Do we leave my MIL who is dying of cancer alone for Christmas?

(101 Posts)
PTFsWife Thu 19-Dec-13 15:12:28

My MIL will turn 86 on Christmas day. She has terminal cancer (mouth). My SIL recently moved to Portugal and the plan for Christmas was for MIL, my DH, me and kids to fly together to Portugal so that we could celebrate what is probably going to be her last Christmas and birthday together.

We are due to fly out on Sunday. Today MIL rang and said that she is full of cold and there is no way she can manage to go to Portugal. I think it is more than this. I think she is scared of travelling, scared something might go wrong while she is out there, doesn't want to eat in front of other people as it's messy due to the growth in her mouth, her mouth is hurting her more than she will admit, she can only eat soft things like soup/boiled egg and generally doesn't want to 'be a burden'.

So I said that we will then all stay behind so that she is not alone. She can come to our house and we will have a quiet Christmas together. Her house isn't really suitable for us all to go there. She can eat what she can manage and alone if she would prefer not to eat in front of us, but at least she will have company.

She insists that she would rather be on her own in her own home and that we MUST go to Portugal without her. She will be deeply upset if we cancel our holiday for her. (It would be a £1k loss on flights but that seems completely irrelevant at this point. The kids will be disappointed though as they had been looking forward to going).

I am utterly torn. I asked her straight up whether she would really prefer to be alone or whether she was just saying that as she didn't want to put anyone else out, and she swears she would rather just be on her own.

But how can we leave her to celebrate her (most likely) last Christmas on her own with a tin of soup?? But if we stay, we risk upsetting her/making her feel guilty that we're 'ruining' our Christmas by not going and it appears to be going against her wishes.

I don't know what to do. What would you do?

tribpot Thu 19-Dec-13 15:16:36

No, you need to stay. I appreciate that she doesn't want you to miss out on a holiday, but this is one of those times when you push the override button.

Next Christmas will you really want to remember that your MIL spent her last one alone?

You will need to be very firm but this should be a done deal. She must not feel guilty but you are not going, end of. If your DH wanted to, he could insist you and the kids go and he stays behind with his MIL, his sister should come here as well.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 19-Dec-13 15:16:58

Jeepers, it's a tough one.

I don't think I could go TBH.

I think even though she says she would be upset if you cancel (and she will be) that it would still mean a lot to her that you stayed.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 19-Dec-13 15:18:24

Yes, tribpot is right - just deal with it as if there is no decision to be make.

You want to spend Christmas with her, so wherever she is is where Christmas is happening for your family this year.

supergreenuk Thu 19-Dec-13 15:18:39

Can't you do a fake Christmas Day with her before you go? You can still have a special day together. Personally I would go. I'm not saying I wouldn't feel bad but you have asked her outright and she has given her blessing.

NigelMolesworth Thu 19-Dec-13 15:20:00

Stay, I think. I suspect if you don't, you will torture yourself over it at a later date.

I'm sorry that you have such a horrible decision to make thanks

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 15:21:01

I don't think you should go either.

I wouldn't be able to enjoy myself knowing MIL was alone and ill, so there would be no point in going anyway.

You just have to be firm and say you wouldn't dream of leaving her on her own. Tell her that the children will have many more opportunities to go to Portugal, that she is your priority at the moment and that's that, no discussion.

Could she feel the same about eating around you on the day? Does she maybe feel she would spoil the day?
I barely met dhs grandad who was paralysed down one side of his face due to his reluctance to eat or talk with people who werent family sad

Heathcliff27 Thu 19-Dec-13 15:22:00

Oh no what a shame. I wouldnt be able to go either, I also agree that his sister should come here too, I know thats maybe not possible but no way should she be alone. Tough decisin though and my thoughts with you all.

ElizabethBathory Thu 19-Dec-13 15:22:02

Agree with tribpot and JoinYour. I know it seems like you'd be going against her wishes, but I still think that deep down it will mean a lot to her that you stayed. And tell her you'll just go next year instead (even if you won't!)

Plus, you will not enjoy your trip at all, thinking of her at home alone.

woozlebear Thu 19-Dec-13 15:22:40

I would stay. I think she's being noble and would actually appreciate company. Even if she is feeling very down and does think she's rather just hide and mope on her own, chances are she'll appreciate the company (or at least the gesture) more than she prob realises now.

