Feeling Overwhelmed


There are many things going on in my family right now and on some days I just feel overwhelmed. Today has been one of those days.

My husband and I raised our niece for the last 3 years, from ages 8 to 11. Two months ago, we had an argument with my sister-in-law (niece’s mother) and she took our niece back without any warning. Poor kid went to school in the morning expecting me to pick her up in the afternoon. Instead my sister-in-law picked her up and told her that I said I didn’t want my niece anymore and she wasn’t welcome in our house. None of this was true. My sister-in-law was angry at me and wanted to hurt me. Well, she succeeded. We only see our niece once every two or three weeks now. Her grades in school are slipping and her behavioral problems have returned. The reason we had our niece for 3 years is that my sister-in-law is mentally ill and cannot provide an emotionally healthy environment. Unfortunately, we never had custody, and for a lot of reasons, aren’t likely to get it.

My father-in-law sided with my sister-in-law and called my husband on the phone and basically disowned him. My husband was very hurt and he and his father have had several arguments since then, with a lot of hard feelings for both of them.

My mother-in-law has leukemia and is dying. My husband is of course very worried about her, and he has been quite depressed for the past few weeks.

My mother and aunt are both in their 80s and live together. My aunt was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and her tumor is inoperable. She is back at home after spending two weeks in the hospital and I am helping my mother care for her after I get off from work every afternoon. My mother does not want to tell my aunt that the doctor thinks she has less than a year to live. She will also not discuss death with my aunt at all. I think my aunt has a right to know and I think someone needs to talk to her about what to expect in the coming months. My mother has asked me to talk to my aunt at some point about these things. I’m willing to do that, but I’m scared. I’ve never had to talk to someone about their own death before.

After my aunt is gone we will have to sell the house my mother lives in and she will be moving in with my husband and I. That is likely to be stressful on everyone.

I feel like everyone in the family needs things from me right now. My mother needs emotional support from me. My aunt needs physical care. My husband needs emotional support from me. And I am still dealing with the fact we no longer have our niece with us. I miss her so much. And now my mother-in-law and my aunt are going to die. I could handle any one of these things, but having them all come at once is a bit much.


I’ll pray for you…I can see how you would feel overwhelmed.



You certainly do have an extra helping of hurtin’, don’t you? I am so sorry that everything is going on all at once for you, and I imagine that the holiday season might be contributing to the stress.

You might want to have this post moved over to the “Family Life” forum–it’ll be read and responded to by so many kind and caring people who have been in your shoes and can offer comfort.

Right now, let me just say that I will pray for you. I hope that you are able to schedule some time to go and just sit before Christ in the tabernacle for a while, and tell Him what’s going on.

Now more than ever, I’m sure you know, is when you need to make sure that you’re getting proper sleep, exercise and nutrition. (Easier said than done, I know!)

Hang in there. God has not left your side, and never will. May His agony in the garden inspire you to persevere, praying, “Not my will but Thine be done.”


Dear Anne,
I should be in bed right now, but somehow decided to click on this post. It is very important that I tell you this:
Give it all, every last bit, to Jesus. Relinquish control.
Be Centered in the Peace of Christ
There is not one more human thing you can do about any of it. Pray for your Niece to come home, pray for healing for your family members, pray for your family who will not understand about your niece to be given divine wisdom, knowledge, and truth, pray for strength.
Place it all in God’s hands. The Cross You Bear, is great. Jesus is using you to be the Hope to each and everyone of these people. You are making a huge difference. Continue to allow God to work through you.
Went for a walk this evening, looked up at the Stars. They are brilliant and perfectly aligned. Said to myself, I am just a very small part of the history of this world. Jesus has a plan. Extremely dificult to hand it all over, but you must.

My mother has stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. We are going to spend Thanksgiving with her tomorrow. They are stopping the radiation treatment, and have tried the"top of the line" chemo for her. Are starting Hospice on Friday. When I see her in excruciating pain, I have said many times, “Does the Mercy of God lie in the long goodbye or the instant passing?” Now, I realize that a beautiful and gifted soulful healing has occured, a peace. I know it will be ok.

My Prayers to you,



A link that might help, it kind of confirms everyones thoughts…
http://www.spiritdaily.com/georgewashpraying.jpgIt is through thanksgiving that we are delivered from evil because thanksgiving puts us in touch with God. The Lord wants to be appreciated. He created us. It’s the least we can do for Him. He wants us to love Him as He loves us (who would not?).
And so there is real potency in thanksgiving – in using the feast, the week, as a special time of thankful reflection.
Thanksgiving means prayer. It means humility. It means acknowledgment, which is faith. When we thank God, we are in His presence.
Thanking Him for all – for the good and the bad – puts us in a state of abandon. We abandon ourselves to Him, and when we do that we are united to Heaven (where thanksgiving is constant) in a way that blunts attacks by the enemy.
Thanksgiving puts us in touch with God and it is His closeness that breaks through barriers and chases away the oppression of Satan.


