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to not want to visit my mil?

(43 Posts)
Lauresbadhairday Mon 28-Mar-16 17:04:47

Backstory: My DM died 6 months ago. She had cancer which was very aggressive and sadly did not respond to chemo. 3 months after her death just before Christmas my MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has had a mastectomy and has just started chemo. The prognosis sounds quite good and she has been told that she is having chemo mainly as a precautionary measure. So a different scenario from my own mum but nevertheless I have found it difficult to take in and as a result I have only visited her once since her diagnosis. I have supported my DH as best I can whilst coping with my own grief and he has visited her numerous times on his own. She and FIL live about an hour away so he has been mainly popping up after work. To put this into context we probably only see them every 2-3 months for a visit under normal circumstances.

My DH visited yesterday but I didn't feel up to seeing her especially as she has just started chemo and I felt I wouldn't be able to cope hearing all about it and the memories it would stir up. DH was happy to go on his own however he came back saying that she is very upset that I didn't visit, wanting to know why I am avoiding her, why haven't I telephoned her etc. He understands where I'm coming from and tried to explain this to MIL. He is not putting any pressure on me to visit and is happy to go and see her whenever which I obviously have no objection to.

So AIBU and selfish by not visiting and should I be making more effort to see her and support her and FIL? I think I am doing a good job in supporting my DH so he can support his parents. It doesn't help that MIL and I do not have the easiest of relationships at the best of times.

VoldysGoneMouldy Mon 28-Mar-16 17:08:05

No, of course you're not being unreasonable. flowers I'm sorry for your loss, and of course this is going to be a hard time for you. It's okay to have a boundary. Would she understand if you, or DH, said to her why you can't deal with it right now, or would it make things awkward?

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Mon 28-Mar-16 17:13:44

You deal with your own grief in your own way. There's nothing to explain or apologise for. If you don't want to see MIL right now, you don't have to.

All your OH needs to say is that "things are a bit tough for Laures to deal with so soon after her mother's death". And that's it.

GabiSolis Mon 28-Mar-16 17:14:59

Oh I really feel for you, this must be a very difficult place to be in, given the circumstances.

I don't think this is a situation that has a right or wrong. I totally understand how grief can affect you. I do however see why MIL would be upset. I don't think it's your responsibility to take care of MIL or even to prioritise her here, but there may be a way to find some middle ground. Do you think you could manage phone calls? Or maybe visits when she isn't mid-treatment?

Lauresbadhairday Mon 28-Mar-16 17:53:59

Thank you for being so kind. I was expecting to be told that I should be doing more. DH has tried to explain to her that I don't feel up to visiting given my circumstances but he thinks it fell on deaf ears.

KayTee87 Mon 28-Mar-16 18:00:04

I'm so sorry for your loss. I think that most people would understand why it's so hard for you. Could you send her a card and flowers with a note in the card saying that you're thinking about her and will hopefully see her soon bit you're really struggling with grief just now and worried it will stir up memories and will just be a miserable visit for everyone?

SquinkiesRule Mon 28-Mar-16 18:05:48

What Kay said.
She might think you are upset that she has a good outcome and your mother didn't. Feeling like it's not fair.
Let her know you are thinking of her, and wish her a speedy recovery, and that seeing her at the moment brings back such sad memories that it's not a good idea right now.

cricketballs Mon 28-Mar-16 18:16:48

I lost my DM to cancer the day before Christmas eve; as much as it still hurts I would at a shot support any family member especially my DH's mum when faced with this horrendous disease no matter what; sorry op YABU

ToastDemon Mon 28-Mar-16 18:22:57

As gently as possible, YABU.
I also lost my mother to cancer, she was dead a year after diagnosis, but I would still want to support my husband and not hurt my MILs feelings in this instance.

Lauresbadhairday Mon 28-Mar-16 18:31:08

I feel that I am supporting my husband by holding the fort at home so he can visit his mum whenever he/she needs but perhaps I am being selfish by not visiting her myself. I like the idea of sending a card which I will do before her next round of chemo to let her know that I'm thinking of her.

Topseyt Mon 28-Mar-16 18:37:37

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your Mum. flowers

I don't think you are being unreasonable. Nor is your MIL though, as she too has been going through the mill, albeit the outcome has been different.

You are trying to deal with your grief about your mother, so at the moment you feel unable to deal with your MIL's situation directly. I think it is understandable, although the timing, whilst nobody's fault, is very unfortunate.

KayTee probably has the best idea so far. Send MIL flowers if you think she would like them. Write a card explaining that you are thinking of her and wishing her well. Explain how hard you are finding it to cope at the moment and that you have been worried about making things worse for both her and you.

Paraphrase that or refine it obviously. I am not great at wording such things.

Wishing you and your family well. It must be a very difficult time for you all.

wheresthel1ght Mon 28-Mar-16 18:45:44

I totally get why you feel unable to see her but maybe you could give her a call or send her a card/flowers. I am guessing she is feeling scared and vulnerable and hasn't really thought that it might be bringing back some exceptionally painful memories for you.

It's excellent that your DH is supportive and understands so hopefully he will be able to manage his mums expectations. However if she is genuinely that upset then you may need to grit your teeth and at least try and see her if only for half an hour

FarrowandBallAche Mon 28-Mar-16 18:59:20

I'm really sorry about your mum flowers
I can understand just how raw all of this is.
Why not write your mil are card telling her you're thinking of her but this is very hard for you because you've very recently lost your mum.

