Elderly Mother has Pancreatic Cancer

by Gillian

My elderly mother has terminal pancreatic cancer and my sister and I are nursing her at home as long as we can. My sister lives with my mother and is the primary caregiver. I work from home boarding dogs so although I am flexible I cannot leave people's pets home alone for more than a few hours.


I live 15 minutes' drive away and try to help my sister as much as possible, as this stage 4/5 times weekly.

I had a difficult relationship with my mother and feel anger and resentment at the upheaval in my life. I have my own family and work to deal with but want to help my sister as we have a very close and cooperative relationship.

How can I deal with my feelings of resentment and sometimes revulsion at having to bath and feed and care for my mother's toileting needs?

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Elderly mother has pancreatic cancer...
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your comments!

I had not even thought of forgiveness with this issue but I know I can do it because I used to attend a Buddhist meditation group and they helped me to forgive a person in my past that had done great damage to my family.

It worked for me and I will try the same with my "mother issues". Thank you so much!

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Thanks to "In The Same Place"
by: BH

To the person who wrote in this thread about "forgiveness", I cannot thank you enough! It was a beautifully articulated post which blew my heart and mind wide open.

THANK YOU!

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I'm In The Same Place
by: Anonymous

I think I can help you with this.
I came to my mom's house five years ago with all the baggage of childhood pain and resentment.

I left home at the age of 19 and never had to resolve it. I just swept it under the rug and moved on and we got along all the years in-between.

Coming home brought it all to the surface.
I hope I can convey this message in any words that speak to you.

I have a belief in God, Chakra energy, spiritual growth, the whole nine yards of so-called new age beliefs. I have felt a block between me and mom ever since I've been here and honestly it wasn't until this past week that I resolved it.

It's been a long haul of steep learning, but I finally healed my heart energy. And I did it through the act of forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn't mean it never happened. It doesn't mean that whatever happened didn't effect your life drastically.

It doesn't mean that she's old and you're being the bigger person. It doesn't mean she's not still annoying. Forgiveness isn't even about the other person. Forgiveness is only about, and for, you alone.

You open your heart for you, because you need that energy to heal all the pain and resentment. An open heart doesn't mean all the bad people get to rush in. It means that energy is unblocked in order for you to heal.

Don't even think about your mom when you visualize this. Literally think of your heart energy open and filling it within for you to feel that healing energy. A general forgiveness toward the world might make it easier.

Whenever you're around you mom and you feel your heart closing for self-protection, realize that's when you need it open the most for you to deal with her. It's just the opposite of what we think. We think open is vulnerable and closed is protective.

But an open heart energy floods your inner system and is vital to survive these things we are going through. Heal your heart for you and it won't be so hard being around mom.
And as for bodily functions, indeed hire someone!

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Youre a Good Person
by: Anonymous

It's a very loving thing to care enough about your sister to help her with the burden of caring for your ailing mother! Many siblings wouldn't even try. So give yourself a pat on the back and know, really know, that you are only capable of doing so much!

When it comes to the offensive tasks of providing bodily care for a parent, you really get into uncharted territory. Who would CHOOSE to do it?

It IS repulsive and we'd be crazy not to admit it. Yet some of us end up doing it before knowing what we got ourselves into. Maybe you can ask your mother's doctor to order in-home nurse visits?

That's what I did, because there was no way I going to change diapers on a 95 year old woman. I just couldn't do it.

As far as what you feel towards you and your mother's history, you have a right to those feelings. Her being so ill does not change that history. My mother and I had serious issues, too, still I ended up taking care of her in my home for the last 4 years.

Some people told me caregiving would give me an opportunity to "make peace" with her. That turned out being true to a certain extent, but not completely; caregiving just added a different dimension to the mix, compounding what I already felt.

I had to learn how to separate the two. Part of that was learning to accept what I couldn't change.

What I most want you to know is that anybody who has been there KNOWS how frustrating and burdensome it becomes. The resulting resentment is hard to manage, because feeling it about something so humane as caregiving makes us feel like we are being "selfish".

Take it from someone who's been there for 4 years - it is NOT selfish to know and honor you're own limits!

Hang in there.

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Caring with resentment
by: Karen

I can't imagine having to do that intimate care - I am my dad's caregiver and when that time comes I will hire a home aid to help with bathing etc. is there anyway you can get a home aid to help out for a few hours a day - I think if you call a local hospital or social worker from a local medical facility they can walk you thru the process and see if your mom qualifies for home aid care.

From what I've heard it's not very expensive and there are some very reputable agencies that offer the service. I would not be able to give such intimate care to anyone I felt such resentment towards - nor should you have to.

It's wonderful that you are helping your sister - my sister can't help me physically - she lives 1300 miles away - but between you and your sister I think you can get some assistance. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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