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to be annoyed that DH isn't calling his Dad ??

(29 Posts)
ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:09:31

DH's Dad has cancer. He is terminal. He was diagnosed earlier this year & since then I have had to keep on at DH to call to see how he is etc.....

DH's family are not very good at keeping in contact at the best of times.

FIL was admitted to a hospice 2 weeks ago today for respite. FIL's partner did not call us to let us know (although I feel that if DH had actually bothered to call more regularly he would have known about this), but she called my SIL who then didn't bother to let us know until Wednesday night last week when he had already been there 6 days!! shock

First thing Thursday morning I organised for flowers to be delivered to him same day with a card saying we loved him & were thinking of him. I also made a point of calling the hospice every day after that to see how he was (sometimes twice a day). I organised for my Mum to have our kids on Sunday so that we could go and visit. (We live 1.5hrs away from the hospice and due to work commitments weren't able to get there earlier than that). FIL told us that he has decided to stop treatment as the chemo made him very sick. He wants what time he has left to be quality time which we totally understand.

When we got home DH & I had a long chat & I explained that I don't mean to nag at him to call his Dad, but felt that for his own sake it is important to let his Dad know he cares as I'd hate for him to feel guilty when his Dad is no longer here. He agreed with me.

On Monday eve I asked him to call his Dad, which he did. He said at the end of the call "I'll give you a call tomorrow".

On Tuesday I asked him if he had called & he said "No". I didn't push him.

On Wednesday I asked him if he had managed to put a call through. He said no again, so I called the hospice to see how he was.

Tonight I said to him "After dinner, would you do me a favour & just give your Dad a quick call seeing as you told him on Monday that you'd call Tuesday & didn't", to which he replied "I wish you'd stop going on, it's really pissing me off".

Now, AIBU for thinking that he should be calling his Dad every day at the moment, as this time is so precious & he will never be able to get it back ???

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:10:07

Sorry it's such a long post !!! smile

TIA to those of you who bother to read it.

girlsyearapart Thu 15-Oct-09 21:17:24

No YANBU but men just deal with it differntly (disclaimer- generalisation)

My FIL had a serious heart attack a few weeks ago (his 2nd serious one) and I couldn't persuade DH to go in and see him.

By the time I managed to persuade him his Dad was having an op.

Thankfully he's ok now but I totally see where you're coming from.

It was me organising childcare so we could go to visit him in ICU, me phoning to check his progress, me fielding the calls from my SIL in Australia who was distraught and wondering whether to come home, me doing the bedside chatting to FIL whilst DH lurked by the edge reading the paper.

My DH was getting asked in the street how his DAd was and replying 'Oh yeah he's fine'

WTF??? he was in ICU and nearly died! not fine AT ALL.

Anyway my point is that he was 'dealing' with it by blanking it out and didn't want to see his Dad in a bad way.

alicet Thu 15-Oct-09 21:21:14

Can totally understand why you feel as you do.

However he is your dh's dad and so I think you need to let your dh deal with it as he wishes. If you want to be in touch because of your own relationship with your fil then you should do whatever you wish too but I think constantly pushing your dh might just end up causing problems between the 2 of you.

Please try and step back for all your sakes

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:21:38

Thanks girlsyearapart. Why are most some men like this ??

I really thought I'd got through to him after our visit on Sunday, but after a couple of day it's almost "out of sight, out of mind" & I just worry that he will seriously regret it when his Dad's no longer with us. Who will be left to deal with his conscience then huh ?! Muggins, that's who !!

It just makes me so angry angry because if it was my Dad I'd want to speak to him & see him as often as I could, knowing that in a few months/weeks/days he will no longer be here. sad

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:24:00

alicet - Thanks for your comments. It is so hard though to take that step back. Especially when I am constantly asked by his sister if he has called yet etc etc.

I know what you're saying, but I know it will be me left to pick up the pieces in the long run & would rather push him now so that he doesn't have any regrets, IYSWIM ?

girlsyearapart Thu 15-Oct-09 21:26:11

When FIL had the heart attack MIL didn't phone to tell us till about 12 hours later (!) and DH and BIL were about to play footie.

