It has been awhile since I posted but I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
I got my Mom at the nursing home on Christmas eve. She got in the car she told me that my older Sister picked her up for Christmas dinner and she had a great time. I asked who was there and she named a few people, and I asked her what my Sister got her and she said nothing. I told her it was Christmas eve and Christmas was not until the next day. I asked her if she was suppose to go to my Sister's the next day. She said I do not know I am so dumb and stupid. I said no you are not, that is why you have me, to keep things straight for you, because this is part of her disease.
I had her call my Sister's three numbers and no one answered, because it was my cell phone number and at this point not one of my three sisters are speaking to me, over things with my Mother, but that is ok. I think she asked me to be the power of attorney because she knew that I was the toughest daughter, and let me tell you I am not tough and I feel like I am dying a little more each day.
We had my family over and had a wonderful Christmas Eve. When I went back to the nursing home her nurse told me that Mom is slipping fast, that they have had a lot of incidents with her. She also told me how it is funny how the younger Alzheimer's patients go faster than the older ones. (news I did not want to hear on Christmas eve). Before I left I told Mom that if one of my other two sisters (the other sister went out of town) wanted to see her on Chrismas that was fine with me, (she thinks she needs to be with me on all holidays) because they are her Daughters and they want to spend time with her.
I called her on Christmas and asked her if anyone was coming today and she said yes that both of my Sisters had called and they were going to come to the nursing home and spend Christmas with her. I was so happy because these are the two sisters who never visit my Mom, or help with her care in any way. Why did I trust them?
I called my niece just to make sure that Mom had her information correct and she said that yes my sister had talked to Mom and she was going to the nursing home, and may even bring her back to her house for dinner.
My Husband and I had a great Christmas by ourselves for a change and it was nice. I had this gut feeling that something was not right all day long, but I could not put my finger on it.
Well later on in the evening I called the nursing home and asked my Mother if she had a wonderful day with her other Daughters and what did they get her and she said they never showed up. I wanted to cry, I was so angry with myself for believing either one of them. I have so much hate in my heart right now and I do not use the word "hate" but Mom may not even recognize us next Christmas and it is like "so what" to them. I have never met more selfish people in my life than these two. We were not raised like this.
I might add that both of these sisters are alcholics, one sister decided to get drunk instead of going to the nursing home. I am fuming, I need to work through this, so here I am. I know "no guilt" here, but this is not guilt it is painful, very painful to me to know that my Mother sat at a nursing home all by herself on Christmas. When she has done nothing but live for her family all her life, gave up her last dollar if one of us needed it. Cannot stop the pain, and anger inside of me.
Looking for the wisdom from anyone who has some. I know I have to let this go and/or work through it. How do you do that without litterly punching them and hurting them the way I know they hurt Mom on Christmas. (I do not believe in physical abuse, I am just hurting for my Mom)
Julie... first you need to realize that you are NOT responsible for the choices of others. You can't control what they do or do not do. You can only control what YOU do. Reread that until you get it. You gave mom a wonderful Christmas Eve. You spent your time with Mom. Then you took a day for yourself. Mom was well cared for. What your sisters did was for them to carry... not you. You need to accept the people you can not change and change the person you can... and have the wisdom to know that person is you.
You can NOT change your sisters. I don't care how much anger you harbor, how much you fret, or how much you want it differet... you can NOT change them. The only thing you can change is your attitude in dealing with them. Yes, they are missing opportunities every day ... but you are grabbing those opportunities. They are not doing what they should for Mom... but you are doing what Mom needs. So why are you the one with the stress, frustration, and guilt!?!? Are you beating up on yourself because you gave your sisters the opportunity to be with their Mom?
The other thing you need to remember is that Mom is not truly aware of what day it is and she will not remember correctly and then she will forget. you left her with a good feeling from your visit. You continue to do that. Let that be enough for you. You have done what you can and that has to be enough.
I know what you are feeling. I was frustrated for a long time because I have sisters that don't do what I think they should. I let it color so much of my life until the day I realized it was such a huge waste of energy to be angry with Sister that were doing what they wanted to do. Right or wrong (in our eyes) it is what they want to do. It is our expectation that get in our way. We expect them to do something different. When they don't we are furious. So are we furious at them for not doing what they were not going to do anyway... or at ourselves for expecting them to do something different? Remember... the only thing you control is your reaction to what they are going to do.
