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How do I help my son?  
Started by AnnaR
30 Jan 2014, 4:27 PM

Hello,
I am in a position I could never have foreseen.  My sons wife has been admitted to hospice with Stage IV metastatic colon cancer.  I do not believe she has long as her liver is failing rapidly and is 5 times it's normal size.  She is no longer eating and merely allows her mouth to be moistened for the moisture, not to drink.  PS is currently being considered as her pain is not controlled.
I live a long way from my son and due to an autoimmune disease I cannot make the distance to be with him, but how, even if I was there do I prepare a 34 year old to lose his beautiful wife??   I can't wrap my own head around all this happening in just 6 mths, so how do I somehow prepare him for the shock?  He says he feels numb and that she has already left him (I understand what he means as I used to work in hospice myself) but I'm no use it seems when it comes to a strong desire to protect my son.

if anyone has any advice I would appreciate it.
Anna 
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
30 Jan 2014, 5:04 PM

Welcome AnnaR. My heart breaks for you and your son. 

While it is different when it is your own family, I'm confident that your experience from hospice will serve you well. Distance of course complicates things as body language gives us so many cues and sometimes touching or just being there is what is momentarily needed the most. But I'm only telling you what you already know.

The fact that you understand anticipatory grief is helping him. So many people find it difficult to be frank about losing someone before they're gone. It sounds like you are giving him that safe place to talk, vent, cry, and letting him know that all his emotions are valid and okay.

I'm going to reach out to some other members who can come share with you. In the meantime, here are an article and another discussion thread that you may wish to read. 
Do your son and daughter-in-law have children? What family supports do they have close by (geographically)?

Colleen 
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Reply by Tian
30 Jan 2014, 6:11 PM

Dear Anna

I also sympathize with you and your family for the horrible situation you are experiencing. I understand that while there is no sustitute for actual presence, I think you're selling yourself short if you think you are not protecting and supporting your son. You are doing all that you can under the limitations of the circumstances. That probably doesn't make you feel any better but I would point out that if palliative sedation is being considered, then it seems to me that your son is not under any illusions and has already begun dealing with the shock. Naturally he is suffering, he is numb but he may be stronger than you think and it seems that one way or another his wife's pain will be controlled and that will alleviate some stress. Regardless your son needs all the support you and others can provide. Is your son taking advantage of the professionals at the hospice who deal with grieving family members?

Tian
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Reply by NatR
03 Feb 2014, 11:55 PM

Dear Anna,

yoir story is is heatbreaking, but as Colleen and Tian has already said - it seems that you are doing an important job in talking to your son and strengthening him from a distance.

its an awful shock to you all it's so very unexpected and not fair...I am thinking of you and your family tonite.

Your son is fortunate to be able to lean on you....it's hard not to go there and personally support, but you are doing the best you can.

there are members of this forum who will listen, offer insight and support you.  I am glad you reached out to the Forum and encourage you to write when you need to...we are here to listen and reply.

sending you a virtual hug, I cannot imagine your pain, and your sons pain.
sincerely, 
natR  
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