Don't go.
Cancer sucks
Go. When I was dating my now Husband, His mother was deteriorating fast from kidneys shutting down even on dialisis. I supported my husband especially over thanksgiving weekend 2005. So there is nothing wrong to go see the person your dating to give her moral support.
if you're able to do this, what a truly wonderful gift you will give. But Dan's right-if you can't actually do it, don't say it and don't go!
I say go. If you can do all of the things Dan listed, it might be a really good, if crazy, idea. And I don't doubt that you are able to do all of those things - people who are in a strong emotional place are surprisingly capable of investing all of their energy into helping someone who is not. It could go terribly, but death always goes terribly anyway, so it might just be a good idea.
oh gawd. what a wonderful loving thing it would be if she goes and really does fulfill those promises. I would love to have someone who could do that!
I agree. Go. She'll never forget your kindness and support.

My own mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after I started dating my boyfriend (now together 5+ years, although my mother sadly passed). When she was diagnosed, I offered him an out for fear of putting too much strain on a new relationship. He chose to stay with me through her decline and death, and I have never forgotten it. Whatever happens to our relationship in the future, I will ALWAYS remember and love him for what he did for me during a really crappy time in my life.

Best of luck.
Great advice, but the LW should be required to read and re-read the last paragraph, sleep on it, read it again and be very, very honest with herself about whether she can mean every word of it. It would be completely okay for her to NOT be able to handle that and to wait until the already-arranged trip.
Go if you can handle it.
Yes, if you can do those things, go. You are much more likely to regret not helping someone you care about than you are to regret doing so. Especially in a scenario that doesn't come up often and is time-limited. But if you can't do those things, don't go. Don't add one more burden to someone dealing with the death of a loved one. But if you can, go. Even if the relationship doesn't work out, I doubt you'll regret being compassionate and supportive.
There's really no right - or wrong - answer here. Going or staying are each problematic and this situation is a real acid test.

However, I say go too. Keep in mind though that whatever sacrifices you make to be there for her are gone and you can never ask for restitution.

Finally and most importantly: your girlfriend may be emotionally unreachable for the duration of your visit and maybe for a long time afterwards. There's no telling how grief will affect someone. Good luck.
Everything @10 said.

Go. Go and pretend she's just a friend you aren't sleeping with if you need to, so that you don't have any mental Girlfriend expectations. Go and take care of her however you can, whatever she needs. Your gut is telling you to go. Listen to it.
I wouldn't go unless I had somewhere else to stay, and the general expectation that I would be spending the night there. Maybe even a list of museums and things that I want to see, which are carefully chosen to not be "going out seeing awesome things while she's suffering" while also not being "sitting around and waiting to be entertained or a burden."

The girlfriend is going to want support at some times, and distance at others, and to not feel responsible for anyone else's happiness. People don't respond rationally during these times, and they don't respond how they think they will. The entire situation is fraught with danger, and coming could make it less miserable or much worse -- Eesh.

Spot on, Dan.. Death , Funeral - then the Grief.
It can make one feel quite mad, suicidal & just totally wretched
Sounds like you love this woman, LW- so go. If you know grief, then you'll know what to do. If not, just follow her lead. And what Dan Said..
I'm going to be the unpopular opinion and say to err on the side of not going. The LW and her girlfriend have been dating only five months, two of which have been long-distance. I would argue the relationship is too new to warrant the LW flying in to hover around during this incredibly trying time for her gf. Odds are she'll either be left alone or underfoot the majority of the time. A friend of mine passed away recently and my long-distance boyfriend just happened to be staying with me the night I got the news. I would have expected it to be better having him there with me, but when he left the next day I was actually quite relieved as I wanted time alone to cry my eyes out. Having him present was forcing me to hold back my grief for fear of looking like an insane person. And we have been dating much longer than LW and her gf here. Granted, just my personal experience, but I was surprised how much better I felt having several days alone to grieve.
Tough situation and great advice. Plenty to do to keep yourself occupied on the cheap in NYC, when the GF is busy dealing with the bullshit and also trying to function at work.
Go if your purpose is aligned with your girlfriend's purpose, and your actions are not viewed always as relief of a burden.
Go, if you can give the gift of adding more time for your girlfriend and her sister to be together.
It's a gift you can give.

