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Author Topic: Hospice etiquette  (Read 17448 times)

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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2016, 05:11:18 AM »
GF definitely overstepped.  And I agree that it isn't worth saying or doing anything at this point.  But you may have to dress her down later.

Though I can see myself in this position in the not too distant future.  BF's Dad's health is not good.  And were something to happen, I'll probably be helping out a lot, since organizing and making sure there is food on the table is kind of my forte.  But I would never say, 'Thank you for coming' to his grandchildren!!
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
Ontario

NFPwife

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2016, 07:19:34 AM »
I learned a few useful things when my mom was in Hospice. One is that everybody gets some buttons pushed, whether over past losses, current dynamics, or future fears. It's a pressure cooker, and you can't predict the way you or others will react.

Another was that people say dumb, dumb, stupid things because they get scared of being quiet.

A third thing was that cutting everyone as much slack as you can make, beg borrow or pretend, is a huge kindness to yourself, the dying person, and everyone involved.

POD

During my MIL's recent illness, my FIL could not be quiet. During one crisis, we were at the hospital waiting for the doc and he kept speaking and waking her up. We'd motion for him to be quiet and then he'd sigh loudly the next time. Then, he'd talk. I remember standing in the hallway out of his line of sight so he wouldn't engage us so she might be able to sleep.

Margo

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2016, 07:32:02 AM »
Was her comment meade at the hospice while youwere visiting? If so, then a "No, thank you for visiting" wouldbe fine.

If the comment was made at a time when neither party was actually making a visit then the suggested response is fine. O even (if she and her partner are also amking visits) you can still use the "no, thank you" response (or even, "No, thank you - I know you haven't known her as long as some of us have, and don't have as many good memories from when she was hale and hearty, so it's paticualrly kind of you to visit. Thank you again")

But to be honest, if she is inclined to be pushy or cause scenes then simply ignoring it completely may be the best option.

EllenS

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2016, 09:47:05 AM »
I agree that the comment was not proper, and if she has a history of bulldozing this sounds like more of the same, but on the other hand I do think there's a case of "J eating crackers" going on.

OP, you say that you are trying to support your DH in this experience, and that your BIL seems to approve (or possibly appreciate?) J's level of involvement. I know you see her as "just" a girlfriend, but if they are functioning as an emotional/social unit, perhaps she is stepping in to support him in a way that he finds helpful. It's his mother, too, right? I think BIL is the best judge/arbiter of how much J "deserves" to be involved - as much as he wants/needs her to be.

I'm also not sure (not being there) about the story she shared about her own mother's passing. It sounds to me like she shared that her family derived great comfort from their mother dying peacefully surrounded by loved ones, and that she hopes your family gets the same comfort. While you may not have wanted to hear that at the time, it doesn't exactly sound like a character flaw.

I may be entirely misreading the situation, but just from the things you've shared, I suspect that you and your son may be experiencing the very, very natural anger and anxiety that we all go through in situations like this, and focusing it on J. It's a lot easier to be mad at someone you already don't like, than to deal with the sort of all-encompassing free-floating rage that we get in the face of suffering and death.

(I took mine out on my poor husband. It wasn't pretty, but it passes.)

Hugs and best wishes for your family in this difficult time.

bopper

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2016, 10:29:16 AM »
Some people want the spotlight no matter what...perhaps this is what J was doing.

Or maybe she spends much time with MIL and perhaps more than you are able so is happy you are spending the time.

But I bet it is the first case.

mime

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2016, 11:42:27 AM »
My interpretation of the situation is that a relative newbie to a situation who is not the hostess and not as close to the ill family member thanked closer family members who have been in the family for decades for doing something for someone else (the ill MIL) that had nothing to do with the newbie. That's why it's out of line. Because BIL's girlfriend is not the hostess and she's not in charge but she's acting as if she's speaking on behalf of MIL. To me, it's a power play. The girlfriend is trying to show that she's closer to MIL than the grandchildren are.

It's like if you go to an event and another guest who doesn't know the hostess as well as you do comes up to you and thanks you for coming. As if they're sharing in the hosting duties or are somehow in charge.

It's up to MIL to thank her relatives for visiting her. If she can't thank them, then FIL can thank them on his spouse's behalf. If FIL is no longer in the picture, then one of MIL's adult children can say "that was nice of you to come. I'm sure mom appreciates it." But anyone else outside the circle sounds really presumptuous doing that.



I agree 100%. I think the gf really overstepped here.

The OP indicates there is a lot of background with her BIL's gf, so it doesn't sound like this was an honest, goofy faux pas - instead I suspect it was more of a power play.

I like the response of "Why wouldn't I want to visit my grandma?".


This was totally my impression, too, and I see why OP & son were put off by it.

When my great-Aunt Fern and great-uncle Ned were both in their final days of life (married 65 years and peacefully died on the same day from different causes  :)), there were visitors from both sides of their family. My grandmother was the only one of their siblings still alive and able to visit, and viewed herself as some sort of family matriarch. She actually sized-up all the visitors, relationship-wise. She even pointed out to any nieces and nephews who came that her daughter (my mom) was not only a niece, but also a Godchild... so I guess that made her more important. In a way, it almost felt like she was trying to magnify her grief and attention, and diminish the grief of anyone else because they weren't as close to Fern and Ned as she.

