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This is a bit of a rant. I just need to vent before I blow a fuse and cut all ties with my father. I know I am wallowing in self pity but I am just so tired.


My parents live in Arizona and I live in North Carolina. My mom has terminal stomach cancer for which she completely declined treatment. No surgery, no chemo. She stopped getting out of bed 3 weeks ago. I was going to come for a one week stay in August anyways but once she stopped getting up my father told me to come right away. My brother lives 2 min away from my parents. Once I arrived mom started throwing up blood. We thought she might pass any moment so dad and my brother started funeral arrangements. They want to do everything in the house as much as possible so I was told that after she passes and people come I am supposed to feed visitors and serve them tea. I was surprised and thought it was weird - they should just hire someone since everyone has significant means. I was like should I not be welcoming people and grieving - and my brother said - you think you have time to sit? You will need to hustle and serve guests. I did not say anything but I was becoming quite annoyed so I told them to plan everything and that I don’t want to talk about funeral anymore. It’s too hard to care for her and think of funeral at the same time.


It has been 2 weeks now that I am her primary caregiver.


She throws up every 2 hours (or at least tries) and I basically have been sleeping in 1 hour increments for a total of 4-5 hours a day for the past 2 weeks. I sleep on the sofa outside of her bedroom. Not because anyone made me but because I am afraid she will need me and I won’t hear her. My dad is deaf so he won’t hear her even if she screams for him.


My parents have someone who comes to cook and clean so my role is to sit with her and help her when she needs anything. I hold her while she heaves and pukes, clean up after she throws up, change her sheets, wash her, take her to bathroom, hold her while she cries and begs to die. She is extremely restless and not in peace. She thought if she foregone all treatment death would come fast. Painkillers help but they don’t help with nausea. She has been like this for 2 weeks in the pre-active stage of dying and from what I read it can last like that for a while more.


In the meantime I missed my son’s birthday and my kids cry for me every night. My husband is very supportive but he feels that I am being mistreated and thinks I need to come home. Oh and I got diagnosed with ulcer right before I left but could not start treatment because I can’t leave the house and see a doctor... so he is worried that I will get sicker if I continue as I do. My father and brother know about it too but so far 0 reaction from them other than too bad. That’s how my mom’s cancer started - with an ulcer.


I decided I want to go back to my family and my job (where I took unpaid leave) he was surprised but ok with it. I told him they need to find 2 nurses one for day time and one for night time to care for mom. He said they can handle it within the family. No need to invite strangers into the house.


He does not understand how difficult it is/was for me. I have not been outside for 2 weeks now. He does not seem to notice or care. Today as I was running around changing moms sheets after another puke accident my dad walks in and says I need to talk to you. I say “not now, busy”. I was very annoyed. I have not slept at all last night since mom was heaving and trying to throw up all night long. I have not eaten. He knew that. I ask him later what did he want and he said “did you check mom’s clothing for funeral?” I tell him I did not and I will not and I don’t care about funeral, I am too busy taking care of mom while she is alive. He yelled at me that I am being disrespectful and that he is tired of my snappy attitude and I should pack up and leave. Then he called his sister to come and look after mom. How screwed up is that?

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One more thing. Where I come from, the mourners (spouse and children of the deceased) sit and mourn. They are forbidden to serve and "hustle". (I have some choice words for your brother; he sounds like a misogynistic bully).

Friends and other family cook and serve. The mourners mourn. It's a very good system.
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DramaAtHome Aug 17, 2019
Hi Barb, I completely agree with you. My brother is a big bully too but I still love both my father and my brother though believe I have called them every word on the planet in my head.

I told my mom that I am leaving on the 21st and she said of course my children need me. I just need to make it the next 3 days but it feels like eternity.
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Update: I got hospice on board and they already administered to her anti nausea medication with a bunch of other things to make her more comfortable. I had to explain to mom that it is not to extend your life but to help you deal with the end of life. Like someone said Dad was scared so now he is sitting in the living room with lights and tv off brooding. I am anxious to what it will be like when it’s just us 2 again. My brother is a lot more involved now cause I blew the fuse in front of him. We also gonna switch pain meds and once I have mom comfortable I will say goodbye and leave. I will be in touch with hospice nurse who will be coming to administer all the meds and with my aunts as well. My aunts are sweethearts so mom will be in good hands.
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MountainMoose Aug 17, 2019
I am so relieved for both your mom and you. This should take a huge weight off your shoulders, and you can go home having said all you need to and your mother can say her piece to you, and knowing your mother is on her final journey pain-free and in comfort. *Hug* to you, my dear.
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Update: I got hospice on board and they already administered to her anti nausea medication with a bunch of other things to make her more comfortable. I had to explain to mom that it is not to extend your life but to help you deal with the end of life. Like someone said Dad was scared so now he is sitting in the living room with lights and tv off brooding. I am anxious to what it will be like when it’s just us 2 again. My brother is a lot more involved now cause I blew the fuse in front of him. We also gonna switch pain meds and once I have mom comfortable I will say goodbye and leave. I will be in touch with hospice nurse who will be coming to administer all the meds and with my aunts as well. My aunts are sweethearts so mom will be in good hands.
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PowerOf3 Aug 20, 2019
So glad to hear your mom is comfy now, I’m sure a huge weight is lifted off you. I think people misconceive hospice, I did. They do not need to be left alone with her, dad can stand at attention and oversee everything they do. Goddess bless your mom, you can both be in a lot more peace with them keeping her cozy.
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GO HOME!