At least then mil will know exactly why you've not been instead of guessing.

A card and some flowers would be nice.

ArmfulOfRoses Mon 28-Mar-16 19:02:24

Your dh needs to stop telling you that she's not understanding of why you haven't visited.

nicenewdusters Mon 28-Mar-16 19:04:44

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. Grief is such a personal thing, and how your MIL is dealing with her illness and within that how she hopes/expects others to behave towards her is also very personal. I therefore don't think she is being unreasonable either. You just have very different wants and needs at the moment, and neither of you is fully able to meet the others expectations.

You are supporting your DH, and along with a note to her (as per the suggestion above) if that's what you can manage just now then fair enough. You need to look after yourself, and only do what you know you can deal with.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:06:02

I'm so sorry bit I think YABU.

Your mil is facing her own demise and you don't want to see her? Strange and self indulgent.

EweAreHere Mon 28-Mar-16 19:06:42

I'm sorry for your loss, OP. I truly am. But I think, gently gently, YABU. This is your husband's mother. By supporting her, even by just making the occasional appearance and checking in, you are supporting him. Just as he has clearly been supporting you.

I lost my dad to cancer. But I would be there if another loved one/family member / friend was facing the same battle. I would support the living. It doesn't mean you can't grieve, and that it won't be hard, but you have to carry on.

honeyroar Mon 28-Mar-16 19:10:09

I think you don't have to visit her, but you could do a bit more to make her feel supported and that you're thinking of her. It might be a very difficult time for her, and she obviously cares about you being there. I think writing her a letter or card explaining how it's bringing up emotions and memories is the best idea. You might think I'm being horrible, I don't mean to. I just remembered when a good friend of mine died of cancer and hardly anyone visited while she was in hospital but all turned up at the funeral, and I just wanted to shout where were you when she needed you?

Goingtobeawesome Mon 28-Mar-16 19:14:38

YANBU - no such thing as deaf ears. She's refusing to accept what your DH is saying about why you aren't comfortable visiting at the moment, and while it is awful what is happening to your MIL, and she must be terrified, you have very recently lost your mum and need to care for yourself. Forced to do more than you feel able too right now is not going to help with the care of your DH and dcs. Your mil wants you there, why? Does she genuinely need female support or does she want to feel cared for? Are others asking questions about you not visiting and she feels awkward? Any number of reasons.

If you want to send a card, send one but do not be bullied into doing something you don't want to as false care is meaningless and I'm not saying you don't care, it's obvious you do, you're just fragile at the moment and can't give what she wants.

queenofthepirates Mon 28-Mar-16 19:16:47

I know you're going through a horrible time (my DF died of cancer just over a year ago so I appreciate how raw this can be) but your MIL isn't a mind reader. She's going through an equally awful time and as her DIL, if you want to preserve a relationship with her, you should reach out to her.

Grief is unique to us each and I know how painful a time this is. It sucks so badly but life is going on around you in all its glorious painfulness sometimes. Stay in touch with your grief and the pain you're feeling as that's what it takes to heal, but appreciate that your MIL and DH could do with a hug too. As could you xxx

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:16:48

The more I think the more I want to scream YABU.

DO you remember when posters post "I'm pregnant with dc2. How can I possibly love him/her the same as dc1?". And everyone emphasises- , you will! you have enough,love to go round"

It's the same. Grief isn't finite. You need to supply support to whoever in your close circle needs it.

Far too self indulgent not to. It's life. Be there for the peope who need you. Yiur Dh needs you. Your mil needs you.

scotsgirl64 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:27:51

I think you are still early on in the grieving process and are still feeling very angry and upset so don't knock yourself up about not visiting your mil xx

Valentine2 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:32:21

i can surely understand how you must be feeling every time you hear the damn word cancer. It's totally understandable. However, MIL is actually facing it and it must be harder for her I am sure considering she has to go through all the terrible stages of treatment and every single support at this time would be very helpful for her.
I just hope you could try and find a window for your grief that could help you be the supportive DIL she needs right now. May be you could volunteer at cancer charities / events that raise awareness and help patients. And use that strength to be there for someone who might find it great to have you while going through it.
Plus it's a great thing to do for your DH too. He also needs you right now.
Easier said than done I know. Sorry if I offend you at such a hard time.

Queenie73 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:37:16

I don't think anyone has the right to judge you. Especially if you don't have the best relationship with your MIL. Do you think your MIL genuinely wants to see you, or is she just having a bit of a go? Obviously we can't judge for ourselves, but being ill doesn't always stop a person from being controlling or unpleasant- rather the opposite in some cases.
could you maybe agree to go every other time? Or once a month, or whatever you feel you can manage? Of course, if you really couldn't bear it, or don't think you
could force yourself to be cheerful or pleasant or whatever, then staying away might be the best thing.
I would send a card or flowers though. It's easier that way to plan what you want to say without being interrupted. (Actually I'm a total coward so I would probably develop "flu" and use that as an excuse not to go! Not recommending that BTW, it's just my last-ditch excuse for unpleasant relatives!)

chillycurtains Mon 28-Mar-16 19:53:48

YANBU but it might be difficult for her to realise this as she may not want to think about your own DM as the outcome was the worst case senerio and this could be hard for her to think about. I'm not sure if you will see what I mean but I would just try and visit in a time when she hasn't just had a chemo session so she might not talk about the ins and outs of it so much. Try a phone call instead so you can have a 'doorbell has just rung gotta dash, will call back' moment if it all becomes too much.

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