Follow
Share

My mom and her sister were very close. My mom suffered a stroke 10 years ago, I have been caring for her ever since. She doesn't see her sister often and of course cannot convey to me that she wants to since she cannot talk. Her sister has passed away last year, I have been ridiculed by her remaining sisters that I should have told her, but I don't think that would have been in her best interest. She believes her sister has moved down south with her daughter (the sisters daughter) and the last time my mom and sister talked, the sister said that's what she wanted, was to move. So as far as my mom knows, she still lives down with her daughter and is very happy. Now, our family reunion is coming up, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't attend. I've had several birthdays for my mom in the past and this particular sister did not attend for health reasons and my mom never indicated she wanted to know where she was at that particular time, but now with the reunion coming up, the daughter will be there and I am afraid my mom will try to convey to me that she wants to know where the sister is...I don't know what to do. I could use a lot of help on this one. And as I said, a couple of the other sisters feel I am not doing a service to my mom by not telling her. these people do not see my mom on a daily basis as I do and don't know the moods she gets in to and the frustrations she shows to be, (down right mad at me) because I can't understand what she wants...Please help

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Thank you all so much for trying to help me make this difficult decision. My mom can be difficult, she can be downright cruel to me at times, and even though she knows everyone, knows what goes on around her and is of sound mind, I just don't know what it will be like for her or better yet, for me if she ever finds out I didn't tell her. I know for a fact she will never look at me again and probably go on a hunger strike, stop taking her pills and it will be a living nightmare. I just don't want that to happen to either one of us. We are getting by, but just every now and then something like this reunion pops up and I am torn once again. The reunion is in June, I guess that will give me enough time to really think of all the angles and figure out what will work best for her and me also. thanks once again for all the different ways to look at this situation..I really appreciate all of you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It is so hard to say if Mom will benefit form the chance to think about death and dying, and/or to know that the real reason Sis doesn't get in touch and visit at least a little is not because she just wanted to move away but because she can't. It is even harder to say what would happen if you were to just admit, "Mom, I knew you had to know but I just kept putting it off hoping we could tell you some day when you were feeling better and doing better, I knew how close you were and I could not bear to tell you before, please forgive me...when it happened you would not have been well enough to attend the funeral and I knew you would want to try and I didn't want to lose you too." or whatever makes sense and is truthful under the circumstances.

I am someone who had my mom in skilled nursing and did not physically do all her care, and also someone who at times did engage in therapeutic withholding of the whole truth - I never flat out lied that I can remember, unless you count the tale or the missing tea towel where I just bought her another one :-) but lots of people find they have to at times.

Search your heart, pray on it, and also be sure of how Mom's day to day memory is - if "sharp as a tack" only means she recognizes familiar people it's a different story than if she can really process a lot of information especially emotionally significant stuff like this. As the person closest to her, sure, take some cues and listen to other ideas, but it should be your call. A decision you make with her best interest at heart, as realistically and lovingly as you can, won't be "wrong" even if later on you realize something different might have worked better. It may even be that the right words will just come to you. Bring a box of Kleenex for both of you though when/if you break the news. Big hugs!!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

First of all, do NOT take her to the reunion. If she can no longer speak, her frustration level will skyrocket, her anxiety will be off the charts. Family members can see her one on one. A big chaotic event will overwhelm her.
Allow the other sisters to tell her "Flo has moved to Heaven to be with mom and dad" NOT "Flo is dead and nobody told you". Properly framed, she will accept what is. IF she was told but insists her sister is living South, go along with it, she has put it in a comfort zone already.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

"Her aides"
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Darlene, yes 10 years IS a very long time.

Let me share this with you. I guess I'm one of those awful children (actually from a family of awful children) who "threw" their mom into a nursing home. Because she needed nursing. And stimulation. And folks who know about aphasia ( like speech therapists).

My brother and sil live close by and visit several times a week. I'm two hours away and I see her once a week. None of us gets what mom is trying to tell us sometimes, because she has vascular dementia and her pointing often does not convey her meaning. But her sides, her nurses, the always seem to understand what mom's meaning is. Because they do this for a living.

My mother is not in some exceptional 5 star place. It's more like a 3 star on a good day, and somewhat shabby. But the staff really knows their stuff.

To speak to your original question, I don't tell mom bad news. If she asks about someone, I tell her the truth. But if she doesn't ask, I don't bring up deaths. Perhaps you want to get put a photo album and see if mom "asks" about her sister.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hey, thankyou all for understanding, I am going to give it some hard thinking this evening after I put her to bed, and will decide what to do tomorrow. Today, of course, has to be one of those days that she is in a bad mood already, and I don't even know why, I never seem to know why, but let me get today over with, and sit down this evening with my warm cup of tea and think about it.
I actually go to a caregivers meeting once a month, but those folks just don't get it,. We had a speaker come in a couple of months ago, and unfortunately, it was one of those days where nothing I did was right with my mom, and then I went to the meeting and the speaker was trying to tell us all how to breathe, do yoga, take time for ourselves and try to understand what our loved ones are going through, well, I am a pretty quiet person to begin with but that day I just had had enough, so I stood up in the room and said, "may I ask you a question" and she said, yes, and I said are you a caregiver and do you take care of someone 24-7? And guess what she said, "well yes, sort of, I put my mom in a nursing home and go to see her as often as I can". Well, I lost it, and said "then how in the hell do you think you know what is best for someone like me with a 24-7 caregiver job. When do I have time to breathe, when do I have time for yoga, then I stormed out of there....
I felt bad, but it was just one of those freaky days...
sorry, everyone..I guess 10 years is just an extremely long time.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Darlene, you need to get some counseling for yourself on how to deal with your mom. You shouldn't feel badly because your mom is difficult and throws temper tantrums. Those could be a result of her stroke, but it sounds like she's always use negative feedback to control you.

