Pulling together

It’s a challenge watching a family member work through a terminal illness, in some respects just waiting for the inevitable to happen.

My spiritual beliefs help me to understand the process, which helps. All these challenges are made easier of course when family members choose to pull together, but that’s not always a given. Whether we’re 40 or 70 years old, if you’ve always behaved a certain way, the odds are you will continue to behave that way, whether you’re terminally ill or not. I believe age is immaterial and having a terminal illness has very little to do with it.

Unfortunately, dealing with a terminal illness means everyone will work with a different dialogue in what can be very stressful circumstances. Everyone must continue to work together to bring about the best outcome for the relative who is terminally ill. It also depends on how the family communicates with each other, but in some circumstances, it’s often the patient who finds it hard to communicate.

From my own experiences, having watched another family member work through her terminal illnesses, I know how different things can be. This family member took the pressure off the rest of her family, came to terms with her illness and allowed the family to help. Sometimes it’s often the stubbornness of the patient and not the patient’s circumstances that is responsible for their behaviour. It unfortunately creates a void and more stress in an already stressful situation.

But as with any terminal illness it’s important all family members work together so that they stay united in such stressful times.


8 Feb, 2013

8 thoughts on “Pulling together

  1. I think it’s hard for the person with the illness because a lot of the time they worry about how the family is handling things and sometimes they wait until other family members are settled in their life.

    It’s like that with my daughter and my mother. I think my mom would be more at peace if my daughter would get her life together and quit depending on my mom so much.

    Luckily I haven’t been in a situation where the family didn’t come together for the best of the ill family member. It’s a shame when someone thinks about themselves and not the person who is ill.

    1. I am pleased for you Lisa.

      There are many worries around a terminal illness and that can interfere with the way family members relate to one another of course. That is sometimes the biggest problem.

  2. I totally agree with what you are saying. Family need to pull together in situations like this. It doesn’t always happen and it seems like the one that suffers is the person who is terminally ill.

    At times it is difficult to put differences aside. We need to search inside ourselves to let things go in order to accomplish this.

    I wish you strength and peace in this most of trying times.

    1. I agree with your sentiments Maria.

      It is sometimes because of our differences that family tend to pull in different directions, which doesn’t always seem noticeable but becomes more noticeable around times of illness.

      It’s sad but true.

  3. It would be great if family would pull together in dealing with a situation like this, but from what I’ve heard, it’s usually the opposite.

    The only time I’ve seen it happen is when the family members have something to gain from the loss, like what happened with my girlfriend’s parents. They were literally counting out the change from their parents piggy bank before they were even in the ground.

    It was just a very insulting thing for me to see,and they’re still fighting for their piece of the pie! When my Mother was passing away, only my sister and I really got together to deal with all of her affairs. It was just very stressful for me, since she had given power of attorney to my brother and I, but we weren’t on speaking terms, which left us two holding the bag.

    My oldest sister and brother really didn’t want much to do with her, from the way they were treated as children, so I can kind of understand their reluctance to get involved!

    Thankfully my Sister was in a position to help out financially at the time,so at least our mother didn’t end up in a pine box! She was at least able to be buried in a local cemetery,so we can visit her when we want. It’s just such a sad thing that I no longer have contact with this sister, since her divorce and subsequent abandonment of her children.

    It just really saddens me that in this day and age, when families would be so much better off pulling together, they only fend for themselves. We have tools that can bring us closer than ever before, yet they are wasted!

    My biggest hope right now is that I can make a family of my own, with people of my choosing, so that we could all be together. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get along?

    1. Yes it would. A very said tale Randy, but what you write seems more common now with the nature of families. Not sure why, but I believe our childhoods have a lot to do with it. When parents begin to make a difference between their children, this is usually the result.

      You’re right, you cannot change your past or where you are now with your family, unless your family are willing to patch up their differences with you. At the end of the day, the blame solely lies with your parents, for the decisions they made for you all, not with each other. It’s a shame your family don’t see that.

      All you can do as you say is concentrate on what you have now with the people you choose to have in your life.

  4. I thankfully had a very good friend help me. She had gone through the same thing and knew what I was going through.

    I actually had no support from my family at all. My father had just lost his wife of over 50 years so I tried to be strong for him.

    My brother and his wife were helping their kids through it.

    1. Unfortunately it’s family relationships to some extent. If families got their relationships right first without having to deal with something major like a death, then we’d always want to help and support one another. You are lucky you had a friend to help you.

      Even though your brother and his wife were helping their kids, there was nothing to stop them looking out for you too.

      Families should want to pull together. It’s sad when they don’t.

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