard and rough, but hers was a bit uglier, and it came out that her ex-husband was cheating on her and was flaunting his new girlfriend all over the place.
After a couple of months of listening to my friend go mental over the new girl, how her ex was scum, how he was manipulating her kids, and how she knew all of this because she was facebook stalking the new girlfriend.
I had to have a long, sit down talk with her and get her to realize that facebook stalking her ex & his new squeeze was really – really – REALLY not healthy and not helping her heal from the whole divorce.
Apparently I was the only one who ever told her to just f*cking stop it.”
7. Bad news
“I had to call my fiancee a week before our wedding that I had cancer.
Good news, happily married for four and a half years and about to make my five year cancer-free mark next May.
Sometime mid February 2014: Go into some clinic because of a bronchitis flareup
March 1st 2014: Go back to small clinic because I could tell I had pneumonia from wheezing. Got a chest xray to confirm and there was a large mass at the top of my right lung. Plot twist: I DID have pneumonia as well. I went to two specialists same day and reached a rough diagnosis of advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I called my fiancee and told her the blunt truth and she told me to come home. I arrived and she grabbed me by the shirt and told me, “we’re getting married, so I’m getting you for at LEAST 50 more years. Preferably 70.”
March 8th 2014: We got hitched and went on honeymoon
April Fool’s day: official diagnosis of Stage 3B Hodgkin’s lymphoma
First treatment hit sometime in the last week of that April after testing and getting a port installed. So roughly beginning of May is what I consider the anniversary.”
8. Doesn’t feel the same
“Telling my ex girlfriend it was okay if we broke up and we could still be best friends even though I’m still just as in love with her as I always was and she’s the one who says she just doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now.
She said she didn’t want anything to change between us and she still thinks of me as her soul mate, but it definitely doesn’t feel the same. My heart breaks again every day and every conversation leaves me feeling depressed and lost.
Clean break ups where you end up hating the other person are so much easier.”
9. At least it ended well
“I had to tell my step-father that he is a complete *sshole once.
It was like 15 years ago, we didn’t get on back then. In short, I was a lazy teen and he was a guy who worked everyday of his life since he was like 12 years old. He would often come back from evenings out drinking, tanked up, and start waffling on about how he wasn’t my real dad, and all that sh*t, when at the end of the day, I really did not care – I wasn’t expecting him to be my father, I just wanted him to take care of my mother. That and I do see my real dad, who at the time, would say “ah don’t listen to that asshole etc” so being a teen I essentially doubled down on being a bit of a dick in retaliation at times.
We had a huge blowout one night, and I lost my sh*t over another (read: 30th) night in being told something about him not being my real dad because he was drunk. We had some words, and I flat out told him I didn’t like him on a personal level, and that he was a major *sshole. He didn’t take it very well at the time, and it killed me because I knew that my mum had heard everything and was probably very upset about it.
In hindsight, it cleared the air and put all the cards on the table between us both. I later moved out got a full time job, and since then have married/have my own kid, so can see where he was coming from at times. (I mean he was an *sshole, even he admits that, but I openly hold my hands up for being a lazy grumpy teenager who gave him a hard time as well). He did some self reflecting as well; he quit smoking and drinking, and found religion (it’s not for me, but it’s done him wonders I think). He’s like the nicest guy in the world and we’ve both spoken about the above and apologised to each other.
We now get on really really well, and while I do speak to my biological father, my step dad kept me on the straight/narrow the entire time since I met him, so despite him being a d!ck, it was all in a “tough love” sort of way, which I now appreciate.
We’ve both also spoken with my mother about it, and she’s very happy now we get on so well also.
So it ends well, but it was a tough time at one point.”
10. Rough night
“I had to call my girlfriend’s parents who were on a cross-country trip to tell them I was at the vet’s putting their dog down.
We were not on good terms before then.
Then I had to lie to my girlfriend when she called to see how her childhood dog was doing. She’s a nurse and had just started her new job working overnights.
That was a rough night.
We got married eventually though.”
11. This is tough
“Had to tell my 16year old pregnant friend while we were in high school that the guy she was having a baby with, was trying to get me to come over in the middle of night and sleep with him.
Not as sad as some of these, but definitely tough. Would not have even been as bad if she wasn’t pregnant.
But we were so young, she was pregnant, and it was my best friend so it just made me really sad for her.
That’s the worst thing I can think of.”
12. Mickey D’s
“Was a McDonald’s manager.
Had this 14 year old girl who was a hard worker and really enjoyed what she did.
But she was so bad at her job. She couldn’t do anything right and the hours I spent training her didn’t seem to help.
Giving her 6 month performance review that was all 1/5 (except effort) and giving her a $0.05/hr raise was the hardest thing I did in my 6 years there.”
13. Couldn’t handle it
“For me probably telling my family that I didn’t want to go see my grandma get taken off of life support. They asked me multiple times if I was sure, and out of the probably around 20 or so people there I was probably 1 out of 4 people that didn’t go back. I hung out back in one of those side rooms where half the people had been staying.
I just couldn’t handle it. I had been in the hospital the entire previous day as soon as we could make it in, and we stayed as late as we could that night, and then came back the next day before she was eventually taken off of it. But I just couldn’t be in there. It was quick at least. Less than a minute after they turned everything off she was gone. As much as I would have wanted to see her one last time, I just couldn’t have that be my last memory.
Very close second: Telling my boyfriend one night just how much I f*cking miss my grandpa from my mom’s side (passed away 5 years ago) and my grandma from my dad’s side (passed away two years ago). I had always tried to be strong for everyone else cause we were just all in this fog after my grandpa, and right when we were coming out of it my grandma passed away.
Finally just broke down sobbing after watching a movie together on my birthday, and I barely choked out that I missed them so much and I was tired of pretending like I was okay with it because I always have them in the back of my mind and I have a hard time moving on because small things remind me of them. Like knowing my grandpa carries her picture everywhere he goes and pulls it out for her to see what’s going on and so he can give her a kiss.
Or going to get ice cream reminds me of the morning when we found out my grandpa had finally passed away that night after months of battling cancer, and my brother drove my sister and I to get ice cream. And knowing that if my grandma was still alive for my past birthday, she would have dragged me to Las Vegas to go gambling cause that was her thing for each granddaughter’s 21st birthday. And as much as I don’t like gambling or drinking, I would have done it for her.”
14. Messed up spectacularly
“I had to tell my all-star totally rocking employee who we were grooming to enter management that he was fired effectively immediately, within a week of him having a new baby. I also had to simultaneously break the news to him that my company’s lawyers had determined that he had no legal right to be in or work in this country, which he himself wasn’t aware of, and which is why he was now fired.
To be fair, the guy had a complex immigration situation, and had tried to deal with all the paperwork himself rather than hire a lawyer, which led to him messing up spectacularly and not realizing it.”
15. Telling the parents
“I had to tell my conservative Republican parents that I’m transgender. I wrote them both a letter. I was sweating bullets the entire time they were reading it.”
Turns out it wasn’t such a big deal. They were 100% accepting and supportive, but for a few minutes I was just imagining being completely abandoned and homeless because of it, based on the horror stories I read about from other “coming out” stories online.”