Terminally ill dad Advice?

It is a hard time for my mom and I right now because my dad is terminally ill. My mom has been through this before with her old husband so she thinks that she knows everything there is to know about his illness which she does not. I am trying my hardest to stay strong in this difficult time because I do not deal well with sadness or anxiety. My mom and I agreed that we both were going to work together as a team to help him but she has not been doing that. All she does is scream at me and push me out of the way because she says that I am doing things wrong or she will get mad at me because she forgot to do something or because something is not going her way. She is very controlling to the point where I am just like "forget it do it yourself". We had the paramedics come to our house to take him to the hospital and she would not even let them do their job she kept getting in the way grabbing the stretcher snatching their equiptment away from them telling them they are not doing their job correctly they had to tell her to sit down and stop. Then when we get to the hospital she is screaming at the nurse's ordering them around like they work for her demanding that they work faster and it was just too much. I honestly do not think this is going to work between my mom and I because she is very demanding and controlling and verbally abusive to people and I do not need that in my life right now when I am going through this but I am not going to leave her hanging. Advice?


What Guys Said 1

  • Do whatever she says. You need to understand that your mother is going through the emotional equivalent of drowning so she is in full survival mode and is literally on-edge in the sense that, if anything differs from what she believes is urgently needed for "survival" (that is, what's best for the situation), she will immediately take action or voice her opinion. She will not stop being like this until the funeral is over. After that, she will need you even more because, when you are in survival mode for an extended period but then "death" finally comes, you become a waste product...

    To give you another example, this is what males go through when they have a real broken heart. Their mind enters Survival Mode and the brain starts to melt as it furiously thinks and strategizes and plans to get back the woman he loves but just dumped him. This will last a long time, but, eventually, if he is not successful, he recognizes the permanent "death" of his failed relationship and no longer be in Survival Mode. At that time, he may become depressed (if he isn't already) possibly for years.

    Women handle this stuff differently so maybe your mom will handle the eventuality better, but she will still need you. So, your job for the next year or two or three is to primarily just listen and do what you are told. Be helpful and offer advice if she asks for it. This is just one of those things in life in which adherence to the "chain of command" is necessary to maintain the peace because a democracy won't work.


What Girls Said 2

  • I'm so sorry to hear.
    Honestly, I think your mom is under a lot of pressure, dealing with her ill husband and knowing you're having to go through the same thing and see him in this condition probably hurts her. Usually anger comes out when people get really stressed, as they cannot think straight, and cannot handle the situation, even though they try to.

    I would give your mom a break, don't hold her angry out bursts against her. She is probably holding in so much sadness and anger that she doesn't mean to be the way she is. And the disagreement with the paramedics, she's trying to help your father and do everything she can to make sure he's ok and he is comfortable, the last thing she wants is people getting in the way and taking him to the hospital, which probably makes her feel worse like she's not doing a good enough job.

    It's never easy dealing with terribly ill family members. I know from experience that it causes a lot of stress throughout everyone involved. I'd say let her know you are there and willing to help, and try to help her calm down as much as you can.
    Seeing a loved one in the condition they are in, seeing them sick, and weakening isn't something easy to go through. It takes a toll on everyone emotionally, physically and psychologically too. Your mother is doing what she can. whenever she gets angry don't take it personally.

    I'm sure she appreciates the help and effort you give, even if she doesn't show it. Keep trying to help and try to offer her a bit of your time to vent. She shouldn't be keeping or holding her emotions back. Let her know you're there for her, just as much as you are for your dad.

  • It sounds like your mom doesn't really know what to do or how to think due to grief. Try your best to ignore her rants, explain to her that you're here to help. Be positive and do your best to help out. My boss was treating me horribly, her husband was dying of pancreatic cancer ( not sure if that's spelled right, auto correct won't help!) but she took out her frustrations and grief out on me, just me. We worked in a salon and I was her assistant plus doing my clientele but she was just aweful to me but I tried my best to show her compassion. When a loved one is dying it's hard to be positive. Your Moma needs to relaize that your on her side that she can step back and take a deep breath. Let her know it's ok. She needs reassuring now. My best wishes to you and your family.