Follow
Share

My father who has the spinal cord injury (10 years now) won't have anyone with him for thanksgiving. My mom (they are divorced) won't have anyone with her. My gma wants me to come claiming i spent it with my fiance' last year. My mom and gma have said do what's best for you but i also know feeling will be hurt. Next year we are going to try and have it at our home but my dad can't ever come b/c of his wheelchair and b/c he blames my mom for so many things that went wrong. I see my gma many time through the year. I see my mom lots through the year. I go out to my dads once a week at least. I'd rather be at work then deal with the holidays. No matter what i leave someone alone on a holiday and that makes me sad.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
For the most part, I've stopped celebrating the Holidays with family since my father passed in 1997. Tried to have a sort of reunion with the Puerto Rican side of the family 5 Thanksgivings ago, in which I was to do all the cooking. Sisters promised to bring sodas, desserts, napkins, and other knickknacks. By 8:00 pm, they still hadn't arrived. About 10:30 pm, after calling & calling their #s, those rats finally showed up. Mom, arm in arm with a half-drunken 30-something supposed to be her "marido" and all my sisters with their screechy kids and part-time boyfriends & husbands. With the exception of Noemi, who brought lots of empty Tupperware, all they brought was their mouths plus liquor to continue the party they were all supposed to be coming from. ... Then I had to run to a 24-7 Pathmark to get everything they couldn't "afford."

The sucker for punishment that I am, I served the food / drink, catered to just about their every whim (except finding a liquor store within 10 miles & putting it on my credit card), and cleaned the hurricane of debris they left behind.

I had stashed 2 turkey necks & organs in the back of the fridge so I could treat myself afterwards. ... Those suckers ate them too, and little by little slipped out of the house while I ran all over the place, with the occasional 30-second bathroom pitstop.

Never again. ... Now I only celebrate Halloween. Get a chance to dress up, scare the crap out of kids with my expensive, freakish constumes. This year was a satyr complete with life-like horns; last year it was H__ker Barbie on a Harley. Barbie girl won me $500 at a contest in Manhattan's West Village.

My point? ... Even though most people think the Holidays are to be spent with family, nobody said they all had to be blood-related. To be honest, every time I see mine here in the Bronx I want a transfusion. ... They make me want to pick up a bottle just to block it all out. So now I paint the town with people who really care about me. They don't use me, they don't abuse me. It's great to realize I do have choices for the Holidays.

Have fun!!!
(2)
Report

I spent every single.Christmas in my life, 58of them, with my mother. Sometimes it meant driving nine hours with three kids, two dogs, luggage, and presents all crammed in the car. Two years ago I moved my mother in with us so I could take care of her, so Christmas was finally spent at home. Many, many times I considered staying home and not seeing her, but in the end I always went, knowing it would break het heart if I didn't go. My mom passed away November 4th of dementia. I cherish the memories of all those Christmases spent with her, even though they certainly had their share of family drama. This will be my first Christmas spent without her. I am so glad that I spent the time with her while I was able and I have no regrets now, just memories to get me through.
(1)
Report

I, too, wish you all a very Blessed Thanksgiving and hope you can find peace of mind and body. Be good to yourselves, too!
(1)
Report

It is said God dosen't give you anymore than you can handle. How many times did I say this to myself over the past year and I made it thru it all. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, A special prayer for all those walking our shoes.
(2)
Report

Osomerset... you are AMAZING!

What a good person you are, after all you have been through yourself to be the care taker of your mom. I was the care giver for my mom, but I was essentially healthy and I know it is a very challenging job.

God bless you for being so good to your mom! I hope you are taking good care of yourself and finding a way for have joy and happiness in your life. You are an inspiration to those of us who find our roles challenging at times.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
(1)
Report

I adhere to this belief, if God brings it to us, He'll see us through it! My spirituality has been instrumental in sustaining the challenges of taking care of an aging and ailing parent. I had two strokes in April 2011, after I was released from the hospital, I assumed my role as primary care taker of my mother. It hasn't been easy and there are times I ask our Lord, "Why me Lord?" So far so good, I've learned a lot about myself and have been able to forgive an abusive parent that if you had told me two years ago that I'd be taking care of my mom, I would have told laughed! One thing I've learned, 'Never say never!' Happy Thanksgiving to all!
(1)
Report