Can't trust myself to say anything more. Just - go home, with your head held high. Give your mother a kiss before you go.
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Drama,

I am glad you got Hospice on board. I was going to suggest Gravol suppositories if nothing else to help with the nausea.

If at all possible hire caterers for the funeral tea. Do it behind Dad's back if need be. There is no reason at all for your to do the work. When you fly back for the funeral it will be with your family and they will need your attention, not plates of sandwiches. It does not have to be fancy catering, for David's funeral, the Church ladies did the tea. It was fancy sandwiches, homemade cookies and squares. Cost us $100. We have 300 at the funeral.

Back at the house I had crackers, cheese slices, sliced meat, condiments and buns. All from Costco. We also have wine and beer. It was only family and close friends, so people knew to help themselves, there was no serving anyone.
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Please, do not cancel your flight for any reason. imo.
Worse things could happen if you do not go home.
I am so sorry that at this time of your life, family on both sides are terminally ill.
It was a good thing that you were there for your mom, and did all that you could do.
Godspeed, and traveling mercies.....
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Drama: You wrote previously: "I read somewhere on this site that if you choose to be a caregiver then it’s a lot easier to deal with fatigue, etc. I chose and yet I freaking crumbled and I did not expect it to be that hard. That was ignorant on my part."

You do not deserve to think because crushing sleep deprivation and powerful familial issues mean you're ignorant or not up to this enormous task you shouldered. Some people may say it's "easier to deal with fatigue" if the caregiver chose it. While that may be true for a few, I'll wager it's not true for the vast majority. Fatigue is one thing; body- and soul-crushing exhaustion is another.

You are amazing. YOU made a huge difference in your mother's life by ridding her of a horrible dying process and ensuring her final journey will be in peace and comfort.

If you ever feel like you don't make a difference in the world, look yourself in the mirror and say, "Yes. Yes, I do."
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Wow, what a crappy attitude your dad and brother have!!

What sort of time line for death did the doctors give?

Is mom on hospice? Why isn't she getting meds for nausea?

I would not leave my family and kids indefinitely, especially when you're being treated this way. I would tell your dad that you need to get back to your primary responsibility, which is caring for your kids. Home health care needs to be hired. The discharge team at the hospital where mom was treated should have been able to help with that. They may be a good source of information, both for a hospice recommendation and for a home health care agency.

