My cousin's husband is dying, suddenly, of cancer, in the same city in which I live. We weren't particularly close and haven't socialized directly at all, though we saw each other all the time at large family functions. Certainly I know him well enough but that's as far as it goes.
Anyway, he's dying rapidly at home. Won't make the week. Apparently the house is filled with people coming and going.
Should I go to say good bye? I don't think so. I think I can be more supportive to the survivors once he's gone. We weren't close at all and I just think if there's tons of people coming and going who obviously think they are close enough to warrant it, I'd be one more person chewing up pretty precious time for the family. Also, I feel like it would be excessive to show up now. I'm happy to make some food and go by in the aftermath.
I have got it right, haven't I?
Depends on how sincere you are with this statement:
"I think I can be more supportive to the survivors once he's gone. "
100% sincere in it. I make a mean casserole and write a good sympathy letter. I don't handle direct complex human emotion particularly well. I think I'd be more use, less stress on everybody stepping at a less fraught time.
Is your cousin alive? Is s/he going to be there? If so, how much of an effort is it for you, really, to go over for a little while, and then head back home?
I'd say it depends more on your relationship with your cousin, since I infer that you're wondering whether later you'll be seen as "uncaring" for not having visited.
If you decide not to go, I would call your cousin and explain why you're not going so that s/he doesn't think you're just one of those people who stays away when someone has cancer. It's really easy to misinterpret intentions, and you'd be surprised how long people can hold unfounded grudges in a situation like this. If you don't explain why you're not going, they may not want your support once he's gone.
I had a friend who based her entire set of relationships with friends on how they acted when her grandmother died. If you're close to your cousin, GO.
Pre-empt criticism by offering to run errands, pick people up at the airport or maybe house sit during the funeral service.
We're friendly but not close by any definition. Plus she has four other brothers and sisters in her immediate family. I'm just a first cousin. She's ten years + older than me. I was closer as a child to her youngest two brothers and she's second eldest. I'm not sure with a dying husband, two sons, and a house full of people coming and going I'll be missed or be of much use.
He's taken a very sudden turn for the worse and she's limiting visitors to two at a time with him.
He was diagnosed about two weeks ago with cancer that's spread to the liver and he was given three weeks to four months. It doesn't sound like he's even going to get three weeks.
Great ideas, R7
Call your cousin first, and tell him/her that your are not going to stay and intrude but just want to bring something b to help with the load of guests. Then drop off a case of liquor or some food.
Oh Jesus, just go.
When my mother died a decade ago, it was the people I "barely socialized with" who showed up that I remember the most. They weren't obligated to be there, but they cared enough about me to brave an unpleasant situation and give me a hug, a smile and a little distraction.
Or be a chickenshit and skip it. Just make an extra casserole for yourself, and choke on it.
Another vote for going, unless your relationship with the others is in any way tense or unpleasant. If it is neutral, go, and add a little goodness to a sad and unexpected situation.
R7, those are great ideas. I have just sent word of the offer and will do as I am asked. Like I say, I'll step up more once the worst of it is over. To my mind that's the harder part. In the last days, I'd only want to be sharing the time with those closest. It's such an emotional drain. I remember when my aunt died. Too many people around. It was after, once the funeral's over and it all goes so quiet, that people stepping up helps too.
How about emailing a list of specific things that you could do to help out? Many CLAIM they want to assist, but are not really sincere. Be honest and say how helpless you feel, as you can't create a miracle, but would like to make her life easier in any way possible. Her brothers may be emotionally distraught as well, or not really willing to handle details or run errands. Believe it or not some out-of-town guests might even want a tour guide, as a way to relieve stress.
As much as you're uncomfortable, it's no walk in the park for the guy dying either.
It always amazes me how the people you figure will be there for you in times like that aren't, and those that you figure won't be - are. Same goes for funerals.
You'll be there afterwards? Mighty fucking big of you.
Following up on the suggestion of r14, I remember reading a story a long time ago about a family also going through the stress of a death in the family. People were in and out of the house offering condolences and food and promises to do anything the family needed done.
It was all appreciated very much wrote the Mother and they felt loved and cared for by their friends and neighbors, but the one person who really stood out for her that day was a relatively new neighbor who stopped by and introduced himself along with his condolences.
