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FIL has been given 6 mos but is fighting for one more surgery. His oldest, my hubby, is distracted from home and work and driving us crazy! Dad has been fighting heart disease for decades, and in the last 10 years has had bypasses, valve replacements and repairs, annurisms fixed, and probably 30 stents over his life. Currently has stage 4 CHF, pulmonary hypertension, pacer. diabetes, gout, but no kidney problems yet. Cardio gave him 6 mos, and Dad has been trying to get one more surgery (LVAD) to extend just a little longer He's not a transplant candidate, and has been turnred down for further surgery by 4 major medical centers. He's still trying to pull strings to get his surgery.


My husband has always given as his reasons for doing so much for Dad from 3 hours away, that Dad would not always be around, and we needed to have the kids know him. More recently, its been, this is going to be the last (holiday) he's going to have, so we need to do it right. I think he's been trying to earn his love all these years because my husband has done his own thing instead of following Dad's command for career, and Dad dotes and gives more time, money, and attention to the other son who obeyed. When I got into therapy, hubby did a little only to please me and said he did not need any (which I heard as was not ready for).


This Christmas visit was horrible. Hubby ignored what we would say to him, he would repeat himself to Dad, he would say stupid things that made Dad think these things were important to him, and I would not take being treated like a doormat so we argued.


It's time to end this charade - either live or die, d**mit!! How do I tactfully suggest to the wife that it's time for hospice so the (adult) kids can talk to the hospice counselors and deal with their grief? So Dad can stop stringing us along?

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In defense of Surprise, I think she is venting. Plenty of people have said kind of awful things on here because it is supposed to be a safe place to vent and they would never actually say something like that to their loved one.

When I read the post, it sounded like the issue wasn't as much about the FIL's illness, it's with what sounds like a lifetime of emotional abuse on the part of the father, for example setting the sons up against each other, trying to control and manipulate them. He is making decisions against medical advice that may prolong his life, but like many drastic measures to prolong life when there is a terminal illness, the intervention can cause more suffering for both patient and family. She has been through it. She said her own mom was in hospice.

It is hard if the family is in denial and the dad (who understandably wants to fight for his health) is making decisions with the expectation that his son's -- esp. the poster's husband -- will be at his beck and call. It might mean that the focus of everyone's energy is on the repeated crises instead of trying to make sure the father is physically comfortable. It is a personal choice how one deals with these issues, but the poster probably has a more realistic sense of those consequences than the family does.

Sometimes spouses don't understand the way the other spouse grieves or handles family crises. Surprise, your husband may just want to help his dad because he feels it's the right thing to do, despite how his dad has treated him. In that case it's best just to back off. Maybe discuss the benefits of hospice with whomever the most receptive and burnt out family members are. But it's also ok to try to extricate yourself from the dynamic in whatever ways you can and just listen when your husband wants to talk about his own feelings. On the other hand if you think your husband is in a panic because of unresolved issues with his dad, maybe making an appointment with a grief counselor would help. You can always cancel the appointment if he doesn't want to go.

Honestly I know it's probably best on the personal level not to say anything to the family, but when my grandma was sick I wish someone had told us about hospice. It is terrible to see a loved one suffer, more so if it was avoidable. I think despite her phrasing, Surprise's heart is in the right place, wanting to protect her husband and also allow the family to deal with the grief instead of setting themselves up for what could be a very traumatic experience for all involved.
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What if the shoe was on the other foot? Would you not do everything in your power to keep you parents last days on earth comfortable and happy?
Live or die? Really? That sounds so very selfish on your part. Your husbands dad means the world to him and if you still want to be a part of that world let him do what he wants.
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Surprise, what " charade" is it that you want stopped?

It sounds as though you married a man whose dad has lifelong cardiac issues. And now he's been told that he's got less than a year to live. That may or may not be an accurate estimate. Nonetheless, it's FIL ' S life, and if he wants to go down fighting, then that's what he gets to do.

How your husband, and how you as a family respond to dad's heart issues is a matter of choice and preference. When it was clear that it was my dad's last holiday season, my then husband agree to do more than the usual participating, but was generally obnoxious in small ways. My eldest child, who was 16 at the time ( and who loves her dad) said to me recently " that's when I realized what a jersey daddy is, the way he behaved at that last Chris it Pop".

My advice? Don't be a jerk. Try to find some loving-kindness in you heart for your husband. Encourage him to see a grief counselor or therapist ( why wait for hospice?). And again, don't be a jerk.
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Oh dear.

