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"It's your fault that my child is sick! Your (fill in the blank) caused this illness, and you're not taking good enough care of her/him!"
Yes, some in-laws really do say that when your husband or wife - their child, whom you wooed away from the family's safe embrace - develops a serious or life-threatening illness.
And if they don't say it...many think it.
Thankfully, there are also many in-laws who are nothing but supportive, and who provide both practical assistance and an emotional refuge for the caregiving spouse. My father-in-law and my late mother-in-law were absolute bricks; wonderful, caring people who knew the right things to do before we knew we needed them. (If you are also blessed in this way, won't you share your story in the comments?)
But for the rest of the world, it can seem like a cross between the Alamo, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Jerry Springer Show.
You're doing your best, and you're second-guessed at every turn.
You're exhausted but still have to face in-depth interrogation from 'concerned' family members.
"We're her family, after all...we know her." Oh, really? She left home for college at eighteen, and we've been married for twenty-four years, and she sees you around three times a year...well, so obviously I don't know her better. Sheesh.
Yourlifestyle is called into question..."Those late hours you keep, trying to get ahead of everyone at work...I could see how much strain that caused for our poor child, having to keep your dinner warm until nine or ten some nights!"
"I told you you shouldn't get a dog. Our boy was allergic to cats when he was a child. That's why we never had pets."
As you can see, both courtesy and logic will be shown the door. Respect for privacy was never admitted in the first place.
So, what to do? (No, you can't have them deported.)
The most important part of dealing with a difficult family is to present a united front. You speak for your husband; he speaks for you. You support one another's decisions in public, even if privately you think they're wrong. A visible disagreement leaves a gap into which a verbal and moral wedge can be driven, splitting you apart...and believe me, there are families that would love to take that opportunity, terminal illness or no.
Second, don't over-share. We live an an age of information overload, and it's made many of us accustomed to sharing details of our life that we would have kept private twenty years ago. Unless there's a reason to know the details of treatment, there is no reason for someone outside your marriage to be 'kept up-to-date'.
There are exceptions; a change in prognosis, or a treatment that will result in visible effects (like chemotherapy or radiation, or...obviously...surgery) is an appropriate piece of information to share...but be clear that you're not putting it out for debate.
Encourage visits, but don't have an open-door policy. You may one day need the help of even difficult relatives, and need it badly. You don't want to drive them away; they're not the enemy, and they do have love for your spouse, their child or sibling, even if their way of showing it grates on your nerves.
Be compassionate. You're not the only one who's losing someone. Their knowing that they can and should only be at some remove merely makes it harder for them.