Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Mental Health Update

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What began last Monday as taking a mental health week for myself turned into something much more than that. By Tuesday, we learned that my father-in-law had terminal cancer that had mestastisized so quickly and so aggressively that he had a life expectancy of about one week. He was moved to in-home hospice on Wednesday, and we have been by his side waiting, with all the range of emotions you would expect, for the inevitable.

Supporting my husband through the agonizing process of watching his tough-as-nails father die, while also dealing with my own grief, and caring for a confused 4-year-old, and a 3-month-old baby who doesn’t sleep through the night has, by far, been the most challenging and exhausting experience of my life.

I am eager to get back to work; I miss it and I miss you. But please bear with me as I give my father-in-law and Drew and the rest of my family the respect and the attention they deserve. Continued thoughts and prayers and positive vibes are appreciated, as always.

42 comments… add one
  • avatar

    cyndi October 25, 2015, 6:22 am

    In our thoughts and prayers. We love and miss you.

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    keyblade October 25, 2015, 8:25 am

    We miss you, too. Continued positive thoughts…

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  • FireStar

    Firestar October 25, 2015, 8:42 am

    Aw honey. Lots of love to your family in this difficult time.

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    MissDre October 25, 2015, 9:00 am

    Sending you lots of love, Wendy & Drew!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 25, 2015, 9:01 am

    Sending thoughts and prayers and positive vibes your way. Sorry you’re going through this.

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    rocketgirl October 25, 2015, 9:31 am

    We all miss you and the best thing you can do right now is take care of yourself and your family. Sending energy, love and healing

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  • juliecatharine

    Juliecatharine October 25, 2015, 10:20 am

    I’m so sorry. Wishing you and your family peace during this terrible time. *hugs*

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  • Regina Chapman

    Regina Chapman October 25, 2015, 10:33 am

    Take all the time you need. I have no experience with the loss of (step)parents, but it must be so rough. I continue to think of him and your family and wishing you all peace. <3

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning October 25, 2015, 1:35 pm

    I’m sending prayers of strength to you, Wendy. I know how hard it is to endure the next second, the next minute. Take good care of yourself and your husband and your little ones.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne October 25, 2015, 1:39 pm

    Sending so much love and positivity your way. You and your family have been in my thoughts. Try to stay strong!

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  • avatar

    Essie October 25, 2015, 1:41 pm

    Oh, Wendy, I’m so sad for you and your family. I wish you all the moments of peace and grace you can find as you work through your grief, and I hope your father-in-law’s passing is as peaceful and comfortable as possible.
    .
    It’s easy to neglect your own health (mental and physical) in the chaos of a family member’s illness, but do take the time to take care of yourselves. Eat, get as much rest as you can, and take little breaks to clear your heads. Watch a sitcom, read something funny, go for a walk – whatever helps.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy October 25, 2015, 3:21 pm

    Thank you, everyone. This is so surreal. Three days ago, we were told the end was hours away and to say our goodbyes. But my FIL has other plans and we are respecting that. His life force is something else. Since thus began, I think we’ve all cycled through the stages of grief several times over. The upside is that this has been something of a bonding experience, and we’ve done a hell of a lot of cleaning an organizing in the hours and hours we’ve spent waiting for the inevitable, making the place nice for shiva calls. The irony, of course, is that seeing us do all this organizing of his home would have killed my FIL.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki October 25, 2015, 3:53 pm

    We miss you too, but your family needs you and you need this time to take care of yourself. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way. I hope Joanie starts sleeping through the night. That would make it much easier for your emotional well being.

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  • Cassie

    Cassie October 25, 2015, 4:25 pm

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Take the time that you need; we’ll still be here when you get back.

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  • avatar

    anon October 25, 2015, 4:29 pm

    Wendy, I am sorry to hear that. My father also passed away from cancer far too young. Loss and especially pending loss is heart wrenching.

    But I am glad your children were lucky enough to have a chance to spend some time with him.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh October 25, 2015, 5:13 pm

    It’s been hard for me to read your updates and stories because it reminds me so much of what my Grandfather (who acted more like my father) went through. Our family too went through so many emotions in his last weeks. And it was strangely too a bonding experience, I spent more time at home in his last months than I had since I left for college. I hope his last days are as easy as possible and his pain is being managed well. I found that I really didn’t truly grieve until months after. There was so much to do and process during his illness that it didn’t really hit me until things went back to ‘normal’. I’ll be continuing to think of you and your family.

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  • avatar

    MiMi October 25, 2015, 6:02 pm

    Wishing you and all yours strength and peace in the face of such a tragic situation. May the presence of your beautiful young family and all of his loved ones bring your father in law comfort: you all stand as testament to the beauty and the good he has nurtured in this life.

