HealthBoards

HealthBoards (http://www.healthboards.com/boards/)
-   Death & Dying (http://www.healthboards.com/boards/death-dying/)
-   -   Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care... (http://www.healthboards.com/boards/death-dying/698561-mother-dying-lung-cancer-sister-doesnt-care.html)

Abigail121 06-15-2009 01:35 PM

Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in December of last year (2008)- she tried chemotherapy and radiation, but decided once it had spread into the fluid around her heart (about 3 months later) that she would stop treatment and go home to die with what little quality of life she might have left. Hospice has been helping for 3 months and mom has gotten better since her treatment, but still very obviously dying. I have been living with her since my divorce so as her primary caregiver I am with her more than anyone. Being the baby of the family, all of this has been especially hard for me. I was also living with my parents in January 2007 when my dad passed away, I cared for him a lot in his last few months, too. It's more than I am used to- I don't have kids and I am used to being the one being looked after. All this has made me grow up really fast in ways.

I expected as promised my sisters would be here to help me with mom, and for the most part they have been. My one sister has had a strained relationship with our mother for several years. After the last "fight" they had a few years ago they seemed to make amends. But now that mama is dying she seems to have decided she has better things to do than come around. She won't call or visit, she is constantly putting down mama around me. I am the timid "little sister" and I don't know what to say. (I am under 30, she's 10 years older than me, if that matters)

We had a family reunion last weekend which we all know will be mama's last. She got to say goodbye to a lot of extended family and it was very positive for her. My sister, however, sat at my table and complained about how mama was using the reunion as a "goodbye party" and how she was making it all about her and her cancer. My sister told me "Mama is upset because we don't call or come over but I have to put myself and my family first" and then she quoted some stuff from the bible about God being first then her husband then kids...I don't know, I started to tune her out.

My sister has mental issues, she seems to be a hypochondriac or have Münchausen syndrome. She is constantly "sick" or claiming to be sick or claiming her children are sick. She goes to the ER to take medicine because she thinks she'll have a reaction to it. She even had elective surgery done when we needed her to help with mom. The surgery wasn't necessary but she did it seemingly to keep from being obligated to help care for mama...though now I can see in her mental condition it's best that she doesn't help with mom. She is also diagnosed manic depressive. I understand she has problems, but I don't see that as an excuse to talk bad about our mother or treat her the way she does.

It's hard for me to put on a happy face and ignore her but I do so for the sake of my mother. Mama doesn't want anyone fighting because of her. This same sister has already gotten into another sister over mom before and mama got very upset.

Mama is starting to request her fentanyl patches and I have a feeling once she starts using them she'll go downhill. She went from being a robust 180 lb woman to nothing but skin and bones. She's ready to go, I'm ready to let her go as hard as it is. But what to do when she's gone and my sister uses mom's death as another ruse for getting attention? I can keep it together for mom for her sake, but when she's gone I won't be able to bite my tongue anymore.

Sorry this is so long. Have any of you had to deal with similarly dramatic siblings or family members? Any words of advice for me?

Angel127 06-15-2009 02:27 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Sort of similiar but not quite, I would talk to your sister it's unfair that all the pressure is being put on you and it is unfair for you to take that pressure on by yourself. It's not healthy and it does no-one any good.

writeleft 06-15-2009 02:50 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Abigail, darlin...

It sounds like your sister has some issues that are keeping her from doing the right things at the right time. Not only did she choose to turn your mother's celebration of life and family, into a "goodbye party" ...she has also acted inappropriately about visiting, and sharing some of the load of care taking for your mother. I wouldn't take it so personally, it sounds as if your sister has a history of mental illness, that often makes it impossible for your sister to be there when you need her.

I am sure your mother knows this deep down inside, and is appreciates your devotion to her, more than you will ever know. You mentioned that you have always been the baby, but now you are not...That is a very strong statement that you should be proud of. Give your mother all the love you have, without being resentful of your sister. I promise, it will pay you back everyday of your life.

From a daughter, and a mom...Best to you and your mother

caringsister54 06-19-2009 08:03 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Dear Abby

You seeingly have made inroads in growing up but you also have some more to do. You need to dis-engage yourself from this sister who is mentally ill.

