I wrote a letter to my brother addressing the conflict over the care I provide to dad.
After the Holidays, my older brother told me, among other things, that he didn't like the man I was dating and that he thought my job right now is to take care of our father. "He may not be around next year at this time, then you can do whatever you want, but until then, your job is to take care of dad and you shouldn't let any guy distract you from your job." We have not spoken except for a few words since then. I want to send him a letter. He has no idea what my day to day life is like living with my 83 year old father and my three young daughters.
I have been a stay at home mom for my three girls, and since my divorce from their father, I have been living with and caring for my father. Thanks to a small spousal support payment, I have not had to go back to work yet. I've been his full time caregiver for the last three years. I'm tired, stressed, anxious...you name it. I've read enough around here to know you all understand where I'm coming from. Some days are good, some days are just plain rotten. Today was a rotten day.
I know you've told me how you feel. I hoped you would change your mind, but I don't see that happening. I had a horrible dream that we were at Dad's funeral and you wouldn't even speak to me then. It breaks my heart that at this time that I need family more than ever, I feel so alone.
I hope you realize how hard this is for me. Dad doesn't sleep well at night, so I'm up with him several times during the night and getting him dressed at 3am because he's done sleeping and wants to go downstairs to his chair. He gets sick during most meals and doctors can't tell me why. He sleeps for a good part of every day and all the noise my rotten kids make can't keep him awake. He wonders why no one calls him anymore. I encourage him to make calls, but he says, "they don't want to talk to me."
He fell in the bathroom this morning at 4 am. He's fine, but it took my daughter and I quite a while and a lot of struggle to get him up off the floor. She's been a great help, but she needs a break too. I can't even take my kids away for the weekend, I feel guilty leaving him at home for the couple of hours it takes to see a movie with them. They ask when they can go up to visit their cousins again. What do I tell them? Uncle and Auntie are busy? A big part of the reason I'm here is because I want my children to grow up close to their cousins and aunts and uncles.
What is it that I was doing that was so bad? I was trying to have a life with a wonderful, kind-hearted man that loved me and loved my children? Guess I failed at that too, huh? My relationship with XXXX has suffered greatly since our conversation. Guilt. You made me feel guilty for wanting a normal life. Sometimes I feel as if I deserve nothing but a life of servitude until my service is no longer needed. What about what I owe to my own children? What about that care-free life they left behind when I packed all of our things in that Uhaul after the divorce and stashed them away in your storage space? Thank you again for letting me store my things there as long as you did. I never realized it was going to be such a long time.
I often ask mom for help, like she's an angel watching over me. "What do you want me to do Mom?" I hope I'm doing what she would have wanted. I'm doing the best I can, but I could sure use some help.