Author Topic: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?  (Read 4992 times)

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kitchcat

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Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« on: April 09, 2012, 12:22:06 AM »
Over the weekend DH and I learned that my FIL has been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer...when we read it on his Facebook page.  :o

I'm very upset about the way he decided to break the news. DH pretty much had a breakdown over the news (which left many unanswered questions) combined with the fact that FIL didn't even bother to call him and tell him. To make it worse, FIL did not answer any of DH's subsequent calls, and only sent him a brief FB message to give like 2 sentences more info on the diagnosis.

DH and FIL have a good relationship, no past tension or disagreements. I understand that FIL is probably depressed, but shouldn't he have at least called DH and told him instead of announcing his illness online? 
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JustEstelle

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 12:26:50 AM »
That is a horrible way to receive bad news, but I would give him a pass on it.  He received devastating news about himself.  People deal with these things in strange ways. 

I would give it a little time and then call or go visit. While I do understand the hurt you guys must feel, this would not be the time for your DH to let this cause him to pull away from his dad.

Harriet

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 01:49:20 AM »
I think it's terrible to break that kind of news to loved ones over Facebook. This is a real hot button for me. In my case it was my cousin posting that our grandparent had died.

I think your father in law gets more of a pass in this case, for the reasons JustEstelle mentioned -- that choice, combined with the dodging calls etc. seems like he is not coping. I think if your husband must say something, wait til the anger has subsided somewhat and he can convey his feelings in less of a blame-y way.

katycoo

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 02:51:06 AM »
Death is a slightly different category but IMO when the person afflicted wants to share news, they can do so whenever, however and to whomever they want to.  Its their news.  You can be hurt all you want, but its not rude.

MariaE

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 03:17:08 AM »
Death is a slightly different category but IMO when the person afflicted wants to share news, they can do so whenever, however and to whomever they want to.  Its their news.  You can be hurt all you want, but its not rude.
I agree with this.
 
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ClaireC79

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 04:28:57 AM »
It may also be that he can't bring himself to say the words yet, so he's chosen a way of informing people without having to verbalise them - especially as he's avoiding phone calls I suspect this is the case

Cosmasia

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 08:39:48 AM »
I would say forgive him and give him time. He's the sick one so, IMO, his feelings on this matter trump what anyone else would prefer him to do. Not to mention that there's nothing rude about what he did in the first place.
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Mikayla

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 11:51:11 AM »
I'd never call this rude, for reasons stated above.  But I also think it was shortsighted on his part.  One advantage technology has that we don't get in face-to-face interaction is an extra layer of "think before you type".  I employ it here all the time.  Something lands on one of my hot buttons, I type something out...and then I re-read it 5 minutes later and delete.  It's a Scritzy coke thing.

While his diagnosis is tragic and scary, I don't think the OP and her DH are wrong to react as they did.  I wouldn't want to learn this way, either.  And I'd be frustrated if follow up calls went unanswered. 

If he's not ready to talk about all this, that's perfectly understandable.  But then I'd keep it off FB. 




Yvaine

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 11:55:58 AM »
Death is a slightly different category but IMO when the person afflicted wants to share news, they can do so whenever, however and to whomever they want to.  Its their news.  You can be hurt all you want, but its not rude.
I agree with this.

I'm going to agree with this as well; it's his news, and quite possibly it was easier for him to deal with it that way than to have face-to-face conversations about it. I totally get why it hurt, but like others I can't quite call it rude.

Rivaini

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 12:18:12 PM »
Death is a slightly different category but IMO when the person afflicted wants to share news, they can do so whenever, however and to whomever they want to.  Its their news.  You can be hurt all you want, but its not rude.
I agree with this.

I'm going to agree with this as well; it's his news, and quite possibly it was easier for him to deal with it that way than to have face-to-face conversations about it. I totally get why it hurt, but like others I can't quite call it rude.


I agree with this completely, for all of the reasons already mentioned.
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Minmom3

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 12:28:20 PM »
My mother did this, barring the technology issue, when she was diagnosed with emphysema.  She had been getting weirder and weirder on the telephone, and it had been getting harder and harder to have an actual conversation with her, as she would go off on side tracks and you just could NOT have a coherent conversation with her.  She lived 3 states and 2 days drive away from me, and I had limited money and 3 small children, so picking up and going over to see what the heck was wrong with her really wasn't an option.

Come my birthday, she sent me a book unwrapped (she NEVER does that!!), with a note inside asking for forgiveness for not wrapping it, but that she still wasn't feeling well, and was still on oxygen.......  No mention of WHAT SHE WAS DIAGNOSED with, nothin'. 

I was so PO'd I could hardly see straight, and it took me a month to calm down to be able to call her and be civil about it.  She then told me that she'd been diagnosed with emphysema, and had been sent to the ER by her chiropractor, as she was turning blue that day.... 

That was 20 years ago.  She's still is (and always has been) a very difficult woman, but her advancing dementia and helplessness has actually made her much easier for me to handle these days - which is a Very Good Thing - since she's in assisted living an hour away from me, and I'm in charge of her money now.  Plus the doctors email me directly with questions and issues.  No more ambushes about anything other than "I'm out of toilet paper/cat food, bring me more NOW" when in fact I won't have time to get there for 3 more days.
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whiskeytangofoxtrot

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 12:35:20 PM »
[quote ]
I'm going to agree with this as well; it's his news, and quite possibly it was easier for him to deal with it that way than to have face-to-face conversations about it. I totally get why it hurt, but like others I can't quite call it rude.
[/quote]

Kind of what I was thinking. Along with that, it seems to me that it could get difficult to have to relive the same bad news, answer the same questions, and hear the same cries of dismay and/or trite-sounding (even if well-meaning)sympathy over over and over again with each person one told. It'd be quite shocking and upsetting to hear the news in such an impersonal way, though- BTDT myself, and even had to get *that much* info indirectly through social media- so I feel for both sides.

WillyNilly

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 01:18:35 PM »
Like others I think, while a bit clunky, there was nothing wrong in what your FIL did. I do think your DH's reaction was inappropriate though.

I pretty strictly stick to a respond in kind method - your FIL didn't call, for whatever reason, so any reaction to the post should not have been calls, but rather a PM or email. He notified you electronically and I think you and your DH should respond electronically. Remember no matter how upsetting or scary it might be for your DH, this is happening to FIL, and FIL should get to decide how everything involving him and his illness is handled.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 05:37:38 PM »
I have a lot of sympathy for your DH's hurt. I think that the relationship between parent and child (with the exception, of course, of a toxic relationship) means that there is a greater responsibility on the part of FIL to reach out to his son about the illness. No matter how ill or frightened I was, I couldn't imagine letting my child (even an adult child) worry alone in fear and confusion and ignore his phone calls. Of course, I think you should respond to FIL with kindness and understanding, but I'm going to go against the grain here and say that, as his son, your DH did deserve more than two lines on FB and FIL had a responsibility to contact him further in some way. Is there a MIL in the picture that might spread the news so as to relieve FIL from having to make phone calls and constantly be talking about it? Or a close friend that can take over those duties?

Letting your child know about a serious illness in that way seems downright cruel. I can't blame FIL, since I can only imagine what he's going through, but I can't excuse him either.




NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Announcing serious illness on FB w/o warning?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 06:13:47 PM »
My father announced his cancer via email. Not quite as bad as FB but both lack tact & respect.