He then seemed to disappear from view until he was discovered sitting off to the side of the kitchen, by himself, shining all of the shoes of the family. It was just a little gesture, but it dawned on them that no one had even thought of doing that in all the fuss going on around them. One less detail that needed to be attended to for that day.
Little things mean a lot.
In this kind situation, whatever you do is never for the dying or dead. It is always for the living. So, depends on what kind of relationship you will have with your relatives in the future. Dying people don't care about what you are or aren't going to do.
What R11 and R15 said.
You're so self-centered OP.
Nobody has ever really resented anybody for coming to visit. Not coming to visit, on the other hand... Why not just make a short appearance?
OP maybe you could go and bring a casserole or something like that and hang out for a bit and tidy up the kitchen and help put other things in there away? You will be there and be helping but won't have to go in and be uncomfortable with a dying guy you don't know. My step uncle died a few months back and I didn't know him so well to go and sit with him but I love my aunt and she needed some tidying up of the house when lots of people were in and out. I think we also helped order some flowers and figure out the obit details. Oh and we walked her dog and picked up her mail.
I am actually trying to be respectful, R18. Maybe I'm getting it wrong but I am aiming for respectful. The terminal diagnosis is about a week old. He's dying rapidly, to everyone's shock. I know the house is full of people coming and going. One of his sons had a melt down yesterday because he was finding all the people too much. His father is dying with a limited number of days left. He's not much more than twenty. I suspect he just wants to be alone with the guy as much as possible, not making small talk with a bunch of well wishes. Everybody who goes to see the guy is one less minute with his father. My sister rang the house this afternoon and spoke to that kid, who told her there were 'a lot of people here.' She's dropping off food.
I'm now convinced I'm doing the right thing. It's not about me. It's about them. If it were me I'd prefer to have as much of the little time that is left without contending with an endless stream of people, even well meaning people, which they are. Obviously they feel it is right for them to go. I do not believe I would add a lot of value under these circumstances. If they were alone and unsupported, I'd be there. They are not. I get the feeling they want their alone time, too.
The right time for me to show up, I feel, is later.
I think you're right, OP. When my father died, people were all over. Later, my mother and I felt very lonely.
"I think I can be more supportive to the survivors once he's gone."
How self-centred. If you wait until he dies to be supportive your cousin will probably, rightly, see your "support" as a superficial effort to make yourself seem nice because you didn't make an effort to be supportive before he died. Is it too difficult to pick up the phone, ask how they're doing, say you'll visit and is there anything you can bring? It makes a big difference when someone is dying of cancer or of anything for them and their loved ones to feel that people care, that life still carries on, that their world still exists.
"I'm happy to make some food and go by in the aftermath."
Like, seriously, why the fuck would they want your food in the aftermath when you never bothered before? After all, the "tons of people coming and going" will still be there to help your cousin once her husband's dead.
"I'll step up more once the worst of it is over."
Wow, just wow. You mean, you want to avoid the really difficult part for your cousin but are happy to seem nice and helpful when it doesn't involve so much effort on your part?!
"To my mind that's the harder part."
Stop trying to make excuses for yourself. Think about it from their mind.
"I'm not sure with a dying husband, two sons, and a house full of people coming and going I'll be missed or be of much use."
"Use" isn't about practical things so much here, but if you don't go before he dies then they certainly won't miss you afterwards and you are more likely to annoy them by turning up "once the worst of it is over", all smiley and eager to help and show what a nice guy you are.
He needs to have these people make APPOINTMENTS so they won't be there all over the place at one time. DUH!
I emailed her several hours ago, R24, offering to do anything they might need, providing both my phone numbers at home and work (which should indicate how close we are) and did so on the basis it's less intrusive than calling while all those people are around who do feel close enough that their presence is necessary and appropriate.
My sister rang the house on behalf of both of us and said she wouldn't intrude to visit but that she'd like to drop something off. It was accepted. Visiting wasn't encouraged.
They have been very private about this. I only know because one of his brothers-in-law told my sister and asked her to keep it secret, but that she could tell me. Based on their desire for privacy, my Aunt and her children haven't been told, so far as I know. Until yesterday, a couple of the other brothers and sisters in law were not told. Now his death is imminent they have been and are coming to the city today. There was a bit of a split in the family when their mother died.
I'd just be one more face in a crowd at a horrible time which is stressing them all out. There's nothing worse than a grief tourist and I think I'd be more in that category than necessary support when they're well supported by those really close to them and closely related to them.
