June 21, 2023 | Casey Fletcher

People Share The Hardest Thing They've Ever Had To Tell Someone

We've all, at some point in our lives, had to give someone bad news. Whether it was the news of a spouse's infidelity, the passing away of a beloved pet, or some other personal occurrence that changed the course of a life, it feels terrible to be the bearer of it. In this list are some sad stories wherein people share the worst news they've ever had to give someone. Hopefully, you can't relate.


Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 Not Better The Second Time

I had to tell my mom that my brother died. I was his emergency contact at the hospital. I called her at 2 a.m. to tell her and she was oddly calm. About five minutes later, she called me back asking, “Did you just tell me that Jimmy died? I think I had a terrible dream.” I had to tell her twice.


#2 All I Can Do

“I’m doing everything I can, Sir.”

I work at a gun range. Almost 21 weeks ago, we had a guy hurt himself in front of his dad. As soon as I knew, I sprinted downstairs and started doing first aid immediately. I applied pressure to the wounds to keep him from choking. The absolute worst part was his dad sitting there, begging me to save him. I’m not a paramedic, but that was all I could say to him.


#3 Life Goes On

I had to call my patient’s wife to tell her that he had passed away. Her reply was heartbreaking; she asked if I could keep him there long enough for her to get their kids on the school bus.


#4 Sometimes It Comes Back

I had to tell my family, friends, and coworkers that I have cancer... and then again the following year when it came back. Telling people horrible news over and over never gets easy.



#5 A Promise Kept

It was so hard to tell my brother that he had brain cancer. I told him to focus on getting better and he could come live with my parents soon. He lost his short term memory two days after they found the tumor, then he had brain surgery. We didn't want him to suffer telling him over and over again about his condition as he would just forget.

My parents took his ashes and kept them at home for months. She wanted to keep her promise that he would come live with them.


#6 Made His Choice

I had to tell my best friend that his girlfriend cheated on him with heaps of guys while he was away. Then, years later, I had to tell the same guy that his fiance was trying to cheat on him... with me. I said no to her, of course, but he got back with her, married her, and now he doesn't talk to me.


#7 The Truth Hurts

I had to tell my grandfather that the surgery he was scheduled to have, which was necessary to save his life, was going to leave him unable to take anything by mouth ever again— even water. 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.


#8 I'm Sorry, Son

I was asked to co-coach a competitive traveling baseball team of ten-year-old boys (my son included). We had a try-out and had to cut about seven boys. I saw right away that my son would not be on the team unless I was the coach.

We had two days of try-outs and, after the first day, my son got in the truck and told me that it was the most fun he ever had playing baseball and he couldn'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 still 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 is horrible.


#9 Only Distance

I had to tell my dad that I was moving thousands of miles away with my wife and daughter. I’m his only child which made my daughter his only grandchild.



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#10 Surprising Question

I thought my Mom knew that grandma had a heart attack, so I asked her how she dealing with the whole situation. Turns out, Mom didn’t know. I ended up telling her grandma had a heart attack and had temporary paralysis.



#11 No More Practicing

I had to tell some friends and our coach that a girl on the team had ended her life. They asked if I knew where she was when she didn’t show up to practice and I just burst into tears.


#12 Not That Kind Of Surprise

My big brother passed away suddenly. My dad found him lifeless in his apartment. I had planned on going to his apartment to see why nobody had heard from him and my dad decided he'd better do it. He called me once he got there and contacted the police. Then, I think the police called my mom. My older sister was set to take a test she had been studying a year for, and her acceptance into the Master's program was dependent upon her doing well. We found out about an hour before the test and decided we needed to wait the four hours until it was over.

I texted my sister and said, "Hey, come over to mom's when you’re done." I could tell as she walked up to the house that she thought we were having a surprise party congratulating her on taking the test. I met her in the front yard and she asked what was wrong, so I just said it. I think time froze for a minute for her. She went from so happy and excited to... yeah.


#13 Breaking A Tiny Heart

I had to tell his daughter that her father and I were breaking up. She was already showing signs of abandonment from her mother. She was extra clingy the rest of the day. I miss her so much.


#14 First Time For Every Sad Thing

I had to tell my dad that his wife (my mom) died after he just got out of emergency surgery. We had to wait a couple of days so as not to stress him out. I'll never forget watching a man who never cried start blubbering.


#15 Exerting Authority

My first time disciplining an employee was rough. He was in the wrong, as hi publicly violated my policy. I, of course, wrote him up and delivered the reprimand privately. It didn't help that he was 20 years older than me, either.


#16 Not Something To Be Thankful For

I'm a physician. I told a 33-year-old that she had metastatic breast cancer on Thanksgiving Day. She was recently divorced and a single mother of three, supporting three elderly adults in her home... It was ultra-aggressive. She died two months later.