What I know, when was diagnosed two years ago this week and I really shouldn't be here now, but I am, thankful everyday. When I was feeling my worst, the circle of people around me was fairly small, and the fleeting moments with my wife and children were/are priceless.
And, good job Dan, excellent advice.
I hope she goes, and that it works out for the good.
Dan's advice is good. You will have to prepare yourself to deal with things you may not expect. I speak from experience, I lost my sister to breast cancer a year and a half ago. I moved in with her to care for her when she was sent home for hospice care. I was in battle/survival mode during this time, and just a shell of myself. The end was a parade of horrors, and because of that I was "ready" for it when it happened. I felt numb for a long time, with short periods of intense breakdowns. The grief got worse over time rather than better, and I'm not feeling better now. I know I've been a challenge to be with. What I'm saying is that your girlfriend will need your support and even more importantly, your patience. I'm sure she'll appreciate you being there and your love and support, but her despair may prevent her from showing it. Try to pay attention to subtle clues she may be sending you about how you can best support her. Hugs are always good. And take care of yourself. This will be very hard for you, too. You'll need a support system as well. I hope for as much peace for you and your girlfriend as you can get.
Great advice.
Go. Dan's advice is spot on. It must be about her and not you.
Also, which airlines are good with grieving passengers? I think Southwest gives decent medical emergency fares, but they aren't international and it might be tough to do as a non-family member, but maybe it's worth a try.
If Dan sets up something and she goes, I will throw in a few bucks to help with airfare.
I'm going to smush Dan's advice and @15's together: If you can really mean all those things Dan suggested (and yeah to whoever said sleep on it), then tell her those things - and then ask, "with all that said, would my being there make you feel better? Would you feel like I was a source of support and would you feel comfortable and safe showing me whatever emotions you need to get out? Or would you feel like I was a distraction, a chore, or a barrier to you fully grieving? Whatever you need to say, I will listen and honor your needs, and I won't be offended if you'd rather I come later as planned." OK maybe less wordy than that but I am too tired to be concise! And like Dan said - you have to mean all of it. If you can mean all of it, and if you two have a relationship where you can trust each other to communicate that honestly, then even your making the offer will be a gift to her, even if she says don't come. And if you do go, what a gift.

Go. Even if in the end you do not move forward in your relationship, you will leave behind such kindness and compassion, that it will make you a better person. I totally support Dan's response and advice . . . but do wish to add that no good deed, done out of love, is ever a waste of time or resources. If it is from the heart, you have already reaped your reward . . .
I would go. But absolutely agree that you must not in any way shape or form be a burden on her. No expectations, no complaining, no needing anything from her. If you aren't familiar with the "comfort in / dump out" framework for supporting someone during a time of grief or illness, read this before you go.

There is definitely risk here, to be clear. If you aren't successful in being need-free and completely supportive, she could really begin resent you and that would be the end.
I love you, Dan. You always say just the right thing.
"Romantic" and unrealistic answer. They've barely dated (they barely know each other), they're very long distance (low chance of a successful ltr), the trip would be a financial hardship, the gf just started a new job (massive stress), her sister is dying too young of cancer and (I assume) has local friends for support. Romance isn't surviving one of the worst times of your life. You can still Skype two hours a day and give support without adding the stress of being in person. Going would be a nice fairy tale romance thing, but this ain't a romcom.
@28: An invaluable tool. Thanks for that.
A tough call. I agree with what others have said (pro and con) and would add - beware the urge to play 'resuer'. It can set up unhealthy patterns for the rest of your relationship.

Only go if you're already done a lot of inventory work on yourself, and are able to be clear about your own motivations and expectations. Unless you have done that and are a person who is very mature, emotionally stable and grounded, then do everyone a favor and stay home.
Man, fuck cancer. Dan's advice is perfect, though.
@30 - I agree with you. Add to that what @20 said about being linked to the death. My opinion is the LW should not go. I am sure her girlfriend knows she cannot easily afford it financially. But even if money was not an issue for the LW, I don't think their relationship is at the stage that it could handle the stress of the situation. No matter if she truly felt and could act the way Dan suggested, I think she could be an emotional burden on her girlfriend by being JUST ONE MORE THING she'd have to deal with during a stressful time.
Go. You've been emotionally involved for 5 months--3 in person, 2 long distance, and you talk daily. If you can make this only for her and not about you in any way, as Dan said, then it would be a loving gesture of support that will be appreciated. Bring books, movies, hiking boots, whatever you need so that you can entertain yourself when she's doing other things.

As for that "you might always be associated with that terrible time" stuff, take it from me that the only association will be of you with kindness and support during a time when she needed some.
I think she probably shouldn't go for all the reasons stated, especially @30 and @34. Even if she was local, if they'd only been dating 5 months then she'd not be intimately involved every day I'm sure, and being local would mean she had her own place and could be there only when specifially requested/needed. I think with the timing it is way too much way too soon, and the Skype sessions are possibly the best way to continue, and perhaps attend the funeral if she would like you to, and only if it won't hurt the LW financially, which clearly it might.
Dan, your advice is spot on, as it usually is. One addition to the comments. I met my husband a few months before my mother checked into hospice (leukemia), who lived about 500 miles away. There had not yet been a chance for them to meet, but we got a call that she was slipping fast and he offered to drive me there. He drove me straight to the hospice and they met. For one afternoon, my mother was coherent and got to tell stories. It was the last time I remember my mother smiling and laughing, one of the reasons I fell in love with him, because he wanted to hear an old woman's stories. Not saying it will or should happen in your case, but if it does it might be something for which your GF would always be grateful. Sometimes the dying want one more chance to tell the old stories to someone new.

Yeah, sure. A woman worried about leaving her visiting girlfriend alone for too long to attend family events is definitely going to have 2 hours she can set aside each day to Skype. Makes total sense.
I don't know. I just lost a parent and from my experience, the week or so after the death was busy and filled with visitors and planning, etc, and at the end of the day I didn't want to talk to ANYBODY -- sleep was all I could think about. What was harder was how quickly people expect you to move on ... after a couple of weeks, people stop asking how you're doing, don't check in, but the grief doesn't stop.
The LW might be better off letting her girlfriend be alone now, but then to buy a plane ticket for a few weeks later, when she will really need a friendly face.
But ultimately, Dan is right -- she she shouldn't spend the money flying there and then get huffy because the girlfriend doesn't have any time for her.
@20, @39: I don't think it's unusual for the grief to get worse over the first couple of years. It was certainly that way for me when I lost a friend to suicide many years ago. The first year I was in shock, and my life was changed dramatically, which is stressful in itself. By the second year things had settled down, and ironically because things were now more stable and better and the hurt was further in the past I was in a better position to grieve. I think grieving is a healing process, not a measure of how big the wound is. It's much easier to grieve when you're well-rested and in a safe place than when you're bone-tired and constantly dealing with shit.

It was about 5 years for me before my life really settled down and reached its new normal. And I still cry when something reminds me of her.

Good luck to both of you. There are counsellors who specialize in helping people who have suffered loss, if that would help. Your local United Way can probably point you their way.
Spot on, Dan. But I totally agree with @8 and @10 (and others). Re-read the last part. Really think about it, evaluate yourself, and make sure you can honestly commit to it. If you can, go. If you can't, it's ok. Much better to be honest with yourself and not go than to go without following through with the entirety Dan's suggestion.

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