They're kind of doing that, R25... only two people go into his room at a time, I gather. Then the rest of the line is standing around waiting, which I assume is a mix of comforting and distracting to his wife and sons.
I agree with the people who are saying better to go than not go, but in line with your idea of being there in the aftermath, going now is for the living, not the dying. Go for the survivors.
You said you were close to your cousin's younger siblings - go there now to see -them-. Everybody can't be in the sickroom all the time, so there will be people milling around in the living room, kitchen, etc. Go and talk to them. Be a distraction to keep them from dwelling on what's happening in the bedroom, even if for just a few minutes. No matter what the situation, the brain can't live in that state of agony every second of every day. Go and see if you can help with the down moments.
Go now and renew your offer to drive, run errands, etc. in person.
What we do/how we behave in crisis situations is different than how we behave in normal, daily life. You aren't close with your cousin, but you're still family, and in the end that's the most important thing.
So go now, don't wait for the aftermath.
I think you should make his death all about yourself.
[quote]After all, the "tons of people coming and going" will still be there to help your cousin once her husband's dead.
This has never been my experience. As R23 says, after the death, people stop paying attention & the family is alone, with lots to do & few offers of help or companionship.
It sounds like there's so much activity in the house now that the wife & kids might not even notice whether OP was present or absent.
I think OP is trying hard to do what would be best for the family & I agree with his decisions.
You're a coward, OP. And you're asking us to tell you it's okay. Suck it up and visit your dying relative.
Thanks, R30. I know there isn't really a right or wrong in this situation. Personally I hate when there's something really serious going on and people wind up massed together making irrelevant small talk. I'll go when I feel the time is appropriate for me to go. These people need as much time as an immediate family as possible, in my view.
Take over a nice pot of chili and some homemade brownies. They will always love you for it.
Actually, my mother did not want visitors. It really depends on the personality of the person who is dying. As for the suggestion that you contact the cousin and offer to help, do errands, etc., I think that is spot on.
I think offering to do things for your cousin is a good idea, especially when people are coming in from out of town.
When someone dies there is no shortage of people arround for the first week or two but after that people get on with their lives, assuming the bereaved will call if they need something, which they rarely do. Then the silence sinks in, along with the harder part of grieving. For a lot of people that can be one of the worse times. I found this out when my boyfriend died suddenly six months ago. If you can, make a point of taking your cousin out once a week, even if it's just for coffee.
OP, stop wasting our time.
It's clear you made your decision and just posted this thread to bait people into disagreeing with you, so you can reinforce that self-centered decision over and over again.
One thing to note: Karma's a bitch.
Actually, this thread helped me confirm my decision, but yes, I agree, enough is enough. As usual, too many of you have nothing but histrionics and venom to contribute at any rate. Thanks to those, pro and con, who were reasonable.
Is the man in a death coma, OP?
If not, you should make a brief visit to say goodbye to him and tell his family you'll be back once everything settles down.
You know what OP? Sometimes you have to suck it up and do things you don't want to do.
My aunt and uncle never called or came to my moms side when she was ill and then passed away. Even though they knew she was ill. I guess thats why they came to "visit" at the funeral home outside visiting hours so they wouldn't see any of us.. they were that petty.... or maybe ashamed of the way they behaved (though I doubt it) They'd been close years ago but not so much towards the end of my moms life. My mom wanted everything to be hush hush but you know what?... she's been gone 10 years and my family will never forget what they did (or rather... didn't do)
Similarly with a close friend who died of brain cancer. All his "best buddies" that he thought he could rely on stayed away never visiting once. Or called. It killed him and believe me both he and his family noticed. One of them didn't visit because it made him feel "uncomfortable".
It sounds like you've made up your mind, but would it kill you to take over a casserole or something, put in an appearance and then leave? Your cousin will remember.
In life there are those that step up, and those that don't. Wouldn't you rather be one of the former?
I would go if there was something good in the house I could still while everyone was distracted with the dying.
I agree with your decision and your reasoning, OP. When my father was sick, the last thing I wanted was people coming over to take my time, and the last thing he wanted was people seeing him like that.
But (as I'm sure you've realized) just know that there are very judgmental people in the world who fly off the handle at the mere suggestion that it is sometimes okay to not visit a dying person. Please, please make sure your relatives are not this type.
