Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

I think my father is dying. I've thought this before and he is still here, but as he gets older the probability of this happening increases. I am on my own with this as my brothers and sisters do not agree with me. None of them live near my parents and they argue that this is my parents fault, which it probably is, but I can't bear the thought of them being totally alone now that they are having difficulty in walking, driving and worse feeling alone.

The problem is that I have problems of my own and have for the past 12 years tried to help my parents and only made matters worse. I now don't talk to one brother and one sister and have scant tense communication with the remaining brother.

I have tried in the past to communicate through phone and email and to collectively come up with a plan of action but I feel all would be okay if the only one taking action was me.

I have seen my life disrupted over and over again with the consequent effect of losing work time and money and the constant drain on my emotions and on my relationships. It is always okay for me to cancel a lesson or give up my weekend so that my parents aren't alone.

They on the other hand don't feel the responsibility and think its okay for them to come on holidays and be entertained. As my parents abilities have decrease, so have the visits.

Now I think my father is dying, again. He needs my support, my business needs my support and I don't feel strong enough to support myself.

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Good Advice from Sheri
by: Anonymous

You say, "the probability of my father dying increases as time goes by?" Of course it does. I use to think my job was to keep my mom alive as long as possible. That her death would be a commentary on the fact that I didn't take good enough care of her.

But, you know, people die in an instant. They are here one day and gone the next. They may suffer a lengthy illness or just die of a heart attack, but either way, they are gone in an instant.

I have started to accept that my mom is going to die. She's 93 and when I moved in with her three years ago, it seemed she was healthy as a horse and would live forever. But as time has gone by, I'm seeing the subtle changes, and when I stand back and look at the big picture, she has declined quite a bit.

Last week her hip started bothering her and she could barely get out of the chair and walk. I thought to myself, this is how it happens. A simple fall, in the hospital, they get pneumonia, they get tired, they die. So now I live each day knowing that any day she could be gone. I think ahead of where I'm going and what I will do.

As Sheri says, we need to step back and let them go. We can't do everything and we can't keep them alive and well forever. Just as they have to learn to let go of everything they can no longer do or have, so do we. I feel bad sometimes my mom can barely see the TV, she has to sit four feet in front of it, or she can't take long walks, or even go to the grocery store.

I see she gets bored and restless and anxious, but there's nothing I can do about it. I still have my entire life to keep living and I can only do so much to help her with her difficulties. The rest we just step back and let go.

Their time will come, and they will die, and our lives will change once again. Until then, it may help us to step back and let go a little bit more each day, just as they do.

I Understand
by: Sherri

I know how lonely this can be. Taking care of aging loved ones is the hardest thing I've ever done, and really no one understands unless they've been through it.

You are in a difficult position of being the only one who really sees how bad things are with your parents. I think sometimes that everyone else is willfully blind: they want to pretend that you are exaggerating and that you are wrong. I have tried to express to my mother and aunt that my grandfather is truly very sick and his health is deteriorating but they don't seem to really believe me.

Worse is that they seem to get sort of excited, like they are happy that the end might finally come. They don't care at all that they aren't nearby for this time in his life.

I also have a business so I know what you mean about being pulled in all directions, not having enough time/money/energy to go around. And the emotional toll this takes is ENORMOUS.

You are not alone. AND.. there is hope. You are allowed to let some days go by without worrying about your parents. Really. You have to do that. I know it is hard, but step back. People kept telling me to step back but I had myself so worked up that I didn't want to let even one day go by without visiting and helping.

Finally, after I had a nervous breakdown, I got the message. I am only human. I HAD to step back a little bit. And so do you.

i wish you so much luck & strength as you go forward. You are doing good work, and you will be okay.


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