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81 year old Grandfather has cancer; grandmother doesn't care


Coping Learning to deal with one's emotions and loss.

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Old 29th September 2017, 8:56 AM   #16
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perhaps they were not as happily married as you like, I knew one such wife
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Old 29th September 2017, 10:57 AM   #17
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Your story sounds very similar to my experience with my father's death from cancer 11 years ago and how my mother reacted. They were only in their late 60's tho...I don't think dementia was involved. The whole thing cemented my suspicions that my mom has always been a narcissist (as if being raised by her wasn't convincing enough!) All she could think or talk about was how his illness was affecting HER life and she was completely oblivious to his needs, physical or emotional. It was very disturbing to me & I struggled (as a single working parent) to balance my work, my kids, and my father's care every day. I hope to never go through anything like that again. My relationship with my mother is very superficial now, and I'm the only child left in the area to care for her. I dread her passing and the feelings it will bring, but also see it as a relief, as terrible as that sounds, so I have a ton of guilt to look forward to as well.

OP, you can turn your grief to an amazing outpouring of love for your grandfather...let him know every.single.day how much you love him, that you understand his fear of the journey he's on now, and how you remember all the things you've done with him and learned from him. That's what he needs to hear now...and you will be overwhelmed with what can come out of your breaking heart.

Take care...
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Old 29th September 2017, 11:35 PM   #18
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I'm sorry for the grief you are experiencing. It is very difficult to watch people we love deal with illness and potential death. You have received some great advice on how others have coped in similar situations. If you find that you are having difficulty though, there are grief counselors that could help you through this. Do you know how to locate a counselor?
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Old 30th September 2017, 6:35 AM   #19
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perhaps they were not as happily married as you like, I knew one such wife
Only now had I realised there is a lot of resentment harboured by my grandma from years ago. He has forgiven her, she hasn't forgiven him. (They divorced and remarried)
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Old 30th September 2017, 6:38 AM   #20
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I'm sorry for the grief you are experiencing. It is very difficult to watch people we love deal with illness and potential death. You have received some great advice on how others have coped in similar situations. If you find that you are having difficulty though, there are grief counselors that could help you through this. Do you know how to locate a counselor?
Thank you
I know how to locate a counselor, there are plenty around me. I hope that one of them has the magic words whatever they may be to stop me feeling so sad for him. Not that my intention is to be heartless but I at least want to stop feeling like I want to cry every time I look at him, I don't feel that helps him or me.
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Old 30th September 2017, 6:48 AM   #21
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Can somebody stay there with them or at least have extended visits more regularly?

My fear is that he will be neglected if he is relying solely on her to care for him now.

I'm sorry that you're going through this. It sounds like such a horrible predicament you are in.

(((hugs)))
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Old 30th September 2017, 6:51 AM   #22
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Your story sounds very similar to my experience with my father's death from cancer 11 years ago and how my mother reacted. They were only in their late 60's tho...I don't think dementia was involved. The whole thing cemented my suspicions that my mom has always been a narcissist (as if being raised by her wasn't convincing enough!) All she could think or talk about was how his illness was affecting HER life and she was completely oblivious to his needs, physical or emotional. It was very disturbing to me & I struggled (as a single working parent) to balance my work, my kids, and my father's care every day. I hope to never go through anything like that again. My relationship with my mother is very superficial now, and I'm the only child left in the area to care for her. I dread her passing and the feelings it will bring, but also see it as a relief, as terrible as that sounds, so I have a ton of guilt to look forward to as well.

OP, you can turn your grief to an amazing outpouring of love for your grandfather...let him know every.single.day how much you love him, that you understand his fear of the journey he's on now, and how you remember all the things you've done with him and learned from him. That's what he needs to hear now...and you will be overwhelmed with what can come out of your breaking heart.

Take care...
Hi Jadie,
Firstly I'm sorry for the loss of your father. Cancer is cruel. I know your mother may not be the easiest person to be around but I don't think you should worry about any impending guilt, nor should you feel it after she goes. You're caring for her, not abandoning her. Under those circumstances you're an asset in her life. Don't feel guilty for feeling relief, as there are many forms of that too. Your 'relief' isn't due to heartlessness. You're human, humans don't have unlimited mental and physical energy. You know you're not going to have a party when she dies, so why torture yourself over what is just an intrusive thought?

The way you've described your mother is EXACTLY how my grandma is. I love her, don't get me wrong but she has her faults. She is petulant and petty when the attention isn't all on her, she is a gossip and can hold a grudge.
Hence why I too am not inclined to go the dementia angle as she has been that way for all of her adult life, according to many in the family. She hasn't wished my grandfather well once. She has only ever spoken about how she is more unwell than he is (which simply isn't true, she sees the doctor regularly and they always say she is fine) - glad we can relate on the narcissistic front!

Thank you for your words. Here if you need to chat further
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Old 30th September 2017, 7:46 AM   #23
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Can somebody stay there with them or at least have extended visits more regularly?

My fear is that he will be neglected if he is relying solely on her to care for him now.

I'm sorry that you're going through this. It sounds like such a horrible predicament you are in.

(((hugs)))
He is staying at my parents house for now. They don't want him going back there under any circumstances. I'm glad about that. He is no hassle at all, so obliging and low maintenance.
I'm slightly at ease knowing he's away from that environment, but he holds residual trauma. He cries on and off about it.
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Old 30th September 2017, 8:29 AM   #24
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He is staying at my parents house for now. They don't want him going back there under any circumstances. I'm glad about that. He is no hassle at all, so obliging and low maintenance.
I'm slightly at ease knowing he's away from that environment, but he holds residual trauma. He cries on and off about it.
That is so sad for him

I'm really glad to know he's staying with your family. And as far as your grandmother goes, maybe she is distancing herself from him to lessen the pain of losing him? I know that sounds wrong on so many levels but perhaps that's how she is coping.

