Urgent family illness and academic deadline
October 16, 2013 7:17 PM Subscribe
I have a complicated relationship with my family. An elderly relative is dying in the next few weeks. I have an extremely important deadline coming up. I need help in coping.
posted by 3491again to human relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Those who have read my posts know that my relationship with most of my family is strained at best. An elderly relative with whom I have always had a particularly good relationship (although it had its issues as well) is dying. She has been given a couple of weeks to live.
I am in an extremely stressful period of life: an urgent academic deadline (the final deadline for a project I have not done well with) in a couple of weeks, a lot of work related to other projects, three (!) conferences I am supposed to present at (some that I have waited a long time for). I was at the end of my endurance before I heard the news.
I am very concerned that this visit with family will derail my progress and make it hard for me to focus over these critical few weeks on this critical deadline. I CANNOT DELAY THIS DEADLINE FOR ANY REASON. I've already delayed it, my academic advisor is concerned about me, and I stand to have serious consequences if anything goes wrong.
I am planning to visit her in a couple of days. I'm finding it upsetting to even think about this. I'm having trouble sleeping. I'm overeating. I'm completely drained.
Seeing family reminds me of what my life was like before I turned it around, how little they helped me when I needed it most, how smug and unhelpful most of them were, and chances are also good that my parents will be there. I haven't seen them in years and we are completely estranged. I'm pretty angry at everyone still, but I know they think I have no reason to be. It reminds me of how much I wanted a close, loving family, and how that never happened. I know I never met their expectations in life and I always wanted to. It makes me feel dark and bitter inside, hopeless and scared.
My questions are:
- What have you done to cope and make sure that your mind doesn't run off the track in situations like this?
- Should I go? I think it's respectful to go. She's still lucid most of the time. But I also think it will mess me up and I really can't afford to miss this deadline. This could be a great opportunity to sift through my past and come to peace and such, but I just don't have the time right now.
- My boyfriend will be going with me. I'd like him to meet her before she dies. But why do I care? Her approval isn't going to matter anyway. I keep going around and around with this.
- What should I talk to my therapist about this? How can she best help me?
- I imagine I'll go again at the funeral. Should I just wait for that?