Ask Amy: Spouse is disappointed in family’s reaction to cancer

Dear Amy: Recently, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. We began daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. We are both self-employed, and so we have some flexibility in our scheduling, but it has been a lot to handle.

My wife’s mother and her family have been enormously supportive. We have lots of friends who are there for us, too.

My family, however, has been less so. In fact, they have not helped at all. They don’t even text me to find out how we are doing.

I don’t require much, but a weekly text just to send love and support would be nice. Even better would be if they offered to help.

Last week my siblings spent the better part of two days going back and forth over dozens of group texts, discussing which cars we’d had growing up.

I kept thinking to myself, how is it that they can send dozens of texts about something as trivial as what kind of cars we had during our childhood, but cannot reach out and say, “Hey, Sis, I’m thinking about you.”

I really want to leave this anger behind, and if that means letting go of these relationships, then I suppose I can do that.

My guess is that I am in a hyper-sensitive state and don’t want to lash out during this phase.

Am I being unreasonable?

— Upset Spouse

Dear Upset: On the one hand, this group text was a real-world reminder that life goes on (for others) during personal crises.

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If you felt less ignored by your siblings, you might see this text exchange as a welcome respite. But you do feel ignored, and so this was a reminder that this group of people does not “see” you as you want to be seen right now.

During the group text exchange, you could have replied: “Guys, I know this is fun, but my wife has cancer. We are overwhelmed, and so I’m finding this car conversation tough to take. Not one of you has even asked about her!”

If you had done this, your siblings might have used your statement to alienate you even further (“Wow, what a Debbie Downer!”), but they would have at least been put on notice as a group that you are expecting more from them.

Many people do not know how to behave during a health crisis. It is a frequent topic in this column. And yes, cancer can definitely show you who your real friends are. But before you give up on your entire family, show them …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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