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A few months ago, my 61 year old SIL learned her cancer has returned. The new tumor is inoperable and she is terminal. The family is saddened beyond belief. All of us stepped up to help her, driving her to appts and hospital stays, staying the night b/c she lives alone, grocery shopping, etc. Last month she decided to stop talking to us, taking our calls, not replying to texts. The only person she will communicate with is her 35 yr old daughter and that's sporadic. SIL is angry and depressed which is to be expected. I've known her almost 50 yrs and was not expecting to be cut off, much less her sibs. You can imagine how my husband feels to not see his sister. I respect her need for privacy,she and I share this trait, but I don't know how far to let this go. She told us if we just showed up at her house, she would call the police...that's how adamant she is and we know she would call. I've participated on AgingCare for years and feel I should I know how to handle this but I'm lost. I've dealt with my family having Alz, heart, kidney and liver disease, Patkinsons, to name a few but never cancer. SIL wants to die at home, we understand, but we honestly had hoped to be with her. I would appreciate any advice or thoughts to share with the family.

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So sad that your SIL wants to be alone, but understand that grief can sometimes rear its ugly head in ways that we don't like or understand ourselves. I think at times when there seems to be no hope (terminal illness), our closest family members and friends are the hardest ones to communicate with. There is something about it that is just too hard to let them talk with you. Maybe her daughter could see if there is a support group nearby that could help with the situation. In this case, it may be strangers that she would open up to and then it might lead to her getting back to her family and friends. Don't give up on her because in time she may need you guys to be there for her and will welcome the support. My thoughts and prayers for you all.
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OncehatedDIL, thank you again for the kind words. I've known my now SIL since she was 12 and I was 14. Yes, she knows I love her and I'm there for her, all she has to do is say the word and I'd walk over hot coals for her, day or night. We differ in that if I were the one with cancer, I'd want my family around. I'd like to see my daughter honor that wish, it wouldn't happen (id never ask her to stay away),but that is just how our relationship works.
My other SIL is so upset over this and rightfully so. She loves her sister. She's entitled to her feelings also. It's just that she's not the one with cancer, like you said. I can't get thru to her so will quit trying. She can't win this battle but that's something she will have to learn on her own I'm afraid
Oh how sad about your friend's sister. I can understand her motive and I respect her decision to spare her family. My SIL mentioned taking pills but said she wouldn't out of respect for her daughter.
SIL suffered almost a year in pain before her oncologist relented for testing. Needless to say that doctor is not high on our approval list. Who does that to a patient who's had cancer before? She thought she was going insane, 5 doctors told her she was either ok or needed to see her physchiatrist (what???).
I send her cards every few weeks, text her just saying hi or send a pic of the dog, you know just normal stuff. Always tell her I love her and give me a call if she wants to chat. Nothing more can be done
Again, thanks for your supportive response. I'm seeing things a whole lot more clearly today. :-)
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AlwaysMyDuty, I really admire your relationship with your SIL. She has been lucky to have known you and I am sure she appreciates that you are still in her corner. I think she is asking for you to support her still -even in her despair- she knows you are there. Personally, I wouldn't worry about being accused of elder abuse. The reason I wouldn't worry is because I would be focused on her supporting her choice to have the life she desires.

I don't think that we should support the mentality that "the government knows best" nor should we be afraid to do what is right. Best wishes to you in trying to deal with the family.

It must be so tiring to want to be left alone to die without having to deal with everyone else's feelings. Years ago one of my friends had a sister in your SIL's position. She drove to a mall parking lot and took an overdose and died quietly in her car. She left a note that she had wanted to spare anyone in her family from being the one to find her body. They all wished that she had let them be there for her. They were hurt and all have individually have to come to terms with her decision over time.

Tough time for all of you, take care.
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Thank you OncehatedDIL for your honest reply. We will be seeing some of the family today and I plan to relay your message. Yes, I and the family want to be with SIL, you're correct. The difference is I would never act on what I want but rather show her respect by staying away, wven though it hurts to not see her. The rest of the family thinks this means I don't love or care about her. No it doesn't. It's the way our relationship has always been -brutally honest, stand tall and get the job done even if you have to go it alone. I was the only one who supported her decision to quit radiation. I need to get them to understand that this IS the way it has to be. It's like we are losing her twice. As far as "how far do we let this go" I'm only worried about being turned in to the authorities for elder abuse (I've seen it happen)
Thanks again for your words of wisdom. It is appreciated during this difficult time.
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I think it is quite nice that you hoped to be with her. It is a hope you have for yourself. Your SIL has different hopes at this time and she is the one with cancer. How far do you "let it go"? When I am sick or dying, if possible, I plan to be the one who gets to determine things as much as I can. If I don't want to see people, I don't want to see them. Maybe they think they will know better than me what I need? So on top of being sick or dying I am denied trying to meet my own needs?

I would suggest that you just write her letters, nice letters that keep the doors of communication open. Things like interests you shared in common. Nothing long or lecture based.

Since you have had so many relatives that have been ill. You are probably quite familiar with the stages of grief and know that people's attitudes can change as they go through those stages. Poor lass, I hope she can find herself some comfort if being left alone doesn't comfort her enough.
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Wow no response or advice or thoughts...if I knew how to delete this post I would.
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