Sandwiched

by Marie
(Oklahoma)

My brother lives in El Paso, Texas and my sister lives near Washington DC. Both a long way off. They come to visit once a year, if I'm lucky. My brother hasn't been here for 2 1/2 years. It has been this way all of our adult lives. (They living far away and not visiting much.)


I was designated as the one to be the caregiver by osmosis and close proximity. I also assisted my mom with her parents when they became elderly until their death. I never volunteered for any of these positions, but thought I could handle it.

Now that it is here with my mom, and my mom is getting more dependent on me I don't think I can do it. I want out! My siblings never call, email, write, but say call anytime and ask, "What can I do?" Well, I need physical help and they live too far away. The 3 of us have not been together for 20+ years. My children live out of town and assist some. But again they can't just run over to assist with meals, or take her places, or be company because of distance.

My mom wants me to do these things for her and not some outside person. I work full time and don't want to give up my job. I am the youngest in the family, but my siblings work also. So they don't want to take off vacation time to see mom very often. I feel guilty, resentful, and angry. What to do ?

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So True
by: Anonymous

So True! But I still need help!

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Bro got out!
by: Anonymous

Brother never came through and never told me he wasn't going to do it. But would call and tell me he talked to Mom and listened to her complaining. Big Deal! on the 23rd of December he called to tell me about his big contribution of listening to Mom 2x's a month and gave excuses why they weren't coming again in December.

I had had my Mom in my home for 2 days because of weather and although things went well, it was a strain. And then he calls. It hit me wrong and I told him he should do more for mom etc. And then I said I can't talk to you about this anymore." and hung up. He called back 2 more times and the 1st time I didn't answer and the 2nd time I picked it up. My mistake.

It was his wife and she started in on their reasons etc. and I interrupted etc., and she told me to Shove it because I was yelling and hung up. I called her back and she would not listen to me. She wanted all the conversation to go her way.

Well I did say some things I regret and she told me to Shut up and hung up. I called back, big mistake and left messages that were rude. So on the 24th on Dec. he sends all the family members involved including our Mom and disowned us and said we were dead to him and all the ways we wronged him etc. and how we hurt him harking back to his childhood and telling my Mom she was never his Mom nor my Dad who has been gone for 37 years.

And that because of what I said to his wife I am unforgivable and dead etc. Very mean and cruel letter. So he got himself out of the picture, which is what he wanted, but he didn't have to do it so cruelly. He never wants to hear from us again. Isn't he a lovely bro. So here I am waiting to see if my sis can help. It seems to be on go. We will see.

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Bro not Coming Through Yet
by: Anonymous

Well, my brother said he would approach my mom and it has now been 2 months and nothing has been done yet. I told him something in the year must be done. so, he still has time.

But, I can hear the excuses coming. I hope I am wrong because I am so alone in this and at the end of my rope. If he doesn't come through I will have to make a change whether anyone likes it or not.

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Trust?
by: Anonymous

Well we had our meeting. My brother said he would have Mom stay in his home for awhile. But he was not going to talk mom into it. My sister said she would be willing also at a future date.

Well, bro left and sister shared some of the things I shared at our meeting, which ticked me off because we all agreed that what was said there would go no further. But, my mom hasn't been as rude to me and saying obnoxious things.

So maybe it did some good. I still don't like that she shared things said at this meeting. So, I don't trust her to call and let off emotions to her. She is gone also, so we'll see what happens next.

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Thank you
by: Sandwiched

Thank you for the comments. They help. It is so nice to hear of others experiences and that we are concerned about each other because we can relate. I still want out and feel so guilty for wanting out. Take care. -Sandwiched

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Hire Help
by: Anonymous

Dear Marie,
You are not alone in spirit, I too and many of us on this site can understand your feelings of exhaustion and of being overwhelmed.

This has been my experience: While I was caring for mom (bathing, catheter, fixing meals etc) and keeping my own home, business and family I let her know here and there that I would not be able to keep this amount of care up and that one day we would be hiring help. Mom didn't like the idea and also said, 'if you ever put me in one of those places I won't last 2 months'.

Well, we have finally hired help. We kept mom in her own home as long as we could and then had to move her to a board and care. My brother and I always let the final decision be hers but we give her the honest picture of her finances and physical health needs etc.

It has been more than 2 months of board and care and mom is not anywhere close to 'dying'. She has bonded with her caregivers and it has been important to me to let go and allow the caregivers to become so important in mom's life.

It was so overwhelming to me to keep caring for mom and try to live my own life that I just had to bite the bullet and hire some help. I must also add though that just because she lives in a board and care now I am still doing so many things for her care and keeping everything straight-so the 'job' is not over once a loved one is placed in care of others.

I hope my experience can help you in some way.
The scariest thing i heard in my caregiver support group was that the caregivers usually die before the person they are caring for! Ack!
I had to find help.
m

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Sandwiched and Can Relate!
by: Erin

Hi Marie. I, as well as many others on here feel the same way. I'm the youngest of six, and fell into the caregiver role by accident. However, it is now my cross to carry.

I lost my job of 10 years, and then my home to foreclosure. I was scared of moving in with my parents because I was so independent. It has been an emotional roller coaster living with my parents who are both 87 years old and in failing health.

My father is very limited both physically and mentally, and who my mother and I both take care of. My mother is still able to make the decisions, very cognisent and gets around, but with limited mobility. My mother and I have been at odds with each other since the beginning.

Because of what happened to me financially, I have had a hard time regaining my self-esteem and it's been very stressful just coming back to my parents house everyday. My 5 other siblings seldom call "me" (I believe I may have had a call from each no more than twice in 11 months) to say Hi- "how's it going, can I help", etc. They call my mother, who usually says, "oh, we're okay."

My mother was reluctant at first to get outside help, but does have a CNA come in twice a week to bathe my father. She is dealing with losing her husband and gaining another child in him and trying to control my life at the same time. I'm expected to be home for dinner, I have no other life, except the den, no privacy, no friends now, because it's impossible for me to lead my own life without saying what I'm doing, when I'll be back, whether or not I'll be eating dinner with them (parents), etc. Very little social life.

I have turned to alcohol to relieve my stress, and I'm trying to address the problem without telling on myself. My siblings have "lives" and simply cannot give up any of their time to help.

I have one sister who lives 45 minutes away and says she is coming up, but ALWAYS cancels at the last minute because she has something more important to do. I've experienced the resentment, anger, guilt and the loss of myself because no one else will relieve me.

However, I know I'm doing all I can while I'm here, and won't feel guilty after they are gone, but my siblings will experience the guilt long after. I don't wish it on them, but I won't be able to sympathize with them either. They are able to visit if they want to- instead, they go abroad on vacation, are busy on the weekends (and the children are old enough to be alone now) when they could come up and stay with our parents.

Unfortunately the anger, resentment and guilt are natural feelings- they are hard to deal with-but you are doing ALL YOU CAN DO. Talk with your pastor, or a counselor or someone you know can give you the support you need. It's sad but your siblings will never understand, just like mine- because they simply don't want to know or to be in your place.

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