And when you look back, you'll have no regrets.

Hope you all manage to have as good a last Christmas as possible.

Flossiechops Thu 19-Dec-13 15:23:04

Stay - you'll never get another chance to do this again. Portugal will still be there next year where as mil needs you now.

Bowlersarm Thu 19-Dec-13 15:23:55

I'm another one who thinks you should stay.

Just tell her that you aren't going and that is that. Hopefully she'll want to see all of you, or your DH, but I do think you need to be here for her even if she is cross with you about it.

MorrisZapp Thu 19-Dec-13 15:24:29

What does your DH think? And your SIL?

vladthedisorganised Thu 19-Dec-13 15:26:02

Stay. Tell MIL you've rescheduled your holiday for half term or something; it will mean a lot to her that you stayed.

My last Christmas with my mum was a memory I'll always treasure and made an enormous difference to her.

InTheFace Thu 19-Dec-13 15:26:21

I would stay behind and do Christmas in my own home. And I would tell her that this is because something totally unrelated to her has come up. Lay on thick about how kids are a bit annoyed but you have no choice.

Then say seeing as you're going to be home, she may as well come over if only for a couple of hours; or you go visit for a couple of hours. Christmas at your house will be low key as you haven't had time to prepare.

She will see through it, but the veneer may be enough to allow her to see her family a little guilt free. I'm afraid I couldn't leave her at this time.

eurochick Thu 19-Dec-13 15:26:32

On a practical note, many airlines let you change flights for an admin fee, so you might be able to spend a little more and rebook for e.g. Easter.

Mrsantithetic Thu 19-Dec-13 15:28:24

It's a hard one. I'd stay I think.

However just to play the other my nana insists this year will be her last Christmas. ( she's old but nothing to my knowledge would make her die necessarily so not exactly the same)
She said the same last year too and no amount of persuading could see her spending time with us.

Her reasoning was for the last 65 years she has done Christmas with everyone else in mind. She just wants to enjoy her last Christmas watching what she wants on tv, eating what and when she likes without any hassle or having to put up with noise from kids. She loves us dearly but just wants to have it her way and reminisce in peace.

Could your mil be maybe thinking the same but too polite to say?

Slimchance Thu 19-Dec-13 15:28:43

Sorry you are having to make such a fraught decision.

I'm terrible at making choices like this and have a bad habit of trying to second guess people so I probably shouldn't be posting. My immediate instincts would be to definitely agree with other posters and stay. On the other hand your mil is a sentient adult who may seriously WANT you all to go and have fun- and she may want to do that for you all - and you in return obviously want to take her seriously and respect her wishes.

You could perhaps try and explain that it is not a case of her being a burden, just that you couldn't possibly enjoy Christmas without her there.

Fwiw are going through something similar atm, so I know how difficult these things are. Fil seriously ill over 800km away and sil alone looking after him. We have booked to go, and want to give her moral support (and dh wants of course to see his father for what will probably be his last Christmas) but sil saying perhaps not now an appropriate situation for dd. So we are in limbo and don't know what to do for the best.

Helpyourself Thu 19-Dec-13 15:28:46

Or you take the dcs and your DH stays?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 19-Dec-13 15:29:19


Tell her you were having second thoughts due to it been cold and you've decided you'd rather go when its warmer, etc.

Reassure her that nothing is spoilt and emphasise all the positives of staying. Kids want to see friends, want to play with their new toys, etc.

TheGreatHunt Thu 19-Dec-13 15:29:38

What does your dh think? It's his mum???

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 15:30:28

viad I too have cherished memories of my last Christmas with my dad, which is why I think you should stay OP.

Queenofknickers Thu 19-Dec-13 15:30:56

Can you get travel insurance to cover loss of holiday? There's usually clause for terminally ill relative. Might be worth a try?

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 19-Dec-13 15:32:09

What does your husband think?

PTFsWife Thu 19-Dec-13 15:33:48

We were going to have a fake Christmas this Saturday regardless as we can't take the kids presents with us as they are too big, so we were going to have her here for that, but even that she is saying she doesn't want to do as she feels so run down and she suggested we do something after Christmas.

