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... Sister in law. Help please.

(33 Posts)
Retsina Fri 20-Nov-15 11:10:53

Hi, first time on here so please excuse if I don't use correct abbreviations. I will try to keep this as brief as possible......
With DP for 15 years. He has 2 sisters, younger one widowed, eldest married. Both sisters heavily involved with Scientology until approx. 4 years ago when younger sister managed to disentangle herself. She has always been a victim, was widowed at a young age and has never found it easy coping with real life. Eldest sister very heavily involved with Scientology for 20+ years and until March 2014 lived with her complete Scientology nutter husband in Dubai, living the dream apparently. Eldest sister came back to UK in March 2014 because of her terrible health problems (bad back) which she couldn't get resolved in Dubai and she has been living with younger sister since then. It actually turns out that they haven't got a pot to piss in as they've given it all away to Scientology.
My partner and I have had little contact over the years with eldest sister because of her Scientology involvement - her nutty husband and Scientology mates were always more important than her family. My partners mum has no time for her.
At the end of November last year 2014 my DP was diagnosed with lung cancer. He is 52. The first we knew was that he had a brain tumor which had spread from his lung. He had brain surgery to remove the tumor on 1 December, then between January and July this year he had radiotherapy on his brain then chemo . All was positive at first, the tumors were stable or reducing. In July he was scanned and scans showed growth in all tumors and spread to adrenal glands.
All though this period there was minimal contact with youngest sister, she simply could not cope with his diagnosis and seems to have had some sort of breakdown. There has been no contact from eldest sister apart from a couple of phone calls.
In August and September DP jumped through all the necessary hoops to get onto a clinical trial. He had one treatment under the trial then got a bad chest infection and was hospitalised. He was scanned again and scans showed further spread to spine, ribs and liver. Cancer is also now pressing on his laryngeal nerve which has reduced his voice to a whispery growl. Two weeks ago Oncologists said DP not well enough and spread of cancer too great to continue trial so no further treatment is available and DP now classed as terminal and has been referred to a hospice for community care.
All of a sudden, eldest sister wants to know what's going on and wants to visit him. We received a letter from her 2 days ago saying that she hadn't been in touch because she's been told to leave it until DP was ready to be in touch (not true) and she is 'very proud' of the way I've been coping with everything. If she had said that to me in person I would have punched her effin face! I was furious and phoned her, really lost my temper and a few home truths came out. DP then spoke to her as best he could, she was shocked that his voice was so weak. Eventually she started crying, I think the penny has finally dropped.
DP's mum (who we see and have regular contact with, no problem there) is coming to visit next week with youngers sister. Eldest sister wants to come too but she is not welcome by either DP or myself.
What I wanted advice on please is how do I deal with this from now on... even if DP and I have no contact with her no doubt she will insist on turning up at his funeral (we have to face facts :-( )and I don't want any scenes there.
Thank you, sorry this ended up being so long!

Freezingwinter Fri 20-Nov-15 11:16:22

No advice but thinking of you cake

sparechange Fri 20-Nov-15 11:23:20

No advice, but just wanted to say I'm so sorry for what you and your DP are going through.

It sounds like the elder sister has alienated herself from everyone, so presumably they will support your and DPs wishes over hers?
She can't come to a funeral she doesn't know about, for example...

diddl Fri 20-Nov-15 11:29:42

I think that you have to do what is best for both of you.

I would say no to her coming next week.

I think that it would be to much too see both sisters at the same time tbh.

I wouldn't necessarily say never as he might want to say goodbye at some pointsad

Do you think that she is really concerned about him or that it is just curiosity/she wants to be in the loop?

It seems that there was minimal contact from both sisters so I don't quite get why one is forgiven & one not, I guess there's other stuff as well (I'm not asking you to elaborate btw)

Re the funeral, is there someone who woulkd do the job of keeping heraway from you for example, if that's what you want?

I don't know what else to say.

Except bloody hell whatyou are going through, without family squabbles thrown in.

PaulAnkaTheDog Fri 20-Nov-15 11:34:59

No advice I can give you. Didn't want to read and run though. So sorry you are going through all this and your husband. flowerscake (like the username. Probably not the right time to say but just thought I would)

Almostfifty Fri 20-Nov-15 11:39:12

I think you have to tell her to respect your husband's wishes.

If he doesn't want to see her, then tough shit. She'll just be wanting him to forgive her to salve her conscience.

itsmine Fri 20-Nov-15 11:41:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SheHasAWildHeart Fri 20-Nov-15 11:45:42

Let her visit, but keep the visit short?

But if she is really stressing you out too much, then you are well within your rights to say no. You and your husband don't need this stress right now flowers

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 20-Nov-15 11:49:54

I am so sorry OP, its doesn't get much harder than this does it flowers

This might sound weird, but having been through this - this book is highly recommended to support the process of dying
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Its meant to be a very helpful way of facing the inevitable. And making the death as smooth, as calm and as beautiful as possible.

Very often in this situation, a minor issue (SIL) becomes major as its kind of a distraction when other things are SO huge

I think her wanting to say goodbye to her baby brother is a natural wish, and if that means one fast hospital visit and then the funeral- in the grand schedme of things - what's the problem?

Take a deep breath- you are the middle of a major trauma and try to put her to the back of your min for a while.

then ask- Does your DP want to let her say bye?

If yes, allow her a slot
If no, well those are his wishes and that's that really

sending PEACE X

cecinestpasunepipe Fri 20-Nov-15 11:55:16

I can certainly empathise with your fury over the "very proud" comment. My dh has Alzheimer's and a chronic degenerative lung condition, and I have had relatives of his he and I have met once in 30 years "thanking" me for looking after him, as if he belongs to them, and I am some sort of paid help!!

