Jane834 Asked September 2009

Am I being selfish?

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My mom passed away a couple years ago. My dad is still grieving. Now my aunt is dying. He is incredibly lonely and grief-struck. He is not in need of a caregiver physically and he still works, but I'm so worried about him. He refuses to speak to a therapist. I have been there for him for the past couple of years. I recently met a wonderful man and we're getting married in a few months.

My sister lives in another state. She is single. We don't talk anymore because she has been abusive to me. She loves him, but will not move here to help out because she doesn't want to disrupt her life. I had cancer while my mom was dying and had no one at all to help me through it. Neither my dad nor my sister think it was wrong to completely ignore me during my chemo and radiation. I have been clinically depressed, but play happy for my dad. I just want to get married and enjoy my life for a change. Am I being selfish? Help!

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barbarinaa Sep 2009
Jane834, My parents had a 50 year love affair and my dad redesigned and did the construction on the house. I am the only daughter, but my two brothers live only 5 minutes away from her. They are both in the same town as she is, but this isn't good enough for her. She wants me. Otherwise, she is independent, except when I am around or talking to her. She refuses to ask my brothers to do anything. She'll call me and tell me and complain that I'm not there to help her and now she has to call someone to fix things and she doesn't have the money. When I hang up, I have to call one of my brothers and ask them to go and fix or check something out. Sometimes they tell me that they had been there the day before, but she never said anything to them! It's very frustrating and I live in a constant world of guilt. I do try to tell myself that when she was my age her and my dad were enjoying themselves and that now it's my turn, but it doesn't always work. Fortunately, I do have two brothers that I can call on when needed. If it is just you and your sister, it all seems to fall on your shoulders. Would your dad consider going to your sisters for a weeks visit? This way you and your fiance could have some down time and be alone.
barbarinaa
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Jane834 Sep 2009
OMG, barbarinaa! So much of what you said sounds like my situation. My dad will not leave his house because my mother lovingly designed and decorated every inch of it. I do understand it, because I feel the same way about it. My dad practically worshipped my mom. It was a 51-year love affair. I'm torn between spending time with him because I hate seeing him lonely and spending time with my fiance, with whom I'm going to spend the rest of my life. Since I'm in town and my sister isn't, I'm the only one around to be there for him.
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barbarinaa Sep 2009
Jane834, No I don't think you are selfish. We all need to enjoy our life at some point. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I have a similar situation with my mom. My dad passed away in 1998 and since then she just seems to be getting more miserable. She comes from a family of 8 and my aunt, who is 91 and my mom are the only ones left. She cries that my aunt is going to die and she will be all alone. She is depressed but refuses to admit it. She also still works and is on her own, living in the same house that I grew up in. She refuses to get rid of it because my father "loved the house". My husband and I live in Florida and she lives in New Jersey. My two brothers live in the same town. When we come up to visit, she never wants to go out with us. I have to be in the same room with her at all times or she gets upset. She cries when I come and she cries when I go back home. She says I have abandoned her when she needs me the most. I can't tell you the guilt trips she puts on me! When my aunt dies, I know I will have to fly up to be with her. When I first moved to Florida I wasn't working, but now I am. I just can't take off whenever I want and stay for an unlimited number of days. She also refuses to move down to Florida to be with me, yet she wants me up there to be with her. I feel like I am going crazy at times. I try to tell myself that I need to live my life with the man I married 42 years ago. And I need to enjoy that life with him. Statistically, men die before the women. I want him to enjoy his life with me, just as my mother did with my father. I am sure your dad enjoyed his life with your mom. Otherwise, he wouldn't miss her like he does. And you are making plans to marry the man you love and need to enjoy that life with him. I don't mean that you and I should ignore our surviving parents, we just need to set limitations. I don't know if this helped, and I guess I needed to vent, myself.
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Jane834 Sep 2009
Gvergrl, thank you. I know you're right, but it's so difficult! I always feel guilty when I spend time with my fiance and leave my dad at home all sad and lonely. Since my mom's passing, he has no interest in anything but watching TV. It's like pulling teeth to get him to go to lunch with a co-worker. He just sits in his house totally heartbroken. I have a lot of plans with my fiance in the next few months, but if my aunt dies, I feel like I need to be completely available to my dad. I'm going crazy!
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gvergrl Sep 2009
No. Dad is physically able to care for himself. As soon as you move in and take over, he will lose that ability. Get him involved with some sort of ham radio, or fishing group, something that he enjoys. not everyone is a social animal. but even us hermits enjoy sharing a love of something. Master gardeners? radio airplanes? he needs to find his own joy with out you giving up yours. That won't make him happy anyway.
Get married with the knowledge that you deserve to be happy.
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