I hope everyone has a blessed holiday.
(1)
Report

I'm an over giver and a people pleaser- things i'm working on. I'm trying to step away from the guilt and see if it is something i really should feel bad about. I'm doing the best i can and i shouldn't feel guilty about that. I give where i can but also have to take care of myself and what is good for me. I love them and they know that. It really helped to talk this out. Thank you!
(3)
Report

Guilt can be your inner voice telling you something or guilt can be a way of beating yourself up. There are some things you can control and somethings you cant control. Your family dynamics appear very complicted. If there are steps that you can take to heal old wounds then now is the time while your family members are still around. But the dynamics may have nothing to do with you and in that case you have nothing to feel guilty about. One way or the other, guilt is non productive. Change what you can change and accept the things you cannot and love your family members in spite of their flaws. You can not please everyone all the time.
(1)
Report

lildeb,...... OLD, what's old? I remember that song.......LOL!! Happy Holidays and Godbless!!! =D
(2)
Report

I would do what is best for myself for it seems like u already do a lot of visiting with all the family members n trying to please everyone is just going to pull you n all different directions n wear u out. There is an old song that goes, "You can't please everyone so, you got to please yourself." This song is probable way older that I thought but it makes sense. Spend the holiday with who feel comfortable with n if that is with your fiance' then go for it. ; )
(3)
Report

I have so much love and respect for caregivers! I have been learning alot over the last 5 years. I think of that sometimes what did my parents do for thier families and the answer is nothing. They lived too far away and didn't have the funds to travel. I try and feel the love that i have so many people in my life who want to spend time with me. Thanksgiving to me is more then just one day. Thank you all for your comments and caring! Amazing! I hope you all have great holidays!! Hugs
(2)
Report

Hurray smilebeth! As care givers, we learn as we go. With distance (actual or emotional) between family members and trying to keep everyone happy, we eventually hit a wall. It's up to us to take care of ourselves, so we can care for others. We can only do our best which will not please everyone. Rock on, lady!
(1)
Report

Thanks for everyone's comments!! It sure helps to be able to talk about it! I have gone as far as to cook and have 3 thanksgiving's so everyone could spend time together. I'm just not able to do that anymore. I gave my grandma the choice to have us after the 5K we are running (my first) with my soon to be step son- like a brunch before we headed back up to laramie to have time with my finace's family. Nope not what she wanted. I have dinner with her at least once a month. My father can't get into anyone's house so it leaves me with only going to his house. He won't go live in an assisted home - he's 58 with a spinal cord injury, won't hire anyone b/c he's too "tired" to do it. I've offered to help. I used to go out after work everyday for 3 years and cook and clean for him. I can't do that anymore - but that's what he wants. I'm between two states - wyoming and colorado. My mom and i will have time together the day after thanksgiving and she's ok with that. I see her at least 4 times a month. I think i feel bad b/c i'm happy and in a relationship that is good and they are alone. I have been flexible and tried to do it all. Now i'm saying what i can do and what i can't do instead of wearing myself out. I am only one person and what i want matters too. My fiance and two boys are my priority now.
(2)
Report

Happy Thanksgiving, I agree the holidays are overwhelming!!! I to had an extended family......divorced parents,grandparents who lived in other towns and sibs that were scattered all over! I was the one sib who ran all over trying to get to where the family wanted, because we didn't have children(at the time), we were expected to go wherever! AND ALWAYS we were chastized because someone thought we should have been there that year! It is 30 years later and most of the parents/grandparents are gone. The sibs have their kids come to their homes and we take turns going to each ones festivities. It seems so much calmer now, we have children and they can visit wth their cousins. Sometimes it was to much so ...we just stayed home and celebrated there(calling everyone instead), in peace and quiet............! It's up to you , but, it WILL make you angry in the long run. Stand up for yourself.....tell your parents/grams what they are expecting of you!? And ASK them if their families did this to them?! See what they say then???? Good luck and God bless
(1)
Report

Remember you cannot change anyone, only yourself. Try to not be so hard on yourself. Even though all these people are your family and you love them, they have made choices on their own. Sounds like you are a wonderful sweet caring person. Even if seeing everyone you love is over a three day period, it would lift the burden off of you somewhat and if you can't god understands even if your family doesn't and try to be at peace in knowing this one true thing.
(2)
Report

