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ttsd
I think about this all this time and feel so angry and put upon for this burden. I love my mom, but as the youngest of 4 with the newest family, I get so mad. They have LOTS of advice...not much help.
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Hi ttsd...

I've had 'thoughts' about my two brothers and their lack of help for my elderly Mother and Father.  They live nearby. I moved in with my parents, both are failing fast.  Finding this forum has helped me a lot and I'm new here.

I said something to my doctor about my brothers and she said something that's stuck with me..   She said "some people, as strong as they seem in so many ways, are just not strong enough emotionally to take care of the ill or deal with losing someone close to them.  Often don't even go to their beside in the last hours. And they always regret it. They feel guilty.  Maybe it's lack of experiences or a form of denial.   Most often it isn't because they're selfish or don't care.  Males much more so than females, whose instincts are usually to care for and nurture.  It is 'their loss' in the end.  It takes a special kind of courage to be sympathetic and be there."   She said 'you are stronger than you think for even attempting this.  But be sure you're strong enough to take care of yourself, too.  Because without you - they're all in trouble".   I do that now, I take a check on myself and MAKE time for relaxing or getting out of the house.

That helped.  My brothers don't really know what to do.  And they have NO idea how much work and stress there is in taking care of Mom and Dad.   So now I call them up and say - 'hey why don't you stop by and bring Mom and Dad some ..dinner or flowers or ..visit, so I can leave!...  I almost have to tell them how to help.   I still have mixed feelings about them staying away so much, but feeling sorry for them now is easier than being angry.

Hang in there... 
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Olivia
hi ttsd,

That group would include Samwise (my hubby) and I.   How can I help?

O.

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Redneck
Hello, Sue and Welcome !!!

[.."I said something to my doctor about my brothers and she said something that's stuck with me..   She said "some people, as strong as they seem in so many ways, are just not strong enough emotionally to take care of the ill or deal with losing someone close to them.  Often don't even go to their beside in the last hours. And they always regret it. They feel guilty.  Maybe it's lack of experiences or a form of denial.   Most often it isn't because they're selfish or don't care.  Males much more so than females, whose instincts are usually to care for and nurture.  It is 'their loss' in the end.  It takes a special kind of courage to be sympathetic and be there."   She said 'you are stronger than you think for even attempting this.  But be sure you're strong enough to take care of yourself, too.  Because without you - they're all in trouble"...]

I believe your doctor is very wise...I just wish to point-out, through personal experience, that I don't necessarily agree that some people aren't "emotionally strong enough"...I believe that each has unique strength in individual-areas. 

[This precludes, of course, the family-members who honestly and truly DON'T CARE...]

Our family's 2 yr-caregiving of my mom was "resolved", in August. We have several family-members who were 100% supportive and right there for whatever they could do.  But we quickly learned that we aren't all "wired" for doing the same things.  This was a wonderful thing for us.

Eg., my mom didn't need a dozen family-members sitting with her every minute.  Some wanted to be right there during the final days/hours...but some couldn't handle that "just watching Granny die.".  However...they were invaluable support in making calls, fixing meals, running errands, etc.

Some people have a natural-gift for knowing what to do, how and when...others, who care just as much, need to be told how they can help.  It's not a "competition"...it's a cooperative.

[Confession:  While I was very helpful in doing most of the hands-on physical care of my mom...I could not handle 'poop depends".  NO WAY...no HOW.  Perhaps that means I'm not as "emotionally strong" as my sister...?   But then, she had a very hard time staying right with our mom as she was having the 'ending-hallucinations, etc'...this, however, intrigued me and I got into bed with mom, held her hand and encouraged her to "tell me".  Do this mean I am "stronger"?  Nope.  It just means that we are wonderfully different and have our unique "wirings".  We all have a place in the "choir". ]
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Cat Lady

I agree with Redneck.  We all "deal" in different ways.  While my parents were alive we siblings were hard pressed to agree and the stress of caregiving - to whatever degree - is tremendous.  Now that both are gone my sis and I are actually finding friendship and enjoying each other.  There are still bridges to cross and hurts to get past but we're trying. 

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Avis
Well, my brother and I really don't speak now -- there are a few emails: short, curt, and strained.  If we have a "relationship" now it is held by a spider's thread.  I asked him a couple of years ago if he wanted to have a relationship when Dad was gone.  He replied, "Sure, why not."  I asked him this when he informed me that Dad wanted to make a cousin the backup health-care POA (he was primary) because she lived closer than I do.  Never mind that she also lives closer than my brother does.  And my brother told me that he actually thought that was a good idea that Dad had.  Proximity, granted, is not insignficant, but with technology (i.e., phones, faxes, computers, etc.) there's no reason the backup or the primary MUST be closest.
 