A person with the medical issues your FIL has can still have value to his son. I share some of those issues, yet I was a caregiver for my own father until just over a week ago when he passed away.

I also had a SIL who was very selfish and demanded that one of my brothers spend more time at home and less with our father, perhaps because she thought her sacrifice to be too much. Her demands caused as much stress on my brother, possibly more, than our father ever did.

I'm having a really hard time saying what I'd like to here in a kind way. As hard as this is on you and your husband, it is literally the rest of the time that he will spend with his father, and the rest of his father's life. Please don't add more stress to either of them, it's only temporary for you. As others have said, YOU need to speak to your counselor about your feelings,because the way you behave and react to the situation is the only thing you can control right now.

Good luck.
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The thought of losing my father or mother is so horrific, that I can't imagine it. I can relate to your husband. As long as the patient is in their right mind, then it's up to them as to how they extend their time on this earth, IMO. If I was not in pain and was able to function. I would likely do the same thing.

I would support it, wish him well and give him all the love and care that I could while he's still here. With his prognosis, I know that I would be giving daddy lots of love and attention during the holidays.

I know how I would want to be treated if it was my life at stake. I'd like to think that my children and their spouses were supporting me and not resenting me for being alive.

I think I would discuss it with a counselor. Maybe, there's something else that's the real problem. It would likely mean a lot to your husband if you could support him in this journey with his dad.
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I'm going to take a different approach and suggest that you find it in your heart and soul to be more sympathetic to your FIL, and to your husband. It's HIS father, not yours.

Perhaps you're overwrought; the tone of your post certainly suggests it. But frankly, I think it's not your call and you should let the family deal with your FIL. It seems that you have some real hostility toward FIL, or perhaps it's just the mood at which you wrote your post.

But I found these words troubling:

"It's time to end this charade - either live or die, d**mit!! ..."

Do you really how crass that seems? For crying out loud, your husband only has one father - let him grieve, fuss, pamper if he wants to. He isn't going to get another father so he's entitled to enjoy this one while he can.

"How do I tactfully suggest to the wife that it's time for hospice so the (adult) kids can talk to the hospice counselors and deal with their grief? So Dad can stop stringing us along?"

Again, I just find this so tactless. I think you ought to butt out of the situation. Maybe when you're dying yet fighting for life you wouldn't consider that another surgery and trying to maximize your life would be "stringing" your children along.
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Eh, the stringing along has been since the first stent 30 years ago! Walking on eggshells because of dad's heart... can't do anything to upset him because it might kill him. Seems like I've heard "eggshells" in a narcissistic framework too, and that might apply. Yes, time for a chat when T gets back from vacation.

Pam, absolutely the right term for this!! Type A!! And he won't take mood meds, which would help him and everyone around him.

Jeanne, I will bring up my own mthr's hospice care next time I talk to his wife and make an end run about the subject that way. Good way to put it and I'll use your quote.
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My FIL was a lot like this, refusing to accept reality. When Hospice came to the house, he threw them out. He was a "type A" personality-- alpha, aggressive, assertive, argumentative. All you can do is step back. No, he won't take meds for his moods either, because he is fine and everyone else is wrong. Do not debate, you can't win. Just change the subject to his favorite hobby.
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I take it that "the wife" is not your husband's mother.

I do not think there is a tactful way to suggest that it's time for hospice for the kids' sake.

I do, however, talk to friends with seriously ill spouses or parents about hospice. I can share from my own experience. I would never, ever, tell someone else it is time for hospice. That is a very personal decision. But I have said, "are you thinking of hospice when the time comes?" That has opened up a few discussions.

I agree that hospice for Dad might be good for the children IF they take advantage of the counseling options. But I don't imagine that having Dad on hospice will stop your husband from saying stupid things or trying to earn the love he thinks he doesn't have.

As for Dad stringing you along ... really? The man is dying. He doesn't want to die. He isn't facing his own reality but that is hardly manipulative behavior to "string the kids along." He is scared. He is desperate. And he is dying, whether he accepts it or not.

Whether the wife decides to ask for hospice care (and Dad agrees to accept that -- if he is competent he will have to sign) or not, I suggest you talk your feelings over with your therapist. Encouraging your husband to accept some counseling would be a kindness. It just may not be within your power to resolve husband's relationship with his father.
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