Don't feel guilty. That is what a divorce does. It divides. Sad but true. Some things are just beyond our control. Perhaps you can put them on a schedule... like divorced parents do with their kids. You go to moms on thanksgiving... then dads on christmas... grandma's on New Years... Or what ever works. You can't please everyone, and if they love you they should understand the position they are putting you in....
(1)
Report

Do what you want to do and don't be fretting over it. It IS just another day. People knock themselves out, travel on the roads with bad drivers, just to make everybody happy. Do what is best for you.
My mothers birthday is on Christmas day and I don't even want to send her a card because she has emotionally and verbally abused me all my life, and I am now at the point of not caring at all anymore about her feelings.
(2)
Report

Even without a divorce in the family you can't be everywhere and generally can't host everyone. Geography and schedules and other commitments get in the way. Do your best to enjoy the holiday and to share enjoyment with others, and then don't beat yourself up about what you can't do.

We are fortunate in our blended family that ex's remain civil. More than once I have hosted a family gathering attended by my ex and his 4th wife and well as my husband's ex, and all of our children. My husband's ex has come to all of our Christmas parties for the 39 years we've been married. Very obviously that would NOT be a good solution in many families, but it works for us.

Another thing we do is be flexible with the dates. This year our "thanksgiving" party is not on Thursday but on Sunday. If applicable, everyone can go to their in-laws on the actual holiday.

Also, we tend to make our own traditional events. We celebrate Chinese New Year -- decorations, Asian cuisine, music, the works. People have asked if we have some Chinese heritage. Nope. We just like parties! Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo are other events we've celebrated.

Often you cannot be with all the people you'd like to be with on a specific date. I don't let that spoil the celebrations I can have.
(4)
Report

This is so difficult!
Harder, when one knows their parent units cannot get along, even for a dinner.
It shows their own limits.
Their limits prevail, when they hold events on their own turf.

How about you holding events on your own turf?
You are at liberty to invite whoever you wish.
You could invite not only family, but friends too, and do it as a potluck

It can be at your place, or neutral territory--some families rent a hall or other space for large dinners; sometimes churches allow a family to hold their larger dinner event at their social room, given enough lead-time making the date..
Some hold it in a group meeting room in a restaurant, or even at a public park.

Whoever comes, does.
Because others are present, behaviors are more controlled, usually.

Please do not hold up on inviting people to events, because of how they have behaved in the past. You might be pleasantly surprised--they may just then be allowed to be their "better selves".

As a child, I grew up with split families.
ALL of them said and did nasty stuff.
ALL of that programmed me to avoid family gatherings that involved all sides of all the divorces--I simply wanted to avoid conflict.
I wanted to avoid conflict so badly, I eloped, instead of having a wedding: I wanted everyone to come, or none.
It seemed "none" was the only rational answer.
On top of that, I was let to feel that I had already taken up too much of their collective resources, so I had no right to expect them to give us a wedding--if I had a wedding, my next sibling down the line might not get the wedding she wanted.
See how that goes?
45 years later....
I know that was a terribly dysfunctional thing I allowed dysfunctional family to program me with.
IF I had it to "do-over", knowing then what I know now, I would have a wedding....or at very least, somehow found the guts to tell family involved, how I felt & why I chose to elope, instead of having a wedding.

You may think those divisive relations cannot get along:
I am here telling you, MAYBE they can.
MAYBE it is your own inner sensitivity holding you back, based on pain felt from surviving past events, not their issues.

'Course, I could be wrong...there really are =some= family members who should NEVER ever come together in the same room!

Only you can choose whether or not to try doing a T-day event at a neutral spot, and invite all of them, as well as supportive friends.
Try looking on the possible outcomes from a perspective based on what things might look like 40 years from now.
Who might get hurt?
How?
Is it so big that it should ruin having a great dinner with some who show up?
If it worked well, would it make happy memories for YOU to live with, & let YOU know you did the best you could to make it great?

