The Other Side of the Story
Both of my parents are gone now but they left a trail of destruction in their wake. The siblings are finally starting to speak to one another and here is my story as the "bad" sibling.
My father had cancer of the brain and did not think rationally for around 4-5 years. My mother had severe arthritis but could not get surgery due to a bad heart. So she became addicted to prescription pain pills and was almost never lucid.
Enter the siblings. My parents had enough money to stay at home and hire 24/7 care and they did. But not at first. At first a typical request from them of the siblings that lived close was to ask them to drive 1 hour round trip to buy them a toothbrush at the drugstore even though the drugstore delivered. Or to stop by and bring in their garbage cans when one sibling was on her way home from radiation for breast cancer when the neighbor boy said he would do it.
It was "in my father's words" to prove your loyalty and love by doing anything and everything that they requested. And my sisters were at the house several times a week, these requests could have waited. And my siblings complied.
So enter myself. I lived 1300 miles away from them but did visit them 3-4 times a year and called almost every day. I sent care packages, gift cards to the siblings that lived local, and did the best I could. Here is where I became the "bad" sibling". I got sick. Had to have surgery that forever means I can't lift more than 20 pounds at a time. So my Dad called me and asked me to drive to see them for a visit. I said I would (mind you it is 3 days in the car post surgery). But I told him I couldn't lift Mom out of bed or do stairs. But, I could do laundry, shop for them (small things not heavy
So, I show up and he had let the aide have some time off and as soon as I walked in the door he ordered me upstairs to help Mom out of bed. (Prove my love by physically harming myself). I did it because I had no choice but paid the price(won't go into details).
Then he tells me his blood sugar level is 400 but he wants to drive to the deli. I mention that I could drive because he could pass out. He screams that no woman was going to tell him what to do and storms out. But somehow one of my brothers talked him out of going out.
There are many examples of this but after a few of these types of visits I had enough. I told my siblings that if I continued to do everything Dad wanted I would be permanently disabled and cut way down on my visits. If Dad would let me help him in ways that I could I would increase my visits.
I suggested they talk to him about some of the requests he was making. They didn't. And Dad wrote my off as an unloving uncaring daughter that will live with guilt for the rest of her life.So now that they are gone one sister can barely walk due to hip damage, one sister is on anti-depressants probably for life and another sister's immune system was so stressed she got cancer. It could have been avoided...all of it if we were a united front in managing Mom and Dad's care.
Now I am doing somewhat better physically but my sisters are permanently damaged. I feel guilty but also sad.
They no longer think of me as the "bad" sibling, they wish they had broken away from Dad's control before it was too late for them. My parents had enough children around and enough money that they could have handled this a lot better but they didn't and now we all have to live with the aftermath.