Post # 1
I wish I were writing under better circumstances, but my FI’s father, who was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer shortly after we met, is in the final stages of his battle, and he is expected to pass away in the next 24 hours.
My FI’s father has had cancer pretty much since we met, and FI and I have talked a lot about it throughout the process. Still, as I sit here (me at home, taking care of last-minute logistics, and him in his hometown with family — I will travel there as soon as I get the call that we’re truly at the end), I am thinking about how to best support him as he goes through what I know is the most difficult thing he’s ever been through. While I am certainly having my own experience and am very sad, I know it’s not the same as what I would feel if this were my parent.
I guess I’m wondering if there’s anyone out there who’s been through this? Or been through this with their partner’s parent? Anything I should know? Anything you wish you had known or wish someone had done for you at the time? I want to be strong and supportive for him right now, and I guess I’m just looking for any words of wisdom the hive might have to offer.
Post # 3
My father died of cancer when I was 17. My advice is to let him take the lead about what he wants. Listen when he needs to talk about his father, hold him when he wants to cry, and just be there for him (and his family). The grieving process is different for everyone and needs to be at its own pace.
Post # 4
DH’s dad died from lung cancer about 5 months after we started dating. Like the PP said let him take the lead. He will let you know what he needs either through his actions or his words. DH actually had a harder time during his dad’s last month or 2 than he did when his dad actually passed away, but everyone grieves in their own way.
Post # 5
My Dad died when DH and I had been dating about six months. When I was in my dad’s state for the last couple of days of his hospice, he (BF) would send me texts that he had bought me a big flat screen tv or a trip to Mexico. He was clearly just completely out of his depth about how to respond to the situation but I also found it touching and very sweet that he was doing all he could think of to make me feel better. Listen, be there, and just love him! Oh, and be prepared for him to be weirdly irritable/brittle – my grief manifested itself a *lot* in just random crankiness!
Post # 6
Thank you all for your comments. This has been hard on FI for awhile now, but the last two months have been extremely tough. I will definitely let him take the lead in terms of what he needs; so far, just my being there with him and taking care of some of the logistics so his family doesn’t have to seems to have been helpful.
Post # 8
@licoricetea3: My FI’s dad just passed in Dec, and the one thing that I really stressed to my FI was that if he needed to take any extra time to visit with his dad (with or without me) he should do it. His father ended up passing on a weekend that I had urged him to go, and he was so grateful that he had a chance to say goodbye. Another thing I did, after he passed, was reach out to FI’s mom. She always says how happy she is to think about wedding stuff to help her take her mind off of things. Best of luck to you and your families, my thoughts are with you.
Post # 9
All you can really do is tell him that you’re there for him and allow him to express his grief as feels right. Just listen, and validate his emotions. Tell him that what he’s experiencing is normal and that it’s okay to be sad, or angry, or even relieved that it’s all over now. However he feels is how he needs to feel in order to cope.
Post # 10
I agree with others, let him take the lead and just be there for him.
My MIL passed away from a brain tumour over 3 years ago, it was all over in 3 months. I just let him know I was there for him and listened to him cry, vent, rant. It’s all you can do, really… just be prepared for a long journey. It doesn’t end after the funeral.
In my FI’s case, he got to spend as much time with his mum as possible, so he grieved for her before she passed. After the fact, he felt like a terrible son because he was numb and all cried out. Months later he snapped and had a bit of a breakdown. I just held his hand and listened. There’s no right or wrong way to mourn somebody.
My thoughts are with you, your FI and his family. Drop me a PM if you need to talk 🙂
Post # 11
DH’s mom died three years ago. She was in the hospital for awhile and then spent the last month of her life in the ICU. It was really hard on my husband.. he was just finishing up his last semester in college. I just made sure I was there for him. He didn’t really want to talk about what was going on. He just wanted someone to hug and someone to be with him. He wanted to distract himself from what was going on, so I did whatever he wanted (we went fishing a lot that summer).
I would just take the lead from him. If he wants to talk, talk things over with him. If not, don’t force him. Everyone copes in their own way. Just make sure he knows you’re there to support him.