#17 Intervention For A Friend

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 with another girl who he flaunted all over the place.

For a couple of months, I had to listen 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 talk with her and get her to realize that Facebook stalking her ex and his new squeeze was really unhealthy and not helping her heal from the whole divorce.


#18 Couldn't Process It

I was part of a friend group that was scattered all over the country. At 19, one of our friends got hit by a car. My ex lived in the same city, so he called to let me know. I had to call the rest of the group. One friend just burst out crying on the phone the second I told her. Another friend legitimately could not understand what I had told him— it was like he simply did not want to hear that she was gone.


#19 Hand In Hand

I had to wake my mom up and tell her that her husband and soulmate had passed away right next to her, while she was sleeping. He was in hospice care, suffering from cancer. She pulled up a cot next to his hospital bed on the side of him that she slept on at home. She fell asleep holding his hand, and he passed away with his hand still in hers.


#20 Broke My Brother

I found my mother lifeless. I had to break the news to my 12-year-old brother. I gave him the worst news of his life. I watched him crumble right in front of me. That messed me up for a very long time.


#21 Poor Pup

The hardest news I ever had to break was when, as a kid, I had to tell our neighbor that I had just seen his dog—a beautiful collie—hit in the street by a truck speeding through the neighborhood.


#22 Attempting To Explain

My wife and I had to explain to our five-year-old kid that he was very, very ill; that his blood was making him feel bad, and that the nice doctors were trying to make him better but that it would be hard work.

Leukemia sucks.



#23 Love Unreturned

I had to break up with my girlfriend. Even though I was in love with her, she didn't seem to love me back the same, and I couldn't live with that.


#24 Worst Of Many

As a policeman, I have had to deliver more sad messages than I could count. It never gets any easier....

The worst was an elderly woman who had passed away overnight. From the moment I arrived at the address, the phone was constantly ringing. After an hour, I had to answer (even though the procedure is not to).

I had to break the news over the phone to her daughter. She was hundreds of miles away, which made it even more heartbreaking. She broke down and was sobbing. I told her I was with her mom and that would look after her. I told her to call me back when she was ready.


#25 Why I'm Here

I had to tell my parents that the reason I was in the hospital was that I attempted to hurt myself. I tried to tell them it wasn't a big deal at first, but eventually, my dad said to me, "The doctor told us you wouldn't be here if you hadn't done something to yourself. You can talk to me about anything." My mom wouldn't stop crying. My dad was so upset he wouldn't look at me. I love my parents more than anything and this broke my heart.


#26 Not The Present He Wanted

I had to tell my dad that my son (his first grandchild) had cancer. ON MY DAD'S BIRTHDAY. He came to visit us at the hospital after my son had broken his leg (due to the bone tumor). He showed up with my brother right after we found out and I had to tell them since something terrible was written all over my face.


#27 Not A Want, But A Need

I had to tell my cheating boyfriend that he had to leave for the last time. He was crying and said he still loved me. It was the worst thing I've ever had to say because I didn't want him to go.


#28 Not Possessed, Finally Free

I told the leaders of the cult my family had been a part of for thirty years that my brother and I were leaving.

Yeah, it didn't go well. One of them tried to cast a demon out of me, and they had our parents convinced that we were not going to heaven. They spent hours at our house making all kinds of ridiculous accusations about me to my brother to try to turn us against each other. It was late, and we just wanted to sleep at that point. They wouldn't leave until we had them convinced that we would stay.

My brother was actually considering it, but when I told him I was leaving with or without him by the week's end to go live with our cousin in another state, he shook off their manipulation and agreed to come with me. We left two days later. A year after that, our parents got out as well.


#29 Broke Her Spirit

I had to tell my mom that my dad had finally passed away from his cancer. It's bad enough that a son should ever have to say that to his mother, but my mom was in the hospital fighting cancer herself. After I said it, you could just see the light go out in her eyes. I knew I was going to lose her soon, and I did about three weeks later.


#30 There Were No Words

“I don’t know what to say.”

I was states away from my grandma when her cancer came back and, it was essentially her last moments. My mom called me and told me to talk to my grandma. My mom made it clear that my grandma couldn’t talk, but she could hear me. I froze. I kept stammering over words, and I could hear my mom yell, “Say something!”

My last words to my grandma were: “I don’t know what to say".


#31 Repetition

I took it upon myself to inform our circle of friends fairly early in the morning that our good friend had decided to take his life the night before, just a few days before Christmas. I was his best friend, and his parents obviously didn’t have any ways of contacting most of the group. His mom ended up calling my wife to break the news.


#32 I Had To

I had to tell a very close friend she could no longer live with me since she was an abusive parent to her son. I was the one who called Child Protective Services. Her son was taken away and full custody was given to the father.

She has not spoken to me since.


