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Step Mother has terminal cancer, how to help our Dad?

Our step mum has terminal ovarian cancer. How long she's got we don't know as our Dad won't talk about it. There's been a couple of comments that make us think she hasn't long and she is getting more and more tired (having day sleeps and wipes her out completely if she even goes out for a coffee) It was dads birthday today, we all went out for dinner but step mum wasn't up to it. Dad didn't say alot and at one point was nearing tears. How can we support him in the coming months if he won't or can't tell us what's happening? Feel so helpless and like we're just carrying on as per normal because we don't know what to do.


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Answers (6)

Just went through a similar thing with my mum - she was very emotional about it and talking about it made it worse, made it 'real'. Just continue to be there for him and be understanding. Practical help - lifts to doctors, cooked meals that can be frozen, fielding inquiries from neighbours. If they know you are there with no pressure they may open up a bit. Good luck.

My 18 year old son passed away on Friday from a brain tumor there isn't a lot you can do to support him. Just let him know your there for him when he is ready to talk about it if and when that happens . Or even get intouch with a counselor as someone removed from the emotions involved can be helpful

Thanks for your replies. We aren't very close to step mum so we're not suddenly going to visit twice a week because she's sick as that gets her down knowing we're doing it because she's sick. They already have a housekeeper and her daughters are helping with meals etc. The household stuff is under control but Dad is not coping emotionally. Struggle to see him like this and it will only get worse as she gets closer to dying. I think if we actually new where she was at health wise we would be in a better position to help him

You cannot force him to talk about it. But you can just let him know you’re there for him.

Good advice from others. Practical help is what they need most, and probably you remaining cheerful, hard as that will be, because the sadness also reinforces for them what is really happening. Maybe housework could be added to the list, as she will not feel up to any housework, but will probably feel down about not being able to keep the house standards up. Can you ask her what help would be most useful, if Dad has frozen up ? Put it in the context of her just being ill, like you would if it was something she would recover from.
If she cant go out for coffee, but loved it, can you take her favourite coffee to her as a takeaway. Little things will count a lot.
My daughters help really assisted me when I had a stroke and was paralyzed down the left side.
It is such a difficult minefield to navigate emotionally. Good luck.

No advice but I’m so sorry your family is going through this. I’m sending you big hugs. X