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WWYD: family lunch without dad

(11 Posts)
BellaDona Sun 19-Jun-16 17:59:14

I'm using a rarely used alternative username, in case there are DM reporters about. angry

I hope you can help with a dilemma.

My dad has recently become poorly with a degenerative illness. At the moment, he's often very tired and confused and any stress has always been tough on him.

His only surviving brother (there's also one sister, and there were two other brothers) has organised a wider family lunch for next Saturday. All the cousins have agreed to go, which is a very rare thing and, IMO, a unique opportunity to get the family together. We never see each other, really. The last time it was a funeral and not all were able to go.
The location is just over an hour away from where we live.

Possible options:

a) cancel - our uncle's initial reaction, but it may never happen again if it's cancelled now. I think it would be a shame, particularly as there are two other siblings (my cousins) who are not speaking to each other and it would be a good opportunity for making up. I would never tell them to cancel anything and would actually encourage the family to get together anyway.

b) my dad goes - we can probably handle the logistics. We are three siblings, plus OHs, and there'd be enough people. But we are worried that it will be too much for him, which would affect him and our mother the following days.

c) my dad doesn't go, but we go - mostly because it's probably a unique event, and to reconnect with family. The problem here is that our mum would be alone with him (there are people around that she could call for help, including people that regularly go there to help with shower and shopping). I'm also thinking that we (or at least one of us) would stay just for a while, but it would still be 3-4 hours far from home. Note that most days almost all of us are 30 min to 1 hour away for work anyway, or even without a phone within reach. She doesn't live remotely but in a small town with a hospital.

d) the lunch goes ahead, but none of us go - it would be a shame and not a real family event, but I'd be happy to tell the rest of the family to go ahead. It would be mostly to "keep up appearances" and save my mother's feelings if my father doesn't go.

e) the lunch goes ahead, but one of us doesn't go - more or less the same as above, but it meant that one of us would be closer in case something happened.

We had initially said that we thought the lunch should happen, and we'd go even if our dad couldn't. We are trying our best to arrange things so that our dad can go.
However, our mother is upset that we said it should happen and we'd go, even without our dad. I understand her feelings, although I don't appreciate how she ends up using emotional blackmail. hmm
She is, somewhat rightly, worried she'd need us and we'd all be away, although it's just over an hour away, and she could be able to get other people to help as fast as she could get any of us if we stayed. Or an ambulance, which was what happened anyway when he recently had a serious fall.

It's tough on all of us, as it's a recent thing. It has been a shock how fast it has affected him (although possibly due to the medication) and we are all still trying to adapt to it.
Our mother is on the mid 70s and our dad is a few years older.

So, I really don't know what is the best choice. What would you do, or feel it is the right thing to do?

PS - I may not be able to reply for a couple of hours.

RosieSW Sun 19-Jun-16 18:35:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 19-Jun-16 18:46:42

Can you organise someone to be with him for the day as a one off so that you can all go and your mum has the back up or be able to take her? Sounds like you could all do with a break and it's always nice to catch up with family other than funerals

BellaDona Sun 19-Jun-16 21:15:31

Thanks both. Good tips.

We are thinking of renting a wheelchair just in case. We have also talked about staying only for an hour if he's not well enough. I'll probably be the one taking him.
And at least one of us will probably head back home as soon as possible if he doesn't go.
It's still fairly reassuring that nobody said we were completely heartless for considering going without him.

WeAllHaveWings Sun 19-Jun-16 21:40:18

You don't say in your post, have you asked your dad if he wants to go? When my dad was very ill he didn't want to go to large family events anymore. Preferred smaller groups at home.

Can the event be rearranged close to home to suit your dad?

If he does want to go ideally someone needs to be there to take him home as soon as he decides he's had enough. Means they will probably miss most of the party, but unavoidable.

BellaDona Sun 19-Jun-16 21:55:04

He's said earlier in the week that he wouldn't go, but he's also adapting to it all. We went there this pm and he got better as we were there. It looks as if having loved ones around does lift his spirit, so we'll encourage him to go.

We have talked about relocating the venue but his SIL, my aunt isn't in great shape either. It's a group of almost 40, so not so easy to find a place at short notice. It will have to be going or not at this stage.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 19-Jun-16 22:16:53

Can you ask one of the people who shower etc him of they are willing to drive your parents and when he has had enough they can leave?

RosieSW Sun 19-Jun-16 22:22:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BellaDona Sun 19-Jun-16 22:22:52

It's fine. One of us can drive back with him. I'd be happy to. And DS could stay with my siblings.
I expect we'd be back mid afternoon anyway.

BellaDona Sun 19-Jun-16 22:28:11

Good point about the fleece. smile
He's always cold.

Also good tips. I'll keep them in mind.
He's certainly trying to do as much as he can at the moment, so I hope he still will then.

RosieSW Sun 19-Jun-16 23:08:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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