My brother, his wife and two of his children are in town, on vacation, and want to visit with my 87 year-old mother. She's got congestive heart failure, depression and is on home hospice care with myself as her sole caretaker. She's refused to see her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren for years, but since she's been on hospice family members have been wanting to visit.

There's no reason for her to reject my brother's family, other than that my mother feels like they're only coming because they think she's dying and don't want to feel guilt over not visiting. Of course, that's not true. They've often tried to visit in the past and she just refuses to see them. Mainly out of anger over her situation, vanity and depression because of her lack of control over her life, I believe. They're perfectly lovely people!

She was feeling better this past week, and I thought the visit today was on schedule. But this morning her power lift chair broke which was all it took. Now, since she's confined to the hospital bed in the living room, where she basically lives, she's gone into a further depression, has been sleeping all morning and refuses to eat.

I told my brother earlier in the week it looked like she'd be up for the visit, but now it looks like that won't be the case. Do I have any right to tell family members that she won't see them? If it was up to me I'd just let them come and deal with whatever happens. But is it my duty to protect her since she can't get up and walk away from the situation? I feel like I'm in the wrong whatever I do.

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My suggestion would be for your brother to briefly visit her alone since she does not want to see his wife and kids. They already know how it is with her.
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Thanks for your reply, jeannegibbs. I did decide that, since I was likely to be in the wrong anyway, to stop playing social director and just let the chips fall where they may. As it turned out, my brother and sister-in-law spent most of the visit at the furniture store picking out a new lift chair for my mother. The children spent the time upstairs watching TV while my mother slept.

So all my worry was for nothing since my mother was well-behaved all the time she was awake even though she tried to argue with me all morning before they arrived. I must add that I've received the most valuable advice from this forum on the effectiveness of just walking away from that kind of argumentative situation. Every time my mother started raising her voice I just turned around and left. Not rudely, but as though I just remembered something I had to do right that moment. I had to do it about three times, but it worked. Afterwards I think she was grateful that we hadn't had another dramatic scene, like we have so many times in the past.

Of course my brother's family now probably thinks I'm nuts since my mother behaved so well, but I'm willing to live with that for the sake of a peaceful afternoon—this time. :)
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Oh Paula, how awful for you, and for everybody! There is no way you avoid being "wrong."

What if you explain the situation to your brother (who already knows the background) and leave it up to him? He can decide to honor Mother's irrational request and stay away, or he can decide to come and see her, perhaps for the last time. It is still an absolutely terrible choice to have to make, but perhaps the choice belongs to him more than to you.

Hugs to you.
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