I am the "absent" caregiver - I live 600 miles away from my mom who is dying of cancer (liver, pancreas, colon, intestinal) and only has, at best, a few weeks left. My three siblings are her caregivers because they all live within 100 miles of mom and can split the time amongst themselves and their children. I am a single working mother solely responsible for my son's financial well-being, have my own business (so I can't just take paid vacation time), and I am struggling financially. My car needs major repair to top it off. Recently, My fiancée, son and I went to visit my mom for a few days. When I walked in, mom made me cry because she said, "Oh, oh. . . .it smells like Lynn is here." I have a very special distinct perfume and she smelled it as soon as I walked into the door. We had such a sweet visit, but about four hours into it, my mom asked me to leave because she was afraid my one sister was "about to lose it" and she also told me that she didn't want me calling her regularly from now on because every time she hangs up after I call, there is "drama and commotion". I apologized for the pain that caused her and I left her with a hankie covered in my perfume so she would always know I was with her. I was so afraid that my sisters would wash it as soon as mom fell asleep so she would not have it any longer.
I know there is A LOT of anger and resentment from all three of my siblings toward me - they are NOT quiet about it with other family members and it all comes around to me eventually, even through my other three adult children. I have tried to get my siblings to talk to me about what is happening so that I can explain my circumstances, but all they do is yell at me about how I am unloving, selfish, and hateful because I won't drop everything and move in with mom and take care of her for them.
You see, up until a few years ago, I was married (to an abusive husband), a stay at home mom who DID jump whenever mom needed help or whenever they demanded I run. I WOULD drive 600 miles to do whatever was needed - in fact I was going almost every other month to mom's. I also had better finances and was able to pay mom's bills when she forgot to pay them. We even went shopping a number of times for food because she was low on money and food. They are all used to me being able to just drop everything at their every demand. I cannot do that any more due to my circumstances.
I am going through my own mourning and struggle right now, and not just because of my mom's illness and impending death - I can't call my mom without running the risk of being hung up on, I can't talk to my mom whenever I want because whomever is there will cause trouble after we hang up and then mom doesn't want to talk next time I call. I am hurting so much inside because the only connection I have is by phone and they are taking that from me. I am the only spiritual one in the family and mom USUALLY likes to talk to me about God because I am the only one who understands her needs in this area.
I will confess, I have not been a perfect angel and have gotten very angry on several occasions and let some of them have it because of what they say and do. It has not helped - and in fact only served to make me appear more selfish and "unstable", according to one sibling.
Noone seems to see how I feel - my mom won't be here for my son's in a couple years, she won't be here for my wedding next year, or to see how successful my business is becoming. I won't be able to take her to Hungary or Italy like we dreamed. I am so torn and hurting inside and my siblings only seem to want to strike out and hurt me more.
Soon I know they will start asking about her funeral - at this point I have decided that I do not wish to go. My fiancée has said we should have a special memorial service here, at our home and at one of the places mom used to love to visit. He said that might be better emotionally. Even my son does not want to go - he said he got to say goodbye when we visited and that is enough. If I go to the funeral, even to try to be there for my adult daughters and my granddaughter, it is going to be a mess!!! I will get flipped off by at least one niece, I will get accosted by at least two sisters, and my other relatives will certainly not want me there. I wish I could do more - financially and physically for my mom, but the best I can do is be here for her spiritually. She says I love you each time I call, she says she misses me so very much and wishes I were there, but she also says she understands and to take care of my son for her. She even apologized for not meeting my fiancée sooner and for not being able to come to give me away next year.
Please feel free to ask any questions or play devil's advocate. I don't mind - I am just so lost and confused at this point. ANy ideas???