My MIL will turn 86 on Christmas day. She has terminal cancer (mouth). My SIL recently moved to Portugal and the plan for Christmas was for MIL, my DH, me and kids to fly together to Portugal so that we could celebrate what is probably going to be her last Christmas and birthday together.
We are due to fly out on Sunday. Today MIL rang and said that she is full of cold and there is no way she can manage to go to Portugal. I think it is more than this. I think she is scared of travelling, scared something might go wrong while she is out there, doesn't want to eat in front of other people as it's messy due to the growth in her mouth, her mouth is hurting her more than she will admit, she can only eat soft things like soup/boiled egg and generally doesn't want to 'be a burden'.
So I said that we will then all stay behind so that she is not alone. She can come to our house and we will have a quiet Christmas together. Her house isn't really suitable for us all to go there. She can eat what she can manage and alone if she would prefer not to eat in front of us, but at least she will have company.
She insists that she would rather be on her own in her own home and that we MUST go to Portugal without her. She will be deeply upset if we cancel our holiday for her. (It would be a £1k loss on flights but that seems completely irrelevant at this point. The kids will be disappointed though as they had been looking forward to going).
I am utterly torn. I asked her straight up whether she would really prefer to be alone or whether she was just saying that as she didn't want to put anyone else out, and she swears she would rather just be on her own.
But how can we leave her to celebrate her (most likely) last Christmas on her own with a tin of soup?? But if we stay, we risk upsetting her/making her feel guilty that we're 'ruining' our Christmas by not going and it appears to be going against her wishes.