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Dad terminal cancer and I live far away

(4 Posts)
Dingdingdong Fri 10-Jun-16 20:27:25

My DF has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given a likely diagnosis of 2-3 months. I live over 6 hours away, have two young DCs (under 5 but one at pre school) and my husband is away for the next few months (partly his choice which I also find very difficult).

I feel so terribly sad and guilty that I can't get to see my dad as much as I want before he dies. I feel torn between my DC ( who are already unsettled with their dad being away and Gf being ill) and seeing my dad. I feel like not seeing my dad will be something I will regret forever but have no way to do it ( my parents can't handle us staying with them and I can't afford to take unpaid leave and rent somewhere ( even if I could find it).

I was just wondering how others who have lived far away from parents have found the best way to deal with this?

notagiraffe Sat 11-Jun-16 09:59:02

That's so hard. Ime, the best way is to keep in frequent contact instead. Can you make sure they set up Skype and then Skype him or call him daily, and get DC to Skype him too?
Can you get DC to draw pictures and cards for him and send them through the post?
Until he gets too ill to eat, can you find some real treats and send them to him? A beloved relative of mine (who died very recently from final stages of cancer, so I feel such sympathy for you) loved some old fashion sweets that are hard to find and I managed to track down a place that had them and bought some pretty jars of them. he was touched.
Write him a long letter remembering all your happy times, all the lovely things he's done for you, that you learned from him. I did this with our lovely relative and he phoned back to say how moved he;d been by it.
The important thing for you both right now is that you can show your love for him and have plenty of communication for as long as possible.
Meanwhile, let a handful of friends locally know that you are looking for someone who'd be prepared to take DC for a couple of nights if you have to fly off to be with him towards the end. See who seems up for it, and make sure you have a couple of back ups incase your first choice person has issues of their own at the last minute.
Keep in touch with your mum too and send her the occasional treat and some cards to show you love and are thinking of her too, as being the primary carer in the final stages is a gruelling job.
flowers to you. There are loads of ways to show love and support. You don't need to disrupt your lives and add huge stress to them. that will help no one.

Thunderwing Fri 22-Jul-16 12:49:05

I'm so sorry you're in this situation dingdong. I can relate entirely. I wish I could tell you the best way to deal with this - I honestly don't know. I'll tell you what I did.

My DF lived in another country when he was diagnosed. We managed to visit once relatively soon after his diagnosis, but we knew he only had a couple of months. While I was back home I would text him , usually with football scores or something I knew he would find funny. My DF wasn't particularly tech-savvy and there was no way to do video calls so it was the best I could do. Some days I didn't text him and the guilt would eat me up. I would call my DM regularly who was left dealing with everything alone, I knew she wasn't coping well all the time and there was nothing I could do to help. I felt like the worst daughter, but with hindsight I know that I couldn't have done anything differently.

Towards the end when we knew his time was short, my siblings and I descended on my DM's house for our final visit. We slept on the floor, wherever we could, it didn't matter much to anyone at that time.

I'm so grateful I saw him when I did, I would not have got the chance again to tell him all the things I did, especially to tell him how much I love him, how much I would miss him, and that I wished I had been there more. He told me that he knew I would have been there if I could, he said he knew how much I loved him, and he loved me and was proud of me. He died a few weeks later.

So my dear, dear ding; just do whatever you can, whenever you can, and don't feel any shame or guilt. You are in an impossible situation, which I am sure your DF understands like mine did. When you do see him, tell him exactly how you are feeling, don't hold back and will have no regrets.

I wish you and your family all the very best flowers

Dingdingdong Thu 04-Aug-16 17:30:05

I haven't been checking this thread for a while but I just wanted to say thank you both for responding. I have managed to see my DF today and am on my way home ( very long trip) and reading the replies has really given me comfort.
thunder thank you for sharing your experience, the guilt I feel about not being a good daughter is almost overwhelming, yet at the same time I am only just holding it all together and cannot see how I can do anymore.

I also found out today that it looks like that the cancer may be a genetic one ( pancreatic so very rare) so I am also struggling with the knowledge that the risk of me developing it is now high. I feel selfish thinking about it this, but also a little scared.

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