Focus on your mother -- But I hope you are working. If not, get a nurse in to take care of your mother and you need to go out and get a job, even if its part-time. What are you going to do when your mother passes.

First off, your siblings have rights in the house that your mother owns, or has it been transferred into your name only. When your mother passes, you may find that you will be out on your own and having to move.

You need to get some sort of life for yourself now to prepare yourself for the future. I understand the demands of a sick relative but I also saw what it did to my older sister who chose to gave up her life for my mother -- she didn't look for work, and chose instead to stay home and work 24/7 until my Mom's death. The house is now in both our names.

I myself had a life. I lived next door in the other side of the house (it was a duplex), but I got married, had two kids, and was happy -- my husband died in 2005 so I was there for his doctor appointments and the runs to the hospital when it was necessary.

But I didn't and wouldn't dare give up my life for my mother. I won't even do it for my sister who now has no job, no friends, no hobbies, no nothing! I have two kids and I gave them life. I also raised them and gave them their moral and ethical foundations on which to build. They are both in college and one is soon to graduate. When he does, I'll take him out and work with him on getting his own place. When my daughter graduates, it will be the same thing unless she moves in with her boyfriend in the meantime.

Me? I am dating (my sister wonders why I feel the need to do this again), and I have friends who I go see, travel with, spend time with, etc. I am hardly ever home.

I begged her to put my mother in a nursing home only because I know my mother expected this of my sister but I didn't. I needed my sister to have a life, some sort of a life, any kid of a life! -- now everyone is saying "you need to take care of your sister.". She's 4 years older than I and was always 'taken care of' by my parents until my mother got too bad to cook the meals, do the laundry, and clean the house. Then it fell on my sister.

Now she's 8 years older than she was, hasn't worked in 8 years, and is not interested in working. I understand her need to take time for herself but there's no money coming in for her and the any money my mother may have had will be long gone - very fast.

So please don't expect anything from your siblings because you'll only get frustrated and angry. Take whatever help the others give you and just move past this. But know that as soon as your mother goes, I'm sure this sister will come with her hand out for her "fair share" be prepared.

Knowing my husband was sick around the time my mother got worse and then he suddenly died in my arms in my house, my sister thankfully didn't expect much of me in regards to my mother (who I never got along with, I was abused by her for most of my life -- physical, emotional, and mentally. My sister was always her 'good seed' I was always the 'bad' seed)

Seek the assistance of hospice and/or visiting nurses who can also give you respite time. Prepare your life for your future.

Abigail121 06-19-2009 08:19 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Thanks for sharing your story. I actually do have a full-time job and while I do live with my mother I am not living there expense-free. I help her with bills and groceries. She is leaving me the house when she dies, as I am the only child with no family or home of my own.
I don't mind caring for my mother, I find it to be a privledge and honor to give back to the woman who gave so much to me- who gave me life. I just wish I didn't have to deal with my toxic sister on top of it all.

I wanted my mother to have the dignity and comfort of dying at home in the care of those who love her. I couldn't stand to see her in a nursing home wasting away all alone. Your sister needs to start her life again, but I admire her for choosing to take time to care for your mother.

I hope when I have kids and get old and dying, they will take care of me instead of leaving me alone in some cold, lonely nursing home while they go on about their lives untroubled.

[QUOTE=caringsister54;4016539]Dear Abby

You seeingly have made inroads in growing up but you also have some more to do. You need to dis-engage yourself from this sister who is mentally ill.

Focus on your mother -- But I hope you are working. If not, get a nurse in to take care of your mother and you need to go out and get a job, even if its part-time. What are you going to do when your mother passes.

First off, your siblings have rights in the house that your mother owns, or has it been transferred into your name only. When your mother passes, you may find that you will be out on your own and having to move.

You need to get some sort of life for yourself now to prepare yourself for the future. I understand the demands of a sick relative but I also saw what it did to my older sister who chose to gave up her life for my mother -- she didn't look for work, and chose instead to stay home and work 24/7 until my Mom's death. The house is now in both our names.