Sue, thanks for posting what the Dr. said.  I think I knew this.  Some people (like my brother) cannot deal with death and choose not to think about it or deal with it.  My brother is Pharoh (you know, Prince of De Nile). 
 
I wish I could exorcise my brother.  I don't know why he dislikes me so much.  I am the much younger sibling.  When I think over our interactions of a lifetime, I can only think of two warm moments. 
 
I know I am a worthwhile person.  I have enough good friends.  My deceased sister's only child and I are very close.  I wish I had relationships with my brothers children -- but since he has not mapped the route, it's not going to happen.  His wife died (young) several years ago.  If she was still living I would have the missing relationship with my nieces and nephews. 
 
Oh well, we have what we have.  We need to look forward and not marinade in misery.  If I say it enough times, maybe I'll believe it.
 
But I do have treasures in Hertz & Budget (hubby & son for those who don't know who I am...)
 
Love,
Avis

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Trip

My sis and I were never close because Mom always pitted us against each other...we are also very different. Now, I don't think we have ill will towards each other, but we are still by no means close. When I went and stayed with my folks a couple years ago, I was doing all the real grunt work like cleaning, cooking, shopping, helping Mom bathe, etc. We were tryin to also find a better solution cause we knew that the place was not big enough for me to live there indeffinately, and as a single mom we new I could not be there 24/7 anyway. Sis kept sendin e-mails of agencies for me to investigate. Just like googled while she was at work and sent me links. This used to annoy me. I felt like YOU explore the links and if you find something that looks promising and an in person investigation is in order, well then, I'm your girl! Shoot, typing into google and hittin search is not the part I needed help with, lol. My sister...the nuclear engineer...sigh 

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Only Girl

I decided years ago before DM even became ill that after her passing I would not have anything to do with any of my siblings ever again. I am sorry to be so harsh but now that DM's health has declined so, I not only will be writing off my sibling's but all of DM's siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and more. I told my oldest brother this years ago, he ask DH if I was serious? Hubby replied, I think she is..................

Yes I am serious about this.
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2nd kathy
Neither my bro or sis show any concern for me now. Neither has ever even uttered ' thank you' for me giving up my life to care for dad. Nope, but both have opinions about what I should do, how I should cook etc.
 Do I think they just aren't strong enough or aren't inclined in this direction? No. a big No. It is pure and total selfishness and the fact that they can get ME to do the work. My sister stayed with dad when mom died for less than 9 days. The whole time she complained that she had no privacy, that he wanted to talk all the time, couldn't understand why he wondered why she stepped outside to take a phone call. She wanted to send him off taveling to visit friends and relatives for months at a time even though his wife had just died days before.  She was crawling the walls at day 3 but thought there was something in it for her. When he refused to sign his house over to her she walked. My brother fell all over dad when my died..'oh dad, I'll call every other day, you'll come to visit me a few times a year' etc. The ONE time I tired to send dad to him for 10 days...that's the ONE time, he told me, well he can come but he'll be sitting by himself a lot because 'we have lives.'
 My brother calls my sis and sis calls my bro...he doesn't call me and she only calls me for info to tell him so NO, a BIG NO, I won't have anything to do with either of them when he's gone and I won't miss a thing.
 Obviously since his last respite stay, sis has been making phone calls and finding out some info 'cause now she tells' DH, I' don't know how you do it, I can't even stand the smell in there, let along having to change his diapers.' DH doesn' changediapers, in fact he doesn'tdo much of anything but she didnt say this to me, now did she?  No. My DH because she thinks she can get points through him and obviously she has found out that what I've said is true. Placing him in a NH is a lot harder than what she thought.
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Hope
Someone on this board (I'm sorry to say that I can't remember exacty who it was) gave me this advice:  your childhood family is just that - your childhood family.  That has helped me alot.  I don't plan on never speaking to my siblings again, but I'm definitely working on moving on with my life. MY family is my husband & our 2 daughters. 

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Dustygirl01
I'm already not speaking to them (my brother and SIL).  They had me in the role of caretaker, expected me to sell my home of 19 years and uproot my 13 year old son, give up my business to move in to take care of my father.  They did the token visit thing (1/2 hour or so).  All the while they were working on him to sign everything in his estate over to them.  Unbelievably greedy.  They cried poor to him all the time because they had 3 kids (she's a pharmaceutical sales rep, and he's a mechanical engineer).  My father fell for it hook, line and sinker. 
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Olivia
ttsd,

As you can see, you are not alone! 
(and to me, that was great comfort.)  The other posters said it very well.  As a caregiver, you are thought of as 'the least of'.  It puts the old fairy tale of Cinderella in a whole new light.  I jokingly wonder if the Prince married her so she could take care of his mother!

