17 days ago
Welcome to the Marie Curie
Community and thank you for sharing your experience with us and others. We are
sorry to read about your mother in law’s diagnosis and all that you are going through.
Coping with a diagnosis can cause a range of different emotions for everyone involved
and, understandably, when a loved one is reluctant to discuss their wishes, it
can be very difficult. If someone doesn’t talk about their illness, accepting
and respecting their wishes can be challenging and it is normal not to know
what to do.
Understandably, you are
concerned that important decisions may be taken out of her hands, and it sounds
like you are doing your best to support her through this experience. Some
people don’t want to think or talk about these things and can find it difficult
to acknowledge that they will die one day. Denial can be a way for people to
cope with their illness and forcing them to talk may not be the best thing for
them. This may not be a conscious decision, but a gut reaction to the news she
If they don’t want to talk
about their future plans, it is important to try to be understanding. It may be
helpful to explain why you want to talk but not to push them to if they don’t
want to. There could be lots of reasons they choose not to talk, including
feeling scared about dying and protecting you from being upset. Some people
hide their feelings from those closest to them because they worry about being a
burden. They might talk more openly about their diagnosis with someone other
than their family and friends, like their healthcare team involved. Or perhaps
it would help them to speak with a counsellor or therapist.
As her illness progresses,
her perspective may change, and she may be more open to talking – all you can
do is be ready to listen and support her if that time comes. It is also
important to make sure you are looking after yourself in these emotional times
and if you ever need a listening ear, we are here.
I would also like to share some
pages on our website that may be helpful to you:
If you would like to talk
more about your experience, our Marie Curie Community is your safe space, to
share as much or as little as you wish and to ask any questions you may have. Hopefully
others here on the Marie Curie Community can share their experiences and
insights, perhaps talk about ways in which they managed similar situations. Our
Support Line is also here for you and if you would like to speak with one of
our team with any questions or simply for a listening ear, we are on Freephone
0800 090 2309.
Elin - Support Line Officer