DH came home (in full kit) and we went to the hospital. BIL carried on and played the match..

I would've been camping out at the hospital if it had been my Dad.


Monsterspam Thu 15-Oct-09 21:26:38

Is he scared? It sounds like he's in a bit of denial about the situation.
(His sister sounds a bit crap though, I would be furious!)

alicet Thu 15-Oct-09 21:28:13

CMM I can totally understand where you are coming from and would probably feel the same as you in your situation.

However this does have to be about what dh wants at this time and I think the more you push it the worse it may get. I also think that unfortunately you will have to bite your tongue not to say 'I told you so!!' if what you fear happens once fil has gone...

Wrt sil i would just say to her that she should talk to your dh about their dad as you don't want to be piggy in the middle.

For your own peace of mind maybe sit down with your dh and explain your concerns about his lack of interest at this time and say to him something along the lines of 'I know you are getting fed up with me for nagging but please bear with me as i need to be able to tell you how I feel. this is x y z. Thanks for listening - I promise now I will step back and not nag you anymore and be there to support you however you choose to deal with things'

Good luck x

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:28:57

I know that DH felt "unimportant" when his Dad's partner didn't let him know, and then it took his sister 6 days to let him know, but that's not his Dad's fault FFS !!

I wanna shake him & say "Get over yourself you pig headed child & realise what's fucking important!!". Grrrrrrr!!

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:32:27

Thanks alicet, that's kind of what I did on Sunday, and I really felt it had worked. But I feel it is unfair of him to have told his Dad on Monday that he would call him Tuesday, we're now Thursday & he hasn't bothered to call. If he hadn't told him that, I would have taken that step back & just continued to ring the hospice myself, but feel that he shoul have stuck to his word.

MonsterSpam - Yes I think he is scared, but I also think that he is very easily able to sweep things under the carpet, so to speak, so that he doesn't have to think about them. This is something a lot of men seem to be able to do. hmm

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:33:14


KurriKurri Thu 15-Oct-09 21:33:23

It sounds as if your DH is finding it difficult to cope with the situation. Sometimes people find it hard to know what to say, and can't deal with the emotion of saying what needs to be said. Saying farewell means facing the reality of it all. Can your DH talk to you about his feelings for his Dad? Does he find it easier to talk to him in person rather than over the phone?

Macmillan Cancer Support/Cancerbackup do a booklet called 'Lost for words, How to talk to someone with Cancer' which he might find helpful. Also has numbers of helplines etc. in it. HTH, so sorry you're going through this difficult experience.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:37:29

Thanks KurriKurri.

If I get in the right frame of mind, then yes he will open up to me, but catch him on a off day & it could lead to crossed words.

I'm not sure what he finds easier tbh, he doesn't seem to have a problem either way.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:38:11

Sorry, meant to say if I get him in the right frame of mind grin

KurriKurri Thu 15-Oct-09 21:38:20

Meant to say, you are right about regrets he may have later. Would he be able to write his Dad a letter?

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:40:31

That is a great idea, but I really don't think he would do it. He really is one of these that says "I'll do it tomorrow" about everything, and contacting his Dad is no different sadly.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 21:56:04


LadyEvenstarsCauldren Thu 15-Oct-09 22:04:05

I think yabu....and why?
Well unless you have seen your parent deteriorate (sp) the way a cancer patient does you will never know how it feels.

Its easier when it is a fil/mil/sil/friend etc but a parent is something entirely different.

It is the hardest thing in the world watching the once strong man who carried you on their shoulders become a shadow of their former self. It is frightening to know that your dad is saying "enough is enough I can't cope with this anymore" because lets face it dads are the strong ones.

When it is your Dad/Mum you become a child again, willing them to carry on, fight a bit longer, have the treatment, stay with you forever because you are their child you want them to be strong for YOU not the other way around iyswim?.

