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My father-in-law was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer- oncologist is not being forthcoming with any prognosis. "It could be three months, it could be a year." He has declined so significantly in the past 3 months, it's frightening to watch. He is using a walker, cannot get up on his own, and the medications he is on are causing a host of side-effects that are annoying at best. My mother-in-law (who is younger, and in fairly good health) is struggling to care for him on her own.

Shortly before this diagnosis, my husband and I made the decision (after months of consideration) to pick up our lives and move to another state for better job opportunities and for a general "life re-boot." We currently live about 10 minutes away from my in-laws and always have. Incidentally, my parents also live very close by.

We are still proceeding with selling our home, applying for jobs in our selected new location and doing what we need to in order to prepare to move away.

BUT the guilt is starting to set in, right now, more significantly with me, but I fear that if we move away, it will begin to effect my husband as well.

My husband is the only child of his parent's marriage together (though they both have kids from previous marriages, and my both my FIL's other children live close.) My hubby has always been the "dependable" one, that they lean on and that they call when they need help- which, was more often than I could handle when we were first married- my in-laws took a while processing the fact that my husband had a wife and a home to take care of and that they could not be his first priority.

Part of the reason that we wanted to move in the first place was so that we could have some space to be "us" and not automatically be the first ones that are parents call for anything they need.

My in-laws own a large home on a large lot, they are having trouble with the bills already and the home requires significant upkeep that they are no longer capable of doing on their own, and cannot afford to pay for help with. While they agree that they need to sell and move to something smaller, more manageable and more affordable, they are "Waiting until FIL is stronger/better/etc." I think they are both in denial that this diagnosis is terminal.

I'm just so torn- the stress is significant right now, and I'm fairly sure it will get worse before it gets better. Thanks for reading- any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I am absolutely in favor of adult children living their own lives, moving where they want to, etc. etc.

But in this particular case, I wonder if deferring your plans for a year or so might give you peace from potential guilt guilt feeling, and save a lot of travel and stress as FIL nears death.

Maybe FIL and MIL are in denial, or maybe they are just being tactful with each other. "I'll move after Hubby dies" is not something many of us could say, even if we know that is the situation. Whether they are in denial or not, you are not. Could you decide to stay around and help them out to the end? Perhaps bring in hospice? As CarolLynn says, start planning for MIL's future.

Maybe FIL would like to see his wife settled into a more manageable living situation before her leaves her on her own. Maybe they both would like to hang on to what they have together for as long as they are together. If at all possible, I hope you can follow their lead and help them have what would best serve their needs over the coming months.

Nobody can predict exactly how long someone with cancer will live, but if it is stage 4, the oncologist's "3 to 12 months" is likely more accurate than 3 years. Don't give up your dreams ... but could you defer them for a year or so, without major trauma?
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I'm so sorry to say this because I totally understand why you wanted to move. Since you haven't sold your house or gotten new jobs yet, you may be better off staying where you are for the short term. The problem, and it happens all too often, is that when the dependable one moves away, the others don't "kick in" responsibly. In this case as you described it, since there are step-parents and step-siblings, there often is a tug of war with caretaking and the parents and up on the short end of the stick. Should that occur, your husband, who sounds like he may be a sensitive guy (nice!), would be getting experiencing such anguish that the next step, believe it or not, would find the two of you going crazy attempting to care take from a distance. THAT is never good and is often the deciding factor in the caring ones moving CLOSER to their loved ones, NOT further away. You and your husband sound like a very caring and responsible children. I'm sure the thought has occurred to you that this very moment isn't the best time for you to move. It's definitely a life altering decision, but you could think of it as temporary. During the time that FIL becomes more till and eventually passes, use that period to make plans ahead of time for what you will do with MIL. For example, when FIL is gone, MIL can move to assisted living and HER children can take care of her, and there should be no issue of STEP problems.
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