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Together or Apart?


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I have a question for whomever wishes to answer. Without going into too much detail about how my sister (1of 2) upset me yesterday I would like to take a poll...

Since your loved one was diagnosed has your family:

A)Grown closer together.

B) Drifting apart

Thanks in advance....cathy

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Cathy,

With my husband's diagnosis he and I have grown very much closer. My siblings have distanced themselves from me. (I think Hugh and I represent everything that they fear right now). I think our children's relationships have remained about the same as they struggle through this and seem to be in denial. I am here to deal with Hugh's needs so they don't have to try to hammer out any agreements about what should be done. They trust that Hugh and I are making the right decisions - we are still young and able to make those decisions.

When my mother (a widow) became ill a few years ago, it was a huge strain on the relationship with my brother and sister. I grew closer to one and further from the other. It seemed that no one could agree on anything.

One thing for certain, it hurts deeply when you expect people will "be there" for you and they, for some reason, can't or won't. Just another issue to deal with that comes with illness. YUCK!

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Cathy,

I think a little of both. The triangle between my parents and me (my family) have grown extremely close as a family. Better than ever before and I am so grateful.

I do, however, have brothers and sisters- some have pulled away (they can't "handle" this) others call or come once a month for that obligatory visit....my oldest brother spends every Friday with my dad.

My relationship with my siblings have changed. I appreciate and love them, but I am intolerant of things that are selfish or useless...because looking at lung cancer kinda changes whether or not I like someone's new car, new hairdo, or vacation plans- Instead of researching or even LEARNING about what my dad has, a sibling will reasearch which plants will grow under a shade tree! I've no time to waste on stupid things and I feel like everyone should be as passionate about helping my dad as me (hello, my name is katie and I'm a control freak :roll: )

Don't know what you're facing but it's hard enough to sort out your own feelings without throwing in everyone elses. If you need to talk I'm here and I'm sure I know what you're talking about!

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When I was told I had lung cancer I was over 1000 or so miles from all of my family except my husband. When you are so far apart you call on birthdays, holidays, but that is about it. After I told them about the lung cancer we talked all the time, cards, my brother even flew here to visit. How they came to my rescue emotionally was so wonderful.

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Both.

My relatives on my dad's side don't come around(There's some history there). My mom complains about it but it's because she never picks up the phone when they call. My mom is her own worst enemy. I hate it. My teenage sister is acting better now but her hormones are dictating her life right now. Even when my mom was at her worse, my sister put her own relationship first. She's in a new relationship now and my mom likes the guy. My older brother moved out in January in the midst of all this, to go to school. He barely ever contributes monetarily, and when he does, its chump change. Then he has the nerve to ask my mom or I for money(yes, even now!). He ran away from the problem. My stepdad has only brought my mom to chemo once. He's too busy trying to grow his Amway business. Every time I brought her to chemo, I had to take a half-day at work, and I'm not her husband!

Naturally, my mom and I have become closer than ever now. I had to put my personal life on hold to save hers. I guess God made it that way because my mom and I didn't get along until all this. I hate to say it, but I don't think I'd have the strength or patience to ever deal with this kind of crisis again. I don't wanna sound selfish, but I'm 25 and just starting out and it's not fair that I'm the one doing all the work. Hopefully God will allow me to let my guard down now. Then maybe I can go back to normal life (like dating!). 8)

Sorry to sound so negative. Just getting everything off my chest. This is the kind of stuff I only tell my best friend. Just goes to show what this board means to me.

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me and my sister have taken this road together in ways and apart in ways. I am a full blown panic stricken worry wart with negative tendancieswho sees mom 2 times a day and waits on her hand and foot. my sister still sees mom 2-3 times a week but takes vacations and does her own thing.

were both concerned but react differently

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Cathy,

My situation is this.

I only have one living brother who is seven years younger then me and he is married and has reciently adopted his first child. I had another brother who has electricuted when he was eight and I was seven. When mom got sick I was immediatly "there" with my dad. Part of it was I was able to because I didn't work and me being the oldest and the girl. At first my brother didn't want to see my mom in a bad way, we had watched our grandma (her mom), suffer in a rest home for seven years and it was so hard to see that. My sister in law on the other hand, encouraged him to visit several times a week and I am so glad she did. Had he not done this it would have hurt my mom so bad and he would have to live with that forever. I believe that those who choose not to be part of the "team" (for whatever the reason) are the ones who will miss out on so much.