I myself had a life. I lived next door in the other side of the house (it was a duplex), but I got married, had two kids, and was happy -- my husband died in 2005 so I was there for his doctor appointments and the runs to the hospital when it was necessary.

But I didn't and wouldn't dare give up my life for my mother. I won't even do it for my sister who now has no job, no friends, no hobbies, no nothing! I have two kids and I gave them life. I also raised them and gave them their moral and ethical foundations on which to build. They are both in college and one is soon to graduate. When he does, I'll take him out and work with him on getting his own place. When my daughter graduates, it will be the same thing unless she moves in with her boyfriend in the meantime.

Me? I am dating (my sister wonders why I feel the need to do this again), and I have friends who I go see, travel with, spend time with, etc. I am hardly ever home.

I begged her to put my mother in a nursing home only because I know my mother expected this of my sister but I didn't. I needed my sister to have a life, some sort of a life, any kid of a life! -- now everyone is saying "you need to take care of your sister.". She's 4 years older than I and was always 'taken care of' by my parents until my mother got too bad to cook the meals, do the laundry, and clean the house. Then it fell on my sister.

Now she's 8 years older than she was, hasn't worked in 8 years, and is not interested in working. I understand her need to take time for herself but there's no money coming in for her and the any money my mother may have had will be long gone - very fast.

So please don't expect anything from your siblings because you'll only get frustrated and angry. Take whatever help the others give you and just move past this. But know that as soon as your mother goes, I'm sure this sister will come with her hand out for her "fair share" be prepared.

Knowing my husband was sick around the time my mother got worse and then he suddenly died in my arms in my house, my sister thankfully didn't expect much of me in regards to my mother (who I never got along with, I was abused by her for most of my life -- physical, emotional, and mentally. My sister was always her 'good seed' I was always the 'bad' seed)

Seek the assistance of hospice and/or visiting nurses who can also give you respite time. Prepare your life for your future.[/QUOTE]

Abigail121 06-19-2009 08:24 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Oh and for the record- I wasn't close to my mother growing up either.

caringsister54 06-19-2009 10:00 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
I don't want you to think of my post as being negative to you in any way. I was trying to lend support on how you can allow yourself not to deal with this toxic sister.

I'm also glad that you have a full-time job although how you can juggle it all is not something I understand but I guess because I suffer from Chronic Fatigue syndrome and am always tired, I always think everyone else is as well. I'm glad that you are able to do it, there are angels who walk this earth and you are one of them.

You say your Mom is leaving you the house. Unless its in writing, that may not true -- it may be what your mother desires, but in certain states, the house is part of the estate and as such as to be settled with all the siblings. Unfortunately Abby, your Mom may have the best intentions and again, can say anything but if its not within a will or a trust document stating such, your sisters have as much rights to the house when your Mom dies as you do. It unfortunately doesn't have anything to do with you being single with no family -- while your siblings may not want the house to live in, they will want their monetary value of their share and that is when you may or may not have to buy them out, depending again on if its in writing. One of my friends found this out the hard way.

If you are her caregiver for most of her needs -- you should be getting some money paid to you for your efforts. Others on these messages boards tell me that they pay their brothers for taking care of their mother for their week. I think they get paid $1,200 per month for that care and it comes out of their mother's account.

While my sister didn't draw a paycheck for caring for my mother, all their living expenses were covered by my mother's account. I even had my sister paid her car repairs, auto insurance, and fuel out of my mother's money and not her savings. It was only right since she used her vehicle for Mom's doctor appts and such.

I agree that you have caring and compassion for your Mom and feel that its best for her to be home. We all had to deal with Alzheimer and Dementia which is a different story all together. its a disease that doesn't always let relatives keep the patient at home. When my mother fell at home while trying to get out of bed under a sedative and lost her footing, spliting her eyebrow open, my sister called 911 and had her rushed to the hospital to be stitched. They identified that my mother was severely dehydrated which we knew because she would no longer eat or drink for us. They transferred her to another hospital and then we had the nightmare of trying to deal with hospice who wanted their money up front and we didn't have it to give. And then we needed to place her in the nursing home.