I drove an hour to see her today and she was absolutely adamant that she did not want to be anywhere other than her home for Christmas and that she would be really upset if we didn't go. I told her that we'd be really upset thinking that she'd be on her own for Christmas and I think that just made her feel guilty as she seemed close to tears.

I keep trying to imagine it was me: if I knew that this was my last Christmas, where would I want to be/what would I want to do, and I imagine I'd want to live it large, push through and be with family. But that's because I am young and healthy. Perhaps she really is just exhausted and can't face the thought of watching other people enjoy Christmas dinner when all she can manage is soup and perhaps she really does just want to be alone with her memories in the house she has lived for most of her life.

Just so torn as to what is the right thing to do. sad

tinkertaylor1 Thu 19-Dec-13 15:33:56


My granny would say for every one to go if she was in that position but there is no way I would.

She might actually really want you to go but come Christmas when she is in her own she could feel pretty desolate .

flowers to her

FunnyFestiveTableRunner Thu 19-Dec-13 15:33:57

Stay. You will always regret it if you don't. And so sorry for you all and especially for your MIL thanks

FunnyFestiveTableRunner Thu 19-Dec-13 15:35:46

X-posted. Sorry, it's awful for you all. She sounds like she is feeling very poorly. Would it be possible for you all to stay but to make a short visit on Christmas Day, rather than a full day thing?

tinkertaylor1 Thu 19-Dec-13 15:38:21

You can have many many Christmas holidays away.

If I was you I'd cancel or re book . I would spend time with her in morning and leave if she felt uncomfortable . Then if drive back the next day. Then the next.

There is no way I would go. ( my granny's is like my mother)

PTFsWife Thu 19-Dec-13 15:39:39

DH is currently at work in London. He has been on the phone to me about it but he is at a loss as to what to do. His gut instinct is to stay. His sister can't come over unfortunately. He and I will chat further tonight about what to do.

I agree with the poster (sorry forgot name) who said that perhaps she really does just want to eat what she wants, snuggled under a blanket, watching countless episodes of Only Fools & Horses and not have to deal with everyone's merriment when frankly she doesn't feel that merry. Sometimes I think we should take what she is saying as the truth - but mostly I think she is WW2 stock and doesn't like to make a fuss or bother.

tribpot Thu 19-Dec-13 15:41:50

Yes - she may not want a full-on day with you, but if you're in the country you can be available as it suits her.

She must not feel it was her decision that you stayed, or her fault.

Ephiny Thu 19-Dec-13 15:42:20

If she'd genuinely prefer to be alone, I don't think you should force your company on her. It's not impossible that someone might not mind being alone at Christmas (it's not worse than being alone any other day) or not feel like doing the whole family celebration thing when unwell.

It's up to you whether you cancel your holiday or not, but please, please listen to and respect her wishes about what she does and doesn't want to do.

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Dec-13 15:43:46

In that case I would just visit her for a short time on Christmas Day. A few hours either morning or afternoon, so she isn't on her own all day.

I'd also have the thought at the back of my mind that she could go downhill when her 2 dc are out of the country. That would be horrible for all concerned.

supergreenuk Thu 19-Dec-13 15:44:07

I still think go. Have you ever been poorly and you just want people to leave you alone?? If its upsetting her that you won't go then that says a lot. It's not like your going for long and like you said you are having your special day so it's not like you haven't had any Christmas together. It sounds like you should respect her wishes if you ask me. This isn't some magical last Christmas together for her it's her feeling rubbish and wanting no fuss.

Ephiny Thu 19-Dec-13 15:44:39

I do understand the dilemma about whether she really means it (such a sad and difficult decision to have to make sad). But if in doubt I think it's best to take someone at their word, especially when it comes to respecting their boundaries and privacy.

42notTrendy Thu 19-Dec-13 15:46:14

I would get your DH, or SIL to talk to her. I know my MIL would put a brave face on for me, but more likely to share what she really thinks with DH. And it's a decision you shouldn't have to make on your own, because whatever you decide to do, I suspect you will feel some guilt, so you need to spread that a little.
I'm so sorry you and your family are in this situation, and what a hard decision.
And I also think it's worth talking to airline/holiday company to see if you could shuffle the dates a bit. Even if you fly a day or so later, I guess flights to be somewhere like that over Christmas are at a premium, they may be willing to change your dates as there is probably a high demand for them.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Thu 19-Dec-13 15:47:20

I think you have to stay - can you compromise with what she wants and drive over to visit in the afternoon?