She may also be pushing him away so that he doesn't hang on for her if he'd rather just give up.

Who knows why she is being the way that she is really but if I were you or her child even I'd bring it to her attention that she's hurting his feelings or has somebody already done that?
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Old 30th September 2017, 8:40 AM   #25
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That is so sad for him

I'm really glad to know he's staying with your family. And as far as your grandmother goes, maybe she is distancing herself from him to lessen the pain of losing him? I know that sounds wrong on so many levels but perhaps that's how she is coping.

She may also be pushing him away so that he doesn't hang on for her if he'd rather just give up.

Who knows why she is being the way that she is really but if I were you or her child even I'd bring it to her attention that she's hurting his feelings or has somebody already done that?
She has been quite antagonistic for much of her adult life. His health hasn't impacted her attitude really, she has been very resentful towards him for a number of years now (even when he was at full health) - she can't let go of grudges it seems. My mom and her side of the family have had countless talks with her about her narcissistic attitude but she doesn't seem to learn. Given she craves attention they've tried the ignoring her technique, she has grovelled back before but only to return to the same sort of atttitude so that doesn't seem to work either. I told my parents now that she's older there is no point trying to change her as she'd only be more stubborn with age, all we can really control is the impact it has on grandad and by doing that they can have him with them so he avoids the abuse. Trying to make 'some' advantages out of an otherwise grim situation. Next week we will find out his long term prognosis.
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Old 30th September 2017, 9:42 AM   #26
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I'm sorry to hear she is a narcissist. They are the absolute hardest people to deal with IME because it's always all about them.

Hoping good news for your grandfather next week. He's very fortunate to have all of you to care for him.
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Old 30th September 2017, 12:03 PM   #27
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Old people sometimes get senile....

Just spend as much time as you can with him, make sure he's receiving good care, and do your best to have his emotional needs met.

Every time when I hear sad stories about grandparents in near-send me to tears, mine raised me and I just miss them way too much up to date


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Title is self explainatory really! For some background first:
My grandfather was diagnosed with stomach cancer around 4 weeks ago. He was hospitalised and underwent a 6 hour operation where doctors removed half of his stomach, he miraculously survived it and has recovered rather well so far. After a 16 day stay in hospital he was discharged. He has also started eating small amounts.
He has an appointment with the oncologist next week where we will know if he is going to survive or if he is slowly dying, to be blunt.
A problem here is my grandmother. She has become quite senile and egocentric, to the point where she doesn't want to look after him. She has been terribly nasty whereby he wasn't home from hospital for an hour before she began telling him how much of a burden he is.
We visited him later in the day and he started to cry. It made me deeply upset, seeing an unwell cancer patient (my grandfather no less) under additional stress in the hands of a heartless woman. It would be anxiety inducing enough fighting cancer let alone having to live in an abusive, scary environment.
My parents decided he stay with them for the time being just to get him out of that toxic environment. They're doctors so he's under constant medical supervision too.
Seeing how miserable he was with my grandmother cut me deep, especially seeing him cry.
Any advice on how to shake this grief? I'm spending as much time with him as I can because I never know what the doctor will say next week. I'm just feeling so sad for him in the wake of seeing him look so miserable from feeling worthless and being verbally abused.
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Old 30th September 2017, 9:26 PM   #28
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I'm sorry to hear she is a narcissist. They are the absolute hardest people to deal with IME because it's always all about them.

Hoping good news for your grandfather next week. He's very fortunate to have all of you to care for him.
Yeah, I think you would get more empathy from an inanimate object. But the main thing is he isn't abandoned, my mom's sister has offered to take him for a week and others in the extended family too so the support is there.
Nobody knows the time he has left so the main priority it to make him feel loved while he's here.
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Old 1st October 2017, 4:55 AM   #29
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She has been quite antagonistic for much of her adult life. His health hasn't impacted her attitude really, she has been very resentful towards him for a number of years now (even when he was at full health) - she can't let go of grudges it seems.
Well that all depends on what he actually did to her.
Some things cannot be forgotten or forgiven very easily.
We don't usually know the half of what goes on in people's marriages and many will keep it all hidden anyway and do not want to discuss it.

Yes she may be a nasty piece of work who just got nastier, but she may have some very valid reasons for feeling resentful and angry towards her husband. Divorce for that generation was not a simple option.

It is easy to take the side of the one who at present obviously needs help, but do they really deserve it? I am not saying your grandfather was an ogre necessarily, but he may have been. Who knows?
All you have now is a sad old man who is facing death and that of course evokes much sorrow, but she is your grandmother and if you understood exactly where she is coming from, you may be more sympathetic towards her.
She is probably very scared at the moment, she is coming to the end of a era and she will be questioning her own mortality too...
Do not be too hard on her, everyone copes with impending death in their own way
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Old 5th October 2017, 12:35 AM   #30
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Thank you
I know how to locate a counselor, there are plenty around me. I hope that one of them has the magic words whatever they may be to stop me feeling so sad for him. Not that my intention is to be heartless but I at least want to stop feeling like I want to cry every time I look at him, I don't feel that helps him or me.
Well in my experience the benefits of meeting with a counselor is not so much the magic words (which would definitely be great if they existed, right!) but just the opportunity to gain some perspective on the whole situations we are walking through. Often times it is our perspective that is impacted when we are in the midst of a difficult situation for the first time. Glad you know how to find the support if you want to do so!
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