OP, you should go. GO. Showing up counts. Going now does not mean you shouldn't or can't provide support later. For God's sake, go.
People who have been through this know. It matters to your cousin that you're willing to be there NOW for her.
They will NEVER forget if you don't at least show your face
OP just wanted to post his rationalization about why he's not visiting. He doesn't give a shit what people have to say. He only did this to convince himself he's in the right. Why he wasted anybody's time on something he's decided on is b/c he's spinning, rationalizing and defending his choices. Whatever.
How come the cousin kept it quiet to all but a few but the place is Grand Central Station?
Don't go, these command performances are annoying. Who cares if they never forget.
OP, first you made it sound like the whole village was in and out of the house all the time, now you're saying only a few people know and the family have been keeping it quiet.
It's not really clear what advice you are looking for. I would say, however, that sending an email and expecting an email reply is not the best strategy. That is obliging your cousin to make some kind of firm decision as to what she wants from you and to sit down and write it. Much easier to call.
Ultimately, it's up to you, you know the situation better so you decide. If you're asking for advice on etiquette, however, then make an effort before he dies.
To be clear, as I understand it, it's only today, maybe yesterday, that the word has been widely shared. I know one of my cousins who was kept in the dark found out this morning and is driving down with her husband and sons. My Aunt, the last remaining of the senior levels of the family, still has not been told at my cousin's request. I can't really judge or explain how they're handling it. My sister is dropping off food this afternoon. I'm meeting her at my mother's nursing home in a couple of hours. I'll find out what it was like and what anybody in the immediate family said, if she got a chance to speak to them.
Then I'll consider whether perhaps to go tomorrow night when it's quieter and perhaps less intrusive in some respects (accepting it isn't intrusive in other respects.)
My instinct is telling me I'm not close enough that I would be expected to go. The strong opinions of others on the thread remind me the gestures at a time like this are very meaningful and that's not a bad thing. So I will reconsider about tomorrow based on what information I can get out of today.
Certainly there are some on this thread who if they were dying I would go to see in order to ensure they actually were.
Is cousin-in-law really a thing?
Well, I only mean he's the husband of my cousin. I don't know what you call him, other than doomed.
OP, Ignore the haters; I've had to do so as well on my requests for advice. The real issue is always to try and determine what those involved really want or need from you. I like the earlier comment on the visitor shining everyone's shoes.
I understand why you don’t want to go to your cousin’s home right now. It might not be what I would do but I’m not the one going thru it.
I agree with R35 that once this is all over and all the friends and relatives have gone home and gotten on with their lives, that is when your cousin is going to really need the people who truly care about her.
I’ve seen it happen so often that family and friends are there for the bereaved for the first couple of weeks and then when they have to get back to their lives the grief and the feeling of being alone can be crushing.
Lots of good points are being made on both sides of this dilemma. I would like to point out, though, that some of those insisting upon going NOW and making a big show of doing THE RIGHT THING may be more about making *themselves* look good. I think it shows sensitivity to try and frame this in how it really helps the family, as opposed to making it all about how to preserve the OP's social image by strictly adhering to some arbitrary rules of etiquette and behavior.
I will stay in touch once in the long aftermath, R52, as will my sister who is much closer to our cousin's age. It's very young to lose a husband, in your early sixties. Not what she would have expected and the adjustment will be enormous for her. Luckily she has two sons and a granddaughter. Still, what a kick in the head and the expectations. I feel very sorry for her over that.
My "problem" with OP, or at least OP's initial position, isn't so much that he didn't want to visit his cousin but that he wasn't even interested in contacting her until her husband was dead.
OP, your sister will probably be able to give you better advice than us. Also, if you don't go round until the husband is dead, don't make it sound like you were waiting for him to die before you visited.
[quote]I'm just a first-cousin.
That's a pretty close relative. Whether or not you are close with your cousin, make the effort to reach out to her now.
I also have first-cousins who are ten+ years older than I. We were never close growing up, but we have become much closer since the death of our fathers (brothers). It has been acknowledged in subtle ways that our being around for each other during the deaths of our respective fathers made our relations much warmer.
What I love about my older cousins is hearing stories about our fathers that I never would have known otherwise.
Really, reach out now. It's worth it.
Go - jerk him off under the covers like Robin Wright did to that poor schmuck in "House of Cards".