What specifically hurts--let's talk about it.

O.

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Redneck
By way of explaining my personal view of family-members being different in coping-skills...please believe I, in NO way, excuse the ones who just don't care and/or are critical...and worse.

I am missing the "put-up-with"-chip, completely.   I am astounded by all of you who can put-up-with CR@P...with such strength.

If my family-member(s) hadn't rallied-'round with Granny's caregiving...I wouldn't have waited until she died...to get rid of them.  I have booted-out-of-my-life...'relatives' and 'friends'  who flopped-a-hairy-toe across an even less important boundary than "this".  I believe Life is far too short and too long... to waste on "Losers, Users or Abusers".

My hat is off...to all of you who are soooo awesome...  Whether you are "trapped"...feel obligated...and/or are just "GOOD"...you DO it !!!!
WoW !!!!
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ttsd
Hi Olivia and all...seems I started this thread and abandoned it! Not so, just very busy. Thanks for all your support. My burden is much less than many of yours; my mom is in NH now so hands on care giving is minimal. Still the resposibility and guilt over her happiness and well being, or lack of, eats at me continuously. It has affected my health, marriage and childrens' lives.
Olivia asked what hurts specifically. It is a circular argument in my head...I should probably be in counseling.
I am the youngest of 4, all of them had left home by the time I was 13 yo. So it's not like they were ever around that much for me but I never resented them for it. they just had lives. I made the choice to have kids in my 40's and now have small children while theirs are all raised and out of their homes, the nearest has none. At the same time, my parents aged and fell ill. Not the sibs' fault or anything in their control. Due to geographics and gender (one lives as close as I), I am it. The out of towners swoop in and out once or twice a year and give me all kinds of advice (as if I hadn't already DONE it all), think they make a big contribution because they spend a snippit of time with her, and then swoop out. The in towner promises to visit regularly, then never does. My mom raves about how often the out of towners call and asks me all the time when we, the in towners, are all going to get together...
It all just hurts and makes me resentful.
The sad thing is that i used to adore them all, each their special successes in their lives with kids, carreers, etc. They were special aunts and uncles to my kids who my kids loved (still do). That is all gone now.
I will probably get over this in time; I'm a roll with the punches, short term memory kind of gal. But it is good to vent and hear other people's stories.
Thanks!


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Olivia
ttsd,
Thanks for your reply--I happen to be home this morning, and I'm glad I caught your message.  The info helps a lot.

My husband (known here as Samwise) is the youngest of 8 (7surviving) siblings, and I am the youngest in my family.  Hubby and I both have been through some of what you are going through now, even though we don't have children.

I think it is the age gap that contributes to this feeling.  Samwise and I have always felt 'separate' from the rest of our siblings due to the age differences.   They had 'their' childhood as a big group, then hubby came along much later.  Same case in my family of origin.  I know exactly what you mean about feeling so different.  They had their own careers, children, houses, etc.....and you are just getting started.  It's very intimidating, and frustrating. 

  It makes Samwise and I very, very angry when they swoop in like a flock of nasty pigeons, pontificate about this or that, as if they know everything and we know nothing, flap their wings, poop on us, and leave.  No, it isn't fair, and after many years of tolerating it, we said enough.  We are now pigeon-free, as we have gone no-contact.   They are frustrated with us, but we don't care.   We keep strictly to our help to my MIL, but have completely broken away from all siblings.  Life is a lot quieter now, and with some exceptions, caring for my MIL is easier.  

No, their attitude will not change.  We confronted Samwise's siblings, and they hate us, but it worked.  They know exactly how we feel about their behavior, and several even admitted they'd dropped the ball.  It doesn't take away the loneliness, or the pain of having 'no family' of origin, but it is a fair swap for less stress and drama.  My MIL still confronts us about this big change, but the last time she started in on me, I told her, "when the family stops talking about us behind our backs, and starts trying to communicate openly with us, we'll change our behavior towards them".  She was speechless, because she knew she was a big party to this backstabbing.  We'll guess what: they didn't want to change their behavior.  So we aren't changing ours.   Status quo here on the funny farm. 

What I can say in closing is that it helped my husband and I to find 'new family' for the two of us.  The kind folks here have helped us a great deal.  For example, Molly-Tx is a 'newsis' of ours, and we talk regularly via phone and private email--I never would have met her and her family had we not come here.  All the folks in here I would be very proud to call 'my new family'.  So keep in mind that your family of origin does not have to be your family in adulthood.  That is society pushing your emotional buttons trying to make you believe that everything is the Partridge Family.  That doesn't exist.  It never did.

I promise you:  it never did. 

O.

 

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