For me personally I will always treasure the many hours I gave in sevice to both of my parents. I have become so much closer to my father and a way that couldn't have come in any other way. When my brother died 35 years ago my dad never got over it (I can't imagine losing a child). When we spoke of him we did so quietly because my dad could never talk about it. When we found out that we needed hospice for mom I was there for my dad and I insisted that he not bury his pain, that he needed to work thru it.

Cathy, you seem like you are right there for your father in the most loving way. Cherish that. No matter what upsets come within your family, try to be understanding without judging. I believe that everyone is in a different place because of their life experiences. Life has a way of teaching us many things. For example, I once had a small dog who was afraid of balls. Just seeing a ball she would start to shake. One day many years after that dog had died I commented on how afraid she was of balls. My younger brother said "you know why don't you?" I said "No, why?' He went on to explain that just as a joke a neighbor kid placed a firecracker inside her ball and roll it to her and BANG! Now I understood. Many times even within our close circle of friends and family we don't know what really is going on within their lives. Human's are a strange breed we don't like to let anyone know we have "problems". That is what I call "putting on our Sunday face for the world to see" I certainly am far from perfect and therefore don't want to be judged by others either. You will never regret being kind. You will all need each other and this is a very sensitive time for everyone. Feel good in what you are doing with your father, and the relationships you that you nuture within your family. After all, that is what we take with us is The Love.

(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))) Shelly

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Cathy,

My Aunt (on my mom's side) is a pediatrician and now is estranged, unfortunately. My dad and mom talked about hospice and I belive they both agreed toward the end. however, my aunt changed the DNR (do not resuscitate) order. She wanted my mom to be on a ventilator, but most of the nurses and doctors said that it is quite painful. Also I think she tried to get the hospice people not to show up at a meeting.

My aunt and mom were very close. My aunt found the surgeon so maybe she felt guilty about what happened. In any case she did not even show up for the funeral. My dad hopes one day she will come around.

Take care

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Guest canuckwebgrrl

I'd say both as well.

Actually, my sister had not spoken to my mother in over 1.5 years. Because of practicality, my sister did not speak to my stepfather during this time either. But she has been there and gone to the cancer centre library and become just as involved as me. No one in our family even said anything about her lengthy absence, all is forgotten/forgiven.

On the other hand, yes, there have been some family who have not even called when they heard the news. Certainly all my step-dad's siblings are in deep denial, they all continue to smoke as well.

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Definately closer together. We all say I love you more than ever, and hug and kiss each other hello and goodbye. Its nice...even my big brother tells me he loves me now, so I guess thats one good thing about this stupid disease. Love is back and no petty bickering.

:D

Rana

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I'd also have to say a little of both.

I have always had a close relationship with my family. Since my husband's diagnosis, I have grown much closer to my parents and one of my two sisters. They call me almost every day to see how we are doing, and to offer any support and help. I have another sister whom I used to talk to frequently, but now I don't hear from her too much. I know that she started a new job recently, but I have a feeling that is just an excuse, because previously she worked a lot and still called often. I think she is just a little uncomfortable and doesn't know what to say anymore. She also smokes and has severe health problems with pulmonary embolisms, and I think she feels frightened and guilty about it when she lets herself realize that my husband, a man younger than her has lung cancer. It could be her.

On the other hand, I feel much closer to my husband's family now. Prior to his illness, I never felt too close to them. I knew they liked me, but they never really made any effort to hold conversations with me. They'd call and ask for Keith right away. Now, they talk to me, they want to talk to me to see how I'm doing, how Keith is doing, to get and give information. I think we are closer now that we share a common goal of getting Keith better.

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Interesting question. My father in law was diagnosed in 1987, and died with in the year. We had only been married five years at the time, and watching the dynamics of the family was enlightening. It got real ugly after the funeral, and I had difficulty fogetting for a long time.

I was first diagnosed in 93. My family was not the sharing kind. I did not want to and would not talk about it, so no one asked me how I was. I was tiptoed around. With the second diagnosis, I realized I had to be more open, and it became a group effort. Siblings went to appointments, cleaned my house, got the laundry done.

With the lung cancer I just stood on the steps and hollered for anyone.

My point? :roll: I have four sisters and a brother. They all react differently. We all have different personalities and are strong at different things. I have learned through the therapy to ask, but not expect. That's when I get bummed.