I too admire my sister for the most part -- what my ANGER is so pent up about is that now that my mother's gone, my sister has NO JOB, no friends (none) no one to go to the movies with, or out to dinner with or anything fun. She has NO INCOME at all and that's scary since we both need to work so that we can continue to stay in the childhood home and cover the property tax and other house-related bills. If the money she has (I walked away from my claim to any of it), runs out -- I have no means to be able to cover her side of the costs.

My sister was taking care of a mother with dementia who bite her, kicked her, slapped her, spit on her, and everything in between -- taking her hard-cooked meals and dumping the food on the floor or against the wall -- spitting out her medicine and taking ensure and anything else and pouring it on the carpets and my sister, etc. I would hear my sister begging my mother to stop, just please stop and I would go over.

during anytime I tried to stay with my mother so sister could go out shop or bank, my mother would scream, hold her breath, pass out and anything else that she could do to make my sister not want to go. When I would force sister out for a little while, my mother would scream so loud the neighbors heard. She would also slap me and push me towards the door.

The mother I knew technically died 5 years ago when she could not longer bathe herself, dress herself, use the restroom herself and she lost the ability to talk. She'd scream if she walked passed any mirrors so they all had blankets on them, the windows all had to the shades and curtains drawn because light bothered her. The TV couldn't be on because noise bothered her.

My sister had no choice but to just sit in the room in total silence and let my mother just look at her. If my sister went to the bathroom, my mother was right up out of the chair after her.

In reality, her body gave out this past February -- the last year and a half was hell for everyone and no one was there to spell my sister. I told her to get a nurse in to help her and use the money in Mom's account for that. She didn't want to because once the money ran out, there was nothing left for anything that they needed and my mother's social security and my rent didn't cover their total living expenses.

I wanted my mother in a nursing home because I saw the life sucked out of my sister and it broke my heart and killed me. But I was caring for my very sick husband who died at the age of 48 and trying to work full time, keeping benefits going for him and my family, etc. and my mother hated me all my life so it made it difficult for me. I chose to 'support' emotionally my sister in what she was doing.

I do have two kids; 25 and 22. I told them all their lives "I gave you life, I just didn't give you mine". I'm also laying the ground work that I absolutely do not want them to take me into their homes or take care of me. While my son blew me off, my daughter was "that's fine because I wasn't going to anyway, Son is older and that'll be his job". I said "no, it won't and shouldn't be either one of your jobs".

So no, I didn't have my kids so someone would be there to take care of me. I had kids because i wanted to see what they can and should accomplish in life and because I loved kids. And I will force them out of the nest when the time comes so they don't end up like my sister who seeingly was afraid to leave the nest and have opportunities to have a life.

The best thing for my sister is if we were to sell our family home, she and I split the profits and she goes into a 50 and over community or some senior center where hopefully she'd get involved with others and finally have the life she deserved.

Abby, deal with your mom, and those sisters who reciprocate and help you. Stay away from the toxic one. But as I said prepare yourselves. Get a POA (power of attorney) for your mother as well as a (MPOA) medical power of attorney so you can make the necessary decisions. If you don't want responsibility for both, then you get one and let another sibling get the other.

Also make sure the house is documented -- you may have to re-mortgage to pay your siblings for their share of the total value.

I want you to know I support you in what you are doing if its your choice and Bless those of you who can.

Abigail121 06-19-2009 11:14 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Thanks again for your reply. Indeed, every situation and circumstance is different. But since I am able to care for mom, it's what I will do.

mom has been very proactive in setting up her will and putting everything in writing. We've covered our bases, so I am not worried about any of that.

AnnD 06-19-2009 11:53 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
I'm sorry that your sister has her own problems and can't handle the care of her dying mother. There is no reason for you to put on a 'face' just for mom. Did you think your mom doesn't know your sister has problems. Your sister's problems should have nothing to do with anything. Stop listening to all her complaints and waiting until your mom dies isn't the time to say something ...the time is now. Even unstable people need a reality check and she needs to hear it from you. If you can't bring yourself to tell her how you feel certainly stop sitting there listening to her rant and rave about the negative ...the least you can do is tell her to stop it and walk away and never engage in her rantings. I am sorry your mom is dying that alone is hard enough to deal with...you have been a good daughter.

