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Dying spouse is well enough 3 or 4 hours a day to talk to the caregiver but he won't text or call adult son. Now my son is hurt and angry and doesn't want to fly to see dad. Any suggestions?

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One or the other needs to stop being so stubborn, but I imagine your husband feels that he shouldn't have to beg for acknowledgement and attention. IMO if your son wants to connect with his father then he shouldn't be waiting for an invitation.
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lovinghb Apr 14, 2021
Thank you for your reply. My son texts him all the time with no response. Spouse does not answer phone at all. Not for anyone.
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Has your husband always had an aversion to the phone? I'm asking because I personally hate making phone calls (apparently it's an introvert thing) and I find chatting on the phone can be very awkward, especially calls I have initiated at a time when seemingly the other person isn't primed to talk.
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Have you explained to your son that his father is dying, and will not answer the phone for anyone at all, for any reason? If your son wants to see his father, then he needs to put aside his hurt and anger to fly out & visit with him or he'll likely wind up regretting it for the rest of his life. If you have any idea why your husband is refusing to answer the phone or texts, do let your son know the reason. People all handle death differently, and perhaps your DH is responding to it in this manner, which probably has nothing at all to do with his son.

Now is the time to put all small differences aside and step up to the plate, in my opinion.

I'm sorry you're all going through such a difficult time. Sending prayers your way for the best possible outcome with your son & his dad.
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MaryKathleen Apr 18, 2021
Or the father is the one to alienate the son. My neighbor was that way. Two of his sons didn't live like he thought they should. They were great guys and productive members of society. When he was on life support, he knew they were driving to see him. Before they could get there the jerk, deliberately had them turn off the machine. That man deliberately denied 2 of his children a last chance to reconcile with their father.
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More info would be helpful, but nonetheless your son should probably go to him. Even if your husband refuses to see him, your son will know he did everything to try to talk to him. That's all he can do. Not sure what the backstory with your husband is but maybe he should talk to a therapist or clergy so he can deal with what's facing him. I'm sorry you're going through this issue on top of his illness. Please take care of yourself. May you have peace in your heart.
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You need to explain to your son that his dad doesn't talk or text ANYONE on his phone, so it's not just him. This is not the time for childish games on either of their part, so tell your son to set his pride aside, and come see his dad before he dies, or he will have to live with that regret for the rest of his life.
I can only guess that the reason your husband doesn't want to talk on the phone is the fact that he knows he's dying and perhaps doesn't know exactly what he should or shouldn't be saying, and just may not be comfortable discussing death.
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this nonsense, when your husband is dying. I pray it all works out. God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Son has visited recently, last couple of months. Doesn't really want to go back until he has too. They've never been super close and H is dying from liver disease, so there's that also.
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lealonnie1 Apr 14, 2021
Well, then your son will 'have to' go back when his father passes away. What does dying from liver disease have to do with anything? Is it that dad has a drinking problem and son is angry about that? If they were never close, and he's been to visit dad recently, maybe he feels he's done enough. Your best bet may be to tell your son that YOU need him to come and be with YOU during this difficult time. Perhaps then the two of them can come together and visit.
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We have not lived together for 4 years. He is in different state than me. And yes, alcohol is the issue.
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lealonnie1 Apr 14, 2021
Sending you a big hug. Alcohol ruins lives, as addiction so often does. I'm sorry you're going through all of this. Prayers being sent to you, your son and your DH.
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I'm going to give you the advice I am constantly giving someone in my life - stay out of the middle, you just get all the angst and possibly blame but have zero power to change anything. They are both adults and need to deal with each other (or not).
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My sympathies are with you having to even ask such a question.

1) Not knowing either your husband or your son, I am thinking
The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
gotta love um.

2) Don’t put yourself between the two of them. Your son knows his dad is dying. Your husband knows his son is reaching out to him. I would not give either a bit of information about the other. (Well. I like the way that sounds but truth is I haven’t had my husband declared near death).
This is happening to you as well. Where is the concern or consideration for what you are going through. I’m afraid I would have a problem with both their behaviors, although your post sounds a bit more sympathetic to your son.

I am very very sorry that you are having to deal with this.