Is there no way you can persuade her to go to Portugal ? ie does she really not want to go or is she "just" scared of going?

Casmama Thu 19-Dec-13 15:47:36

Almost everyone on this thread feels that they know what is best for a woman that they have never even met.

I think she has the right to decide how to spend her last Christmas and to change your plans and force yourselves upon her would be dreadful.

I completely understand where you are coming from but she shouldn't have to beg to have her feelings respected- she is dying not losing the ability to make decisions. Respect her decision.

PTFsWife Thu 19-Dec-13 15:51:48

She is actually usually more honest with me than them as I get straight to the point and ask her things (I'm a foreigner with a more straight forward approach!) She normally tries to spare her children the truth whereas with me she tends to be slightly more honest.

But I am beginning to think that perhaps we should just stay, visit her on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve so that she has some company, but not expect her to spend a meal with us as it will be hard for her to eat/enjoy it.

I have looked at the airline and I can amend the dates for a fee - so that is an option.

This isn't my decision anyway - it is my husband's - and he knows that. I am just trying to help by getting some opinions as to what other people might do.

Thanks for all the advice

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 19-Dec-13 15:51:58

You can respect her decision about what she wants to do for Christmas.

But where YOU spend Christmas is not her decision, it's yours.

And if you want to spend Christmas near her, then that's up to you.

There is a big difference between just being down the road and being off on holiday a flight away.

PTFsWife Thu 19-Dec-13 15:56:34

Re can I persuade her to go to Portugal - I don't think so. I tried today. I explained how her cold, which she says she suddenly has (not sure I believe her), has wiped her out (she did look tired when I saw her but that may be the cancer taking its toll) but that she may feel better by Sunday when we are due to fly. And that she could just take it in easy in Portugal in the warmth (19C vs what we have here) and not feel under any pressure to eat in front of us. And that we'd take care of her in the airport and on the flight - but she has dug her heels in and there is NO way I can see her going.

Part of this is because she got a letter from her doctor to take with her to Portugal outlining her medical history should she require medical treatment while there (just as a precaution) and I think it was reading the prognosis in black and white that this disease is fatal, has upset her deeply. She knew the prognosis, but I think seeing it written out has scared her and she may just need time alone with her thoughts.

Pootles2010 Thu 19-Dec-13 15:57:32

Lie. Lie through your teeth. You've lost all the passports, oh what a blow.

Take the kids to see her inbetween lunch and tea, having left her a really lovely homemade soup she can eat in privacy first.

pombal Thu 19-Dec-13 16:02:02

You need to be near in case she needs you.

Go to Portugal at Easter.

If she is hospitalized in Portugal it will be traumatic for her.

If she dies there, you will have to organize repatriation of her body - sorry I'm not saying this to upset you, but neither you nor her need this trip right now.

Wishing you all the best at this difficult time x

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Thu 19-Dec-13 16:04:32

I think the compromise is to postpone Portugal til after Christmas if you can (gives her a chance to change her mind but I wouldn't push it) and tell her you'll visit her over Christmas but, apart from that, you'll respect her wishes. Although clearly it is your DHs decision.

Maybe get her some nice turkey soup and Christmas pudding ice cream to eat on the day.

I suspect there is no right decision here, just one that is mostly right for everyone.

InTheFace Thu 19-Dec-13 16:04:48

Totally agree with Pootles. Stay home, let her stay home, drop off some soup on Xmas eve that she can have on 24th and 25th, then leave her to it. Xmas day, just drop by to say merry Xmas but don't stay for long. Just leave her to it - alone, but not lonely.

Pootles2010 Thu 19-Dec-13 16:13:05

Just seen forecast for weekend - you could say flight's been cancelled due to high winds? And see if they'll let you re-schedule. Bet they would, December is busy time for them, so they'll easily re-book the seats.

Quietattheback Thu 19-Dec-13 16:13:12

I can well imagine why she can't face travelling. I would stay, I just wouldn't be able to shake the feeling that I had abandoned her.

