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How To Deal With Really Stressful Situation That Will Happen Soon?

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A few weeks ago my MIL was helping me clean my house and now she found out she has stage 4 cancer that has spread to multiple locations and just weeks to live and is on hospice. DH's father died when he was a teenager and I want to be there for him as much as possible through this but it is already becoming overwhemling.

My MIL is living 325 miles away now so DH has been driving to visit her. The drive is too much for me, it is even hard for me to be alone for the time he is gone. Since it is clear she will pass away soon, I am trying to pre-plan how I will deal with the emotional and travel aspects. I went to a local family funeral a few months ago and it wore me out for a week and there was no travel invovled and it was not a close family memeber. The funeral will be held about 300 miles away, the family gathering will be another 50 miles from that, then the grave side service is 350 miles from that. I honestly do not think I can make all that travel right now but I don't want DH to be alone. Since most of this back and forth is rural there is no place I can go to and lay down or rest. I can't ask DH to drive me and leave one of the parts of his mothers service and I dont know anyone else in the area that could help.

The other part is that DH comes from a HUGE family, 13 biological siblings and 9 adopted. Some of younger kids/grandkids smoke constantly and I can't take the smoke and they won't stop for anything. Also I have had a hard time the last 6 months or so even listening to the younger ones(younger meaning 16-30) because they are healthly but keep making the same mistakes over and over again. They have so many chances to do great things in life but keep choosing the wrong path. When I listen to the conversations My pulse sometimes goes through the roof, like from 80-90's to 160's sitting and the adernaline starts running and I can't control it. I used to be able to.

The other thing is I am holding a secret of sorts. Everyone in the family is saying poor mom, she never went to the dr., she didn't have insurnace. I am the only one that knows differently. Up until a few months ago she had an crummy job with excellent insurance. 3 years ago I made an appointment with a dr for a check up because I found out her sister died young of colon cancer(My MIL was adopted after her mom died in childbirth so I helped her find her siblings). It was across the street from her work. She refused to go because she wanted to lose 15lbs. I waited till she lost 15lbs and the next year made an appointment, again she refused to go. I made 5 appointments over the last 3 years. When she got let go from her job in Feb, I filed out the cobra paperwork. She was 64 and could have used cobra until medicare for about 7 months. She said she could not afford the cobra because she had so many bils/loans from helping out the younger kids with bail, back rent, ultlites etc. Right now everyone is sitting around her crying, poor grandma/mom never had a chance to go to the dr. I have said nothing but I think it would be a good time for my MIL to speak up and talk about how important it is to get a check up or get insurance, not one of her kids or grandkids has insurance that is under 30 and alot have it offered at work but won't pay the small premium.

I am first concerned if I can even make a 1000+ miles drive in 36 hours. Then the emotional aspects will be hard, even though I had very different views then my MIL I talked to her almost daily for 10 years because I found her stories interesting and she needed someone with an outisde view, as well as DH who is usually not very emotional but now is really holding it in. I also do not know how to deal with the social aspects of the kids/grandkids without sounding like a snob and causing more issues. I know there will be smoking, but there also is a things happening like a 6th grade grand daughter who is pregnant and fluants it. I do not mean to sound judgemental but I do not want my 4th grade child to think this is okay or someone to celebrate. DH's oldest brothers/sisters and strict mormons and when they have made any comments the younger ones get vicious and it is so stressful. I spoke to 2 of the older siblings and they are only bringing kids to the service and leaving because of the social issues.

I do not want to sound selfish but I am trying so hard to get better. I have had so many set backs. The summer is so hard because I have 0 help besides Dh and he has to work so I have to be as high-functioning as I can so the kids still get a normal summer. I am already stressed out just thinking about how to manage. Dh can't figure out a solution to the travel but he does say that this will be the last time unless indivdual circumstamces change that he will see his younger silblings/nieces/nephews.

I also feel bad because I haven't been able to talk to her too much since she got sick. She cries and I feel bad and it is so stressful. I write her long letters everyday and I know she appreciates them because DH says she tells him she will read them 50+ times a day because she has never had anyone write her such in depth letters but she really wants to talk to me everyday but the calls get me too upset.

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I'm sorry things are so stressful right now. I feel just like you when I am around my in-laws, as far as the things they talk about(other people, blah, blah) that really irritate me. It also makes the adrenaline flow,and it really makes me feel like fainting. So, I just don't go to in-law events. I might talk with each on their own for a few minutes, but that's all I can do.

Sorry, back to you. Is there any way you can stay in a hotel in the town of the funeral? At least you would have a quiet place, all to yourself(and husband, kids). If you can't make the actual funeral, I WOULD NOT let it bother me. Your MIL has had a friend in you with the daily conversations and the letters, that she obviously treasures and finds comfort in. You need to know that what you have been doing all along means more than your physical appearance at her funeral.

(((((HUGS))))

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I have been there and done that. Sue, you could not have said this better. And now for the dumb question of the day. What does DH stand for??? :huh:

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Sorry DH stands for Darling Husband(the only other board I post on is a gymboree board and it is the term to use)or if you don't like your husband I think the D can mean something else! DD is for daughter and DS is for son.

We would be getting a hotel. It would be about 40 miles from the funeral and 25 miles from the family gathering. Most if the area is rural and I prefer to stay in a hotel that at least has a kitchen type area and extra space for the kids (like the Hyatt summerfield or residence inn types). There are only 2 hotels near the service and they are both 1 star rural truck stop type places, and they do not have non-smoking sections and are rather loud so it is not a good option. That is one reason why if I got sick at the funeral DH just can't leave and bring me back quickly. the funeral's usually last about 3 hours.