Over and over I have witnessed how in the most heart rending times, some family think that surely the disagreements or hard feelings will melt away in this time of imminent death. Surely the hard a$$ will bend a knee to the situation at hand. I have been disappointed to see that a human being who has drawn a line is quiet willing to take it to the point of no return. Of course in this situation, your son is who has the most to lose because his dad will be gone and he will be alive with whatever regrets he has. Plus his dad being near death is perhaps not thinking clearly. For that reason I would be leaning towards the son needing to make the concessions if that is any help. Perhaps he would consider a visit to support you at this difficult time. I think I would not be telling the son that dad spends hours talking with the caregiver. I know it must be very hard at this time. I am sorry and I wish you peaceful days ahead. Each of these dear people in your life must choose their own path forward.
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lovinghb Apr 14, 2021
Thank you.
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It may be that DH feels ashamed of dying from liver disease because of alcohol, and doesn’t want to acknowledge it to your son. Particularly if they have already fallen out about it, it might be difficult to avoid the subject in a call.

It might be worth your son writing a snail mail letter or card saying something like ‘We’ve all done things that we regret later, including me, and all we can do now is to make the remaining time as OK as possible. I would really like a chance to tell you to your face that I am grateful for the many good things you have done for me’. He might even do a list of the things he is still grateful for – it might help you and both of them. But there is no magic wand, unfortunately.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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This is between the two of them. I would not try to ‘fix’ it.

I desperately tried to be the ‘peacemaker’ between my husband and his father. I regret it.

My husband has valid reasons for his feelings and I respect how he feels.

It’s really difficult because we want the ‘fairytale’ ending. Life doesn’t always work out the way it does in fairytales.

Wishing you all the best in life, no matter how this works out for your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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This is their own dynamic. I would not interfere with it. This didn't come out of nowhere. Clearly there has been a problematic relationship between the two. I would stay clear of the middle of it. It is their choice and their own business. Just my opinion.
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When my daughter was a child, her father was not involved in her life that much. She complained about something he had or had not done. I told her that he was that way with everyone. I repeated this to a family therapist and was told that "everyone is not his daughter"

Is your husbands mind being effected by his desease. Is there some Dementia here? If so, he may not realize he is getting texts. Maybe he is forgetting how to use a cell phone. My Aunt has Dementia and just lets her landline ring.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Could it be that hubby finds it difficult to talk to the son - emotionally? Have you asked him why he doesn't call him? Is he angry over an old event - where you could suggest he smooth things out before it's too late. Why can't the son make first move? Call and just speak for a few minutes at a time. Probably need to talk to son, too, and tell him this is a tough time for dad - however once he's gone, he's gone. Son needs to put anger aside and try to have some quality moments with dad. It might even help for son to be there in person.
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Reply to my2cents
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Suggest they each write a letter to the other. I would suggest that son let his dad know that he is hurt, angry about this separation, and that he cares about his dad. I suggest dad that dad let son know he is hurting, getting weaker, and that he cares about his son but doesn't want to spend time in hurting each other. Praying God will create a miracle of having them forgive each other while there is life.
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Reply to Taarna
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Sorry, I am struggling to find any adult perspective from either side. There are so many things that can turn us petulant and family encounters are certainly not immune from such feelings of wrongdoing in the past.
Commonly, pride prevents engaging to address issues, thereby denying any hope to resolve or simply move on - the grievance lives on and festers like an open wound.
Carrying this feeling to the grave is as nonsensical as having to live the rest of a life without ever having the humility to speak up when able. Listen to the song "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics for a better understanding of lost opportunity.
Express to both parties that Eternity is a very long time and decisions we make (and beliefs we hold) now may be short sighted in the bigger scheme of things.
I hope some common ground can be found for everyone's sake.
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Don't say a word to either unless asked.

If asked, counsel each to do what he thinks is best.

It is between the two of them and you can do nothing about it (except not make it worse).
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You didn't say if your son calls his father and then his father won't answer the phone? Is your son waiting for his father to take the initiative? But your son may really regret not spending time with his father before he dies. He may have to be the "adult" in this situation and take the initiative to see his father. At least he'll know he did the right thing.
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In one response the OP says son has texted with no response from his Dad. In another OP says he has even visited in the last couple of months. To me the ball is now in the exhusbands court. I too would not keep trying if I was getting nothing from a father I really never had a good relationship with, which the OP also mentioned.

The Son should never regret his actions. He has tried and why should he submit himself to this abuse. Because that is what is happening here. I too would just stop trying to communicate. The ex is dying. You would think he'd be happy his son was reaching out. He is the jerk. And he is losing out not the son.

Loving, step back and please don't guilt trip your son. This is not his problem its your ex's. The only thing I may say to the ex is "You are dying and before you go wouldn't it be nice to mend fences with your son? He has reached out and you are rejecting him. You are being an a**" Blunt and to the point. Then say no more. Tell son if thats the way his Dad wants to be, then thats on Dad. Me personally, I wouldn't even show up to the funeral.