Could you have her over to stay at yours? Bring her over on Christmas Eve and set her up in a bedroom with a TV and tell her that you're not going to disturb her or make her 'Join in' with the festivities, she's there to be looked after. Make her Xmas dinner soup and give her some time to rest.

Sorry that you're going through this flowers.

Idespair Thu 19-Dec-13 16:17:02

I disagree with most. Mil knows her own mind, she wants you to go because she has asked you to. It's fine for you to make another phone call or to check with her in person that she is absolutely sure of her wishes but if she is I think you should respect them and go to spend Christmas with your SIL.

MrsMcEnroe Thu 19-Dec-13 16:24:08

I don't know your MIL, and I do sort of agree with the poster upthread who said that everyone is assuming that they know better than MIL and that MIL's wishes should be respected.

However. After someone has died, that is it: they are gone, and it is their loved ones who are left to deal with their feelings - and your DH has to decide if he wants to send his mum's last Christmas near her or not. There is a world of difference between spending Christmas in a different country, and spending it in your own home where you can get to MIL within an hour or two if something happens or if she just changes her mind and wants company, plus you can pop in and see her on Boxing Day etc....

My own experience which you may like to share with your DH: my mum died of cancer. I spent her last Christmas with my in-laws, not with her, and not a day goes by when I don't bitterly, bitterly regret this. (I didn't know that she had terminal cancer at the time but I knew that something was seriously wrong - but I took her at her word that she would be fine without me there).

I am really sorry that you are all facing this horrible illness and prognosis, and I wish you all the best x

Selks Thu 19-Dec-13 16:27:06

What Pootles said.

She sounds an amazing lady, and you sound lovely OP. I'm sure you'll make the best decision.

Statusupdate Thu 19-Dec-13 16:30:34

How about those for a compromise - you spend the afternoon with MIL. Do what she can manage but give her some space as well? I agree it's your lady Christmas and you should stay but try to remember if she is feeling really awful she probably wants some space. Could you surprise her by getting SIL over here, or is that unworkable? Hope you get it sorted out.

Statusupdate Thu 19-Dec-13 16:31:19

last not lady

cuggles Thu 19-Dec-13 16:35:28

I had a similar situation with my nan a few years back. She was 88 and in that confused old lady but still coping at home ok ish phase of life. Anyway, my dad, her only child, and I had been invited to my sisters a few hours away and we decided we would have a day with her beforehand and then go to my sisters as "she doesnt know what day it is" (or that is how we justified it at the time). I was a much better granddaughter to her than I sound from that..doing all her laundry, visiting often, in the process of liaising with SS re: care but the bottom line is we went away! She then got ill and was hospitalised in the two days we were away and never left hospital again dying in the february. I have never forgiven myself, ever. I regret it hugely, I have lots of other Christmasses and she hasnt. I was unusually selfish (I like to think!) and the result was dreadful. I dont really know the answer but I do think you might regret it if you go, but whatever happens you wont regret it if you stay. All the best and I am sorry you are facing this.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 19-Dec-13 16:36:43

Your MIL sounds lime a lovely woman and you sound like a really considerate DILthanks for you both.

I would say, stay. I can understand you MIL not wanting to travel. FIL had one last holiday with BIL and SIL, he had a terminal cancer diagnosis, and he really deteriorated while away despite being 'well' before he left, and just made it back before being admitted to hospital. He never came out, died a few weeks latersad

If you stay you can visit for short periods avoiding mealtimes and be there for your MIL and then she knows she has loved ones nearby but you aren't intruding too much.

lostdomain Thu 19-Dec-13 16:42:37

Not read the thread, just your OP, but I'd stay, definitely. She's clearly worth more to you than £1k's worth of flights, thank goodness. The sister in Portugal should come to UK too.

Agree with posters who say you can often get insurance to cover loss of travel due to illness, though it may not extend to whole family. You could always write to the airlines anyway and ask if they would, out of goodness and seasonal spirit, allow you to rebook your family flights for this summer and go for a visit then instead.

Don't leave her alone at Christmas. Even the thought is heartbreaking.

everlong Thu 19-Dec-13 16:48:04

She doesn't sound like a martyr but someone who knows her mind.
I think she wants you to go.
Hard for you though having to decide.