The first think I did to get past my frustration was to accept the fact that my sisters are who they are and are going to do what they are going to do. I realized that no matter how much I wished, hoped, dreamed, or wanted... they were only going to do what they wanted to do. No expectation on my part was going to make it any different!! So I gave up on the expectation. I hate it for them and for mom and dad. But it is not my cross to bear. I can only give my parents what is within my power to give them. I can give them of myself. That has to be enough!!! If the sisters miss out then that is for them to worry about... not me.
So if you take away anything, take away the fact that your sisters are responsible for what they do and you are responsible for what you do. you can't change them no matter how much you fret about it. So why waste any energy on these angry negative feelings towards them. You have enough to do without wasting energy! Accept what you can not change and change what you can... You can not change your sisters... but you can change how you deal with what they do.
So go enjoy your time with your Mom and leave your sisters to deal with their own choices!!!!
You are so right, thanks for the swift kick in the behind. I care about my Mother so much and that should be the only one I am concerned with. I thank you so much for putting it into words for me. I could not see through my anger, and/or pain. I knew this is where I needed to be. I knew that I did not like the way I was feeling and once again you have come through for me. God Bless you!
oops hit wrong button lol Deb you said it beautifully. I sure wish my wording would be as good. Julie the one thing you'll probably come to realize is in a few years your the one that is going to have all those wonderful, happy and even sad memories Their going to have a big fat NOTHING. So chin up your responsibility is only to your family and your mom the rest can deal this their own guilt. We went through the same thing with my MIL other kids and one even went as far as to die w/o talking to his mom (7 yrs) she didn't even know he was sick or dying. It's hard not to be bitter but you deserve to have inner peace.
they're the ones that have to look in the mirror.....will they like what they see?
you on the other hand can look in the mirror and with a clear concious, know that you did right by your mother.....maybe that's why she knew you'd be the best one to be in charge
and when you get far enough along you will realize that instead of feeling anger towards your sisters.... they have earned sympathy. You are the one that is benefiting from the experience. You are the one that is strengthening your character and building your self esteem. You are the one that will have the beautiful memories of your Mom. They will have nothing but their guilt, their anger, and their frustration along with all those lost moments that they can never get back... not only with their Mom but with you. Yes, they are to be pitied
As you said... Mom knew what she was doing when she gave you the legal papers. She already knew and accepted what is... and now it's your turn. As my mom told me so often... You can't make a silk purse out of a souse ear... so why do you beat yourself up trying?
My Husband and I had a great Christmas by ourselves for a change and it was nice
So, no guilt. Your Mom was safe. She wasn't sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus, she was in a warm, loving, caring, safe, environment. While someone may have said Merry Christmas, she's not going to remember she was stood up.
So stop fretting. While you are angry with your sisters -- let it go.
Just remember and keep saying your words My Husband and I had a great Christmas by ourselves for a change and it was nice
I know I have said it before, but I will say it again. I am so blessed that I found this message board, with so many caring spirits. You are all angels on earth and for that I am glad you are in my life guiding me. Yes I will rejoice in the nice Christmas my Husband and I had. Sometimes when my head is whirling it seems the only people I hear, are people who have walked this journey before me or with me. God bless each and everyone of you.
I'd like to share some thoughts with you about my family, as I see so many similarities. I am also on the "other" side as my grandma passed away earlier this year...so we have completed our Alzheimers journey. But it left our family in ruins. I have different views on how to cope with siblings that dont care, that abandon, that are indifferent. Yes, I believe you do need to get to the point where you "accept" that they will not change, that is absolutely correct.
My grandma had 10 children, 2 of them passed away in the last few years right before she got ill. At the time of her illness and all the stress, my uncle was her sole caregiver, with a little help from my other uncle, and my mom who flew over to Ireland whenever she could and spent every day on the phone supporting him. But there were 3 daughters who did abandon my grandma, two in particular, who in the last year, did not visit her even once. She became so ill Julie....it was pitiful what she went through in the last months. But never did they pay a visit. The anger that errupted in our family came from exactly the idea that grandma's illness became a "burden"...they did not want to share. There is a difference between not being as much "involved" as others and not visiting "ever".
