Teresa - Anger and Resentment about Siblings not Helping with Care of Mother
Someone tell me why the responsibility of caring for an elderly parent is always left to one or two of the siblings.
My Mother came to live with me upon her discharge from the hospital. She was told at that time that she no longer could live alone, drive or be left alone. She was very upset because all of a sudden she had no home of her own, could not drive. Her life was just taken away in one moment of conversation. She lost her independence at that moment. I cannot really understand how she felt, but I try.
I know on a daily basis she wonders why my brothers do not call or come to help for days at a time. They come by and visit like we should be thankful for their presence. We don't need just a visit. My Mother could use a foot rub or bring us a meal so I don't have to cook once in a while. One brother picks up meds. on his way home from work about once a week. Not out of his way. The other brother has brought food a couple of times and he did take her to his home for 3 days. I had other obligations and did not get any rest. But I do thank him for that. I am not saying they don't help at all, but that I need more help than they are giving. I could not have done that without him.
I can see it in her eyes and by the depression she expresses when she talks about them. She is one of the most loving Mothers anyone could ever have. She never let us go hungry even when we didn't have much food. She somehow found a way to make it work so we would not be hungry. She never left or let us leave or go to bed without saying I love you. She always comforted us when we needed it. So where is her comfort? She had a heart attack at 38. After that her health declined as each year passed. She is now 67.
Three heart attacks, lupus, copd, peripheral artery disease and Alzheimer's. She is a hospice patient. The nurse and the aide come out 3 days a week and bathe and check on her. I am thankful for them. I feel it is all of the siblings responsibility no matter what. Its heartbreaking to me. Its her I feel the sadness in my heart for.
She sits on her hospital bed every day waiting, depending on someone else to bathe her, cook for her, put her clothes on and sometimes hold the spoon to feed her because she shakes so bad she cannot hold the spoon. I often say Mother, lets eat with our hands, just so she can have a little independence. She feels ashamed because she drops the food from the spoon or fork. I put my arms around her and tell her it's just us. Nobody cares if we eat with our hands. Then she is okay with it. No, I do not feel sorry for myself and I would do it all over again. But I do get extremely tired.
She has been home for 3 months and my sister came 400 miles to help. Left her family and home without hesitation for two months. She had to go home to
take care of some things. Thank God for my sister. One brother lives 8 houses from me. The other about 8 miles from me. Had it not been for her I would have had 4 nights sleep in my own bed with my husband who has become the most patient person I have ever known. He is very respectful and loving and caring to her. May God bless him. He grocery shops for me when I can't go. He runs errands for me when I cannot leave her. And anything she asks or needs he does without hesitation. He sees the restless nights she has. When she can't get up or she falls, he and my children help me to lift her. When she doesn't sleep, neither do I. When she has a bad dream, which is often , when she is afraid of dying, or sick to her stomach, or crying because she feels like life has cheated her, I am here for her.
They do not realize how time consuming it is for my whole family. My children help me also. They help feed her and watch over her too. Each day I have household chores to do. My Mother soils her clothes and bed sometimes and I have more laundry to do. If I do have to leave for anything she and my son watch over her. If I am gone. which is to run and get back as soon as possible, and she gets sick, they are frightened and call me to come home. They will be starting back to school soon and they both work, so I guess I will have to deal with it.
I feel like one weekend a month my brothers should come and stay all day Saturday and Saturday night, so that I can get up in the morning and go shopping and maybe out to eat with my family just for a nice break. They sometimes come by and I say what have you been doing? They say oh, we have been to the movies or the mall or fishing or a get together with friends and other family. Never once do they call on a weekend and offer for me and my family any free time. I have to call and they have other plans. Have not been able to do anything with my family this summer. I don't think that is too much to ask.
I know they love my mother, but at the same time they don't realize how selfish they are being. My husband has taken the financial and emotional responsibility of my brothers and I am ashamed that it is is this way. I pray for God to give me strength to take care of her and to not lose my temper. But some days are harder than others and I feel my heart get tight and my self disgusted at the situation.
By the way, the sister in laws and their children can also help. They have already been through her house and gotten the things they wanted when my Mother left her home. My Daddy left all of us money when he passed. I would be ashamed to take anything from my elderly parents and not help out. Shame on them. I love them all and I am sure they won't like what I have written. But it's the way I see it.