If you don't call then its not real, and you can hang on to one more second where they are still there....not phoning is a way of coping of telling yourself that you have another day, of not knowing the end is coming, its a defence mechanism that most people have.

I didn't mean to sound harsh that yabu but i guess having been where your dh is now, i know how he is feeling. The difference is I spent every day at the hospital with my dad because i thought i would be able to save him sad

KurriKurri Thu 15-Oct-09 22:19:48

You might find it helpful CMM if you phoned Macmillan or one of the other cancer charities, I've found them very helpful in the past. They may well have good advice as I'm sure your DH's reaction is not unusual in these circumstances. It's very frustrating isn't it if you are from the kind of family that keeps contact and your partner isn't? When my DMIL died we spent several frantic days trying to contact DH's sister, who had gone of to Hawaii with her DH and failed to tell us, or leave a contact number. Best of luck anyway.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 22:33:16

Thanks everyone.

I can totally see what you're saying TLESC and I'm so sorry you've had to go through this yourself. I just find it so hard because I am truly worried that my DH will be filled with so much guilt when his dad is not here anymore. For years they have not been particularly close (mainly down to FIL's partner) so I just think it's so important to take 2 minutes of his day now to call his dad while he still can.

I can see both points here in that maybe IABU because it's his dad, not mine, so it's down to him how he deals with the situation, but I also think IANBU by being annoyed with him that he is not calling.

CornishKK Thu 15-Oct-09 22:49:38

CMM - I think YANBU.

When my stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, I wrote to him at least once a week and went home every other weekend. When he needed it I moved home to care for him for a couple of months.

His daughter (my SS) was in complete denial, didn't call, visited twice in 12 months (he was given a life expectancy of 3 months).

When we did lose him I at least felt some sort of peace knowing that I was there for him, he knew how much I loved him. My SS (although she doesn't talk about it) I think will feel like shit for the rest of her life - she admits that she just couldn't cope with it.

If you can make sure you do everything you can to support your DH and to ensure he doesn't end up with some regrets then do it.

ChunkyMonkeysMum Thu 15-Oct-09 23:25:27

Thanks CornishKK.

I'm trying to be as supportive as I can without nagging too much. I'm glad you can see where I'm coming

I'm so sorry for your loss. Like you said, at least your DSF knew how much you cared for him. I just worry that FIL will think DH doesn't care if he doesn't ring him. That's why I am trying to put as many calls in as I can to the hospice. I always say "Can you please let him know that his son & DIL called", so that hopefully they won't tell him it's me all the time & not DH.

He is allowed to use his mobile (that's what DH called him on on Monday) & I just have visions of him sitting waiting for a call from his son that never came. It breaks my heart.sad

LadyEvenstarsCauldren Thu 15-Oct-09 23:48:02

CMM I think FIL will realise how your DH feels. He will know he loves him and vice versa.

Please don't imagine he is waiting for a call that may never come or you will torture yourself.

And if i were to be completely honest.....I wish I had not been by my dad side as he died because it is the hardest thing in the world to witness an image i will never forget regardless of how many happy memories I try to think about instead.

CornishKK Fri 16-Oct-09 09:41:01

I'm not sure that I agree with your last post LadyEvenstars - how will FIL know?

CMM - there is nothing you can do other than encourage your DH and be there for him. Do you have any support from MacMillan? Ours was fantastic not just for my DSF but also for us. Very supportive but she didn't pull any punches, sometimes that realism can give you the kick up the bum that's needed.

Yes, losing a parent is very, very hard. I lost my DM six months before my DSF - LadyEvenstar, your description of the feelings that you have are spot on. DM was absolutely the centre of our family and losing her was truly, truly terrible BUT there comes a point when you need to be there for your parents the way they have been for you, you need to step up/grow up and be strong for them because they deserve it. If OP's husband doesn't get some balls and make an effort then he will have to live with that - which would be awful. I'm not saying force him to call/visit but do everything in your power to facillitate it, if that means talking through painful subjects then that needs to be done. I wish I'd done more to help my SS talk to her Dad.

I really feel for you, horrible times.

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