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My sister is battling brain cancer. At first when she shared the news we had some good visits

But now when I offer to visit she tells her husband to tell me she is too tired.

I have a feeling she doesn't want me to see her like this and she feels she cannot keep up a strong front when I am there. I wish I could reassure her she does not need to do that.

Her husband does not explain whys he says "no." and I don't want to push it on him because he is overwhelmed. He suggested that I phone her directly. But would that be intrusive if she is tired and can't concentrate?

I don't want to make my sister's troubles worse with these contacts, but at the same time, I think once I am there and she sees I can handle it calmly, it will be okay.

I did offer to help with the care or sit with her while the husband goes out, and her husband declined.

I have been sending her e-mails with a gentle "I am thinking of you" but no response. I can't tell if she likes the e-mails but just can't respond do to failing control of her hands, etc.

There is no one else in the family who knows what to do. The husband is the only one with her and said he would prefer I address this directly with my sister.

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My dear, I am so sorry to learn of your sister's serious illness, and my heart reaches out to you. You're in a most difficult position, and I can't imagine how painful this must be for you.

Since you have so few options open to you, it seems to me that you would be wise to follow the suggestion given to you by your sister's husband ~ that is, don't visit in person but instead, telephone your sister, especially since he has said that he prefers that you address your sister directly. If she does not answer the phone when you call, at least you could leave a voice message saying what you need to tell her.

Before you make that call, you might try jotting down on paper the "talking points" you wish to share with your sister ~ including that you have a feeling that she doesn't want you to see her like this, that she may feel that she cannot keep up a strong front when you are there, and that you want to assure her that she doesn't need to do that because, as you say, you can handle this and you just want to be there for her.

You might also try writing a letter to your sister, saying all you need to say to her.

Is your sister on hospice care? If so, perhaps you could seek the advice and support of one of the members of her hospice team.

In any event, I hope you will find a way to communicate with your sister, even as you try your best to honor her wishes.

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This has already been addressed very well by the previous responders, I just want to add that it's really important to respect their wishes. Not everyone chooses to handle things the same way, but when a choice is made, it's important we respect it.

I'm sorry for what you're going through, this has to be very tough on you. I have four sisters and we're very close...trying to imagine what you're going through, well, I can't begin to. Maybe try to reach out to her by showing your support with sending her cards? Also, offer to help her husband in any tangible way you can...meals, housecleaning, errands.

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