I'm so sorry that your mom is so ill. Get hospice on board right away.
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I think you are being treated unfairly, both by your parents and brother. If your mother didnt want any treatment and preferred to die on her on terms,she should have discussed what she wanted to be buried in,if she has some clarity, they can still ask her. Secondly you have to take care of yourself. If the sister was available why couldnt she share the care with you sooner. I think you should sit your father and brother down and come up with a better plan. You should be with your family. Your children are young and need you.At this stage and if your mother can still understand what is happening, she should want you to be with your children. Also under these conditions, Hospice should be involved and very helpful. Take a break, go see a doctor and let the sister take over. Your children need their mother well. God bless.
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Authoritarian, difficult, opinionated, stubborn...it sounds like these aren't new traits for your dad but he is also loving and supportive and he loves your mom. It may not have been the relationship you choose to totally model but my guess is your mom up until her illness would have been the one in the kitchen "hosting" everyone and running the household, the caretaker when someone was sick not because it's what your dad demanded or expected but because it was what she wanted. I'm not passing judgment one way or the other but maybe Dad and Brother expect you to do that because it's what they know, right or wrong they assumed you would take on Mom's role. Your dad is right, though he presents it poorly, this is who he is and it isn't changing. In fact this is the father you love good and bad you are just running into more of the bad at the moment which isn't a big surprise given the circumstances. His wife, his partner and probably life organizer for X years is about to die this often brings out the worst in us. He doesn't admit it or express it well because that's who he is but it may very well be that it has simply become too overwhelming for him and he's simply doing the things he can, the things he needs to right now to deal. I'm not sure how long mom has had the stomach cancer but your dad has been the one watching it literaly eat away at her 24/7, feeling the day to day change in both her life and his and the one providing care with the help of your brother, not because you don't care, this is not a negative on you she/they chose to do this on their own and when it just got to be too much for dad, when he felt the end near he called you. He has probably watched and held her hair through more vomit and blood than you realize and it's simply gotten to the point for him where he can't watch it anymore. It sounds like they both decided long ago that she would pass at home and neither wanted "outside" help but it just can't be done without some outside assistance anymore, it can't be kept "all in the family" and shouldn't be and this is part of the help he, they both need from you. Even though he is outwardly fighting it he trusts his daughter the lawyer, mother and daughter to take over some of the hard stuff and this is what he was asking for when he called you and then turned over her care to you. Let the lawyer part of you take some control (some of this I have to guess you got from dad, you just improved upon his traits by tempering the bully part) and some of the lead. It is time and will be best for each of you, especially mom to call in Hospice. It can be in home at least to start but if you find a good service they will assess the overall picture and help you all navigate all of this without too much disruption or seeming like "outsiders" are taking over, they are there to support all of you and give you the time and space to recognize the precious times you might have with her. Include Dad & Bro in decisions but use your skills to guide them to the right ones and bring the 3 of you together in this rather than drive you apart. It will be best for mom too, if you need to go home for a bit do so but don't let this drive you away from this time with your mom if that's what YOU need. With Hospice helping you will have some breathing room to figure that out. Let them plan the funeral if that's what they need to cope now but that doesn't mean they determine "your job" if you can bring yourself to be a small part of the planning, maybe Mom would like to be too, do it if not don't but stay firm and clear on the fact that you will not be cooking and serving, that is not what YOU will need in your grief and you each need to get your needs met. They can't make decisions for you any more than you can for them about how to behave, react, mourn now and after mom passes you can only each share your thoughts and listen to each other. But it sounds like an intermediary (like mom), a leader is needed and that's probably you now.
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DramaAtHome Aug 17, 2019
Lymie61, I can’t even begin to explain how insightful I found your post. At some point I started swearing bullets because I was scared one of my aunts have read my post and recognized our facts. The sentence where you described my mom hustling in the kitchen was dead on. That’s my mom. She is a stay at home mom and completely devoted herself to taking care of my dad, his parents (who lived with them until they died), my brother and I, my aunts and uncles (my mom cared for my aunt who passed away from breast cancer last year), and my dozens of cousins. I have 20 cousins all together and all of them have spent at least 4 weeks living in my parents house for one reason or another. She is 2nd mom to so many. Unfortunately they are all scattered around the States now with their own young families so it’s hard for them to come and help. They all call and text me constantly asking about my mom’s state of health. This is how precious my mom is to everyone.

My dad has traits that I would never choose in my own husband but he does love his family. (Actually my husband is the calmest, sweetest person in the world. I am the one who can be a bully in our relationship. Your comment about how I am a little bit like my father was spot on as well.)

My Dad raised his 5 siblings, made sure everyone one got college education, helped out dozens of cousins find their way and did absolutely everything for my brother and I. My dad is as old school as they come. He did it all because mom was in the background helping him. When it comes to living alone my dad is as helpless as can be. I taught him how to work microwave this week.

I have not lived with my parents since I left for college. Though we visit often and spend all family vacations together I have forgotten how difficult he can be.

So yesterday I took charge of my mom’s sickness and I will manage it remotely from NC until the end. My dad feels incapacitated because I took the reins but I explained yesterday that he needs to focus on being with mom and not freak out over 5 zillion other details. He feels also very guilty that he did not realize the need for hospice support earlier. In his head he was doing what he promised her. We all (mom, dad, my brother and I) had a heart to heart yesterday and I explained how plans need to be adjusted in order to make mom’s last days comfortable. My mom and dad are still adamant about handling care within family for the night time and day time needs (bring water, take her to pee, etc) but at least we have someone coming twice a day to do all the meds.

I am still scared to what it will be like once Mom is gone and how and if we will stay close together. We never discussed our fight but we politely offer each other food in our ways to show that we still care. He still was a bit of a jerk yesterday to my brother saying that it’s his fault things got so bad care wise (huge eye roll) so like you said, somethings can’t be changed. In a way it was effective cause my brother offered to watch mom over night and I got 5 hours of sleep straight. I woke up feeling like I overslept.

thanks again for your post and please know that I took your advice to heart. Thank you for recognizing our screwed up family dynamics and that after all we still love each other.
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