After the Caring is Over, and it's Time for Inheritance, Now They Appear!

I, like many, stepped up, without being asked, to care for my dad when he developed dementia and could no longer care for himself.

I lived 40 minutes away. My other siblings lived in the same town as my dad, some as close as the next street over. Yet I was the one who did the majority of the work, especially the hard stuff, and made the most personal sacrifices to care for my dad.

I had to put my life on hold while I oversaw his 24x7 care and ran his life for him, while caring for another sick sibling, working a job, and trying to keep my own life together. I too was trying to have children at that time, and sadly, it didn't work out.

Sometimes my siblings would help. Other times when I needed them the most, they said "No, they had to work" or "No, weekends are my time with my own family". One sister who lives 1/4 mile away rarely visited my father, especially after I told her how badly his health was declining.

The resentments built. I got counseling and other support to help me through it, but even that didn't get rid of the stress and the pain that I felt.

Fast forward, dad passed away. Now everyone shows up and shows a strong interest in dad's estate. Now everything's important, everyone wants to be involved, and everyone wants to know everything.

One brother, upset that he wasn't in charge, tried to take control over the estate by making false accusations
that I stole dad's money among other things. He has gotten the other siblings to gang up against me, and has threatened me with a lawsuit. What bothers me most about this is that I made personal financial sacrifices while caring for my dad (I lost money), but to be accused of stealing money is unforgivable.

I struggle to come to grips with the fact the my family doesn't care about me and no longer wants me at family events. I do not understand why - is it jealously? is it lunacy? I may never know.

The one thing I hoped for after my dad died was a close family, and that isn't going to happen. I grieve that loss every day.

In the end, I wouldn't do anything differently. Though caring for my dad was difficult, it was rewarding and I felt myself grow in ways that I can't describe. My heart is larger, and I am proud to say I was there for my dad when he needed me.

To the rest of you going through this, write things down, keep a diary. If you are in charge of money, keep good records, over-document each transaction, make photocopies of checks deposited & paid, keep voided checks and write the reasons why.

When the hard parts are over, feel proud for what you did, try to rebuild your life, forget about the idiots and seek out things that bring YOU joy. In the end, this is your life to live. And yes, karma does exist. I have seen it work.

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Uplifted by what you wrote
by: Cris

I'm experiencing the same thing right now mom passed in march, and dad last June, I took care of both.

I still feel incredible heartbreak over losing them but even more heart wrenching realizing how little caring, consideration and support my siblings were willing to give the last 2 1/2 years.

My family feels like it was an illusion because real families don't treat their own like that, my parents are gone they were my family.

You are right though the brothers come and empty everything of value out of the house, in my fathers will he used a phrase "share and share alike", that is a real farce in this case.

Thank you for your writing and I will tell you what a privilege it truly is to be in a dying persons "inner circle",I think by what you wrote you know what I mean.

Sibling Issues
by: MJ Bothham

I have five sisters all living within a reasonable distance. I have lived with my mother and dad( he passed away two years ago) I thought after he passed one of my other sisters would step in to help take care of mom. Seems like they just sit back and enjoy telling me what I should be doing.

Recently she we was in the hospital for a severe UTI and although I informed them, they still felt I should call each of them individually to let them know what was happening! Do they know how hard that is with doctors in and out?

I have no desire to speak to them again. I was with my dad as caregiver for years 24/7 and now mom. I was with my grandfather when he was dying. And still they have no idea how hard this is.

I am burned out.

A Different Perspective
by: Anonymous

I'm sorry you had to battle your siblings when all was said and done. You long for closeness with them and they are just not in the same place as you, nor do they understand anything you went through. Because no one can, unless they have done it themselves.

I agree with you that through all the difficulty, I, too, wouldn't have it any other way. I've grown also in ways I can't describe. I just know that in caring for someone else, you learn to put them first, and think of their needs and it is rewarding and your heart grows with compassion and kindness.

There is just my one brother and I. I live with my mom and he lives two states away. When I first moved in three years ago, I was very careful to keep the finances separate. Even if I was eating special foods, I would buy those out of my own money. Not anymore.

I write everything out of one account now, my mom's, and I don't care what anyone says, now or later.

I've seen other families where the relatives complain so much that the caregiver was living for free, high on the hog, spending everyone's inheritance. Well, so be it. I am the caregiver. I am here 24/7. I do it all. And I don't see anyone jumping in now, so whatever they say later, I could care less.

I'm not documenting anything. If someone wants to look through the checkbook when mom is gone, I have no qualms. I will look at it with them, and say, yes, I bought that. So?

What we give to our parents now, in their time of need, is so much more than financial compensation. And if they are capable, they know it. It's our life we are giving and it's priceless.

I understand.
by: Leasa

Someday I'm going to put the whole story of my mom's illness and death here for you all to read and perhaps learn from or gain strength from.

I can relate to what you've written. I remember on my mom's final day, she suffered a horrible long death, breathing through fluid (they call it the 'death rattle)...she struggled so hard.

My one brother who had in recent years lost a son, tried to be there with me but had to leave as his wounds were too fresh and he just couldn't deal. I understood his agony and he did what he could, I couldn't ask for more.

I never felt so alone as I did that last day. My other brother was called the day before and on this day. I was sure he would show up. I frequently went to the area that over-looked the visitor's parking lot to look for his truck, I felt like all my blood had crashed into my feet. I needed him. He never came.

Not the day before nor on this day. I told my husband to stay home as I was sure my brother would come. He only lived 20 minutes away. He chose not to. He had 'his issues'. I will never forget that.

So I know how you feel. It sits in your chest like an ache. It's been two years for me come May since she died. I've decided to be positive and upbeat and try to push that lump down in my chest. I finally gave up on trying to be close to this brother and his wife because it suddenly dawned on me...they really don't give a sh!t. I've let go.

I'm now lighter and happier and leading a full wonderful life. You can too.

by: Harriet

Thank you for your post. I can feel the hurt you have against your relatives.

I have a similar issue caring for my mother, but a friend suggested making a note of all my expenses, petrol, car parking, time spent shopping, hospital visits, providing meals and also an hourly rate based on a carers rate of pay.

Whilst I do not want or intend to take any payment for my caring, I know I will feel better to show these figures to my sister, and it may "hit home" then what it "costs" to care.

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