For Anne and Irs -
O God and Lord Jesus Christ: lead us in your way that we may walk in your truth. Gladden our hearts that we may fear your holy Name. O Lord, so mighty in your mercy, so gracious in your might: assist and comfort us; save us for we put our trust in your holy Name. In your wrath, do not let us parish, O Lord and Lover of Mankind, but show us your great mercy and compassion. O Physician and Healer of souls, most merciful Savior: forgive all our transgressions, for the depth of our hearts, we are sorry for having offended You. Grant us grace, that we may avoid our earlier sinful ways. Give us strength, O mighty Lord, to withstand the temptations before which we are weak. Keep us under your protection and under the shadow of your wings, that we may serve You faithfully, praise You, and glorify your Name all the days of our life. Amen.


My mother also died of pancreatic cancer, diagnosed at one holiday, died on another holiday. This happened during a year of great family stress due to lots of other reasons.

Pray the rosary daily, Mary will get you through this.

Start planning now for hospice so the transition is smooth and you are not forced to make sudden decisions without knowledge. Start getting her affairs in order, medical coverage, taxes, power of attorney for legal stuff, health care power of attorney etc. Igood idea to do this for your mother as well, she is not getting any younger). Start clearing away clutter, gradually getting the house ready to sell, making plans for your mother’s care etc. These are things you can have a measure of control over, and where you will feel you are “doing something”. You need that because you realize that the big things, you have NO control over. As you help your mother and aunt with this, your aunt will come to know the true situation. I would be willing to bet she already knows the truth and just may need help accepting it. Your mother also will we helped in facing her own death even though it is not so immanent.

practice trust in Divine Providence as the main goal of your spirituality now. above poster gave great advice. the Divine Mercy Chaplet helps a lot of people with this. take care of your own health, eat right, exercise etc. keep your immune system up. Again, take control of things you can do something about.

Since you still can see your niece occassionally take those chances to affirm her, to let her know you care and have never stopped loving her, that she always has a place with you. don’t put down her mother or other relatives, but allow her to vent with you, and be very forgiving.

If you have to distance yourself from toxic relatives do it for your own mental health. Take care of your marriage as well.

By all means investigate her health care coverage and get in home nursing or whatever professional help is covered. You simply cannot do it all, no matter how much you want to, and the right help will be good for them and for you.

I will only add that your aunt’s illness and dying can be an occassion of immense grace for all of you, and especially for her caretakers. This proved to be true for our family. A tremendous healing on many levels took place before and after mom’s death, and we experienced grace in many unexpected ways.


Thanks to everyone for your kind words of encouragement. I have been praying and asking God to help me get through this. There is an Adoration chapel near my house and I visit there whenever I can.

Irs, I am sorry to hear your mother also has cancer. I will pray for both of you.

Puzzleannie, I am sorry to hear you lost your mother to cancer. My husband and I lost a friend to pancreatic cancer last year so we have some idea of what to expect with my aunt in the coming months.

We have already done most of the things you suggested with powers of attorney, consultations with doctors, nurses and hospice. My aunt wants to try radiation treatments and will begin those in a week. My mother also has her affairs in order.

My husband is a wonderful man and has been so good to my mother and aunt. He spent several nights in the hospital with my aunt, and when she came home he cooked a spaghetti dinner for her, and she ate more than she has in a month. She raves about his spaghetti sauce. He is also helping by taking her to some of her doctor’s appointments.

My mother and I are going to spend some time this weekend decorating the house for Christmas. We want it to look especially nice this year.

My niece will be staying with us for two nights next month while my sister-in-law goes out of town. I am looking forward to spending time with my niece. My husband and I have always made it a policy not to say anything bad about the relatives to my niece. That has been quite a challenge at times.


your aunt is so fortunate to have you two in her life and to ease her transition to new life. you will be blessed far beyond what you give her, that is a fact. Your niece will be learning so much by the way your are caring for your aunt and your mother, maybe the best lesson you will ever be able to give her.

one of the beautiful memories of my mother is her last night on earth, her bed surrounded by her sons-in-law, one of whom held her hand, another (the minister’s son) softly reading from the psalms, the third moistening her lips periodically, as the rest of waited and prayed, quietly. quite a tribute to a mother-in-law as well as to a mother. no wrangling about what she left behind, it had all been taken care of long before, and we settled her estate by just signing the house over to the one child who desperately needed it.


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