Kundry Thu 19-Dec-13 16:48:09

I'm going to against the grain here and say go. She is a grown adult with lots of life experience, she wants you to go. You've given her lots of chances to change her mind.

She can't control very much in her life now and she doesn't get much opportunity to be an adult or look after other people. Although you staying is very caring, it is also slightly treating her as a child or at best as someone who needs looking after.

She doesn't want to be looked after. She wants one small opportunity to look after you, by ensuring you go to Portugal without her.

My Dad did lots of stuff like this when he was dying, I found it very hard as I wanted to help but he wouldn't let me. Later I realised he was busy telling people how much I looked after him! He just wanted to be my dad and be in charge.

Make sure you have arrangements for calling or Skyping her everyday, if you can get a neighbour to pop in and have their contacts as well. But really this is probably one of the nicest things you could do for her.

Saminthemiddle Thu 19-Dec-13 16:54:34

How long are you supposed to be going for? If it is less than five days or so then maybe consider going but more, then I would stay as you won't relax there and will be thinking of her all the time.

Only the OP knows MIL well enough to judge, but if I'd said "no, you go" I'd have meant it.

I'd have thought the last thing I wanted was a crowd around me missing their holiday for me and asking me if I was ok every 5 minutes.

overthemill Thu 19-Dec-13 17:06:46

I think you should stay but maybe just do a pop in on Xmas day itself but be around the rest of the holidays. How long has she been given, any idea? I just think you will all want to be around. When my mum was near the end I spent 2 weeks in and out of hospice so we had time together ditto my fil who died at home when my DH went every other day. I just think it's time which is too precious. Kids might be too much though- could they oh to Portugal as unaccompanied minors so you both have time with her but they get a holiday?

Carriemac Thu 19-Dec-13 17:07:36

she's made her wishes clear and you should respect that. I'd go .

Kitttty Thu 19-Dec-13 17:38:51

86, with terminal cancer - this could deteriorate rapidly at any point. How long are you going out to Portugal for - one week or two? Even without her cancer a bad cold could become a chest infection/pneumonia at this time of the year and wipe her out. Who is around to care for her day to day?

sunbathe Thu 19-Dec-13 17:49:20

I'd go on holiday. You asked her outright, she said go.

If you stay, it might be more pressure on her to be jolly etc in front of the kids? She might want some quiet time alone.

Dh's mum had cancer, she still wanted us to go on holiday. My dad had cancer, he still wanted my brother to enjoy a rare holiday.

PTFsWife Fri 20-Dec-13 09:04:32

Decision made. We are changing our flights and going at Easter (probably without MIL). We are staying at home for Christmas. We will ask her if she wants to join us but she will probably say no. In which case we will go see her for an hour or so on Christmas morning and take her some nice soup and Christmas treats she can manage for her Christmas lunch, be with her when she opens her presents and then leave her to enjoy her Christmas lunch in privacy. I know she will still be upset that we are cancelling the trip now but we will just tell her that we'd prefer to go in April when it's warmer and we can stay longer.

So now I need to think about actually getting some Christmas food in!

Thanks for all the advice

LineRunner Fri 20-Dec-13 09:11:05

Stay. You'll feel shit if you don't.

Try to rebook the flights if you can. And even if you can't, tell your mil that you did, so she feels ok about it.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Fri 20-Dec-13 09:13:16

Glad you've made a decision. Just make it clear that you aren't cancelling it for her benefit, you are cancelling it for yours and this seemed like a good compromise for all.

zipzap Fri 20-Dec-13 10:23:00

I wonder if there's also an element for you mil of her knowing that it is her last christmas?

Especially if she has just read the doctor's letter and is reeling with seeing her prognosis in black and White; knowing that something is fatal must be horrible but when you start thinking that this is going to be my last Christmas/Easter etc then suddenly it turns into something other than a lovely normal Christmas.

I think your plans to change your visit dates are great; hope you have success in persuading the airline to change them for you for a reasonable fee!

Oh and tell mil you'll take her with you when you go at Easter when it's warmer, even if you both know that she won't be going it might give her a feeling that you'll all be going when the weather is nicer rather than you changing Christmas because of her iyswim.

soimpressed Fri 20-Dec-13 10:27:10

Good decision. Hope you all enjoy Christmas.

