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How do I tell my sister I love her

(8 Posts)
RegentsParkWolf Wed 14-Feb-18 11:50:16

My sister has been diagnosed with cancer. We are not particularly close and she has made it fairly clear that she doesn't want to talk about it too much. She tells me all about hospital visits and how tired the treatment is making her but she is very vague about the prognosis, either because she doesn't know or because she doesn't want to discuss it which I get completely. I don't see her often but I went down last weekend and was completely shocked at how ill she clearly is. I don't know if it's the cancer or the treatment but she has lost weight and looks terrible with no energy at all. The thing is, we are a very emotionally uptight family - we never say we love each other or anything like that, but I have always known she was there for me if you know what I mean. I feel like I want to tell her I love her and how much I'll miss her but I can't, partly because I don't want her to think I think she's dying if that's not what's happening and partly because we are just so stiff upper lip that it would seem odd and I think it would embarrass her. Expressing emotion in my family is the equivalent of appearing naked in public. I know that's crazy and I'm not sure what to do.

Situp Wed 14-Feb-18 11:53:25

Write to her. Just what you have written here.

Sorry you are going through this xx

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Wed 14-Feb-18 11:55:31

Don't tell her then.

You don't have to say the words to let someone know that you love them and are thinking of them. Especially if it will make the giver and the receiver of the words uncomfortable.

Show her in other ways instead.

Texts
Funny/loving memes
Her favourite chocolates
A box of her favourite things
A blanket to snuggle under when she feels cold.
Hand creams so she can feel pampered.

I come from a similarly unexpressive family. I know they love me. I don't need to hear the words.

TodaysFishIsTroutALaCreme Wed 14-Feb-18 11:56:02

And flowers for you both for what you are all going through

IwantedtobeEmmaPeel Wed 14-Feb-18 12:04:28

I agree, writing to her might be the best way to tell her and then she won't have to deal with being embarrassed face to face. You say you are not that close, well now is the time to try and get closer to her by contacting her regularly for chats about anything and everything. If you see something that would make her laugh for example, send it to her - the more you engage the closer you should become. I hope the prognosis is good for your sister, have some flowers

TwitterQueen1 Wed 14-Feb-18 22:10:52

Of course she knows her prognosis. They don't keep these things from patients nowadays. If she hasn't told you it's because she doesn't want to.

Let her know you're thinking of her with texts or postcards etc. But don't crowd. Ask if there is anything you can do but don't 'manage' her. Tell her you're worried about her but don't want to interfere, and what is the best thing you can do for her.

FoxtrotSkarloey Sat 17-Feb-18 19:56:57

I'm so sorry you're in this situation OP. It sounds very like my DF who was diagnosed and passed away last year. None of us ever said we loved each other, but it was through being there and doing him for things that I could show him I did, in the same way he'd done for me all of my life

Contrary to what PP has said, Dad's tests, more tests, diagnosis and start of treatment plan where such a confusing whirlwind and all so new, he did not initially understand the severity nor prognosis. It was only as DM and I further discussed it with him, we gathered he had not understood everything (he was mentally very sharp and the smartest man I've ever known so no memory issues, just a lot of overwhelming info in one go). It is feasible your sister may not be fully aware.

Throughout his treatment there was never even one chat about his emotions, but he was comfortable discussing timetables and what treatment he was having when. I like to think this helped as it was what he was happy to share.

RegentsParkWolf Sun 18-Feb-18 13:03:09

Thank you all for your helpful comments. I'm feeling a bit calmer now. I've decided I'm going to combine the advice - for the time being I'll carry on with text messages and little presents now and then, and then when it feels right I think I'll drop her a card just saying how much I like having her as a bid sister and I'll try to get the 'love' word in there too! I'm still hoping the treatment she's having will perform miracles so we'll see.

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