My daughters father died of heart failure at the age of 69. He was found in his chair, in front of the TV with beer cans all over the floor and up the walls. He lived like a Hermit. An autopsy was done and the Coroner thought he was a homeless man. He had held down a job for over 30 yrs before retiring. He told a friend that when he retired he was just going to sit in his chair and drink beer. If he had reached out to his daughter, I am sure they would have had some kind of relationship. He made his choices and died alone. Thats how he wanted it.
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You don't say if dad or son is doing the calling. Since son lives far away to be flying to visit. So if he is calling perhaps Dad feels he needs to call cause he thinks son should be saving his pennies.or he is angry at the son for some reason that noone knows the reason. If I were you I would call the son and tell him he needs to talk to his father 1.he is the only father he will ever have. 2. Be will regret he didn't talk to him before he died and soon it will be to late.3. it would be better if he could fly home to see his father one last time while alive. I went through the same except it was my husband And his skin gs. I was able to get them together one time before h red passed they traved from Texas to Indiana.there were no regrets. Hope there are no regrets in your family.
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I would contact son myself and request that he come to see his dad. Even if they don’t have much conversation, the physical presence is important.
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Sometimes things just don't go the way we want. Sometimes it is fixable and sometimes not. You might try a kind suggestion once. I did with my Grandmother. She said no and that was that. It was sad. Those were her last words that made sense. She passed away 6 weeks later.
People make their own choices.
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Has he discussed it with his caretaker? Ask that person if she can add to your understanding of the situation. Explain your concern for both of them. Alcoholics spend their lives avoiding difficult emotional situations. So the stress of dying is likely to increase that. The caretaker may have an opportunity to help him with the situation. Then take care of your part of this time, and try to help his son if the time comes to do so.
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I think the dying person should be able to decide who je will talk to or spend time with. My husband did not want any of his family to know he was sick. His adult son and siblings only found out when I called them after he died. That was sad and traumatic, but I always felt it was my husband's right to make that decision. He did not want the questions or attention or hovering that would have come with family invo!vement.
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JustDaughter Apr 18, 2021
I'm curious if HIS DECISION ruined your relationship with your kids?
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Have your son come to visit with the mutual understanding that his dad may not speak to him. Better to have tried than to wonder afterward. Sometimes life is surprising and it works out.
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You don’t say why he won’t? My poor cousin was forced to see his dad dying in hospital by his mum “ you will regret it if you don’t “ she said. The last thing that man said to his son was “I’m giving my business to your brother you have been such a disappointment” then he died, it would have been better not to have forced him to see his dad -he was always a nasty so and so.

Why I’m putting this out there is that sometimes it’s best to let people make their own mind up.
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This is not the son's fault, its the father's. The son has texted/called and the father does not respond. Son has visited. Their relationship has never been a good one. His father is ghosting him and he is suppose to be coming back for more. The son should not regret a thing. In a parent child relationship, the parent is responsible for keeping a relationship going not a child. In my situation, it was an ex and our daughter. He never went out of his way for her. He never came to her ballgames, concerts, etc. But I am very sure he expected her to go out of her way for him. I was told by a therapist that its up to the parent to keep contact with their child not expect a child to do it. TG my daughter had her step-father, who eventually adopted her, but it would have been so much better if her Dad had been involved in her life. They had so much in common. He is the one who missed out not her. He was a self-centered person.

I pray OPs son has no regrets because there is no reason for him to have them. The father is the problem here. The son has reached out and the father is refusing to acknowledge it.
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Countrymouse Apr 18, 2021
The father won't live to have regrets. The son may.

But I stick to my opinion that no one can intervene effectively and the OP shouldn't try.
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Sometimes things cannot be resolved. Both my parents died 9 years ago. I still have issues with my father. He was verbally abusive to my mother and to me. He picked fights. No matter what I did, it was never enough. I could never win his favor.

I understand how your son feels. He has tried to contact his father. The bible says "honor" your father and your mother. It doesn't say "love." Your son has tried to honor his father. He will continue to honor him by living a fulfilling life.
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Bobby7 Apr 18, 2021
Bible also says love one another as I have loved you. Honor verse includes love.
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Why would she not try to get involved? Too many people say that when there is an opportunity to make things right - we should all get involved. The involvement of course should be totally positive saying good things about both father and son and discussing love.
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Pray about the situation and continue praying asking God for guidance. Be still and listen for God’s advise. It’s up to your son and father if they see each other again in this world. Let your son decide what he wants to do, if he doesn’t come it doesn’t mean he didn’t love his father.
The only person you can control is yourself. Make sure you do what you can to prepare your husband for eternity. God is always with us.
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