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Leadfeather

Advice needed about pointing my sister to this subforum

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I need advice. We have had several spouses die in our family in the last 4 years. My father after a 3 week stay in the hospital. And my wife suddenly and without any warning. So I have some experience dealing with the aftermath of a death of a spouse, both as a supporter of someone suddenly bereft of their life partner and as someone who experienced it himself.

 

My brother-in-law has been quite ill for several years. This week they finally got a definitive diagnosis and it is not good. His life, the life of my sister and their young daughter are severely impacted by his illness both now, and in the shorter time it means he will be here with them. For all intents and purposes she is a single parent to their daughter, the primary caregiver for him, and a full time professional.  I can see she is very tired and very emotional and has been for a long time.

 

Is this subform a good place to send her? Should I even bring up the thought of her already visiting a site for widows and widowers? Quite honestly, I think with the deaths of a significant family member every few years in our family I, and other members of my extended family have a bit of "death fatigue" we do not want to look toward a future with another widow in our small family club. Since my wife died I am also much less emotional about others dying, and that is not what she needs. I want to send her here if it might help emotional and practically. But I have no experience with knowing in advance that my spouse will in all likelihood die well before I do.

 

Thanks

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First, so sorry for so much loss in such a short time.  It’s a lot for a family to endure. 

 

2nd.  Just my humble opinion.  For most illnesses, there is some kind of support group.  So, your sister may do better with that than here where we have death of our mate.  

 

My brother’s wife died 14 months after my LH’s Car accident.  She had an incurable cancer.  5 yrs prognosis.  They never accepted it.  She had stem cell transplant.  She had experimental treatment at a research hospital.  She was up for another trial when her body gave out.  My brother still struggles with she may have made it if they just changed some of the treatment course.  He would never have come here.  Another dear widow lost her LH with 6 months treatment for cancer.  She stated she was in fight mode until the last week.  She would not have wanted a referral here.  

Support group for extreme care giving versus widowed.  

 

An unexpected death lives a different mind and grief process than a caretaker role.  I think.  Others? 

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FWIW, I was an extreme caregiver with a career and a small child.  By the time we accepted that my husband was going to die (as in imminently), I was so exhausted and on auto-pilot and with laser focus on what needed to get done that I think a site like this would have disrupted the fragile equilibrium I'd established for myself over time just to get through it.  I think I found the former iteration of this site at about 2-3 months after Scott died when I was in a panic about some parenting decision I had to make on my own - by then I was ready for it and needed it.  I think Tybec's recommendation of a support group for now is a good one - we went to a brain cancer support group for a few years and while all it did was traumatize me further, I think it helped my husband and it did - at least temporarily - take some of the pressure off of me and give him a kind of support that in some ways I could not.   Wishing you all all the best.  I'm sorry your sister and your family is going through this.  

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I have seen a spouse come on here before their partner died, but I would not have. It took my husband going into a coma for me to acknowledge he was well and truly dying. Has she accepted that he is going to die? I know there are support groups out there for caregivers and I would recommend you maybe look around for her and offer suggestions since she might not take the time to look herself. It is a very stressful and isolating experience. (I’m grateful I have gotten past the ‘if onlys’- because they really sucked.)

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One of the reasons I ever thought to join a widow/widower forum was because as an extreme caregiver, I found a site called healingwell.com pretty helpful. Even there, though, I was in a different mode from most people, who were living with chronic illness. There were a couple of forums for caregivers, though. Ironically, the group that was most helpful to me were people dealing with liver disease and my DH's issue was esophogeal cancer. I just happend to connect with them. So i guess, help is just where you find it.

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Another thing to consider is, are you willing to have her read your thoughts and writings?

Maybe the two of you are that close, but perhaps you might want to keep some things to yourself away from family. 

Hope that makes sense...

Sorry to hear about your brother in law. 

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