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how to help sis-in-law? how to help sis-in-law?

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Unread 01-20-2003, 05:21 AM
how to help sis-in-law?

Hi ladies... "wave"

I came to your forum looking for advice and help on how to help someone else. I hope this is okay.

My DH's sister-in-law has cancer. It started a few months ago as pelvic cancer and has progressed badly. They give her 2 months. She has 2 grown children and one DD 17 at home. They are in Virgina and I am in Fla. I want so bad to reach out to them but have no clue how to. My DH is also having a hard time dealing with this and I don't know how to make it easier for him to help his brother go thru this either.

I want to invite Katrina to come stay with us for the summer when this is over but didn't know if this would be considered appropriate. And how do I approach her father with this? I know he will have a hard time letting her come but know that it would do her good to be away and spend time with my DD who is the same age.

Can you ladies tell me if there is anything I can do? I have to arrange plane tickets to for an open date and don't know how to do that either. We will be flying up when the time comes and I want so bad to know how to help when I get there. I have never met this side of the family as everytime DH goes up to visit I've been recouping from surgery myself.

I feel so helpless to do anything here and would love some ideas or suggestions..

Thank you so much...

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Unread 01-20-2003, 07:27 AM
how to help sis-in-law?

Hi Dawn,
I confess I don't have any answers you're looking for, but wanted to say that I feel for you after all you've gone through, here you are again.

IMHO, think you just have to play it by ear as things happen, but it's good that you're thinking ahead to try and help out, maybe if the opportunity arises you could float the idea of a visit along the lines of *anytime* and *love to see you*, then leave it for a while.

Does bro- in- law work? He may be glad that you're wanting to support your niece when he's (presumably) back at work.
Could they both visit earlier or come to see you together with her having the option to stay if she's comfortable with that?

I know you're in for a tough few months, but you know you've always got plenty of support here,
Unread 01-20-2003, 09:55 AM
how to help sis-in-law?

I am so sorry to hear what your family is going hard to hear that someone you love only has a few months to live...I went through it last year with my Mom....we were lucky though...they said two months in December yet she was with us until June....

I think it is wonderful that you want to open your home to your niece...and hopefully she will be open to that idea....she will be filled with so many mixed emotions throughout this time.....

Being at a distance at a time like this must be frustrating for your husband and yourself. Just let them know that you are there if they need you, even if it is only to listen if they need to talk....talking can be great therapy.

One thing I would suggest that you can do right now is to find out if they have been referred to a hospice...if not, perhaps, you can research it and find one in their area. Just call their local hospital and they should be able to turn you in the right direction...there are a great deal of sites online also. Hospice can be an enormous help right now...and they are there for the entire family after as well....

You mentioned airline tickets...when my Mom passed, although she was here in Florida with me...she was buried in New York. I bought "bereavement" tickets, which were a little bit more expensive but they are made with an open return and the flight plans were able to be changed numerous times at no extra might want to tell the airlines what the tickets are for and see what they suggest. BTW, the lines were long at the airport and with those tickets...we received special treatment...

One last thing, there are an assortment of books out there on grief and dying....there are actually stages of grief and dying....I always believe knowledge is power...knowing what to expect and also just knowing that what you are feeling is normal helps....Maybe you can pick up one and send it to your BIL and niece....

If you would like to talk, just email me....You were there for me when I had questions...and I would be happy to return your thoughtfulness...

s and ers,
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Unread 01-20-2003, 12:47 PM
how to help sis-in-law?

Thanks so much ladies!!!!

I just feel so helpless in helping anyone here and knew I could come to you all and get some wonderful guidence.

Do we have any suggestions on books that might help a teen deal with this? I have never met my BIL and don't want to appear to foward either and I'm afraid I'll seem presumptuious (sp)?

DH"s family is close for the most part and I sure feel like an intruder at a time like this...not sure where to start.

Thanks so much Carol for the offer of support...I'm sure I'll have a few questions for you...I'm off to call the airlines and see what I can work out there...

Unread 01-20-2003, 01:12 PM
how to help sis-in-law?

s Dawn

Just a little piece of advice that may differ from what you have read above.
Don't be in too big of a hurry to get your niece Katrina away from the scene. She needs to be around home for awhile just to process all that occurred and make the realization that her life will go on.
My mom died when she was 48 yrs old from an automobile accident. I was 20 at the time and away at school. I had two younger siblings ages 12 and 10 still at home. They spent some time after my mother's death with a favorite aunt. If you could speak with my adult siblings today, they would tell you how they wished they had been left right at home with my father. In retrospect they really felt their lives had been doubly intruded upon. And like I said, this was a favorite well known aunt.
Please tread carefully here.
You are special for wanting to help.

Unread 01-20-2003, 05:48 PM
how to help sis-in-law?

Sometimes it's just good to know people are thinking of you, especially in your case where you haven't even met them. I'd think cards and letters. I think sometimes too to remember that they're still alive--to send funny cards. Just thinking of you cards. So many people back away from great sadness that I think they'll be welcome.

I think Karenann has a great point. I got shipped around after a loss when I was a child and now I realize everyone thought they were helping me, but like Karenann's siblings, I experienced it as a second loss and so did my mother.

Think in the long term. Her grief will last a long time, so you'll have a lot of time in the future to be there for her. Just make contact now, to get to know her, and you'll get a feel for what she wants.


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