Pleeaase let us know how it comes out!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
We are trying to do the best we can, with our dysfunctional family, & friends who care about us. I am thankful we have the opportunity;
I do not want to miss any more of those, due to what I =think= others might say or do, but based on what I think I want from this Day..
(0)
Report

This is a difficult situation.
Having famliy on the east coast while I consider the west coast-california home
its very diffcult to not visit with family and sometimes I am terribly homesick.
Funny thing is they are just fine!
At times I can reflect on holidays past other times the memory of those holiday meals, conversations are better not remembered. Strange realtions with famliy dont go away-thank god!!!
ALL & ALL make a decison and have no regrets-there will be another holiday and god willing more celebrations.
Just to see the white of the eyes is an expression Ive been told time and time again-and boy does the guilt get me too-and this passes with time.
Divorced families are a reality of modern times. Come to terms with the new family circumstances. Can you thrive inspite of not pleasing others this holiday season? When paying a visit because you truely dont want to but have to -to whom is the real benefit &/or pay off?
(1)
Report

It took time for me to figure out what works best for me and my hodge podge family. My sil and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving. As for Christmas, we celebrate with part of the family on Christmas Eve, part on Christmas Day and the rest on the weekend before or after depending on how the holiday falls. That way, we fit everyone in usually and also avoid overtiring the elders. It keeps us caregivers from getting overstressed and overtired too. SIL and I are no longer spring chickens either.
(4)
Report

can't you see your dad for brunch maybe and your grandma and mom for dinner? i know that's maybe a lot of running around but maybe it's a way to please everyone. i make a full dinner and take it over to my grandparents' with my mom to eat at one, since they eat early, and then go to a full dinner at my bf's parents' house at five. i often end the night with desserts back at my house with my dad, who also can't be in the same room as my mom due to an ugly divorce. it's a lot of running but it usually works.
(4)
Report

You are one person, any day can be made a holiday - really . Ask yourself what works for YOU first. Take care of yourself first, Its like having kids - you can't be a good parent unless you take care of your own physical and emotional needs.. If you are engaged or married now, that person is now or going to be your family and they should come first. This dosen't mean you don't love your family any less . It sounds like you are also taking on some of your Dads issues of the divorce . Make a plan of action ,make your own Holiday (whenever that maybe and when that works for YOU) with your Mom, Dad and Grma. Throw the guilt out the window. As far as the Divorce send that out the window with the guilt thats between your Mom and Dad NOT YOU. You don't have any control over how everyone feels or deals with their emotions. Its sounds like everyone gets to see you often and they should appreciate that no matter when it is . Guilt can eat you up if you let it . Perhaps you can suggest to your Grm,Dad or Mom to find a place to go to thats nearby so they won't be alone or maybe they may have friends . If they are resistant to that suggestion thats they're choice ,you can't make them do something they don't want to do. Relax ,stop worrying enjoy the Holidays when and how YOU want to and with whom you want to be with or not. Remember , any day can be if a Holiday. Its not the day, its how you spend it.
(8)
Report

Holidays are difficult for me too. I'm never sure of the right thing to do and it seems the elder people have no one and the young adults have far too many homes to visit with split families and remarriages. It's all a flurry... And this year my sweetheart and I may just have each other. We are still treading lightly and trying to figure out what works best and I'm hopeful that in time the answers will become clear...opening our arms and welcoming everyone.

Just thinking about your Dad and his feelings... Some times resentments, even though they may well be justified, isolate us. I think someone said that forgiveness is what you do for yourself. I hope some day he can find a way to let it go and live in peace, surrounded by love.

I guess when someone hurts you, it is wise to step away so you are not hurt again. That seems smart to me, but too much stepping away and personally, I find myself locked carefully away in a dark lonesome closet...I'm safe, but its no fun.

Best wishes to you for a very thankful Thanksgiving. I hope we can all figure out this complicated question. Thank you for asking it.
(3)
Report

I feel so bad for you, holidays are a struggle on who to spend with in any circumstance, now you deal with this. Try to do what is best for you. Does the facility your dad is out have any special activities during holidays? My mom is in a nursing home, we are going to bring her to my home (which I shared with her for 8 years) for the day. Not everyone in the family agrees, in fact I am probably the only one, in addition to my adult son that thinks it's a good idea. As long as we can get her up 3 steps from the garage, we will be okay. My worry is that she will fall like she did on her only other visit home. I just can't leave her at the home that day and we will have lots of family here.

Try to sort out the best way for you to deal with this, but be honest with everyone, you don't need any more guilt on top of what you are going through.
(1)
Report

Foremost, you have to take care of yourself first. It sounds like you may have lost your own identity taking care of others. You need your space, time, peace and quiet too so as difficult as it may be, please give yourself what ever you need to restore balance in your life.
(9)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter