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mum dying, husband emotionally cold

(59 Posts)
Craptime Fri 11-Oct-13 12:57:11

Hi namechanger...not sure if I should post here or bereavement or what...but anyway..
A bit of back ground...My mum is 64 and was diagnosed on august 22nd 2013 (so about 7 weeks ago) with metastatic breast cancer that is not curable and to our knowledge is in at least her femur and lungs.

We found out in a pretty traumatic way...she had been bed bound for a few week with what we thought was a combination of the arthritis/scoliosis of the spine and diverticulitis which she has suffered with for years. She's very anti doctors and health care agencies and so tries as best she can to manage pain etc on her on.

We had all been worried about her and my dad (who still wrks full time) was caring for her and fulfilling her wishes not to have the doctor called. He then fell off a ladder gardening and sustained a head injury and several brokne bones in his right arm so I told him if he didnt approach the GPs then I would as he was struggling caring for her. She will not let either me or my sister do anything to help either and my dad is like the gate keeper for her and keeps us away etc. But this time he agreed and told the doctor...she came out and expressed her concern for my mum and tried to organise some rheumatology appointments...still thinking it was arhtritis etc...

then at 3am about a week later my mums leg fell out of bed and she couldnt lift it back in her self...she asked my dad to do broke in his hands at the femur...ambulance came phonecall from dad at 6 in the morning to come to hospital where they discovered a tumour in her leg caused it to break and a large weeping ulcerated tumour on her breast she had hidden from everyone. after an op to the femur we were told it was incurable, too late and that if she was to have heart failure in the op they would not resuscitate her! All of us in total shock etc etc. finally persuaded her to have an mri which revealed tumour in her lungs but she refused brain scan and dischrged herself from hospital after 3 weeks because shed had enough... she basically refused to eat til they let her go and she was returned home by ambulance. about a week and a half ago she was again returned to hospital with heart problems and put on coronary care. She tells all the nurses and doctors what ever they want to hear in order to go home. So she is home again now...Which is fine but the strain my dad is under working full time and her refusing carers or macmillan nurses is immense...he however worships her and will not go against her wishes despite knowing if he ends up ill she will have to go to hospital anyway!

So its a really stressfull situation. I have two children - one preschool age and one just started high school. My elder child is really struggling with the transition to high school (we think he may have aspergers) and I am currently studying a very taxing podiatry degree.

Some days I feel I cant cope and am going to crack under the strain of emotionally supporting my dad (who tells me a lot of his feelings including suicidal ones) and uni work and my son and my own complicated feelings about my mum....and my husband is almost totally emotionless about it all. He doesnt treat me with any extra care, doesnt ask how I am, doeant hug me unless I request it and cant understand why I need affection. Its highly likely he has aspergers too but right now I just need someone to be there at the end of the day for me and he isnt. He carries out practical help and tasks...i.e. looks after the children while I study or help my dad out with shopping and cleaning or just listen to him talk about his grief...but my husband doesnt do the same for me (listen to my feeling or look after me) He's very matter of fact and pretty much wants life to carry on as normal, in that he has booked several bike races for sundays (he races for an amateur road bike team) and he cant see the strain this puts on me as I need more time to complete everything and I need less stress around the children. He thinks I'm unreasonable to want him to cut down the races.

So I just wondered if anyones gone through do you cope when your only support cant or wont support you? My mum has around 3 months to live by the way so things are clearly going to get worse and pretty soon.


minmooch Wed 16-Oct-13 17:22:40

I am sorry to read if your mum's diagnosis. Cancer is such a dreadful disease and it is so painful to watch our lived ones suffer. I have posted on Lavenderhoney's thread as I went through something similar with my one ex-husband. My DS was days before his 16th birthday when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and I spent 5 and a half months in hospital with him as he went through surgery and first course of chemo. Now ex-husband (my DS's step father) was cold, emotionless, mentally cruel, to me on the one night a week that I came home. He rarely visited us in hospital and told me he could not support me emotionally not physically and he resented the financial implications of me being in hospital with my son.

I could see no point in staying with a man like this and whilst my son has faced his battle with cancer with huge dignity I have divorced my weak, cowardly husband and moved house. I knew I would never forgive him and his actions. Divorce was very simple when compared to what my son faces every day and I an very much better not having to sit at the kitchen table with a man who promised to love and cherish me but could not offer me even friendship when I was at my lowest.

It wasn't easy but I now get support from friends and family who do love me.