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You know yesterday I cried almost all day because I felt my sister was being very selfish. I cant understand how everything in her life comes before my dad..You have to understand my dad truly is wonderful..I think he is the last of a dying breed called "gentleman." Iknow our board is all about hope, however I have to be realistic. I dont think my dad is going to be here on earth with us for very much longer and anything thing he wants he will get from me,and trust me he never asks for anything...I know you guys know how I feel by the way you all responded. I keep reading your post over and over and again its so nice to know I'm not alone. I did finally stop crying because I realize now I have to do whats right for me. Katie, I feel how you do very passionate about helping my dad and everyone else should also. Shelley I am going to try and not judge anymore even though that will not be easy, and Gail very good advice about asking but not expecting, only I wont ask her for anything this way there will be no disappointments...Thanks everyone I think I am going to copy your post..Noone understands or helps me through this the way everyone here does....Thanks all.........cathy

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Questions like this are why I'm glad my picture isn't posted so my in-laws won't l know it's me! I feel your pain, it gets especially hard as the spouse (or caregiver) when you are so low and you get crap from others. The selfishness especially sends me through the roof. It also drives me nuts that one person in particular acts like he has the flu or something. So my answer is closer to everyone but the in-laws who don't have a clue what kind of stress we're under.

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Cathy,

I strongly believe that miracles can happen and I have faith and hope, yet, like your post said, there is the real possibility that my dad may not live the full life as I am praying so hard for.

So I live each day as if it were my dad's last. I stopped asking (demanding, being indigent etc..) for help or questioning peoples motives and/or whether or not their actions truely showed how much they care about my dad. NONE of them matter, and while we are in the midst of this battle NOTHING else really matters. The others around us in our families will do what they do,, but as for us (me & YOU) we will have no regrets, and we will have WONDERFUL times and GREAT memories that will embrace us our whole lives.

Don't be sad, disappointed or angry with your sister. Our relatives will experience the guilt and regret later for their actions, and DOn't waste the engery it takes to hold a grudge, just go on...LIVE your life and keep doing what you do and ENJOY your dad. HE'S ALIVE, and today is a great day.

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Guest mmirrrel

my dad was diagnosed in march of 02 and i went home at that time. my older sister behaved appallingly, and i haven't spoken to her since. i guess it has driven us apart. my little sister and i are still close though.

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Well - I have a lot to say on that subject! LOL

When Mike was first diagnosed, our son and daughter and my mother all told me I was in denial...then I was depressed and needed help....then I was in denial. I told them to "pick one" because I can't be both!

My mother has really come around and started being supportive. At first - I think she saw Mike's illness as a threat to my being her "caretaker". My entire family has had to learn to stand on their own two feet and not turn to me for everything.

Since Mike has outlived everyone's predictions, I'm getting a lot more support. It's like "hey - Shannon isn't crazy...maybe this "hope" and "prayers" thing really works!

My son asked me (back in Jan 2002) - when was I going to accept that Mike was going to die? My reply? Well - I will accept that he is going to die when he is dying because at the time of my son's statement - Mike was out in the garage doing his wood working project.!!!!!

My mother has come around so much that she actually said if ANYONE in our family gets cancer....they are going immediately to Tulsa to the Cancer Treatment Center of America! Quite a change from her "You are feeling sorry for yourself" speech.

Our family has done a lot of healing during this time. But I'm a firm believer that the same heat that hardens steel - melts butter. Some families get torn apart, others closer during "adversity". Ours has FOUGHT and struggled with issues but then somehow - we always come together and our love sees us through.

Hugs,

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True there are some truly selfish people out there, but I think there's a lot of people who CAN'T deal with it more than they WON'T deal with it.

I don't get to choose, because I'm the one who has it, but I try to keep the CAN'Ts in mind when someone doesn't respond the way I expect(ed) them to.

Some people CAN'T accept it, because it would mean accepting their OWN mortality.

Some people CAN'T deal with it, because they truly aren't emotionally strong enough.

And a long list of other CAN'Ts - we love people for their strengths....we need to love them with their weaknesses as well.

SandyS

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Cathy, my sister and I have defianatly gotten much closer since my dads diagnosis in Jan 2002. Its funny, we've gotten steadily closer as we've gotten older. We have always been very diffent, and she is five years older than me, so as kids we seemed to always be in 2 different phases of life. (I was 10, climbing trees, she was 15 and primping in the bathroom mirror every 5 min.) The way we have dealt with this thing with my parents has been, mostly, with humor. we laugh ALOT!! funny, huh? The thing that has been so devastating has not only brought us closer, but has actually made us laugh as much as cry, if not more. But, the humor gets us through. Weird, but true. Take care, Deb

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For me an dmy family, it has for the most part brought us together. Mom and dad(moslty mom) has arguements. They have disappeared. My older brother who is very negative and used to yell at them, has toned down. The house is more calm.

