My sister in law's husband was just diagnosed with terminal cancer (life expectancy < 3 months). While we're all hoping and praying for a miracle, she will most likely be a single mom of a wonderful 7 year old daughter within the year. I want to support her in any way possible without being intrusive. Do any of you have any ideas?
wife to DH, mom to 7/4/2011 and 11/6/13.
Oh, wow, that's really tough. She is fortunate to have such a caring family member.
I know that my experience is that many people say, "Let me know what I can do" but that puts an additional burden on the person needing help to figure out what and how to ask. It is much more helpful to hear specifics from people-- figure out what you can do and then make it available to her. For example, "These are the specific days this month where I am available, and I'd like to take your DD to the park/movies/museum. Are there any errands we can run while we are out?"
"What appointments (doctor or otherwise) do you have coming up where it would be helpful for me to watch DD? I'd like to pitch in with household chores while I'm at your place. Would that be alright?"
You will probably need to ask more than once, and she may have a lot of initial offers of support. They tend to decline after initial diagnosis and then pick up again around a funeral and then decline again pretty rapidly. Hope this helps, and I'm sorry for the terrible news.
and then when we get to the ocean
we're gonna take a boat to the end of the world