Discussion Forums



far from a family member with advanced cancer 
Started by RoseB
21 Sep 2015, 5:19 PM

Hello everybody,
My 40 years old brother has advanced liver cancer. He lives in Iran and I live in Canada for my studies. I have 2 sisters and one other brother. In addition to my sadness about my sick brother, I am really worried for my other family members. I have a question: I don't think that I am able to go and withstand seeing him with that condition. I've decided not to go. Please give me some information if you have been in similar situations. I cant eat, I cant sleep, it is really hard to go through this....Is my decision a right one?
 
Report this post      
 
Reply by KathCull_admin
21 Sep 2015, 7:29 PM

Dear RoseB
Welcome to the community. You are so right this is a very hard thing to go through. Not only are you thinking and worrying about your brother and family - you are in the midst of studies. Are you able to speak with your brother - on the phone or by skype? 

Deciding whether to go or not - such a hard decision and so many factors come into making the best decision for you, your brother and your family.  I wonder if there is a right or wrong..... I know there will be other members who will join in the conversation and share their thoughts with you. 

Do you have people in Canada who can support you - friends, a faith community, work or school mates?

I look forward to hearing from you again RoseB. I will check on the Virtual Hospice site as well to see what other resources I can suggest to you - I just wanted to make sure to touch base with you.

Katherine 
Report this post      
 
Reply by Razz
22 Sep 2015, 3:27 PM

OH RoseB such a difficult posistion to be in.  It is so hard to know what to do.  I too was in a similar situation in Nov. 2014 and here's how things went for me and my family.  

When I heard that my brother was very ill with cancer I flew out to see him as soon as I could (he lived in BC and I in  Alberta).  It was something that I knew in my heart I "had to do" for me .... I needed to say good bye.  I went knowing that it would be difficult for all and that he would look like someone who was very ill.  I have a store of memories of him and I in better times so it only mattered to me that I get to see him one last time and to also let him know that I always loved him. As it turned out it was also very important that I was there for my brother's daughters who were in such emotional pain and needed someone to comfort them and also assure them that they were doing all they could.  

On the other hand my mother at the time was 92 with her own health concerns and some dementia.  I knew that the air flight would be a nightmare trying to find a way for her to go and see my brother and so I decided to wait and not tell her I was going.  (In the end she never knew I went).  When I got home I told her that he was very ill and dying.  She had a hard time understanding this and needless to say was very upset. Within a day my brother slipped into a coma and I arranged with my neice to hold the phone to my brother's ear so that Mom could talk to him (and say good bye).  Apparently my brother's hands fluttered about as he listened to her.  I had heard from many people that those in a coma can still "hear" and I wanted to give them both that chance to have a final farewell.  

Each and everyone of us feel and react differently and so I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" decision here.  I can understand your conflict about it and I'm sorry that you find yourself faced with this kind of choice.  Your family in Iran are fortunate to have each other and so you need to decide what is best for YOU being here on your own.  It's hard to find "peace" with any of our decisions at a time like this.  I do agree with Katherine in suggesting that if possible talk to your brother by phone.  This may help you feel better about your choice if you allow yourself and him that one last conversation.  What you talk about doesn't really matter - what matters is that you both know how important you are to each other.  

Being such a distance away may make things impossible to be together in person - life is like that sometimes - so don't beat yourself up or feel guilty if such a trip can't be made.  Instead try to find some kind of peace with how you can "connect" with those you love during these last few moments of life your brother has left is how I feel about it.  

Know that there are others on this forum who have faced similar situations and are here to lend and ear and offer support.    

be good to you - Razz  
 
Report this post      
 
Reply by RoseB
24 Sep 2015, 7:07 PM

My Brother passed away today. I was thinking that I am strong and prepared, but after getting the news everything seemed like a shocking incident. I have already missed him so much. I wanna hug him, he was a good man, a good father of a 4 years old daughter. Life is not fair. I talked to him last week for the last time, and I told him how much I love him. He said that he is going to be OK again. It really breaks my heart when I think how much he wanted to stay there for his daughter. 
I know that many of you have same experiences, but it is quite different when it happens to ourselves.
 
Report this post      
 
Reply by Razz
24 Sep 2015, 9:03 PM

Oh RoseB I'm so sorry for your loss.  I have no doubt that your heart is indeed breaking right now.  It doesn't seem to matter how prepared we think we are when death happens there is still a sense of shock, of it being unreal.  I am so glad to hear that you had the chance to talk to him one last time and were able to tell him one more time how much you loved him.  You will cherish that conversation in the days, months and even years to come.  No, life isn't fair but remind yourself of all the wonderful things your brother did and was in his short time on earth.  There's a saying that goes something like:  "In the end it doesn't matter how big a splash you made but instead how far out the ripples you made go."   I'm sure that the "ripples" that your brother made were far reaching and touched many - a lot of whom you'll never even know of.  

Take comfort in your good memories and the thought of how lucky your brother was to experience the deep and profound love one has for their child.  It may have been for a short time but it was for the rest of his life ......one last wonderful gift for him.   

be good to you - Razz   
Report this post      
 
Reply by KathCull_admin
21 Mar 2016, 8:46 PM

Hello
It's only been a few short months since your brother passed away RoseB. It must be so difficult to be away from family at a time when being together can be so important.

I am thinking of you today.

Katherine 
Report this post      
 
Reply by RoseB
21 Mar 2016, 8:59 PM

Thanks Katherine,
Actually it is very hard and continues to get harder everyday. I am trying to help myself, but I think that participating in group activity with people like myself will be very good. I should try to find a community in the city I live in (London, ON). 

I appreciate that you care,

Rose, 
Report this post      
 
Reply by KathCull_admin
06 Apr 2016, 4:21 PM

Hi RoseB
I wasn't sure if you had seen this link for info on what is available in your community of London. If you click VON Canada - London it will give you the link to the website.  They do offer bereavement support. 

Sometimes we need others to help us - I hope you find what you need RoseB.  I would be interested to know how things unfold for you.

Katherine 
Report this post