OP, if a lot of those visitors are from out of town, maybe you could take them to dinner or have a dinner for them at your house, that way the family could have time alone with their loved one. That would be a big help and not intrusive. If not, arrange to cook or bring a full dinner and drop it off so the family doesn't have to cook.
I noticed when my grandfather passed, everybody wanted to eat and go out to eat as a group. There's probably things they would like to talk about amongst themselves when the family's not around to hear, too.
I love the shoe-shine guy. Reminds me of a story about Rock Hudson (which I've probably told on DL before).
A woman I know went to stay with her friend whose husband & baby had been killed in a car accident that badly injured the wife/mother. The first day the patient came home from the hospital, my friend answered a knock at the door & there was Hudson, offering condolences & asking if he could help in any way. My friend said they'd really appreciate it if he could walk the dog, which he did, every day for weeks.
Jumping in with that kind of practical assistance is a huge help to people who are still in shock & really need to have someone take charge of all the little stuff.
Dither long enough, OP, by posting your twaddle and the problem will resolve itself with the widow ignoring your attempts to fawn.
Stilling is WRONG!
One thing to remember when wanting to help someone is not to throw out a generic offer of help. Most people will not follow up with that.
You either have to figure something they need and just do it or be specific. For example " I'm good at doing or willing to do xyz do need help with any of these things or anything else you can think of?
Also, if you don't want to impose on the family at this time you could write an email to your cousin in law through your cousin with a personal note about how you've enjoyed him being part of the family and he will be in your thoughts. She can give it to him if she choses. That way you wont be ignoring the guy. A heartfelt letter goes a long way.
I'd at the very least go and make an appearance.
GO And bring food. good food. Not show-offy, but good (sorry, Italian). You only have one family, and your kids will inherit it. You don't have to stay and you don't have to go into the 'sick room'. But unless you don't give a fuck about family, you should show your face. Even if, as other posters said, they really don't want to see anyone, they'll feel different later on. Trust me, it's a mistake I've made.
R11. What the fuck? Let me guess, your mother was the only person who ever understood you?
******I think it shows sensitivity to try and frame this in how it really helps the family, as opposed to making it all about how to preserve the OP's social image by strictly adhering to some arbitrary rules of etiquette and behavior.*******
Sorry, they aren't arbitrary rules. They are what keeps families intact.
OP, IMO if you don't feel the need to go say your goodbyes then you obviously weren't close enough to warrant doing it in the first place. So I think you've got it right. But don't be surprised if your cousin doesn't see it that way after her husband is dead and gone and you, her cousin, never showed up.
No, R65, she was an abusive bitch.
My mother and her sisters are STILL talking about who and who didn't show for my grandfather 50 years ago.
Yes, they are insufferable. And MEAN. But it was that important to them. I'd go, even if just for a few minutes
I would at least call or email or text your cousin and offer help. Say something like, "I heard about bro-in-law and I know time is at a premium. I don't want to take any away from you. What can I do to help you right now?" And then offer something specific, such as a casserole or baby-sitting or errands, etc. They need to eat now, too, OP.
Don't say, "let me know if I can help." People often don't know how to use those offers. Trust me, your offer will be appreciated. Don't wait until her husband dies to make an appearance. At least let her know you're there for her, OP.
The thing about OP's situation is that the illness is sudden and unexpected and that the immediate family has very little time in which to organise their life (administrative type matters) and to say goodbye.
I suggest that you contact your other cousins, OP, and ask them whether there is anything that you can do now and whether visiting is likely to be welcomed or just an added stressor.
There's nothing to be done for the dying man. Do whatever you think would be important for his survivors -- some people want visitors, others don't -- if you're not sure, ask them how you can help.
OP, despite the protests of others that you MUST show up at all costs, I really appreciate your concern about intruding on the immediate family's last precious time alone with him. I was 21 when my dad passed away (under similar circumstances - an unexpected diagnosis followed by an even more unexpected rapid deterioration). My dad was in the hospital, not at our house, but my mom and I both ended up having to try to find polite ways to ask people to leave at various points. The day before he died I just started crying in front of one aunt who was always there and said "I just want to be alone with him." She got the hint, thankfully.
