Their future vs. our future.

Started by

My in laws have all their siblings and their families in another state and they are begging my husband [their son] and I to move back so they can be "happy" towards the end of their lives. Never mind that it was her idea to move to Alaska and when we discussed making that move that they both would be buried in Alaska. "Yeah, I know" was her response. Never mind that the people we leased our apartment to in Utah didn't pay the rent for 3 months after the lease was over [it renewed month to month after the 12 month lease] and now we owe over $10,000. There is no one in Utah who will give us an apartment. We pay our bills, I promise. We're not ones to neglect something we owe but we didn't live in that apartment for 6 months when the lease was up. I don't want to live with anymore of my in laws because I've been through that already and I'd go homeless before putting myself through that again. My husband has found a wonderful job here in Alaska where we can plan for our future here. But his parents insist we move back, live with whoever, and find another job that's just as well paying and good as his job now. I take care of them full time and I get paid by the state for it but Utah doesn't have that kind of program so I'd have to find a FT job myself and no one will be able to be with them. I get so annoyed when she brings up moving back. She doesn't know how hard it'll be. She won't be the one to pack up everything. She now refuses to do physical therapy because she wants to move back and she's tired. If she's not at dialysis or eating, she's in bed sleeping. I feel justified in not wanting to move back because it's foolish...but sometimes a part of me feels like we should just so she can quit complaining about everything. I've been taking care of them since we got married. I don't like being pitied but I do want to plan my future with my husband after they're gone. Moving back for them changes everything for our future. All of their family in Utah say they'll help us out but when we go back for visits none of their siblings, except 2, come by unless it's the day we're leaving. Ugh. Am I selfish in thinking about our future?


maren, that is a tough one. I don't know what I would do except maybe bump my head on the wall. What does your husband think? If you like AK there will probably be no other place that will make you that happy. I would talk to him about what he wanted to do. If both of you want to remain in AK, then I would put them on a plane to UT. Maybe they can stay with the relatives there, instead of having to move everything back. The move may be more difficult and expensive than the things are worth. I feel bad that you're put in this position. I would say your life comes first and you can help the in-laws in a way that doesn't go against what you want for yourself. You sound like you've done so much already.
He wants to stay wherever I want to stay. He's pretty good at self adapting so I know he'll flourish wherever we are at. He does agree though that he will never find a job as good as the one he has now in Utah so he leans towards staying here as well. We even told her that she can go stay in Utah for as long as she wants and then when she's ready she can come back but it's not good enough for her. She wants her husband [who she doesn't care for] and her son to be with her. She basically wants her cake and eat it too.
Sounds like you're in a narcissistic tug. You and your husband have the final word. Maybe he can go down to visit them when he has a vacation from his work. I don't know how important the caregiving money is to your budget. I was thinking you may have to look around for some work, too. I've heard the cost of living in AK is very high. It seems like AK hooks certain people and they never want to leave. It is a beautiful state, in spite of the cold and strange daylight hours.
Yeah I have a small home business that I do on the side that we've been earning extra income from but I haven't been able to work on it cause it seems like they're getting worse. But yes! Alaska is beautiful! The people are so kind. Thanks JessieBelle!
Do not move because your inlaws want it. You will regret it. When I relocated for my inlaws I did it for my husband. I don't like it here, would never choose it for myself, and am making the best out of it. We thought we would get good jobs but that did not happen and we are barely making ends meet. It is very stressful. Most days I just go about my business but during the holidays, it's depressing to not be able to buy decorations, cards, and presents without first checking the price tag. If you are content and financially secure in Alaska, I hope you stay put.
If they think "moving back will make us happy" they are delusional as it comes.
Never play into elderly delusions or promises of inheritance. Happiness is not a place. Where they really want to go is 30 years in the past.
Stay where you are. They want Utah, tell Utah to come and get them.
Pam, what you wrote is so true. Older people often think if only they could do this, they would be happy. Or if only they could do that, then they would be happy. But no matter what they do, there is no happiness there. The problems they had follow them wherever they go. I've always felt that if a person is happy, they will be happy no matter where they are. You can't run somewhere to find it.

I understand that someone would want to see their family before they passed. To me this sounds more like a good situation for moving in with someone in UT if there is someone who welcomes a house guest. (Really, I'm having the hardest time imagining why they wanted to move to AK to start with. We don't know how long ago that was.)
To me this is a no-brainer. I don't even see why anyone is agonizing over it. You like it where you are and want to stay there. Stay there! MIL wants to be somewhere else. Try to help her arrange that, if it is feasible.

Maybe, possibly, it would make some sense for you to sacrifice a part of your future IF it would gain something for MIL. If, for example, there was a medical center there that could treat her more effectively. But as others have pointed out, she is not likelier to be happy in another place than she is right now.

"We've decided that we are not going to move, Mom, but if you want to we'll help you all we can to arrange it."
Thanks everyone for your input. I'm always positive that this is what is right but there are days where I can just tell she's miserable and cries to us and tells us she wants to go back. That frustrates me as we're trying to make it more comfortable for her but to no avail.

We are Pacific Islanders and in our culture we are supposed to do everything for our parents/elders. It's what is expected of us. Whatever they want, no matter how foolish it may sound, we are supposed to do it. I have aunts and uncles who have done things just to make their parents happy in the end and I see how much they struggle after and I don't want that. I know this sounds like a no-brainer [trust me, I've gone through this a gazillion times] but sometimes I feel guilty about keeping them here when I see them so unhappy.

I just needed some fresh set of eyes on the situation to make sure we're not being unfair in looking out for our future. Thanks all!
Sending lots of empathy and hugs. This is not easy.

Am carer for two and many days I wonder if I have a future....and when it starts????

But here is a tip I learned with my mom...when she asks for "the impossible," I ask her if she would like me to look into it.

She say "yes" and I say, "OK."

End of discussion. Done and done.

I'm still looking into it, BTW.


Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support