CSN Login
Members Online: 5

Grieving for someone who is still alive why?

rogina2336's picture
rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

I have a question for any and all who may be or may have faced this..........My DH has stopped treatment, he was told that there is nothing more that can be done for his cancer (30 months of chemo/colorectal stage iv) so we decided to go the hospice route and hopefully have some quality time in the time he has left.  My belief is to celebrate the person and help them feel as much alive and a part of things as possible, his family is going the other direction and they are continuously crying when they talk to him and writing letters to tell him all the things that they supposedly can't say in person.  I need to find a way to kindly let them know that it is really bothering my DH and myself and to stop it............any suggestions?  Thanks kim

 

Ladylacy
Posts: 509
Joined: Apr 2012

First and foremost, I am so sorry to hear about your husband, but mine too decided too more treatments after 3 years of treatment for laryngeal, then cancer at the cervical of his esophagus (rare) and now reoccurrence of that and spread to his lungs.  But we have been blessed because no one questions, no one tries to change his mind.  The only sad thing is that family members, that live close by, don't even bother to stop in and see him.  His family live out of town and he is the youngest.  Their age is a big part, but still telephone calls would be nice, not just once in a while.  I have two siblings that live within 15 miles and one that in the last three years hasn't bothered to stop in and she herself is a cancer survivor. 

Even our children and grandchildren are the same way and that makes me madder.  We haven't decided on hospice yet but he feels he isn't that bad and that if we call hospice in, he will give up, his words to the doctor, not mine.  You need to talk to his family members and tell them flat out that they are upsetting him with their crying.  You can always hide the letters.  That this is making him feel worse, that they need to be upbeat and if they can't you will limit their contact with him.  I know that sounds mean, but your husband's mental health is important than theirs.  As caregivers, we have to be strong and do what is right for our loved one. 

Best wishes to you and your husband, Sharon

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1622
Joined: Aug 2009

I would encourage you and your husband to reconsider hospice. It is better to get them involved sooned rather than later. they aren't just there for the patient. They are a help for the family as well. The 24/7 phone number was a real comfort for me. We didn't bring them in until the last month, and I wished we had called sooner. They took care of all the meds, provided oxygen and a hospital bed when needed. They were also very good with pain control. They aren't a sign of giving up. They make life and end of life easier for all. 

rogina2336's picture
rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks for your words of wisdom.  i called his sister and explained it to her as nicely as i could that I know she is hurting and i know she loves him, but this has got to stop.  She finally agreed that it wasn't about her and that she would do her best to be more upbeat.  I guess i got through to her, so hopefully it will get better, I really do not want to get mad about it.  Time will tell.  Sorry about your husband.  My DH felt pretty good up until about 3 weeks agoCry.  Thanks again.  Kim

rogina2336's picture
rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks for your words of wisdom.  i called his sister and explained it to her as nicely as i could that I know she is hurting and i know she loves him, but this has got to stop.  She finally agreed that it wasn't about her and that she would do her best to be more upbeat.  I guess i got through to her, so hopefully it will get better, I really do not want to get mad about it.  Time will tell.  Sorry about your husband.  My DH felt pretty good up until about 3 weeks agoCry.  Thanks again.  Kim  Oops somehow I posteed twice...

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1330
Joined: Apr 2010

Why you ask do they grieve now?  Simply stated, they know that he will pass soon and they can't bear to lose him.  I know first hand.  I grieved for Rick every day for three years, and now 7 months past our parting, I am still grieving every day.  In fact, my grief was so strong when he was first diagnosed, he made me get a script for Zoloft, which I still take daily.  I didn't want to upset him, but I often simply couldn't control my emotions at times and would just sob.  We all react differently, so try to be easy on your relatives.  It doesn't mean that they don't love him, they may feel as if they would only break down and cry in front of him - which is what you've said that you don't want, right?  Sometimes we just can't have it both ways....

Take care Kim,

Cynthia

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1622
Joined: Aug 2009

 We all grieve in different ways. And yes, the relatives are already grieving. I once told my husband that if he was a real SOB none of us would care. Some of us are better at hiding our grief. My husband and I laughed together as well as cried. I think his sense of humor got us all through. Most of our visitors were able to be upbeat, but some did break down. Two close friends who visited during the last week were surprised when we laughed much of the time. They expected a really down weekend. Instead, we all felt uplifted. Toward the end of the visit, when it was time for the good byes, we all had tears in our eyes. I'm glad you were able to talk with your sister-in-law, but don't blame her if she can't always keep her grief hidden. This is a hard time for all. Encourage family and friends to share good memories, and remind your husband that the tears are an expression of love because he isn't that SOB. I am glad you have hospice. You might ask them for help in this area. They are there for family as well as the patient. 