I hope your mum's last few months are gentle on her and that you get some quality moments with her and your dad.

catsmother Wed 16-Oct-13 16:20:15

"Craptime" - I'm so very sorry you're going through such a traumatic, incredibly traumatic, emotional and downright exhausting time right now. I have no words of wisdom to impart which haven't already been suggested by many posters who are probably far better qualified than me to offer such advice but just wanted to say it your H's attitude beggars belief. You're certainly not going to hear "that's what men are like" from me - it's only some men - i.e. the stinkingly selfish variety who behave with such cold indifference and cruelty at a time like this. Whenever I've read similar stories, I've always wondered if perhaps part of this is due to them actually being "jealous" and/or "pissed off" that just for once their OH's attention isn't fully on them and that, heaven forbid, they have had to pull their finger out and you know, put themselves out just a little bit ? It's not rocket science - situations like this are terrible for all concerned but if anyone, let alone someone who should be your nearest and dearest, is floundering because they feel they don't know what to do or say then the least they can do is ask - in other words show a little kindness and concern. It goes without saying that they should be doing ALL they can to alleviate as much of the practical demands on your time as they possibly can - if that means that their "me time" has to take second place then so be it - and whatever the history etc of an individual relationship, now is not the time to be dragging up so-called grievances and making jibes of any sort which are just going to add to your emotional strain.

I can't believe he's whingeing on about his effing biking. That will still be there in 3 months or whenever - but you are living on borrowed time with your mum. How dare he be so fucking selfish ! That remark to his sister is also completely out of order as it implies you are neglecting your daughter - which you're not !! - and he knows damn well you are run ragged under extreme circumstances.

I really don't know what else to say. I suspect that if you had to ask him to hug you or give you 15 mins of his precious time to let you sound off it would feel hollow anyway as his consideration wouldn't have been freely given. Can only suggest that you concentrate - as others have said - on accepting as much practical and emotional support as you can from other people. I know you said it's difficult to see people - of course it is - but if you were my friend I wouldn't care what time you called me if you needed to talk and I bet your friends would feel the same. Failing that, and this might be a bit off the wall, but if you need sympathy and/or empathy from someone kind, and/or if you need to rant, rage or cry, then calling the Samaritans might be another way for you to offload.

I know it's easier said than done right now but try to put all thoughts of him and what you want to do long-term to one side for now. I certainly wouldn't be using up any of your genuinely precious time on doing anything for him either - be it laundry, cooking, shopping, errands or whatever, you know what I mean. Don't waste a minute of your time on him.

Craptime Wed 16-Oct-13 11:26:26

Thanks cjel hope you're ok lavender and leaving

cjel Wed 16-Oct-13 08:55:47

Morning ladies, Hope you manage a good day today.

Craptime Tue 15-Oct-13 18:49:44

Hi lavender I'm so sorry you're going through similar.

I will have a look for your thread x

Lavenderhoney Tue 15-Oct-13 18:40:59

My dm has just passed away and my dh has unfortunately been rather crap. I have a thread in bereavements, which you are welcome to look at and join if you like

My biggest disappointment is I am unable to grieve properly as I suddenly have this to deal with. I have been advised to think about it after the funeral and things have died down a bit.

It is a massive shock to me my dh is behaving like this. It is also a shock not one poster has suggested counselling, talking, just OMG LTB. I am terrified they are right, and torn between worrying about the future and spending the time grieving.

Craptime Tue 15-Oct-13 18:34:22

leaving I've had similar thoughts about H in more painful moments...but the sad part is I don't think he would fall apart if either of his parents died. He seriously would just carry on as normal.

I have it set in my mind now that life is indeed too short for this shite. Who wants to be a bit part player in someone else's life like we clearly are in theirs. I'd rather take my chances than keep being treated like this. I am terrified, and I know now isn't the best time for big decisions but at least I know that's where the path is headed eventually.

leavingthebastard Tue 15-Oct-13 17:27:08

Sorry your dad hasn't been more receptive. If you can't get through to him, then I would just call Macmillan and ask them for advice - explain that your folks are scared of medicalising the problem and getting outside agencies involved. I'm sure they will put your fears at rest. Your dad really needs to know that inaction now means an almost guaranteed traumatic time at the end.

After mum died I found convos from DP with a friend talking about how I was wallowing in grief, and how I needed to look on the bright side and get on with things. You DH and SIL are people who haven't ever experienced bereavement and it honestly shows. Sometimes I wish DP's mum would die so he could bloody know what it feels like. And the irony is he is a total mummy's boy, always running to her with every problem. I suppose when she dies and he falls apart he will tell me that is justified as they "got on" and she wasn't "annoying".

Craptime Tue 15-Oct-13 09:23:14

Thanks for posts/advice

I have tried to talk to my dad about hospice care, explaining how other people have experienced regrets about not organising things earlier on, but to no avail unfortunately.