Losing a parent unexpectedly at such a young age is more difficult than any words can describe and a bunch of random acquaintances sticking their nose in all day, every day doesn't necessarily help, trust me. It would be different if you didn't acknowledge the situation in ANY way, which really does suggest that you're more concerned with your own comfort level than with helping out at all. But you clearly haven't done that by emailing and by having your sister call on behalf of both of you, and by your intention to be at the funeral and to continue to give your condolences afterwards in any way you can. Believe me, these gestures will really be remembered by your cousin later, not that you stuck your nose in for ten minutes of her husband's last days during the height of the drama and then bailed.
OK, nice people and bitches, I went.
I had a friend who used this kind of reasoning all too often--I remember two times when she said, "I'll wait until _______ dies and then go out when _________ (name of spouse/partner) will really need me." In one case, the dying person was someone she had been closer to than the spouse; the other, she was closer to the partner." I finally realized that she was either scared of being around dying persons or wanted to avoid the messy emotional stuff that comes then--in neither case was the household so inundated with people that her presence would have been a nuisance. I thought it was a cop-out and took note not to expect her to be there for me when the time came. I'm not saying that is what you are doing, just asking you gently to double-check your own motivations, so that you won't have regrest when it is too late to do anything. I also recall when my father died (I was 25, he had been sick only for two months, during which my mother nursed him at home and was frankly exhausted), a cousin arrived, expected us to chauffeur her to and from O'Hare, and then seemed a bit huffy when we didn't entertain her after the funeral--we are somewhat shellshocked, as my dad was only 59 and the cancer had metastasized so quickly there was no hope from the start). She had always been a drama queen and liked being the center of attention. So, I do understand your desire not to be that person.
Also, if there's a way in which you feel it would be hypocritical to visit him (i.e. your relationship was cold and distant, it would feel very odd to pass fifteen minutes in his company), I would trust that instinct. But you never know when such moments of contact are meaningful for the dying person, for you, and for his loved ones--your simply stopping by could offer more comfort than you realize. Or not--is there anyone in your family you trust enough to have the discussion with? I know my father did not really want visitors in the last few weeks--he had his own "work" to do.
There is never really a right or a wrong answer in this situation. My best friend died 20 years ago today of AIDS (he missed the cocktails by a year or two). I know by the end he had become angry with and distant from certain friends (often former fuckbuddies) who did try to make contact, with no immediate provocation. His refusal to see one haunted the friend/FB to the point that even a few years later when I ran into him, he asked about it. I told him, truthfully, that my friend had acted that way with a few others--I thought the illness (lymphoma with some involvement in the brain) might have affected his responses (I didn't add that I think my friend might have been angry b/c he was ill and this FB was perfectly fine--I don't think my friend really wanted others to be ill, but his irrational side couldn't help but resent the way it turned out).
Good luck--do whatever you decide feels right, but after you've thought it through--and, as others have said, don't wait too long--time may take your ability to make a decision away from you. That would be the worst--waiting it out and hoping you won't have to decide. That will haunt you.
R75, there was some of that. I am not a natural when it comes to highly emotional situations. When the Queen stayed at Balmoral, I understood 100%. So there was some of that. But I was glad I went and he seemed to appreciate that I went so I've done my bit and now I can retire to just making casseroles in this particular matter.
If you care even a little bit about your cousin, you will go. It's really that simple.
Stay away. Go to the funeral memorial. You can visit with all your random extend family at that time. its awkward enough when someone is on their deathbed. Just because you're related, doesn't mean your close. The family wants those who are "close" to the dying person around them. No one wants to make idyll chit chat with you OP, at such a devastating moment. No one will care that you're there or not there(nor should they).
Just go. It will make him feel better.
Fuck off, OP. You're just looking for enough posts on this thread to rationalize your discomfort with DEATH and your decision to stay away and not comfort your cousin. You're pathetic and you're disgusting and I can promise you that your cousin will never forget your cowardice.
I think it's best for everyone in that family that you stay FAR AWAY. They don't need your toxic energy right now.
Hope you drop dead from cancer soon.
Um, R80? See R74.
Who's the asshole, now?
r80 is! But he would have been the asshole even if OP hadn't posted an update.
How was it then, OP?
Think I'll keep that part private except to say all was well. And whether I went or not, these poor people are so shell shocked they are not keeping a list who did or didn't do anything.
Cousin in-law. No, you have no obligation.
R80 takes the asshat cake! What a prize!
Why are so many on DL such meanies? Even if you disagree with OP's attitude, many read these threads because they can relate as OP's position is not unique.
Think of it this way: how would have wished how things have gone if you were the dying cousin?