In an awkward situation

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-10-2011
In an awkward situation
Tue, 01-15-2013 - 2:26pm

This morning, I received a phone call from my dil's mother; her husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. I felt so totally helpless, listening to her crying and offering what few words I could... it just feels so inadaquate. I'll be going over to her house later today -- I just feel like she needs someone there with her.

He's decided that they are not going to tell anyone just yet... but, you see, she lost two brothers and her father to the same type of cancer, so this has hit her like a ton of bricks and she just needed someone to lean on. I'm probably the only one she can talk to at this point... and I have to be there for her. And just so you know, it's not that her husband is unfeeling of her fears... she's an extremely emotional person and he's more of an analytical type... I think he needs a bit of distance just now to start sorting it out in his own head. I belive it's his thinking that he is protecting her in some small having all the answers lined up ... does that make sense?

I'm struggling a  bit of an issue, due to wanting to respect his wishes of confidentiality... and that's where I need some input. Because I know this is going to be extremely hard on my dil... part of me wonders if I should let my son know, so he can be a little more prepared, but at the same time, it would put him in the awkward position of keeping it from his wife. I've tried putting myself in both of their places... In my son's place, I'd appreciate the heads-up so I could prepare myself to focus on being a strong support for my partner, but in my dil's place, I might be angry if I learned that my spouse had prior knowledge and kept that from me. And, as a mother, I know that ultimately, both could  be upset if they find out I knew and didn't tell them, but that's the lesser concern to me. For now, I'm just going to keep quiet and be there for my friend, but I'd appreciate everyone's thoughts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Wed, 01-16-2013 - 12:41pm

Oh Bea, this is really tough. I'm dealing with a situation now where I know something about one friend I think is important to tell another but everyone keeps telling me it is not my place so I'll do the right thing and keep quiet about it.

Cancer is not something they'll be able to keep to themselves for very long so give them the respect and privacy they need right now and keep the secret. They are probably still trying to cope with the fact he has it.

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2004
Thu, 01-17-2013 - 8:32pm

Hi Bea,

First off, I think it is great that you even have a relationship with your DIL's mother. This may be awkward, but how truly great you are for being a solid support.

Because you were asked not to tell anyone, I think it will be okay for you to respect that wish for now. It would be awkward for you to tell your son. He would then be required to keep this quiet, and it could cause problems in the end.

I'd say that your DIL will be told soon. It is hard to keep something quiet like this, especially if her mother already reached out to tell you.

For now, just be there to listen and be supportive. That's so important in these kinds of situations.