The sudden decline in my father-in-law’s health several weeks ago remains a big concern for our family. We don’t know yet if the chemo is working. He’s back to see his medical team this week, so we should receive some news by Wednesday. My husband tells me his dad may discontinue treatment if there’s no progress.
I can’t imagine the emotions my husband and his parents are experiencing right now. I can only assume it’s overwhelming. The only way to deal with it, I’m sure, is just to do what needs to be done each day.
My father-in-law’s illness weighs on my heart, too; we recently observed our late son’s birthday, and the day struck me with more fatigue and ‘blahness’ than I’ve felt the last year or so (it’s not that I don’t feel sad anymore, but the sadness has changed). It was still a tough day. It breaks my heart to see my husband grieve. I feel so powerless. All I can do is hold him and tell him I love him.
My husband and I keep coming back to the issue of Quality of Life. He tells me it’s not only pain his dad is dealing with. It’s also the diminshing effects of his treatment. He sleeps a lot, his mind and body are slower, less reliable. He’s not who he wants to be. We all recognize and support his dad’s right to choose – even if it means stopping treatment – but it’s no easier to accept. Yet, we set the very same expectations for ourselves in our Advanced Directives. Even when we think we’re ready and capable of dealing with these realities, we’re not. Shock, denial, bargaining…they will all have their day.
It feels as though we’re already grieving my husband’s dad.
I am struck by the realization that this is how it will be the next twenty-plus years of our lives…aging parents, aunts and uncles. Soon enough, we will be where our parents are today. If there were no other motivation to live the pants off of life, this will suffice.
Winter comes for us all.