I'm glad you are staying. Your plans are very thoughtful. Poor MIL, what a torment for her and all of you.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 20-Dec-13 10:38:35

Good decision OP.

I hope my sons marry someone as considerate and kind as you thanks

You've done the perfect thing. My grandmother didn't want to be a nuisance or a burden throughout her terminal cancer but quietly acknowledged it when I took no notice of her protestations and insisted we spent time with her. Be breezy and say with a wink "we're not doing this for you, we're doing it for us because we love you and want to be with you" . She would never let on that things were too much or how much pain she was in. But I know she needed to feel how much I loved her.

OP. - it will be an important Christmas and I hope you have a good day. You sound lovely.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 20-Dec-13 10:47:15

I also think you've made the right decision. Although, I also understand why your MIL would want to be alone too.

You sound very kind & thoughtful. There will be many more Christmasses, Easters & holidays for you to enjoy & I'm sure that, when it comes down to it, your MIL will be touched that you stayed this year.

Both of my parents died of cancer, but neither were poorly enough by Christmas for us to know it was their last. It must be terribly painful to sit there, surrounded by everyone you love, trying to enjoy the day knowing that it will never happen again. I think I would probably try to 'opt out' in that situation too.

ShoeWhore Fri 20-Dec-13 10:47:54

I think that's a really good decision OP.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 20-Dec-13 10:55:52

"Oh and tell mil you'll take her with you when you go at Easter when it's warmer, even if you both know that she won't be going it might give her a feeling that you'll all be going when the weather is nicer"

The only thing about doing this, is that IME very elderly people find travelling extremely stressful.

I think many 86 year olds in the full of their health would not particularly relish the thought of a trip to Portugal, never mind a woman who isn't well.

It could be, and you might know whether this could be the case OP, that she felt under pressure to go to see her daughter, but never really felt up to going.

I know that my Granny dreaded trips overseas to see her daughter as she got older, even if in the end she went and had a wonderful time.

So it might be better not to mention anything about her going to Portugal at all. It might just feel like something to worry about rather than something to look forward to iyswim.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 20-Dec-13 10:57:06

And also, your MIL is lucky to have a family that loves her so much and wants to be near her at Christmas.

It must be a very sad time for all of you. thanks

Bowlersarm Fri 20-Dec-13 11:00:49

Perfect arrangements OP. It is the right thing to do IMO.

It must be disappointing to not be going away, but at least you have it to look forward to at Easter.

I hope your mil is up to having a visit on Christmas Day, but at least you are around if she needs/would like to see you.

SoloXantiaClaws Fri 20-Dec-13 11:05:53

The last Christmas memories with MIL will mean much more than you can possibly imagine at this point.
My last memories and photo's of my Dad's last every occasion mean so much to me.

I couldn't possibly leave her in your position OP. It would guilt me forevermore and then some.
MIL is probably trying to be nice to you. But she probably doesn't even realise how she will feel alone on Christmas day.

bumbumsmummy Fri 20-Dec-13 11:14:28

Family it's what Christmas is about what does your DH say its his mum ? Personally I wouldn't be able to go in good conscience it's her last one make it a good one

SoloXantiaClaws Fri 20-Dec-13 11:15:44

Oh crap! clicked last page instead of next! blush. Sorry OP. Good decision smile I hope you have as good a Christmas as you can and MIL too.

hoppinghare Fri 20-Dec-13 11:22:43

I would consider going. She is very old. Christmas day is probably not as big a deal to her as it is to your children. You could always celebrate christmas with her before you go or when you come back.

hoppinghare Fri 20-Dec-13 11:24:19

Woops. I've just read some more posts and have seen you are staying. I hope it's a good christmas.

TheFirstToel Fri 20-Dec-13 11:36:53

Your poor MIL and how awful for everyone involved.

I would guess maybe she genuinely does want to be alone and not go through the stress of Christmas Day when she feels as she does - but you can still work with her to respect her wishes on the day. I think it is important that what you are doing is simply staying at hand so she knows you are there. That's probably the most caring thing you can offer her in this impossible situation. Also, if she has cancer and a bad cold, there's a chance she could take a serious turn for the worse and you need to be on call.

Is there any chance of a Macmillan nurse or similar being able to spend some time with her too, on Christmas day or around then? Maybe it would help not to be alone, but also not to be worrying about being a burden/not being able to fully take part.

