My sister came in from out of town for a couple of days, so while she was here i called her (at my brother's) and asked her and my brother to come over (no kids, no spouses) so that the 4 of us could talk - my two siblings, me, and my mom - a recent stroke survivor. i wanted to somehow understand why my brother and sister have been missing in action for the past year - why they are never around - why they only call or come over when it is convenient for them - why they don't seem to feel the desire or need to help me or to be around our amazing, beautiful mom as she continues to recover. so when they got here i sat down and started the discussion with a description of "typical" day - so that they could understand all that is involved IN EACH DAY - the working out with the physical therapy exercises, the speech therapy work, the occupational therapy, the transferring in and out of bed with the beasy-board, the reading together, the playing chess, the brain activities, the writing in the journal, the playing cards, the conversations, the hugs, the prayers, the tears, the laughter, the nights up every couple of hours to change and reposition my mom, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, and the ever infamous question Did I take a shower today? so after i lovingly described a day, i assured them that i was exactly where i wanted to be - i LOVE taking care of my mom and helping her to get stronger and better each day. i just wanted to know, to understand why they weren't around. why they didn't want to be a part of this healing process also. BAM! A RUDE AWAKENING. my younger brother (married with 4 kids) and my older sister (married with 2 kids) both proceeded to VERBALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ATTACK me and my mom - my brother is not around because HE DOESN' WANT TO BE - he has his own family now - he already spent time with my mom up until he was 17 and went off to college (!), - the house isn't clean all the time - he can't stand me - he hates when i leave him angry messages - etc. etc. etc. OK, I ADMIT IT - i HAVE left some "swearing like a sailor" messages - BUT that was only AFTER he would call a few minutes before he was supposed to be here (usually once a week for a few hours on sundays) and said "we won't be over today, i don't feel well" - or if he hadn't come over or called for weeks. i just didn't GET THAT. so here he is now blaming ME, blaming THAT for being the reason. which is a crock since i did not do that all along - and, rest assured, he will NOT be getting ANY calls from me and neither will my sister. now that i understand how much they HATE me. he went on and on about how i grieved the death of my dad for seven years and that that wasn't what people did - i asked him where does it say how people grieve? it goes on and on and on - but i LEARNED A LOT from that family meeting. my ideal in my head doesn't exist - at least not in MY family - when you get married and have kids - as my siblings have - to me that EXPANDS the family - not closes one out and starts another. so my sister and her family and my brother and his family are planning to go to the BAECH in outerbanks, NC again this summer (they go every year) - they are leaving this weekend. i told them it would have been nice to be invited - to rent a wheelchair van for my mom so we could all go. they looked at me in surprise, like they hadn't thought about that - instead they told their kids not to tell me or my mom. ANYWAY - my mom STILL loves them all - unconditionally - she is the peacemaker, the forgiver, the ultimate mom. while i feel a load lifted off my shoulders because now i don't have to wonder at all why they aren't coming around, i still get flashes of their statements going through my brain about how much they can't stand me - me - the sister who did so much for them and their kids all my life - in so many ways - and they think they are NORMAL and i am the freak - because i have run my own business for 20 years - because i have been there for my mom and dad - because i grieved when my dog died - and when my dad died - because i am who i am - an authentic child of God, a love-filled, joyous, caregiver, daughter. so yeah - hey - call that family meeting like the article said here! i did it! and it has freed me of wondering why my siblings aren't around. it is truly THEIR LOSS. as i write this, i am planning a trip to italy for me and my mom in the spring. i am planning a trip somewhere for thanksgiving and/or christmas so that we don't have to wonder if they will stop by for an hour before they go off to someone else's home, i am planning to have my mom start hyperbaric oxygen therapy and acupuncture, and i am praying. remaining every hopeful and faith-filled. all things are possible through the power of prayer.