My adult kids can't handle my grief

tiredspouse Member Posts: 1

My husband has had cancer for three years, the last two in stage four.  It is now inoperable following a liver resection and lots of chemo and radiation.  I am so tired from dealing with our family deaths in the last five years (three parents and a sibling) that have involved ugly, slow deaths, that I feel I can hardly face another one.  Yet today, at our oldest son's, yes for Thanksgiving, it has been made abundatly clear that motherhood never ends.  Some how, when I could use my three kids as my help, they all want me to be strong and "happy" making the best of our time together.  I am quite simply falling apart with migraines and pain.  How do I be happy in the midst of this?  I can understand that I am in anticipatory grief, I get it, but they don't. 

How do I do the "everything is fine routine?"  i am a terrible liar.  Could I get a personality transplant?  I can't be the only one who is angry, sad, terrified, and exhausted and needs a false front.  Any suggestions?


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    edited November 2016 #2
    First of all

    Have you talked with your children about your feelings?

    Everyone is entitled to their feelings including and especially you. How could you NOT be exhausted, physically ill and just all together over the whole caregiving thing? If you are normal, you just about have to be.



  • GingerMay
    GingerMay Member Posts: 134
    False front

    I know a little about a false front and nobody close to you getting it.  I just had a house full of people over and nobody mentioned my husband's cancer to me.  You are not alone in feeling angry, sad, terrified and exhausted.  You sound completely normal to me.  You also have the additional trauma of deaths in the family.  I can only suggest telling your adult children clearly what you need from them, even if it's just to say that you hope they understand this is a very serious and exhausting time for you and you hope to have their compassion.  

    Even if you do however, I'm not so sure it guarantees anyone will be able to do as asked but you may have some peace knowing you made your needs clear.  

  • JerzyGrrl
    JerzyGrrl Member Posts: 760 Member
    edited November 2016 #4
    I'm not sure...

    I'm not sure where your kids are at, age-wise, emotionally, in having the ability to personally deal with grief, or in really getting it.

    I totally agree with NoellesMom as well as GingerMay in their comments.  May it also be that your kids are clueless enough yet well-meaning enough that they think your being hap-hap-happy with them and encouraging you in your strong-ness will give you a respite and build you up?

    There were people who used to tell me to "Think positive!" and "One day at a time!" which -- if it didn't take so much energy to go off on somebody and was rather pointless in the end -- I really probably would've just preferred to resort to violence or at least hollering. 

    I was the only care-giver for my spouse and used to have friends -- who had huge (or so it seemed to me) families helping them take care of their loved ones -- tell me what a true blessing it was to be able to be a care-giver for their loved one. Meanwhile I was so exhausted I could hardly think of any sort of blessing except maybe please please please more than 30 minutes of sleep at a go. That, and my hopefully surviving care-giving with some wee shred of physical health and/or sanity still intact (I decided I'd settle for either one, and it didn't have to be a lot). 

    You have so much on your plate.  Share your feelings with your family if you can. Hopefully you can find some assistance and/or respite care for you and your hubby.  You deserve it. 

  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    edited December 2016 #5
    In defense of your kids

    I read your comment and I agree with everything you said and wrote.

    With that said, I remember when I was younger and a relative was dying and I showed up at their house uninvited, was dismayed that they had no food or anything to offer and at that age, I didnt understand or want to understand the huge toll and burden on the caregiver.  Since then, I got married, have 3 kids and my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, then a year of chemotherapy, and now post-chemotherapy is just like it was before she was ever diagnosed with cancer (which is brutal).  I know now in my 40s how inconsiderate I was and how difficult it is and I think your kids will figure that out as well.  For my own kids, I hope and pray they never go through this.  That they marry someone they enjoy being around.

  • morecoffeeplease
    morecoffeeplease Member Posts: 12
    edited February 2017 #6
    This comment is a little late

    This comment is a little late, but I just wanted to commiserate with you about your adult kids. I am the mother of two adult kids who live out of state. My 32 year old son has been great, calling often just to ask how his dad is doing (my husband has stage 4 metastatic leiomyosarcoma and is going through a brutal chemo regimen), and has spent many of his precious weekends traveling home to help out around the house. My 28 year old daughter on the other hand is in complete denial. She criticizes me if I say anything negative, rarely comes home to visit (altho she calls almost every day - short calls with updates on her life), and generally acts as though nothing is different. I have decided that everyone has their own way of dealing with difficulty and I have found it very interesting how differently my two kids are acting. I know they both love their dad very much and I know I also wish everything was "normal". For what its worth what you are going through seems to be not that unusual.