I am 30 and married with no children. Over two years ago, my dad, 59 at the time, suffered a stroke. My brother and I found him when he wouldn't return our calls/texts, but I was the one who had to make the decision to get him to a hospital (my dad was refusing to go and yelling at us to leave him alone), and I stayed with him 24/7 in the hospital because that was his only request when we took him there.

After seeing him through two weeks at the hospital, he was transferred to a rehab hospital for another two weeks. Then, he moved in with my husband and me for 3 months. During those three months, I woke up every morning to make bottles of nutritional liquid for his g-tube. I coordinated all of his doctors' appointments with help from my sister who would drive 3 hours once a week to stay and help take him to rehab.

When my dad has his g-tube removed and was cleared to drive, he moved out and into a house that he had lived in for 15 years and had been demolishing over time (think no appliances, exposed studs, and running water from only one sink). After a series of unfortunate events, he lost that house and moved into a rental property. Because of his poor physical/mental health, my husband and I moved him out of his former house and into the rental.

He was doing "well" for about 10 months, and then he fell into a deep depression and began to physically waste. I stepped in at that time and started grocery shopping for him and trying to find appropriate health care. So for the past 9 months, I have been doing his weekly shopping, coordinating his health care, and writing checks for him to pay bills. I
have tried to get him in therapy, but he would only go if I went with him, and I can't because of my work schedule. I have found physical/speech therapy programs, but he refuses to go.

I am at a point where I am feeling angry and resentful toward him, my mom (she left him when we were little), and also toward my husband who doesn't seem to understand what this is like for me. I so desire to do the right thing, but I feel like running away. I do have a brother in town, and he helps sometimes, but he has children and a busy work life.

My dad is capable of grocery shopping for himself, but he says he's too depressed to do so. Additionally, before his stroke, he was a caregiver to an elderly woman, so I assumed all of those responsibilities as well. I have recently decided to end my Power Of Attorney of her and tell my dad I won't do his shopping anymore. It's just too much. I feel terribly about feeling this way. In my mind, I just think it's only one shopping trip a week...but it's so much more. When I see him and he's depressed, it hurts. When he complains but won't do anything about it, it hurts.

Sometimes I just need to take care of my household over the weekend. Sometimes I just don't want to be worrying about my dad's well-being or fearing something terrible is happening to him because I am unavailable. I am really struggling with my faith convictions to care for my dad and the elderly woman, but I so desire to take better care of my own health and my marriage...maybe even start a family. I am just so frustrated right now that I am posting to an online website on a Saturday night. Sigh.

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Thank you
by: Anonymous

I greatly appreciate your comments! After posting, I made arrangements to transfer my Power of Attorney of the elderly woman; I let my dad know that he is capable of driving to buy his own groceries and that I would no longer "enable" him to refuse to live; and my husband and I are beginning fertility.

I have great peace with these decisions, and I have a vision of "life" with my husband. Blessings to you, and thank you again.

No one else seems to share your feelings of responsibility
by: Anonymous

First of all, I understand what it's like when no one else in the family shares your sense of obligation. That said, just because your brother has kids, just because your dad is depressed, just because your dad made a commitment to an elderly lady, etc., doesn't mean that it should all fall upon your shoulders.

You have a job, you have a husband, you should have your own life. You are very young. It seems to me that you have absolutely NO OBLIGATION to the person that your father was taking care of. It is unfortunate that whoever HER family is doesn't have a daughter like you. Give up that obligation first.

Tell your father that he is too young to give up on life and, if you need to align yourself with your faith, whatever that is, think about affirming his and your own lives. We have been given the gift of life and isn't it our obligation to live it to the fullest? Your father needs to seek help for himself and stop being a burden on you. He is being selfish and probably is too depressed to even see this. He has become too dependent upon you and it's hurting you. How long can you go on like this? 5, 10, 20, 30 years? Why? It's not making his life better, and certainly not yours.

Your brother needs to help more, but most of all, your father needs to start living his life again. He's relatively young and has a full life ahead of him.

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