I guess I'll have to just keep plugging away.

H continues to be a bit of an arse. I found a text convo between him and his sister slagging me off for our youngest daughter being unsettled at the moment and his sister exclaiming I need to spend "more quality time" with her. If her brother wasn't such a selfish arse maybe I could...I know it's partly my fault for reading texts but he's been very touchy about me seeing what's on his phone at present and curiosity over took me...I guess I'm lucky it wasn't something worse!

ImperialBlether Sun 13-Oct-13 20:57:48

What awful situations you're all in.

OP, I'm really sorry to hear about your mum. Would she accept help for your dad and you? You both need support and Macmillan can offer that, even if she doesn't want it for herself.

I think life is too short to live with a man who can't give you a hug when your mum is dying. If he feels the same way then I'd be packing his bags and letting him go. It would be one less stress.

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Sun 13-Oct-13 19:39:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cjel Sun 13-Oct-13 16:12:46

Craptime, So sorry to hear all this and although I haven't been through similar with my mum I have with my H and know the loneliness of college, looking after dcs and nothing. My H never asked me once in three years about my coursesad. Just wanted to say you aren't weak stupid, useless or whatever else he may say. You are so strong and are doing so well. Please consider deferring a year, I had to in the end and although nervous about meeting the new students am in a much better place to make the most of it when I

leavingthebastard Sun 13-Oct-13 15:33:40

I'm glad you're going to talk to your dad. You should tell him that you have been taking advice from others who have been through the same situation. And that you're worried that if you don't take action your mum will end up in the place she most fears - a busy ward.

From what I have heard of hospices they can be very nice places, with private rooms etc, and of course the specialist care of nurses who have expertise in end of life treatment. The whole purpose of a hospice is to ease suffering, and let people die in a loving, calm, reflective place.

Further, with the help of Macmillan nurses your mum could end her days at home, in comfort and familiar surroundings.

If you do nothing then at some point her symptoms will become too much for you or your dad to deal with. Unless you're then prepared to put a pillow over her head you will find it will be impossible to stop yourself calling for an ambulance in the face of her suffering. Before you know it she is in the one place she dreaded - an intensive care ward.

Our family always feared talking about the end as we couldn't believe it was happening to us. We did not want to discuss it with mum, nor she with us. Then events just overtook us. I will NOT let the same happen to my dad. I just wish that I did not have to learn this lesson the hard way and that someone had told me beforehand.

After talking to your dad you should call Macmillan for advice, and then tell your mum your findings. Emphasise that everything you want to do is to help her avoid having to go into a hospital. Macmillan could even come to talk to her and allay any fears she may have about what their care involves.

Good luck, thinking of you lots thanks

LividofLondon Sun 13-Oct-13 13:38:54

thanks to those grieving or dealing with dying loved ones sad My beloved Mum died of cancer 2 years ago and I found Macmillan nurses great sources of information and comfort. Macmillan also have an online community which is useful too.

Craptime Sun 13-Oct-13 12:55:52

leaving oh god what a time you're having! He's a disgusting idiot! How could he say that!

I will talk to my Dad about hospice care as he is the kind of "gate keeper"and of the things that made her discharge herself from hospital was all the noise and chaos so it might make her stop and think for a moment.

Is your not so "D" P going to stay or leave or what? I hope you're ok x

leavingthebastard Sun 13-Oct-13 12:30:34

Morning Craptime. I just wanted to reiterate what has been said about hospice care. In the final days your mum will inevitably suffer without the right care. My mum was on an intensive care ward surrounded by noise, nurses laughing and joking, other patients moaning. Sporadic attention and treatment. It felt like bedlam. I couldn't bear it. It is one of my biggest regrets that she did not die at home, or in a hospice. What may happen in the last few days is that things run away from you - she may struggle breathing, or eating, or keep being sick, and she will have to be taken to hospital - whether you or her want it or not. The system will kick in and sweep your desires aside. The experience has also made me despise the NHS. Do not get caught up in it.

Please make sure you prepare. Contact a hospice and Macmillan nurses now. I promise you you will regret it if you don't. No matter what your mum thinks her wishes are, by not taking any action she will inevitably end up in the worst possible place.

Btw I found out last night that my dickhead DP cheated on me 2 weeks ago. I spent an hour tearing strips off him before consigning him to the spare bedroom. Today we have been discussing all our issues and he told me he thought I had been "indulging" in my grief. What a massive tit.