ebrena 06-23-2009 11:58 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Hi Abigal sorry about your mom it is very difficult to be with a loved one every day knowing they are dying. I also know how angry you are at your sister for laying it all on you. I also looked after my dad in 1993 and my mom in 2005 daily as they were dying. It was amazing how my sibs just ran the other way both times. They would even call in case I asked them to help me with something. I was angry and I also lost a lot of respect for them. I am the oldest in the family and I believe the most mature of the family and I just got in there and did and I am glad I did, more so for my mom as here and I were very close. My disrespect for these people I grew up with has not and will not change-but I had to let the anger go because I was mad every freaking day. I was not going to allow any of them to put in me into that space and stay there. I believe in karma and I really hope when it is their turn to head out they have someone to care for them. Because I won't be! I also know that if I got sick they wouldn't come around either. It is sad and hard to take but I guess they can live with their reason's and you can live with the fact that you were there for your parent's. Your sister knows you are angry with her and my family knows where they stand with me. It has never been talked about but they know. The thing that got me was on the day my mom passed I was with her as usualy and my brother and wife came for the first time for a visit but discovered it was the end for mom. So they had the honor of the final good byes around mom's bed. BUT they also told everyone that they were there with mom till the very end!! gurrrrrr There is nothing I can do about that either. I didn't like my dad, he was a miserable father towards me but I was still there for him and helped my mom as he was passing, my sister who my dad thought was the apple of his eye was no where to be seen or heard from. So good or bad you are a caring and loving daughter who put your life aside to help them in their last breath's feel good about that. My other sibs are alcoholic's so they apparently can't help it how they handle things, at least that's what I hear. So if anyone said to me it was my own fault I looked after the people who brought me into this world-I say I hope someone is by their side at their end because we all need each other sometime. Try not to put too much energy into anger it is useful and exhausting and they just aren't worth it.

Abigail121 06-23-2009 12:24 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Ebrena- thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I decided to just let it go. I have enough to worry about, I can't let me sister add to the stress. She will have to live with herself, not me. Time to wash away that toxicity and move on!

thisworld 09-24-2009 12:30 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
[QUOTE=Abigail121;4019801]Ebrena- thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I decided to just let it go. I have enough to worry about, I can't let me sister add to the stress. She will have to live with herself, not me. Time to wash away that toxicity and move on![/QUOTE]

how is mom doing. been awhile since you posted. disney world:angel::angel::wave::wave:

Abigail121 09-24-2009 12:57 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
She passed away in July, thanks for asking. My sister is still in her own little world.

thisworld 09-24-2009 04:37 PM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
[QUOTE=Abigail121;4085617]She passed away in July, thanks for asking. My sister is still in her own little world.[/QUOTE]

sweetie my baby girl. Jessica which lives in New York. loved her dad so much. and her older sister which is 9 years older. did not come see her dad like she should. but Jessica was holding his hand and the other on his heart. so she has a clear consious just like you should. sorry about sister and my older daughter but its a fact. but Jessica and I decided no sense trying to make her feel quilty . she knowes she wasnt there for her dad. and he has been gone 10 months and she still hasnt been here but one time and she lives 2 hours from me. and Jessica lives 12 hours away. she came many times. you sound so much like my Jessica. she just turn 27 last Oct. and he pass in Nov. Iv never seen 2 people that loved each other so much. she could tell him anything. i know she loves me and we are close. but nothing like her dad. so hold your head up high sweetie. you took care of your mom and dad. and they loved you for that. no matter what. sending you a big hug. a friend in North Carolina. faye:angel::angel::wave::wave::wave:

caringsister54 09-25-2009 06:07 AM

Re: Mother is Dying of Lung Cancer, sister doesn't care...
 
Abby

Here's the prayers for your good life going forward. how did everything shake out after Mom passed? Are you in the house? Did siblings treat you with the respect that you should have gotten?

My sister is still not looking for work. first it was 'she had cataracts, then she had an eye done and now its that she needs glasses, etc.

Its one excuse after another so I have no idea what she had or how long it will last.

Take Care my friend. God Bless you always

CaringSister54


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:30 AM.