For me, I was in Japan in October when I heard of Dads dire predicament. I was shocked,stunned, I was in utter disbelief. Dad was 77 but appeared and acted very healthy. I visited dad twice in December,stayed almost for the whole month. My wife and I moved her permanently late March. We dont work, we live with them and help them. I have taken him to appointments and have done a lot of work to get answers and to look for other options. Everyday is a great day, I try to ask dad questions about is past, about his hometown in Mexico, how it was like living there? Etc.

Some of my siblings dont ask dad too much about meaningful things, I dont know, maybe they dont feel as close to him. They are missing out because what dad has to say is worth a lot. I am a bit upset they are not around so much, I know they are busy, but they can visit more. I dont know, if they feel this is enough for them, then so be it! What works for me is being closer and being with them everyday. All I gotta say its up to the person to decide how close they wanna be, the less you see someone the less you see the pain and suffering. Good luck to us all!

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Well, Lucie and I are definitely closer. We thought we were pretty close as a couple, but we are closer now because of this cancer experience. And I think we are closer to the three kids. I think it can go either way -- bring you together in love, or split you apart in anger. And I believe it can go from one to the other. Those "friends" who can't handle the cancer have disappeared from our life. And then we have been surprised by the loving actions of others, with tangible support. Cancer is a family disease and affects each one in the family. How each chooses to handle it can make the difference in getting closer or going farther apart. My wife is an only child and her parents are no longer living. But a first cousin of hers visited us about a month ago and thanks ME for taking such good care of her. That is the stuff of which binds a family in love. Don

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And you know what? I think its important not to be judgemental. I have been right along and I must say I have spent some pretty angry moments over the way some of my close family have chosen to handle this, but after I posted on this subject and read everyone's replies I started thinking: Who am I to tell people how they should handle their grief? Maybe they are dealing with it the best way they can. If they choose to step back or remain distant, aren't they simply trying to survive? Perhaps in a different manner than many of us would wish for or that is helpful, but we all know that dealing with this is difficult to put it mildly and maybe they WANT to give more but simply can not. That would be a hard concept for many strong people to understand. As I deal with Hugh's illness I am there because I love him, I want to be there and lets face it we're in this for "better or worse". I am hoping that I am stronger through this and will be there for my family and/or friends when they need me.

That's today, I think I must be in a generous mood. Tomorrow I will probably be back to myself and angry at all the idiots who don't even call and ask how Hugh and I or doing! :twisted:

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Candy, yes, I think you are being quite generous today. I agree that we should try and not be judgmental, and to forgive, and I try tp practice that. But when a person doesn't even send a card, an E-mail or just let one know they are thinking about you, I think that is pretty sad. Those people really just don't get it. It is all about loving each other and showing it. That is my stance. I am not so charitable as you are today, my lady. I would rather have one friend that sticks with me than a roomful of people sitting on their --er, thumbs. I don't even have time to feel sorry for them. I just pray one day they will wake up to life. I have lived long enough to see many instances where "friends" have abandoned someone who is seriously ill because they were "uncomfortable" or "that's how they deal with it". They don't want their little dream world shattered with such ugliness as we sick people. Anyways, there is no one like that here, thank God. You people are great. And Lucie and I are so blessed to have many family and friends who do care and show it in so many ways. I guess you struck a chord there in me, Candy. Blessings. Don

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  • 1 month later...

My S/O and I have become much closer since he was diagnosed with NSCLC. Its amazing how little the things you use to think were so important, are not so very unimportant. The only things that seem to matter anymore is that we are together and we value everyday we have together now in a totally different light. My boyfriend being an only child born to parents that were 45 at the time of his birth. Both now being deceased. He has tons of good friends that more than make up for his lack of family. Most people don't have that much family support. Hes very lucky to have such caring friends. They have been there for him and me daily. I don't know what we would do without them! My mother whom lives in another state is one my closest supporters. Anytime I'm upset and no one to talk to I just call her and shes always there to talk to me. My mother and I had a falling out over the years but since my boyfriend has been diagnosed she has really been there for me!! Its hard to believe how much something like Cancer can change your life. My boyfriend is such a different person now!! Like he said his life will never be the same again, nor mine. He gets depressed alot and all I have to do is call one of his closest friends and him and his wife come down and he always seems better after they've been here. I thank God for them! I've told them how much I've appreciated their support!

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