FauxFoodist

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2016, 07:40:28 PM »
I think a good response, like someone else suggested, would've been "Thank *you* for visiting MIL!" then leave it at that.  It's possible her wording was simply awkward, but I could also see a powerplay as well.  Late last year, DH's aunt died.  Aunt and Uncle had been together, happily, for 30+ years.  She died only weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  DH and I learned a few months ago that an awful woman has latched onto Uncle (who happens to be a millionaire); she was part of their friend group and has known both of them for over thirty years so it seems rather poor form to make the moves on him just a few days after his wife's funeral the moment the last of the funeral guests had gone home (some close family stayed with Uncle after the funeral to provide support).  Anyway, the family learned about it over Christmas when the woman was there with her adult daughter (DH said it was super-awkward; Aunt had only been gone for about a month or so at that point).  The woman, who was not living at Uncle's house (but DH's cousin had been staying with Aunt and Uncle for a few months until shortly after Aunt died), actually thanked DH's cousin for coming over when she was leaving at the end of the Christmas gathering.  Apparently, his cousin was pretty ticked and said something about of course she (the cousin) came over as it's her own house (technically, not her house at all, but I understand the point).  We all think it was some sort of power play by thanking cousin as there was, apparently, no way the woman was co-hosting the gathering; she was definitely a guest (the ongoing situation is pretty bad and, yes, we are all thinking gold-digger as the woman is pretty bad off financially -- never mind that she's a drunk, drug user and drama queen -- while Uncle is vulnerable and lonely and had had a very active social life and happy marriage with Aunt).

cross_patch

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2016, 08:21:29 PM »
After 5 years together, she's not "just a girlfriend", she's your BIL's long-term partner. I think the stress of the situation combined with your obvious dislike of her is making this bigger than it is. It sounds like nothing she does will ever be right in the eyes of her in-laws.

That's a big jump to make.

cross_patch

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2016, 08:24:22 PM »
My MIL is in hospice. My BIL's girlfriend seems to have taken over as "hostess" of the situation. Yesterday she thanked my son and his family for visiting Grandma. Is that overstepping or is my dislike of this woman making me petty?

No, that would annoy the pants off me too. I mean, in the scheme of things I'd roll my eyes and be like 'ugh, her again' but yeah, it would irritate me. We have a similar person in our family so I know where you're coming from.shes been around for 20-odd years, so it's not so much a seniority thing as, I don't know, a degree of closeness maybe?

FauxFoodist

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2016, 08:35:21 PM »
Some people want the spotlight no matter what...perhaps this is what J was doing.

I think this is likely the case.  Reminds me of a current situation with Evil CW.  She's constantly redirecting conversations so she's doing the talking and all about her and how wonderful she thinks her life is.  When individuals are like that, it makes me think that individual is super insecure.  I just mentally shake my head and try to ignore her.

Kimberami

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2016, 04:42:28 AM »
I have an aunt like this.  My honest response would be "You don't have to thank me for visiting my Grandmother."  SIL is making this about herself, and it doesn't have anything to do with her.  Your DS visited his grandmother out of love.  He didn't visit her to please your SIL. 
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

mandycorn

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2016, 12:12:32 PM »
My MIL is in hospice. My BIL's girlfriend seems to have taken over as "hostess" of the situation. Yesterday she thanked my son and his family for visiting Grandma. Is that overstepping or is my dislike of this woman making me petty?

I think my answer to this is probably both. She's clearly overstepping, but if she were someone you liked otherwise, it probably wouldn't have bothered you nearly so much.

My sympathies for your MIL's whole extended family!
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

mich3554

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2016, 07:16:29 PM »
I think in a stressful situation, you really do need to back off and try not to take offense at things like this.

Lord knows, when my dad died, there were people in my childhood home saying and doing things that had me gritting my teeth.  I had to let them go because I know that everyone is stressed and when you are stressed you don't tend to pay attention to what you say, or you say things automatically without thinking of their impact on others.

Yeah, it sucks.  But while I know that there were some things that were said during this time made me see red, a year later I can't remember them at all.  In the grand scheme of things, they simply are not important.

JMHO

HannahGrace

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2016, 11:05:18 PM »
I think in a stressful situation, you really do need to back off and try not to take offense at things like this.

Lord knows, when my dad died, there were people in my childhood home saying and doing things that had me gritting my teeth.  I had to let them go because I know that everyone is stressed and when you are stressed you don't tend to pay attention to what you say, or you say things automatically without thinking of their impact on others.

Yeah, it sucks.  But while I know that there were some things that were said during this time made me see red, a year later I can't remember them at all.  In the grand scheme of things, they simply are not important.

JMHO

Having lost a parent at a relatively young age, I agree with this. Also, for a note of perspective: in the specific incident being cited, the "bad act" is...saying thank you. Yes, there seems to be overstepping or whatever, but at the end of the day, I think time is better served thinking the best of people or at least not dwelling on perceived slights.

Crazy Cora

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Re: Hospice etiquette
« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2016, 10:20:41 AM »
Some people want the spotlight no matter what...perhaps this is what J was doing

This is J to a T.

I've spent several hours with her this week and, although she rubs me the wrong way, I'm behaving myself. I have, however, serious eye strain from all the rolling. This morning she is gossiping to me about BIL's first wife. Thankfully I had an hour by myself with MIL that was very peaceful and what I'd been hoping for since she arrived on Saturday.

Thank you for all your points of view. It made me step back and try to be objective about J.