Craptime Sun 13-Oct-13 08:44:23

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the comments and advice x

LadyLapsang Sat 12-Oct-13 22:37:33

OP sorry to hear how difficult it is for you at the moment. I'm another voice to say how helpful the Macmillan nurses can be. My lovely late FIL was not actually diagnosed with cancer before he died although the Macmillan nurses were still able to offer support (some much needed night shifts) so he could stay at home until v near the end. I would try not to think about the lack of support from your DH - maybe he just can't do it. Hope you have time to spend with your DM, she has a good death and you look after yourself.

LUKYMUM Sat 12-Oct-13 21:58:20

I have nothing to say apart from I'm really really sorry for what you're going through.

outandaboutatlast Sat 12-Oct-13 21:47:59

I went through something similar with my DM last year and my now XDP was useless. He acted as though what I was going through was nothing. The support I got from him was about as much as I got from a neighbour across the road who I hardly knew.

However I had a friend who would keep in touch with me daily, usually a text or a phone call; occasionally we'd meet up and a couple of times towards the end she came to see my Mum at home. But just knowing she cared mattered enormously.

Knowing that there was an end in sight (although this meant I'd no longer have my wonderful DM any more) made it possible for me to cope. But its horrible and I really feel for you

GiveItYourBestShot Sat 12-Oct-13 21:02:06

Dear craptime, I feel so sad for you reading your posts. You might want to look into hospices rather than hospitals, some people find they provide much more gentle end of life care centred on what the patient wants rather than on hospital routines. I'm sorry your husband can't find it in himself to support you while you go through this awful time. You will get through it and you will have your children still to love and care for and tell stories about their brave and stubborn granny thanks

Craptime Sat 12-Oct-13 20:50:07

P.s she has started saying she can't swallow properly...does anyone reading know what this might signify?

Craptime Sat 12-Oct-13 20:39:38


I hope your other half gets nob rot. What a pig!

You are right. I need to try and cut him out of the equation in terms of expecting anything and just focus on my kids, my parents and myself.

I'm going round to my parents tomorrow to help my dad do a big clean. He's been doing really well with housework but he's got a job on dealing with the spilled bed pans due to mum having developed a tremor sad so I'm going to take myself and the kids there tomorrow and help him get sorted while H is out at another bike race.

Regarding end of life stuff. I am hoping she gets access to decent pain relief in time. She has accepted the medications she was prescribed in hospital and injects herself with fragmin even to prevent the need for a nurse visiting hmm but as her needs change I'm sure medications that would help will also alter (if that makes sense!)

I saw her last night and gave her a massive hug. She's not a very huggy person but I thought screw it! You're having a hug!

leavingthebastard Sat 12-Oct-13 18:04:54

So sorry to hear things are no better today. It seems like you are resigning yourself to giving him the elbow. I think it is probably good for you to distance yourself from his fuckwittery at this time. Instead of looking to him to help you just act like you are on your own. You will find things easier as you won't be constantly let down by him disappointing you.

I gave my DP both barrels last night and told him I thought we were over. Today I find out that he went to see an ex recently. Probably shagged her. He is a massive, massive pig. And every day brings some new mind-boggling example of dickheadishness.

Please just think about you, your mum and your dad. Fuck your DH. This time - right now - is human experience at its rawest. Watching a loved one die is the worst thing you will ever have to go through and it is important that you are allowed to be the person that you truly are. Remember that you are grieving even now. Ever since you knew this cancer was terminal you will have been grieving for the loss of your dear mum. You deserve all the love and support you can find.

You need to be there for your parents and take care of yourself. You must come out the other side knowing that you did all you could and that you were kind to them both. You do not want to regret one moment you spent kowtowing to your fucked up robot DH. There are times I look back on where I didn't spend all the moments I could with my mum because my DP made me feel like it was trivial. He made me feel embarrassed about my own love for her. And now she is dead he calls my grief "extreme" and questions why I should even be upset. What a massive fuckwit.

One final thing - have you talked about end of life care? My mum, to be blunt, was euthanised in the hospital with morphine. If your mum is resistant to all medical care then her last hours may not be comfortable. It is terrible to think about but it really is important that you seek help and advice on this. Our family was too in shock and we felt like we were constantly on the backfoot. We were not prepared for any of it. It left us reeling afterwards.

Big hugs again craptime and love to your mum x

Craptime Sat 12-Oct-13 10:33:27


I have started this morning by asking H to get a start on some washing while I try and get some uni work done he was a bit shirty with me at first about that and some other issues to do with bank accounts...and I bluntly told him that I dont appreciate his attitude in the circumstances and since he has decided "life is too short" so have I!

So we will see as the day develops how that has gone down as he tends to slow burn with his reactions to things.

I think it's too late to try and sort the affection/emotional support issues out now as he just wants to leave so I will have to just do without.

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