Last year I moved back with my parents. The plan is temporary until I found a new place. Beginning of this year, my dad passed away unexpectedly. As we are very close family, we are not taking it well. Since dad's passing, my brother and I have been the main caregiver for our mom - who is in her 80s with CKD, high blood pressure and mobility issues. Mom has been refused to get any help from anyone outside of the family. Since covid-19 outbreak, I have been working from home and in between work, I am helping to take care of her hygiene.

My brother is a very protective man and I can see that he is stressing out all the times. The relationship between my brother and I have been impacted a little these days as I am not used to being told what to do and follow his rules at home. I have not spent time with my boyfriend since March given that he is working at retails and are trying to protect mom from the possibility of getting sick. My sister moved back home since beginning of July. She doesn't get along well with us and I can sense that it is just a matter of times that everyone will be losing it. I know my mom would prefer that I take care of her than my sister. My boyfriend's patient is running out and I really need a mental break from work and home. We have made plan to spend a week in August at his place and after that I will be self isolated at the basement for 14 days.

I am looking forward to it but at the same time feeling guilty of leaving mom, brother and sister at home. Am I selfish??

Thank you for letting me air it out.


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I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. You are not being selfish. We don't know when this COVID will be over. Let your brother and sister take care of your Mom. Move in with your boyfriend. Quarantine with your boyfriend. Your boyfriend is not going to wait for you forever. You could be in quarantine with your Mother for another year or so. This virus isn't going away anytime soon. Don't put your life on hold for your Mother. Go live with your boyfriend!! Quarantine with him!!
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Dear Feelinglost122,

First, I want to send you my sympathy for your dad passing away unexpectedly earlier this year. I'm sure that it's an extremely stressful and emotional time for you and your family being that you were close knit. You are still in the deep throes of grieving so it is no wonder you feel completely out of sync with your life.

No, it's not selfish to want your life back - I'd be willing to bet most, if not all, caregivers come to a point where they feel that way. I'm sure it doesn't help seeing your brother being stressed out all the time either. I just think you are in an environment that is in chaos from all that has happened this year - death, COVID, moving into your parent's home (even if it is temporary), being away from you boyfriend, working from home, helping with the caregiving and now your sister has been added to the family dynamics. None of that would be easy to adjust to in such a relatively short amount of time. Now, your feeling the pressure of your boyfriend's patience running out.

I sure hope you will follow through with your plan to spend that week at your boyfriend's to reconnect as well as giving yourself a "mental" break from both work and home. Do so without the guilt. Your mom now has both your brother and sister with her so it's not like you are leaving her "alone" with no one to care for her. You mention that now with your sister being there, that it's just a matter of time before everyone loses it. With that being said, maybe each of you can make a plan to rotate out for a week or so which would provide each of you a chance to get a mental break. I know you said your brother is protective and that your mom would prefer to have you take care of her rather than your sister, but a week is not very long and is temporary. It seems the benefit would far outweigh the inevitable "losing it" as you put it. Everyone is going to have to give and take here to make it work but, I think it is very doable.

Just so you don't think, I am making light of it. I've been a caregiver for 16 years straight starting with my dad who became ill in 2004 and died two months later after his diagnosis. So now, I oversee my mom who is 95 with Alzheimer's (plus I take care of our elderly, newly deaf, 13-year old Dachshund which has been challenging due to her new behaviors). We just moved her from an AL facility to a new facility in their memory care unit due to nearly dying of severe dehydration, COVID and a couple other things. I would love to have a life as now that I will be 58 in a couple months, I'm watching my life slip away. I don't even know when the last time my husband and I took a "real" vacation. I'm an only child, have no family here as my mom's five surviving siblings all live in other states and aren't involved in her care at all. No one else visits my mom other than me and when my husband can get away from work, he comes with me. I really wish that someone could give me a respite and visit her. So I hope you won't feel guilty or selfish for taking time just for "you".
I sure hope all of you can come up with a way to make something work!
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No you aren't selfish. Mom has your brother and your sister. We all need breaks. This COVID has not made things any easier. As you said, this was a temporary thing that went into something more. I think you have put ur time in now sister can help. I would use the time to step back and see if this is a situation you want to get back into. Brother is bossy, u may need to tell him u don't take orders from him. And sister, maybe its she doesn't take his stuff. Do you really want to be in this situation. Maybe Mom will be forced to get outside help she needs. Really, you don't want to be doing 24/7 care in this environment.
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I think you need and are entitled to some time for yourself. Try not to feel guilty. You've sacrificed a lot of your own needs over the past few months and this is not good for your health, nor your relationship with your boyfriend, by the sounds of it. Look forward to your time together, and enjoy the break from caring. Tell your boyfriend how you are feeling - perhaps you will be able to come up with some ideas on how to improve things, moving forward. Look after yourself for a while and this will help you see things more clearly. Do you have to move back home after your time with your boyfriend or can you think about moving out, given that there are plenty of other family members helping out with care?
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