Taking Care of Everyone
Hi - it is so good to be somewhere where a lot of other people are going through similar experiences.
My dad's dying, I have a mentally retarded older brother, and a totally whacked-out mom (nice but vacant).
So, the moment my dad dies, I have two more children again. I had to sort of raise myself and my brother (and I had an autistic, mentally retarded sister as well - she passed away 10 years ago), be a friend to my dad, a babysitter to my crazy mom and handicapped siblings.
I had a break when I got married and moved 300 miles away, had my own children (now 18 and 20), and built a career. But this was always on the cards for me anyway, and I knew that. Additionally, my husband's mom is dying as is a beloved aunt.
My biggest problem among many is my OTHER aunt, who we also take care of. She lives in an assisted-living sort of place, is nearly blind, frail, walker etc. But she is an incredibly cruel, nasty, black hearted, arrogant, controlling, prejudiced liar.
She is a despicable person in every way and as her dependence on me increases, so does her cruelty. Every day, I find myself pondering whether she has at last fallen down and died. She is 95.
Her latest diatribe is that my children committed "felonious acts" against her - some weird thing about my then-10 year old daughter having surrounded my aunt's beside when she was sick, with all the neighborhood children in attendance.
It's impossible to argue with this woman. She doesn't listen to anyone, and is implacable in her insanity and arrogance. I honestly wish she would die. She has no children, few friends, and I'm about her only blood relative (mom's sister). There's no one else to help her.
I have to take her to many doctor's appointments, do her paperwork and tax preparation (she is almost blind), and a few other things. I've tried flashcards to review when she is bitching me out, wearing earplugs/headphones (might go back to this one), leaving her to walk around or even leave the room.
It's absolute fricking poison pouring into my ear and heart, designed to convey the maximum hurt (attacking the things that matter most to me in the world - my kids). I tell myself - don't rise to the bait.
But with all the other people in my life that I have responsibility for, and my level of exhaustion, I sometimes just don't have the depth of character
or patience that it takes to ignore her.
As for siblings, I do have one - a doctor who lives back east. His own personal life has been a train wreck unfortunately - and he has neither the capacity nor the desire to be part of anything with our lives.
All of it -- dad, mom, brother, aunt, mom-in-law -- falls to me and my husband. My husband has two older brothers too -- they are not part of any solutions and one of them has done a lot of harm as well.
My mom-in-law went to live with him (at he and his wife's insistence) and became ill, over and over again, was treated with cruelty and she finally "broke out" and moved back to the area where we are - we had been taking care of her for 15 years when the brother talked her into leaving.
This was all about money for he and his wife, and we still think they tried to - if not kill her - to hasten her death through poor care and unkindness.
Anyway - I guess that's it. I'm still trying to work at my job too. I don't really know what I am going to do or how I'm going to get through the next few months.
I am resentful that the career I've worked hard to build - having just gotten my own kids through school I can focus on building the career more -- is probably going to have to be suspended (if I'm lucky) or left behind (more likely). We live in a rural place, lots of recession still here.
It's been a real struggle to build a career here and I'm proud of it. These are my prime earning years coming up, my prime years of contributing and creating. All that equity I've earned. So I'm grieving for that too. I feel like I'm facing many many years of hardship and toil now, all alone except for my husband (he's great).
I guess I'm strong enough to do it, and I guess he is too. But it is hard not to feel resentful. Especially where my evil aunt is concerned. She is such a horrible person. I feel poisoned - literally - after each time I am with her.
When she dies, I am going to burn her clothes and get rid of my car. I don't even want to keep the car because it has been put into service to help her and she has been in it so much - it's all tainted.