rogina2336's picture
rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

Grandma Fay and Living in NH, I was not upset over the tears and grieving, I was upset because it was upsetting my DH he even told me it was making him sick and he didn't want to spend anytime with them and i just could not allow that to happen.  We all love him very much and I personally want him to be as happy and comfortable as he can be until the end.  And yes Grandmafay Hospice is filled with wonderful people who are willing to go the extra mile to help us all through this.  Hugs and Prayers Kim

rogina2336's picture
rogina2336
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2011

Grandma Fay and Living in NH, I was not upset over the tears and grieving, I was upset because it was upsetting my DH he even told me it was making him sick and he didn't want to spend anytime with them and i just could not allow that to happen.  We all love him very much and I personally want him to be as happy and comfortable as he can be until the end.  And yes Grandmafay Hospice is filled with wonderful people who are willing to go the extra mile to help us all through this.  Hugs and Prayers Kim

LindaK.
Posts: 339
Joined: Apr 2013

I just remembered a good friend's father was terminal with pancreatic cancer a few years ago and she told me to come over to visit him anytime.  My reaction then disturbs me now.  I think I even made a face like "eww" and never did go see him.  Now, being on the other side of cancer (my husband) I can understand both sides.  People who have not had the time or tools to deal with someone dying have no clue what to say or do.  They are afraid, even if you tell them not to be, they have not been around the patient as much as we all are with our family members so they are not comfortable with it.  It doesn't make it any easier, but I hate to say I was "one of those people" not too long ago.  Even when I told some of our good friends my husband had colon cancer, they all made that "pitiful" face.  Two people did it in front of our 10 year old grandson who was very nervous about his grandpa being in the hospital.  I said "He's doing fine and the future looks good"  That person did go visit my husband (since her mother was in the same hospital) and I was so glad she did so she could see for herself he was doing well. 

Now, I would encourage anyone to visit a person who is ill, I would even offer to go with them if that would ease their discomfort.  I don't think people are being mean or stupid, they just don't know what to do or say.  Hoping your family and friends come around to visit your DH.

 

Sundanceh's picture
Sundanceh
Posts: 4312
Joined: Jun 2009

"his family is going the other direction and they are continuously crying when they talk to him and writing letters to tell him all the things that they supposedly can't say in person."

Here's the way I see it now....

Why are we waiting until now to show this flood of grief and support? 

Where have they been all of this time when nothing but a phone call could have been a life preserver?

Is it for DH - or is it really more for them?

See, I think that what you are seeing is wave upon wave of their own unresolved frustration at themselves.....for not being able to be the kind of people they needed to be for DH - the kind of people they know they should have been.

And now, we are seeing direct expressions of guilt and remorse being played out....

What this really does is let them off the emotional hook.....and release them from the pent up emotional bondage they have been feeling....

'Now', they are 'there' for you both...no one would be able to argue now, you see? 

By all accounts, they are pledging their support....but, what does this really mean?

And how much weight does this really carry?

And how meaningful is the relationship now - when one can see through the pretense behind the messages?

I've always maintained....if you can't see me when I'm living.....don't come see me when I'm dying....or dead.

That would make you a hypocrite....and hypocrisy stings more when you are at a stage like you find yourselves now.....and DH knows this too....deep down he knows, Kim.

That could be a source of the angst for him right now....because he can see through it....he longed for it....didn't get it the way that he should....and now, when things look to be their worst, folks want to unburden their burdens by freeing themselves from the responsibilities they should have been taking care of before it came to this.

I agree with you....if DH is upset about it....then don't bring him that news....

He's busy making peace with as much of it as he can....I can promise you that.  He's got to be able to live with it, you see, Kim.

It's the others now, who are trying to figure how to handle it....and to use you both to free the guilt they have been carrying around. 

You know I'm so sorry it has all come down to this....I very much like the idea of you too getting the most now...that's the very least that you both deserve....and I hope you get all of it.

Don't let folks weigh you down anymore....if they really meant well, they would have pulled their head out long before now. 

We could talk about more of this later if you ever wanted too....you know how to get hold of me:)

 I had to recently forgive and then remove all of the dead wood back out of my lives....I can't really be a part of their lives anymore, because they have demonstrated that I'm not of enough value to be included. They show up for surgery day and you don't hear from them for a couple of years.....or they come to a funeral....and leave immediately after lunch from the parking lot etc.  

As a result of those kinds of transgressions, I've asked my wife to never call them again when I'm heading into surgery.....or if I recur again....or even if I die. Don't know me now - don't know me then.

It's all about the guilt.....and the appearance of looking right in the eyes of society....and that's the sickening part.....it just (ain't) real....and you know how I feel about real and truth....and the real truth:)

 Give DH my best...

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network