Julie, right till the end, they never even attended her funeral. One of them came to the house on the morning of the service to 'see' her for the last time, hadnt seen her in over a year. I dont know what its like 5 minutes from your mother, not see her in a year knowing every day could be her last....and then go see her lying in a casket. That is yes, hers to carry....whether it bothers her or not....is not anything I'm aware of, nor do I care about any longer.
But I do still harbor anger....I cannot help it...and it wont go away. Not for their actions...but for how it made my grandma feel. I can accept the stress that was put upon our family...because we decided we had to see it through, and be there for her......but I will never accept the hurt and abandonment that my grandma felt. Everyone on here will say, (and they're right), that when their loved one passes, whether or not they knew them on one day, and not the next, they "knew" who loved them, and who took care of them. So in that same notion, they also knew who was "not" there.....and I know my grandma, and I know how much of a whole they left in her heart, I will never forgive that. I dont think about it hardly, only when something comes up like this post, and I go down memory lane. My mom and uncle still do not speak to those sisters. Some sisters talk to others, but there are some bonds permanently broken. I also am angry at them for allowing one son because he was not married and already lived with grandma. He had no life of his own. Anyone who has been a caregiver knows what he went through, alone. And now, he is even more alone without her......and trying to find his way through his days. Yes, at the very end of the line, it was his decision to look after her and keep her at home, but it was a decision he should not have had to make with 3 sisters living 5 minutes away. Dementia is an extremely difficult illness to live with, but families can either make it easier or harder on themselves...it just depends whats in their hearts.
So there, now I'm off my soapbox....but for now Julie, it is true, accept that they will only do what they can so that you can get through this....the rest you can reconcile later whichever way your heart leads you. Whatever your feelings towards them, know that they are valid.....and we understand. But put yourself first before your anger towards them. MAKE SURE that you spend time with your OWN family so that they are a strong support on the "other side". Believe me, it is so important.
Julie. Let's face it. Dementia is an ugly disease, and most people just don't want to think about it. So they avoid dealing with it in any way. Times like this is when people's true nature really comes out. People are always more than willing to let someone else take the burden and wear themselves out, so they can keep on with their normal lives.
Be angry if you must. Then let it go. They are not worth the energy it takes to be angry at them. Then, give yourself permission to get on with your life and find happiness. Believe me, they probably feel no guilt or responsibility.
Bless your uncle for giving up his life for a while and I well know the aloneness he felt as a caregiver and feels now that she is gone. And yes, I had family and friends and a church of 10,000 people who, for the most part avoided and looked the other way. Couldn't even bother to make a phone call. And those people are no longer in my life by my choice. I don't need the "fair-weather" group. So my circle of friends and family is much smaller now, but at least I KNOW that they are there no matter what.
So true Ken....very well said....my circle of friends and family sound much like yours!!! Quality not quantity right?
Julie....hope you're hanging in there.....its okay to be angry....but dont let it consume you, I know its hard, because its just natural. Take care of your mom, but also yourself and your immediate family....that should be your focus, because believe me, the anger will do no good, now or even later.
