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Being supportive when SO's father is dying.


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I need some outside perspective.

 

Background:

 

We have been dating for 8 months long distance, she usually drives to see me, not because I ask her to but rather she wants to and also can work remotely from anywhere which I can't, so she can stay for a week at a time, whereas I only have the weekends or have to take vacation time when I am down there. which isn't to say I haven't gone down there I have but it's lobsided and she has been ok with this as she prefers to hang out in my city anyway and likes hanging out with my friends versus the ones she has down there. That said I have been very appreciative of all the effort she has put in.

 

Issue

 

My girlfriends father has been ill, he's 80, his health has been slowly degrading, he has heart complications, as well as other issues that come with aging. So knowing that, she wanted to plan a trip with her kids to see her father while he was still up and about so to speak. So we flew up there on February11th, the night before he was rushed to the hospital, he was in bad shape with . So we drove straight to the hospital to see him and visit with him. We took her kids to a family friends house as they would have more fun there, being able to play in the snow and the lady that lives there was the grandmotehr that everyone wishes they had, fresh made cookies, taking them out in the snow etc. So they were well taken care of and not in the midst of all of this, To them it was mostly a vacation, for us we were in the hospital most of the time. We did manage to get some quality time in with the kids.

 

In any case the next day while at the hotel in the morning we got a call that the doctor said he had hours to live, so we rushed to the hospital as fast as we could. He's sleeping and was actually the first time we had a lucent conversation. This trip was the first time I met him, so I met him in the hospital. We talked a bit and he rested intermittently. We did this for the next several days until Sunday when we left, she needed to get the kids back to school and to their father. He was seemingly better before we left but got worse again when we got back home. So she wanted to turn around and get back as fast as she can.

 

 

They moved him to hopsice while we were gone. I told my bosses what was going, despite being overloaded right now, and they had no issues with me going back So we went back last week, Tuesday, February 16th, and flew back up to Indiana, with one way tickets, not knowing if he was going to live. So I was home for one day before turning around and going back. He had days of being better and some that were worse. It was a roller coaster for sure, we spent all days in the Hospice with him. At one point they said all his vitals were so good that they had to release him out of hospice to his home, as he no longer qualified to be there. He would get a nurse that would visit daily (multiple times I think). Seeing that he was somewhat stable, we flew back Saturday, Feb 20th, knowing that we would be going back, for me at least for the funeral. I had to get back to work and she needed to sort some things out as well as see her kids. Yesterday she got a call from her sister stating that the doctor said that she and her brother need to get there, as he is again degrading and may have hours or days to live. We have the conversation of what my plans are, I think that she should go up there and assess his health. She thinks I need to fly up today after work and fly home on Sunday.

 

Here is where we differ, I have flown twice in the past week and half as we thought he was going to die. It's hard to say when, there is no line in the sand, so it's uncertain, other than his health is degrading, it could be hours, days or weeks. I am planning on going for the funeral to be with her and always have, so with that in the back of my head and knowing that he is up and down. In my mind made sense for me to stay put, knowing that I could indeed fly back Sunday only to have to turn around again and go there again if he passes next week. In her mind I am not being supportive. I think she's beign unfair as I have flown up there twice now, including taking time off of work with no notice having to take vacation time, as we are not related(bereavement policy). She thinks I can fly up there today fly home sunday and if I have to turn back around next week, do that as well. To me that's a lot, I understand trying to be supportive and for the past weeks I was the best ever in her eyes and thought I was doing the right thing, now I am frustrated because it seems by not going this weekend I am not being supportive at all.

 

This may be the end of us, sho knows at this point. Her brothers wife didn't go at all, and her response was that he accepted that when he got married, she however doesnt' want to....

 

So here I am not knowing what to do, feeling like crap now because she was crying last night and said I am not accompanying her on the weekends when I can to see her dying father.

 

Any insight is welcome.

 

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That is a tough one, because I do feel that you have done the right things and that you not going this weekend is understandable. That being said, obviously the extreme stress that your SO is dealing with is going to create even more difficulty for her and you when you have a difference of opinion on this topic. I guess the bottom line is this...there is a "price" for going, and a "price" for not going...which one do you want to pay and which one don't you? Whether her expectation is right or wrong, is it worth it to you to take a stand and potentially ruin a good thing? Only you can truly know the answer to that!

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I looked at flights online, but can't get out today as its late. So I could go tomorrow but would have to come back Sunday and then will have to turn around and go back again. While I can afford one flight, without issue, I can't afford to keep flying back and forth like I have. Not indefinitely anyway. :sad:

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I say she is being unfair. Yes, she is likely super emotional at this time, as who wouldn't be. But looking at it as an outsider, I think it is asking a lot to have you keep flying back & forth...

 

You've been extremely supportive in doing so twice... When he actually does pass, maybe you can hop on a flight asap to support her emotionally for the immediate aftermath, the funeral, etc....

 

I just can't see how you are expected to endlessly fly back & forth almost every few days... Maybe (just a thought) she is also carrying around the brother's wife scenario chip on the shoulder...

 

I soooo don't think this should be the end of it for you both though... It's very clear that your heart is in the right place, means well, & has done well.... On her part, she is understandably over-emotional & maybe not thinking as rationally (vs. emotionally) as under other circumstances.

 

I think it is very reasonable to ask her to assess his health & offer that when he passes you will immediately be there.... Since you've only been dating for 8 months, and LD at that, I take it you don't know her father all that well, either. It might be different if it were a father-in-law that you were extremely close with. Not different in principal but emotionally for you.

 

So- I'm 100% with you all the way on this one OP.... Hopefully "cooler heads will prevail" in her case over time as she sorts through her painful emotions...

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When he actually does pass, maybe you can hop on a flight asap to support her emotionally for the immediate aftermath, the funeral, etc....

 

That has always been my plan, to be there for her in the end. We have been talking(texting, her preferred method of communicating when we are apart, I am ok with it). She was saying he mom was thinking she would only have a small memorial, maybe at the hospice, so it wasn't worth me coming as it would only be 30 minutes. I told her I wouldn't be coming for the service that I would be coming for her, five minutes, thirty minutes it didn't matter at that point. I was going to be there for her then. It's just the right now that we are struggling with, her opinion is that life is not regimented by calendar. Yes I would like it that way, but I think I have rolled with the punches, according to her she doesnt think I have, as I didn't fly up there now:sad:

 

 

 

I soooo don't think this should be the end of it for you both though
.

 

Time will tell, communication has gotten better over the day, but she still thinks I should be there. As in her world thats life and its unpredictable. Even yesterday I said we are differing on this, because she is looking at it from an emotional perspective and I am looking at it from a rational perspective.

 

So- I'm 100% with you all the way on this one OP.... Hopefully "cooler heads will prevail" in her case over time as she sorts through her painful emotions...

 

I want to be there for her but I can't meet her needs all the time, she said I will understand when it's my father. The reality is, I would say I "need" her to be there, I will be there no matter what. I would like for her to be there if she can figure it out, but I won't make her feel horrible if she can't

That's how I feel now.

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Update: He passed this morning, at 4:30am or so.

 

I called my bosses and told them what's going on, they are supportive, will have to figure out all my time off with them though.

 

I am going to fly up there today to be with her, first flight I can get out and stay through the week.

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That's beautiful of you & I'm sure she will so appreciate it. Hopefully all will naturally come together now around the whole issue....

 

Wishing you both peace...

 

Thank you so much.

 

It's definitely been a rough few weeks. I can tell she is more at peace now that her father has passed and she doesn't see him suffering. As well as now that I am by her side. Tough times all around though.

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