My GF has a child with terminal cancer who's dying

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:33 am

My girlfriend has a child with her ex and the child is now dying from terninal cancer.

So I just want to start with that I understand that this is the worst thing that can happen to any mother and is just out right crewl having to watch your child die right in front of you.

We have a really good relationship and we are deeply in love. From the start of our relationship her child was not well but not terminal. We have been together for one year now and she is done with her ex, no feelings at all just a mutal relationship for the child.

Now that the child is dying she has been staying at the hospital with the child whitch is a long flight away from home where I work and life. Her ex now lives with her at the unit to be with the child at the hospital(conpletely understandable).

I do conpletely trust my parte which makes her even more special and I feel bad to even start thinking about my self in a situation like this, I can only imagine what she goes through but it is starting to eat me up because I love her so much and all I hear Is what her, her ex and the child have been up to. We where supposed to live together and we had/have big plans but now it is all upside down.

I will all ways be there for her but knowing that this might go an on for a long time is taking it's toll on me and I don't want to bother with this because I don't want to add to her all ready big griefe.

What made it worse for me was that I have been told that when they come back, she decided to do the right thing by the father and move in together so they both can be close to the child.

She did tell me though that I am still her life partner and there is nothing between her and the ex.
I don't think I will be able to life there with her and her ex but I also can't Denie for him to be close to his daughter. So I am lost in a difficult situation and need some serious advice
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:32 pm

The same as you hate to sound uncaring, I prefer my response is not misinterpreted as lacking empathy.

It is a tough situation, but this is a pragmatic problem. And being a pragmatic problem there are vital pieces of information missing including;

-1- When will the child die? Two months or two years?
-2- What is the distance involved? Or to what extent can you move or live within a reasonable distance?

I would treat this as a ‘life partner’ that has an obligation that takes them away temporarily. Think soldier that goes to war. It is only recently (post WWII) that soldiers have the luxury of 1 year deployments and access to video sessions. It use to be for the duration of the war and wars last indefinitely.

How did people negotiate such relationships?

Emotionally they faced the unknown. Society steps in to provide some guidance, enter the concept of vows, cultural norms, marriage, etc. Before Joe went off to war he married Sue.

I’m not saying the above is the answer. I’m saying reflect on how our ancestors handled these tough circumstances.

In many cases, faced with the unknown, Sue rejected Joe. Or, in other cases the couple made promises, but as time went by commitments changed. Having only made promises rather than taken vows, time chipped away at Sue/Joe.

You are in the fortunate position that unlike Sue, you have a partner you can talk with and come to some pragmatic decisions. You have a child that is terminal. This means, usually, that you can narrow in on how long they have left.

You also have the information of what Joe is doing and where Joe will be. You can visit, you can talk, you can set expectations and negotiate.

If I’m in your shoes I use the terminal date as a reference point. I then decide if I’m willing to wait that long for my partner to be away. I establish what I expect during this time away. Expectations might include a visit every X months or expectations related to how we communicate.

The “I can’t or don’t want to discuss relationship expectations while my daughter is dying” does not work for me. I understand not forcing the discussion, but within a few weeks the discussion must happen.
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#2

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:57 pm

Thank you for the reply, this helped allot.
For the extra a Information, the doctors have more or less given up with treatment and have told us that the child is expected to maybe make it December.

For obvious reasons, my partner is now pursuing other remedies because the doctor have told her that if the child does manage to live another 6 month they attempt another bone marrow transplant but at this stage they said the chances are extremly slim.

This brings a bit of uncertenty, it could be over in a few month or drag on for a long time and as much as I wish that we can be properly together again, I also want only the best for her and her child so she, to spend as much time together as possible.

The distance is about a 3h flight. I would move down if it was a more permanent thing but they get moved around a bit and it would not be the best idea for me to cancel my career and my studies right now. So all I can do is wait currently and hope for the best.

Taking the war analysis, I guess co pared to back then, we are pretty privileged.
We do talk daily but because of the current situation, hour long conversations now turned to 10 minutes phone calls because she doesent want to talk much ,understandable, at the moment while she is already grieving , which is better than nothing but makes me miss her terrible.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:24 pm

Nighthawk wrote: Taking the war analysis, I guess co pared to back then, we are pretty privileged.


In some ways yes. In other ways no.

For most of human history there was minimal or no real expectations to stay in touch with your partner when separated. Letter writing wasn’t a thing. The person left for war and you would hopefully one day be reunited.

Technology allowing global communication is a positive, but with it comes the negative expectation or obligation to use that technology. You can’t be fully in their life, but you better text or chat or write or it means you don’t care.

Which is actually better? Intuitively we lean to it being better to have some contact rather than no contact. But, some contact allows for partial information. This can be less than productive.

Previously, the worry the partner may not return was general in nature. Lack of information made it easier to deal with. As communication became more effective the partner hears that Joe is fighting in battle A, then B, then C. News makes it back that disease has spread. Worry, worry, worry as drips of partial and less than wholly accurate information comes in.

In your situation it is almost more difficult with technology. You keep reinforcing the worry and you become partially, but not wholly involved. Your mind runs less than healthy mental scenarios as information drips to you in a 10 minute conversation. Mentally you might had been better off if you had been born 500 years ago and did not have access to information.

So tech is both a privilege and a blight.
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#4

Postby BarbWire » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:03 pm

This thread makes me laugh.
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