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  • avatar

    Amanda October 25, 2015, 6:04 pm

    Sending positive thoughts to your family

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  • avatar

    RedRoverRedRover October 25, 2015, 6:08 pm

    I’m so sorry Wendy, I wish you all the best possible path through this. I echo what Essie said, make sure to take some time and do something to cheer you up a bit, like even just watch a show you enjoy on TV.

    I remember when my grandma died, the night after the funeral my siblings and I stayed overnight with an aunt and uncle and our cousins. We were all sad of course, but eventually we started kidding around like we always do, and we had everyone cracking up by the end of the night. It was such a relief and made us feel so much better. And I’m sure grandma would have been happy to know that we weren’t completely miserable.

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  • veracityb

    veracityb October 25, 2015, 6:37 pm

    Wishing you and Drew continued strength, Wendy.

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  • freckles

    freckles October 25, 2015, 7:59 pm

    Wishing you the best Wendy. The end of a loved one’s life is never easy, but I know he must be so happy to have all of you there with him as he heads towards his final journey. Obviously you take all the time that you need to be with your family, to process your own grief, and support your children in whatever way they need. We will hold down the fort and entertain ourselves, and I’m sure we are all sending positive thoughts your way in this difficult time.

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  • avatar

    cookiepaws October 25, 2015, 10:25 pm

    Longtime lurker here – I’m so sorry, Wendy. The grief of losing a parent (and the waiting prior to the inevitable) is incredibly difficult; managing that while figuring out how to let your spouse grieve and cope is a whole other beast (not to mention your children and sleep deprivation). My husband lost his father to an aggressive tumor a few years ago during my pregnancy and it is so hard to take care of yourself with all that comes. Please take all the time you need and know that everyone in this community cares and understands.

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  • avatar

    Jane63 October 26, 2015, 6:51 am

    Prayers and positive thoughts for you and yours.

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    Moe P October 26, 2015, 7:43 am

    I read your column every morning. I am wishing you and your family well and hope you take as much time as you need to get through this 🙂

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  • avatar

    Jenny October 26, 2015, 8:56 am

    Sending love to you and your family, Wendy.

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  • avatar

    Anon. October 26, 2015, 9:48 am

    Wendy, I’m wishing you and your family the best during this tough time. Please take as much time as you need.

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  • avatar

    snoopy128 October 26, 2015, 10:01 am

    Sending you and your family love and strength.

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  • Stonegypsy

    Stonegypsy October 26, 2015, 10:06 am

    Sending all the positive thoughts and strength to you and your family, Wendy.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster October 26, 2015, 10:08 am

    Oh I’m so sorry, Wendy. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. Hugs.

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  • avatar

    K October 26, 2015, 10:10 am

    Wishing you and your family the best during this terribly difficult time.

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  • avatar

    Vathena October 26, 2015, 10:14 am

    Been thinking of you and your family, Wendy. Take all the time you need; we will still be here!

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  • avatar

    Dora October 26, 2015, 10:34 am

    Prayers to you and your family as you move through this, Wendy.

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  • Diablo

    Diablo October 26, 2015, 10:45 am

    Take care, Wendy. It is one of life’s bitter ironies that you only fully take the measure of what you had when you lose someone. But the harshness of the loss is equivalent to the wonderful sufficiency and completeness that you were given by having this person in your life. Think about what you were given and you can’t be too sad. Peace to you, Drew and the family.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo October 26, 2015, 10:52 am

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, Wendy.

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  • avatar

    estecca October 26, 2015, 11:17 am

    So sorry to hear you are going through this Wendy, you are in my thoughts!

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie October 26, 2015, 11:20 am

    Although this is not easy – the alternatives could be worse (sudden or lingering). I never got a chance to say a word to my dad (sudden). Use this time to say all of the things that you need to say, to your FIL, to yourself, to Drew and others.

    And although trite – the one stupid thing that a cousin said that actually made me feel better when my dad died was that grief was payment for years of love and care and that the time needed to grieve would be shorter than the time I had with my dad.

    Grieving took a lot longer than I thought (about 9 months), but when I finally felt it lift – the balance was still very much in favor of time with than time spent despairing.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny October 26, 2015, 11:55 am

    Thinking of you, Wendy, and sending you positive thoughts and prayers during this time.

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  • othy

    othy October 26, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I’m so sorry you and Drew are going through this. Your family will be in my thoughts this week.

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  • bondbabe

    bondbabe October 26, 2015, 12:20 pm

    Sorry to hear this. Your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourselves and each other.

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  • avatar

    MCJ2011 October 26, 2015, 12:42 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Praying for you and your family during this very difficult time.

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  • avatar

    Aurora October 26, 2015, 1:00 pm

    I’m so sorry for what you are going through, Wendy. Sending good thoughts to you and your family during this awful time. Take all the time you need, and know we will of course all be here when you’re ready. Hugs.

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  • avatar

    trixy minx October 27, 2015, 9:47 pm

    Be well, Wendy.

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