Wolpertinger Fri 20-Nov-15 11:56:37

You are well within your rights to say 'not up to visits today' or '20 min only' or whatever suits your DH. Or even 'we haven't had a relationship for 20 years and I don't see a need for that to change now'

In terms of the funeral there is prob little you can do to stop her turning up but a lot you can do to make sure she plays zero role in organizing it. Plus if she has been out of everyone's lives for so long she will barely know anyone there.

There isn't that much opportunity to make a scene at most funerals and it does sound like you, all your friends and family, DMIL and most of her family will all think she is a complete knob. I'd get a few friends on side ready to tell her to shut up in case of emergency.

flowers you really don't need this as well.

itsmine Fri 20-Nov-15 11:56:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coconutpie Fri 20-Nov-15 12:00:57

Oh OP flowers I'm so sorry for what you've been going through.

What does your DP want? Does he want to see either of his sisters? If not, then that's the decision. This is not about his sisters wishes, it is about him. If he doesn't wish to see them, that is perfectly OK. He needs to spend time with people he loves and cares about, not people stressing him out during this extremely difficult time.


Wolpertinger Fri 20-Nov-15 12:03:29

Another option for nightmare relatives at funerals is you effectively do funeral parts 1 and 2. Part 1 contains all the unpleasant relatives and is formal and done v quickly. You then get shot of them.

Part 2 is done by the people who really matter, without the ghastly relatives knowing about it, and contains all the heartfelt tributes, personalized content that you really want.

Have seen this done by some partners with completely overbearing ILs - effectively they let the ILs 'have' the funeral and later did something really amazing with the person's actual friends. It wasn't their first choice of how to do it but they felt they just couldn't change the ILs and this way kept their sanity.

Retsina Fri 20-Nov-15 12:08:44

Thank you all so much for your messages - so many so soon and so supportive, I'm in tears as I type.
To clarify various points - eldest sister lives with youngest sister so no way in expecting that funeral arrangements can be kept from her. Youngest sister has been manipulated by eldest sister all her life as far as I understand - I don't have a great relationship with her either, she's not the sort of person I would have as a friend but we are civil with each other. DP's mum has been fielding communication to date, but she's 83 and it's all too much for her too now, plus her daughters should be supporting her, not the other way round!!
It think DP will want to see eldest sister at some point even though he was the first to acknowledge that she was only wanting to be involved now because time is running out and she felt so guilty. How we are going to arrange this I just don't know - I don't want her coming to our home and he isn't well enough to go far. She may end up having to see him at the hospice if he spends his last days there.
Cecinestpasunepipe - thank you so much for this in your message... ""thanking" me for looking after him, as if he belongs to them, and I am some sort of paid help!!" Exactly as I feel!!

BarbarianMum Fri 20-Nov-15 12:11:34

It's up to your dp. Whilst I don't see that she's done anything particularly wrong (and it's really clear that you have never wanted a close relationship with her because of her beliefs) she isn't close to you, so if he's not that bothered about seeing her then that's fine and to be expected.

I think it is quite cruel to exclude her from the funeral altogether (she is his sister and scientology isn't satanism), although Wolpertinger's idea of a 2 part funeral is a good one.

BarbarianMum Fri 20-Nov-15 12:12:16

Sorry, X posts. Ignore mine.

Wolpertinger Fri 20-Nov-15 12:15:34

Just to say if he does end up going into the hospice, hospice staff are well used to this sort of situation and can usually help with enforcing things like 'no visits today' or heading unwanted visitors off at reception etc and making sure communication is with you, not the rest of the family.

Our chaplain also has a lot of experience of random family members trying to muscle in on funerals and is very good at making sure the actual partner gets what was planned - if you don't have a celebrant in mind, hospice chaplains are very good at this sort of thing.

KittyVonCatsworth Fri 20-Nov-15 12:18:09

Oh sweetheart, I've no advice that hasn't already been offered but you're in my thoughts. Look after yourself xx

So sorry to hear you're going through this.

Practical advice, as we had some similar family rifts with FIL's family when he sadly died 4 years ago...
We did the bigger ceremony in the church, with all-comers, then about 30 of us went to the cremation. That was 'invite only', as it were. It was more private, intimate, and had only those MIL wanted there. Made things less angsty.

Also - from an entirely supportive place.... Are you protected for when he passes away? If you're not married, it can be trickier. If necessary, a quick marriage ceremony could be arranged. We're (my DP and I) not married but have everything set up legally to ensure the other is ok for when we die.

Thinking of you - and take care.

Retsina Fri 20-Nov-15 12:24:11

Thank you Casper, we're not married but all arrangements are in place to protect me Xx

brokenmouse Fri 20-Nov-15 12:26:54

Could they be wanting to sell Scientology to you to cure DP?

mmgirish Fri 20-Nov-15 12:30:37

Retsina god love you, what a terrible situation. When my father was at the end of his illness, he didn't want lots of visitors. We found it difficult at times as some of his brothers and sisters wanted to be at his bedside all the time. We respected his wishes but it was tricky. Hope you can find a balance flowers

Glad to hear it.... And also glad you took it in the spirit it was meant. X

chocorabbit Fri 20-Nov-15 12:45:46

I am really sorry for you and your DP flowers

The first thing that came to my mind when you said that SIL suddenly decided to come in contact once the bad news about your DP surfaced, was her dire financial state: is she expecting any inheritance because of her now "caring" behaviour? I am sorry to mention such petty things when a human life is of so much more importance, but unfortunately many people think like that.

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