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Our family was told two years ago that my mother-in-law had terminal cancer. No time frame was give at that time. Now we have been told she has six months to live. The doctors sent her home from the hospital to die. So she is on the clock. I have already lost a parent and have gone through the grief and mouring process. My husband is the oldest son of three sons. In 1976 he was in a car accident in which he lost 1/4 of his brain. He was given one year to live. It was his mother that brought him back from the grave. A very special bond was formed. My husband is taking the pending death of his mother the hardest. He is very depressed, not sleeping and cries all the time. He will not seek help. Says he doesn't need help, he can handle this by himself. I hate to think of what he wil do once she actually passes. He father has told him NOT to come home until his mother dies. There is nothing he can do to help her. I believe this is part of his problem....not able to say goodbye to his mom. We saw her in May but this was before she was told she only had six months to live. He wants to go home but is listening to his father (ruler of the family). I am trying to support him the best I can. He has many health problems himself, so I worry about what this is doing to him. Besides being his caregiver, I am the caregiver to my 90 year old mother that lives with us. Needless to say I too am stressed. I'm at a loss as what to do help him besides just being here. I too love my mother-in-law and will miss her dearly once she has passed. It's this six month clock that is driving us crazy. Why do doctors make such statements? Hospics has been called in to help during this period. Hospics was involed in the passing of my father...10 days until he passed. I wish God would take her just to stop her suffering and the pain of those she is leaving behind. Perhaps I am wrong by saying this but I truely believe it would be best for all involved. My husband could get on with his griefing. Just as I wish my mother would pass. She just wants to die and be with my father. It's been seven years and she is mad every day God has not taken her. Does anyone have any insight to this problem? My prayers are what I'm doing at this time.

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Dear Greeneyes,

I'm so sorry to learn of all the difficulties you're facing, and I think it's a shame that your husband's father is making decisions for his wife that really belong to her ~ such as whether to see her son before she dies. While it may be true that there is nothing your husband can do to alter the course of his mother's disease, they both still deserve the opportunity to be together to offer emotional support and love to one another, and to say whatever they need to say to each other. It seems to me that the only power you have in this situation is the power of persuasion ~ Is there anyone else in the family (your husband's brothers, perhaps) who could help you make your case with your father-in-law?

The six-months-to-live timetable stems from the fact that insurance companies (including Medicare) will not reimburse for hospice care unless a physician certifies that the patient is terminally ill and is not likely to survive beyond six months ~ but doctors have no way of predicting how long their patients will live, any more than the rest of us can, and insurance companies understand that. When a hospice patient passes that six-month point, the doctor simply re-certifies the person for another six months.

You have so much on your plate right now, my dear, and you deserve all the help you can find ~ I hope you'll pay a visit to my Grief Healing Web site, where you'll find links to many helpful resources. See especially these pages:

Care Giving, http://www.griefhealing.com/care-giving-links.htm

Helping Someone Who's Grieving, http://www.griefhealing.com/helping-the-grieving.htm

Death of a Parent, http://www.griefhealing.com/death-of-a-parent.htm

Death That Brings Relief, http://www.griefhealing.com/death-brings-relief.htm

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It is so unfair of your father-in-law to be making this decision. Maybe his wife needs the same closure that your husband does. If you went, would he lock you out of the house? If you can afford it and can leave your mom for even a weekend, I say you go for it. It may make leaving this earth easier for his mom and I think that his dad without knowing it would probably like the support too. It has to be your decision and I hope your husband is prepared for a possible bad memory

( he may rather stay home and remember the good things). Only he can trulymake these decisions.

Our prayers will be with you.

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