Anger is nothing more than an expression of frustration, fear, and anxiety. All things that we don't need it our lives. It is born out of expectation. The problem with anger is that it doesn't affect anybody but us! So for us we need to deal with it and let it go. Forgiveness is not forgetting. We do learn from experiences and can change our world to eliminate the negative. Forgiveness is allowing ourselves to move forward without the negative feelings that keep dragging us back into the endless cycles of anger. We change our expectations so we can find that happy place we need. .. the sooner the better
May here remember my angst with my sister. I expected something very different from her. It was only after I accepted that fact that "she is who she is" and "that is what I will receive from her" was I able to move past my own frustration, expressed in anger, and deal with the situation. I did change my world to eliminate as much of the negativity as I could and learned to accept the rest. My sister is still who she is but I am different and life is better for it
just wanted to respond....I wont take up too many thoughts as this is Julie's thread. Her post just triggered some emotions for me from my family experiences and I wanted her to know someone understands that anger. I dont think about my aunts hardly at all.....old feelings erupt only when something prompts them to, like this post. On some things, I need to agree to disagree. I know anger serves no purpose....but everyone knows their own family, not every situation is the same. There is a difference between ignorance and cruelty, and what my aunts did to my grandma and my uncle was cruel...I cannot and will not forgive/forget that, whichever it is. I dont hold anger for them in my heart to the point it interferes with my life, it doesnt hurt me, because they no longer mean anything to me. But when I reflect back to what happened, yes, there is still anger. I appreciate every word I am ever given here Martha, but please believe me, my aunts more than know what they did......there is no doubt in my mind about that. They were told that there mother was calling out for them when she was dying, that she thought they hated her.....they did nothing. There are different degrees of being "non involved"....I appreciate some people are not the type to become involved, and that's fine. But they were only asked several times for their "company", not their "care".......and that was too much to ask. There's a lot to the story.......but like I said, on a daily basis, it never enters my mind....but Julie is still on the walk....and I wanted her to know I understand. When things are good, we all talk about how important family is, and how its what "life is all about"......doesnt it makes sense then that those same people can be the ones who cause us pain? My grandma may have been old...and suffered from dementia, but she enjoyed being with her family as much as you and I do......and she left this earth thinking her daughters did not love her anymore....they could have spared her that.....yep, I'm not ready to let it go....I dont think I ever will be. Some things are what they are...........and we all deal with things differently......thanks Martha...I guess I am set in my ways eh?
No, I understand your feelings very well. Just don't let it interfere with being the loving, caring person as you are. Who knows what traumas those women went through in their lifetimes? Who fully understands their obvious neglect of their mother? It may go back several generations. Be glad your Mom and your Uncle came out of that family pretty intact, and of course you are 2 generations removed so you are fine. Family problems are more complicated than we want to know. There was time when it was considered bad for a child if parents openly showed love. Now we are shocked to hear it, but it happened. Crimes such as child abuse including sexual abuse were covered up and ignored, the little girls never got any sympathy or understanding or mental help. Who knows if something like that happened to these Aunts, and they blame their Mom?
We may never know, but your big loving heart can decide to forgive, assuming there were extenuating circumstances you do not know about.
We are going out to eat to say farewell to my son and DIL, so I'll sign off for now. They drive off early in the morning heading south, eventually back to Miami...
I hear what you're saying.....but there's no such abuse or anything like that in my family. In fact before my grandma got sick, her house was grand central station....all those sisters stopping by 3 or 4 times a week for a cup of tea and a chat. No, it was the illness and the burden of caring for her that brought about the hostility and it went from there. Pure and simple they are "fairweather" family, I think as Ken put it earlier, that's the jist of it, sad to say. But you're right, they are no reflection of who I am....and at the end of the day....I havent really lost much if that's the kind of hearts they have, right? My grandma was not the first in our family to become ill, they have shown a lack of compassion for several who came before her....so this was just the climax.
Anyways, dear friend....I hope you've enjoyed your time with your family...and thanks for sharing some of it with me!!!
Love, Caroline xo
P.S. Sorry Julie for hijacking your thread a little!!! Hope you're doing okay!
Caroline... you said it. These sisters had done the same thing to others in the family that were ill. Therefore it was not something specifically directed at Grandmother or Uncle but something within them that didn't allow them to deal with the difficulties of Grandmother's situation. No it was not fair to Uncle or Grandmother but when you look at it from the other side... from what you just said... it is obvious that they could not handle the emotional stress of the situation. That doesn't make it right... but it does shed light on the basic problem. Again it was not a personal action towards Grandmother or Uncle but what they did for their own emotional well being. Some are just not as strong as others.
I am dealing with that in my family as well. There are grandchildren that just can not see their grandparents this way. Two of them lived just minutes from Mom and Dad for 18 months and never once went to see them. But... They helped us move them in and out of the facility when Mom and Dad were not there. There is one other that only come when they are coerced. Then there are two more that come occassionally and one that goes to see them as often as she can. Of the 6 there is just about an even split between those that can and cannot go. I wish it was different but that is the way it is.
And what I have been saying all long is that you have to look at a situation not only from your point of view but also try to look at it through the eyes of the other side to gain full understanding.
I understand what you are saying and I am aware of your feelings... but maybe sometime in the future you will catch a glimpse of the other side. It won't fix the relationship but may give you a little understanding Many times what we perceive as malicious is not. The may be doing the best they can.