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How do I support my sister after her partner's diagnosis?

PLG14
Posted by

Hi,

Hoping someone can offer some advice. My sister's partner has just been diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer and I don't know where to begin in terms of supporting them/her. They have two young children who are not aware of this diagnosis at the moment (we do not know the full prognosis as of yet.)

My sister is very reserved when it comes to asking for help and I feel that I am being useless as I don't know what to say or do, but I know if it were me I would want support. So far I have offered to go round and see her (her partner has gone to see his mum to tell her the news.) I have also offered to look after the kids to give her some time to think-so far she hasn't taken me up on the offers. I feel awful and just want to make things better! I haven't even plucked up the courage to contact my brother in law as of yet, because I just don't know what to say to him. Any advice would be gratefully received.

PippinP
Posted by

I would suggest you just go round there with some flowers and her favourite sweet treat; give her hug and reassure her she doesn't have to face this on her own.  My husband has cancer and says he can tell which of his friends feel uncomfortable visiting - he says he sees the fear in their eyes.  What he enjoys the most is those who visit, treat him normally and make him laugh.  Everyone is different but I am sure he would really appreciate you acknowledging his position and being as 'normal' as you can be.

Good luck X 

PLG14
Posted by

Thanks so much for the advice.

I am so aware of not wanting to let my fear and sadness be visible or palpable to them. I am really struggling with the news, so I cannot begin to imagine how they must be feeling. I am hoping to be able to visit my sister tomorrow as my husband has offered to take the children out-I shall do what you suggest and take a gesture with me.

I am agonising over whether to text my brother in law or whether to wait until I see him in person. It just seems wrong not to contact him now that I know.

Thanks again for replying-I really appreciate it.

ShimmeringUnicorn
Posted by

Hi, please give your self a little time to digest the news... There is no right or wrong way to react or to easily know what is best to do. Every one is different.

What would a visit to your sister previously have been like? Would you have gone out? Stayed in and ate cake? 'the girls' and video?

It may help and feel less forced to say that you are not sure of the best way to help. As a card maker, I find a card with a few words can take the place of difficult conversations or help those conversations to start...you could say something like,  'I am here to help though I am not sure how, if you have any ideas, please let me know.'

They too must be shocked and overwhelmed, even if they were expecting the news.

If you usually text your bro in law, then go ahead, say you're around to help in way that would be useful.

Really, letting them both know you love and support them is key, even if they find it difficult to respond just now.

Good luck. You sound like you will be a fabulous help in the coming weeks as you all come to terms with this....and remember... you need support too so keep popping in here.

Take care

willowj
Posted by

PLG14

Thanks so much for the advice.

I am so aware of not wanting to let my fear and sadness be visible or palpable to them. I am really struggling with the news, so I cannot begin to imagine how they must be feeling. I am hoping to be able to visit my sister tomorrow as my husband has offered to take the children out-I shall do what you suggest and take a gesture with me.

I am agonising over whether to text my brother in law or whether to wait until I see him in person. It just seems wrong not to contact him now that I know.

Thanks again for replying-I really appreciate it.

PLG14

Thanks so much for the advice.

I am so aware of not wanting to let my fear and sadness be visible or palpable to them. I am really struggling with the news, so I cannot begin to imagine how they must be feeling. I am hoping to be able to visit my sister tomorrow as my husband has offered to take the children out-I shall do what you suggest and take a gesture with me.

I am agonising over whether to text my brother in law or whether to wait until I see him in person. It just seems wrong not to contact him now that I know.

Thanks again for replying-I really appreciate it.

PLG14

Thanks so much for the advice.

I am so aware of not wanting to let my fear and sadness be visible or palpable to them. I am really struggling with the news, so I cannot begin to imagine how they must be feeling. I am hoping to be able to visit my sister tomorrow as my husband has offered to take the children out-I shall do what you suggest and take a gesture with me.

I am agonising over whether to text my brother in law or whether to wait until I see him in person. It just seems wrong not to contact him now that I know.

Thanks again for replying-I really appreciate it.

this has helped me too ... i want to go round , ring every 5 mins .. etc etc .. my brother has just had a a diagnosis.. these tips are so helpful..thank you x