#33 Not So Holy

I told my wife that I didn't believe in Mormonism anymore. I grew up Mormon and married a Mormon. It's difficult to explain how all-encompassing Mormonism is with its members. Just imagine, they tell you how to live your life. Like, everything down to what underwear you can wear.

Anyway, I grew up assuming everything the church told me was 100% true. True in the purest sense of the word. Shortly before I got married, I learned that the church's founding was... different than what I was taught. After a couple of years of studying, I realized I was duped. Not like, "Oh, it's just a different perspective" kind of duped. More like, a "the founder of the church who I regarded as the holiest man ever to walk turned out to be a predator" kind of duped.

So yeah, I kept my disbelief a secret for the longest time, but due to the all-encompassing nature of Mormonism, it started driving me crazy. So I told my wife that I had serious doubts about the church and that I loved her regardless. She yelled at me, told me our marriage was a lie and stormed out of the house.


#34 Small Recompense

"On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Marine Corps, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service."

I had to say this for one of my greatest friends in my life when I presented the flag to his mom. I nearly didn't make it without completely choking up.


#35 Too Young To Bear This

My uncle ended his life and his wife was too overwhelmed to speak. She went into absolute shock for hours. My family decided that I was the one who should tell my cousins that their dad was gone because we were so close. I'm an adult now and I can't even fathom the notion that a 15-year-old was the best person to tell her younger cousins their father ended his life.


#36 Never Again, Please

I had to drive to my sister's house with my mom to let her know that dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her screams are something I don't want to hear again, ever.


#37 Bloody Raccoon

I had to call my wife at work to tell her some kind of animal got into the house and hurt our beloved dog. We had just moved to the farmhouse and didn't know there was a murderous animal living in the chimney. I walked in the front door and saw what was left of him... Man, it haunts me to this day.

I started screaming at the other dogs, "WHAT DID YOU DO?" They were so confused and scared. I don't doubt it might have been worse if they weren't around. I didn't know how to tell my wife, so I called her. She was teaching at the time and managed to hold it together for the rest of the day. She collapsed into my arms when she got home. I gave him a proper burial, so there was nothing for her to see. She left work that day with no idea that it was the last time she would ever see him.


#38 Finally Found The Courage

I had to tell my parents that my mom's first cousin (who is five years older than me) abused me from the age of 12 to 19. I didn't find the courage to tell anyone until I was 24.

Telling my parents was the most difficult because he was someone they trusted and got along with well. I felt guilty because if I had just said something when it was happening, I could have protected my sister from him as well. Telling them ended up being one of the best things I've ever done.


#39 Sometimes, Love Is Not Enough

I had to tell the man I loved that we couldn't stay together. Love doesn't make everything go right and sometimes we want things in life that are too different.


#40 Not Meant Seriously

My best friend ended his life two years ago. His mom couldn’t comprehend why as he left no note and it was very sudden. He had a bad life at home and his mom was putting an insane amount of stress on him. She is a very nice lady and just wanted what was best for him, but I think she failed to understand how to handle situations with him. She wanted to read our recent text messages to each other at the time to see if there were any “red flags." I completely forgot that there was a section in our conversations where he was venting about his mom being a witch. She read it and for about 30 minutes bawled her eyes out saying, “I’m the reason.”


#41 Can Never Say Enough

"Goodbye. Thank you for everything, I love you, dad."

That's what I said to him as I sat holding him, right before Christmas. When there is literally not a thing you can do, it hits you hard. I like to think he heard me but in reality... I know he didn't.

It was also difficult giving a eulogy in front of an entire town packed into a small hall. My dad was a legend, and he deserved so much more. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever said or done.


#42 Accepting The End

When my father was dying of cancer, I, being the oldest son, had to bring up that we should stop hoping for the best and prepare for the inevitable. He wasn’t getting better. It was a hard thing for everyone to hear but I think the fact that it came from me made it easier on everyone. He passed away a week later. Cancer is a nightmare. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.


#43 Silence The Only Response

When I was 14 years old, I was taken away from my dad by the state so he legally wasn't allowed to speak to me unless he was supervised. He was sick in his bed in Iowa and I had just been adopted in Nebraska. I was still able to speak to him but he couldn't respond. No one will ever understand how much it hurts to pour your heart out to your own dad at such a young age, knowing you can't even get an "I love you" or a goodbye back.


#44 Wanted To Remember Something Better

I told my family that I didn't want to go see my grandma get taken off of life support. 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 day and we stayed as late as we could that night, then we came back the next day before she was eventually taken off of it.

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.


#45 True To His Word

"Father, you need the catheter. We can't keep doing this."

My father was under hospice care at my home, and he always told me the day he couldn't relieve himself was the day he didn't want to live anymore. That was the last day he was around. He gave up and passed away no more than 20 hours after having the nurse do it. I'm mad at him for sticking to his word... I miss him.


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