The other issue I did not mention, so many issues, is that the funeral is at a high elavation, I believe 6000+ feet and I am used to 1000 feet. My oxygen drops to below 90 at 8000+ feet and at 6000+ it is usually 91-92ish.

The only other reason to go to the service is my kids will need me. I think DH will break down, I also think Dh will have to give a talk at the funeral. He hates public speaking and I usually asks me (I love public speaking) to do it for him. If I were healthier I would love to have given a talk. My kids will have many questions and I think he will have a tough time answering them. My daughter went with DH alone to see MIL last week and came back with 100's of questions, from medical issues to why certain girls were wearing naughty clothes so young.

The graveside service is close to where we live, about 40 minutes, I could go to without a problem if it were not for the traveling the day before. I thought about just going to the graveside service because it would be so much easy for me, but I feel like I am letting DH down. He does everything right now without complaining and this is the only thing he needs me for.

I realize if I do not go the younger ones will say horrible things about me, they do not understand my illness. The older ones for the most part do understand as best they can and will not pass judgement. Dh keeps telling me either way I shouldn't worry if the younger ones say things, because we will probably not see them again. My MIL was the only one that encouraged the family to get together as a whole. We usually just see the oldest for birthdays and holidays and I think 30-35 cousins and 10 aunts and uncles is enough for my kids (I grew up an only child so the whole big family thing is overwhelming in general).

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Just a suggestion - could you rent an RV? My thinking is you could rest when you need to (and might be an adventure for the kids)

Not sure if this is an option where you are but thought I would throw it out there for what it is worth.

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We are looking into buying a used RV right now. I would have already had one but DH's job took back the company truck so we had to buy a truck for him and used our RV money. I am a very careful saver/spender these days.

Renting an Rv on short notice could be good or bad where we live. I live right in the middle of the national parks so the summer is full of tourists renting Rv's. The winter you can get them really cheap or in the summer they are looking for people that will drop off in another city. My daughter wants to go to NY and I looked into renting but the deposit was $1k and $250 a day plus extra miles(and high gas prices!) so we looked into buying because alot of seniors in our area are retirees that buy them, use them little and then when they pass away or go to assisted living the prices are can be very reasonable. In fact the one I was going to buy before DH needed a work truck would have been cheaper to buy then renting 2 times and it was only 8 year old and low miles.

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Reen, excellent idea if it would have worked out! That would be the only way I could travel long distance, as I wouldn't be able to sit in a plane and fly.

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What a shame you MIL can't tell everyone to live better and get insurance. SO important to value your health and prevent problems.

I am so sorry about your MIL and very sorry for what is coming for you all. You will go through a lot, so hard. Just sending hugs.

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First of all, I would like to offer you what little support I can via these typed words... chin up please. Secondly, I would try to rent a Van or a small RV (like others have suggested) so that you can make a bed of sorts in the back of the car. That way it will be easier for you to nap in between visits. It sounds like your hubby has been supportive of you and I understand why you want to make the trip for him...

On the in-law front, unfortunately, it might be like talking to a door-knob, but you might want explain the situation. It is important for everyone to have the information. YOU can only lead the horse to water, but you might not be able to make him drink ;)

Hope everything works out!!

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Sorry that buying local doesn't seem to be working.

A suggestion would be to try expanding your locale on Craigslist. I was shocked when I found one for 1200 but do not have the support for maintenance, etc.

A cheap alternative would be a cooling vest and a zero gravity chair - not ideal by any means but better than nothing.

It is such a stressful time for you. I hope things work out and you are able to keep the stress low.

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My MIL passed yesterday and the stress and family fighting is already starting(2 religions, 2 burial plots, not good). I am trying to be supportive but I feel like I am being selfish asking for any special for myself. My husband is always so supportive of me and I feel bad I can't do the same for him right now.

We had found an RV that I really liked but it is too far to drive and see right now(we had looked at too many that people lied about smoking in so we have wasted so many trips). Anyone live in Lake Havasu? That is where the RV is.

I have my antigravity chair, ice packs, and extra klonopin. It is going to be a 4 day trip at at 90+ degree and a high elavation(we have to stop on the way at 10,000 feet and I always have trouble breathing that high) so Im pretty nervous.

Trying to see something positive I did get an appointment in the city we are going to with one of my favorite specialists I haven't been able to see in over a year. Maybe something good will come of the trip.

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Now that's what I call being proactive! Good for you, getting that appt, I hope it goes real well. My sympathies on the passing of your MIL. If your inlaws are anything like mine were, you will probably need to fade into the background while you are there, anyway. Because believe it or not, anything you say could make you appear to be interfering. Funerals can bring out the strangest behavior <_< Best of luck.

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I made it through the funeral. My GI symptoms and pain from traveling were what was bad not the POTS. The service was over 4 hours so I sat in the pew next to the wall and leaned back. Of course I got some eye rolls from the family because I was not in my assigned pew. I could not have sat straight up for 4 hours. I'm sad I could not get up and talk. I would have loved to.

My husband does so much for me and it was hard for him to take time for himself. I had to force him to just leave me on the couch at the church and have him go talk to his family in the social hall. He was very torn between taking care of me and taking care of himself.

Funny thing is all the family I was worried about didn't matter. The family I thought I would spend time with , ignored me, so I talked with people I did not think I would. I guess I am sinking into my roll of partciapant observor.

I have to stay I wish I had prepared better for my GI/eating issues then POTS. Im still suffering over a month later because of the 5 days of travel and poor eating and sleeping.

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Now you can rest that tummy! So glad to hear that you have closed the book on that stressful time in your life. And isn't it interesting that you ended up talking with people other than those you thought? Life sure does throw curveballs sometimes.

I am the same way with the GI issues, I have so many. If I am feeling halfway decent and indulge myself (knowingly or otherwise) I pay big time. It seems like we can't get away with anything!

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