Hello. My father-in-law is dying and it is happening quickly. We went from thinking he had heart disease to realizing his cancer is back and it is aggressive. My FIL has been battling a handful of illnesses for 11 years and is ready. My husband is just like his father - selfless, hardworking, loyal, and all-or-nothing. All good traits to have, but they make for a neglectful husband sometimes, both to me and to himself. When we heard his father had a month to live at most, he ran to his family home (3 hours away) and is trying to work (his job) from his parent's home while helping his mother care for his father and clean out their home in preparation for MIL moving. My husband did the same thing with his grandfather - dropping everything and taking on the caretaker role wholeheartedly while working full time, ignoring me, and not taking care of himself. When he was ready to return to some sort of normalcy, he was behind at work, had gained weight, and grumpy. We argued a lot during this time. I should note that both my husband and I are only children.
I will say that his father is very tenacious. He lived for 11 years in remission from pancreas cancer, which only 5% of pancreas cancer patients do. So, I suspect he will hang on longer than anticipated. Also, after FIL passes, MIL will need an enormous amount of help cleaning out her estate as FIL is a bit of an eclectic hoarder. So who really knows how long he will be staying at his parent's place. When I asked my husband if he brought a book, a guitar, or running shoes, he said "no." I have hinted that I don't think it's realistic for him to stay at his parent's house for more than a couple days at a time. I've hinted that he needs to take time for himself. I seem to be coming across as a selfish jerk rather than a caring spouse. Right now we are just playing it by ear, but from experience with grandpa I am really fretting over the impact this will have on my marriage and my husband's health. I can't manage the house by myself. I can for the short term, but I also don't want to have a list of chores for him to do when he does come home. I read that it is best to have this conversation upfront, but I don't know how to have a conversation around setting boundaries and staying healthy without seeming like a jerk. I tend to be a bit of a control freak and I'm having a hard time with this "wait and see" time frame. Do you have any advice on how to handle this better? Any advice on how to get my husband to set realistic boundaries? FYI, I am going back to his parent's house on Friday to help out and see my husband, so I am helping and I am experiencing the situation. But I am scared.