SinisterSal Fri 20-Dec-13 11:39:16

I think you have made the right decision.

She is bound to be up and down emotionally so she could change her mind 20 times between now and Christmas. Having you all an hour away will be much better than a flight away, if she decides on Christmas Eve that she would love company and kids for an hour or two.

Kitttty Fri 20-Dec-13 11:44:22

OP - good luck - the best thing to do -- and a great example to your children on how we should support and cherish our elderly. Have a lovely Christmas - feel warm and good inside you deserve to. Hope that you are not in the same dilemma at Easter.....

TheNumberfaker Fri 20-Dec-13 11:45:46

Well done. Good decision. Hope you get everything you need and that she feels up to spending time with you.

ExcuseTypos Fri 20-Dec-13 13:00:49

So glad you've come to that decision. Hope you all have a good Christmas flowers

Slimchance Fri 20-Dec-13 13:46:26

Glad you were able to come to a decision PTFswife.

Hope you are all able to have as good a Christmas as possible in the circumstances.

cuggles Fri 20-Dec-13 18:00:40

You sound lovely Op and a great decision, wrapped up as something that suits you as well as giving her company..well done!

Good decision. I'm late to this but I couldn't go off and leave someone like that, no matter how much they insisted. Even to just pop in and then leave her in peace but she'll know that you're nearby if she needs or wants you and you'll enjoy your Christmas better for not worrying about her in a different country on her own.

oldbaghere Fri 20-Dec-13 18:04:26

Think you've done the right thing. I'd sell my soul at this point to get my mums last Christmas with her but it won't happen the way I'd like it to.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Fri 20-Dec-13 18:13:24

Good decision. Let us know how the day pans out if you want too.

chocolatewine Fri 20-Dec-13 20:53:18

Good decision, you'll never regret it. I hope you all have a happy time and I'm sure your mother in law feels very loved. x

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Fri 20-Dec-13 21:17:13

I'm sorry she has cancer - it's a bastard thing sad

I think you have made the right decision - staying in the country, inviting her but not demanding she comes to you and then popping up to see her for a short time on CD if she doesn't want to come & stay.

I totally understand how she feels and I would sooner be alone in my own home at Christmas than somewhere else (no matter how close the family or whatever) if I was feeling that ill. There's nothing like your own bed, your own comfy sofa, no one else to worry about or worry about upsetting - it's just more relaxing and really, that's what you need when you are 86 & ill.

Be careful how you phrase going at Easter wont you (I'm sure you will) but it just sounds a bit like you don't think she will be here by then so you can go then & stay for longer... perhaphs mention you have booked for her as well if she wants to go with you.

I bet the kids are now disappointed that they a) aren't going to Portugal and b) wont be getting their presents this weekend! fgrin

MerryFuckingChristmas Fri 20-Dec-13 21:26:31

Well, I've just a bloody good cathartic cry after reading this thread

I thinkyou have done the right thing and I hope you all enjoy xmas as best as you can x

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 20-Dec-13 21:32:59

You can't go OP.
If anything happened you would never forgive yourself and nobody should be on their own at Christmas.
I know she said she doesn't want you to stay, but I'm sure that's because she doesn't want to be a burden.
I had what I knew would be the last Christmas with my Dad, and I cherish the memories OP.
You sound like a lovely dil, I hope my future dil is so caring.
Please don't go, love. You need to be at home.

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 20-Dec-13 21:35:51

I too commented after page 3.
What a lovely thing to do OP, I hope you have a lovely time and make memories to cherish.

Mrswellyboot Fri 20-Dec-13 22:06:03

Great decision. Wishing you a lovely Christmas !!

everlong Fri 20-Dec-13 22:09:16

Oh that's a lovely thing to do. I think you're right. It'll be more peaceful, than being in Portugal fretting about her.

Merry Christmas to you all.

I don't think for one minute you will regret your decision OP, Mil privileged to have fantastic DIL like you. Happy Christmas

Greenkit Sun 29-Dec-13 17:24:13

Op I hope you had a great Christmas making memories. We have had what will probably be BIL last Christmas with him as he has a brain tumour, I invited everyone to ours and it was brilliant.

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