And you shouldn't hold yourself to a promise you made that may not be in both of your best interests. A counselor could help you figure out how to tell your mom (if that's appropriate) and how to deal with the negative reaction she might have.

You need to be able to set some limits around your mom's behavior, so her negativity doesn't bring you down. The other thing to remember is that no one else could do a better job with understanding your mom. She's LUCKY to have you.

If she didn't have you, where would she be? Keep remembering that! But get some counseling to support you in whatever you decide.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It's tough since she is of sound mind. If it were me, I would pick a good time and and tell her you want to have a talk with her. Tell her the truth and that you recently found out but knew it would be sad for her and you wanted to spare her this heartache but felt she should know...
Prepare for her to grieve, maybe lash out as to when you knew. Go ahead and take your lumps, she'll get over it and you will feel better that this secret is out. Offer to take her to the reunion to see her remaining sisters and help make that a positive thing for both of you to look forward to 😉 even if it isn't....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yeah, I think I am beating myself up over this one. She is of very sound mind, but throws tantrums if I don't jump everytime she tells me too. She is difficult, no doubt about that, but I promised her long time ago I would never be one of those kids who threw their parents in a home and forgot about them, I could never live with myself. I don't think it is this one particular sister that she is closer to than any of the others, but this is the one I always took her to visit when we were out and about before her stroke, so I do think this one would have an impact on her. I just am afraid she will get totally upset and try to ask me how it happened, when, where is she, where;s the funeral and I am not going to know WHAT she is trying to ask and she will get so frustrated and then probably not want to eat, take her pills even respond to me at all. When she gets mad at me for whatever reason, that is how she acts and then I get depressed because I feel like I resort back to when I was little and she was always mad at me...What a circle it is...So I am leaning more towards just not going and just not telling her anything about it...But then I look at myself in the mirror and think (I know, selfishly) that "hey, this isn't fair, I'd love to see all my relatives", but then just as quick I snap back to reality and think this is where my life is at now...Soooooooooooo there you have it....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

First of all, you should get total respect and support from your family for the heroic efforts you've made to take care of your mom. That you get so little support from nearby family is horrible, but not surprising from what we see on these boards. So KUDOS to you for your hard work to care for your already difficult mom.

Sorry to ask more questions, but why would your mom give up because one sister has passed away, when she has four more sisters? Was she particularly close to that sister?

You are in a bit of a spot. Since the reunion seems to be triggering this dilemma, I simply wouldn't go to the reunion. Since her sisters and your siblings don't visit often, you can still control what is said around her.

Or if it is causing you too much stress worrying about it, you could bite the bullet and tell mom. Plan ahead of time what you'll say and the details she'll want to know.

Whatever you decide, don't beat yourself up - you're doing a terrific job caring for your mom, whether she's able to express it or not and whether the rest of your family sees or agrees. You're a wonderful daughter!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks for responding so quickly to the both of you. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. Here's a little more about my mom. She is a very demanding mother, always has to me. She is 86, I am 66. No one comes to visit her on a daily or even monthly basis. I took her in to live with me 10 years ago because no one else stepped up to the plate to do anything. I am a photographer, my younger sibling age 54 is a nurse, (go figure). But I am the one who has been with her every step of the way. My sister and her family live 7 minutes away from us and just doesn't bother. My mother used to be a real talker and she spent her days crocheting, since the stroke she can't use her right hand to crochet and no cannot speak or walk. She is sharp as a tack though and through the years I have learned how to communicate in our own way. When we are living day to day in our home it is pretty easy to understand her needs even though she has aphasia and would shake her head yes, when really meaning no. will point to her mouth or lips but could mean she needs the tv remote. I won't lie, some days are worse than others. But in our confines I can understand her. She does word search puzzles but yet if I hold up a cup and a spoon and show her pictures of them, she can't point to the correct one. It's rough sometimes. But she gets really mad at me if we are say out to a restaurant and she is trying to tell me something and I don't know what the heck she is trying to convey. She doesn't use words, just draws in the air or points to her face, but that doesn't necessarily mean it has anything at all to do with her. And here's a perfect example, just the other day, I took her to have her toenails cut at the doctors office, she was trying to convey, and the reason I use the word convey so often is because there is no speech involved at all, but she was trying to convey to me something and even though she was pointing to the floor and pointing to her legs and pointing to me, I eventually figured out she wanted to go shopping...See what I'm saying? So here's my thoughts, if I tell her, she is not going to be able to ask me any questions, how she died, what happened, where was she when she died, or anything. I can see her getting so frustrated with herself, and eventually trying to scream at me because I don't know what she is trying to say and then probably go into a deep depression. She never cries and I just think it would be a disaster. I tried to explain this all to the 4 sisters she has left that think I am just a disgrace for not telling her, but like I said, they don't come around that often and when they do, I do all the talking and mom just sits there, so they don't really communicate or try to at all. They don't know what it's really like day to day and how she can get really moody with me when I don't hand her the remote for the tv fast enough. My mom was really hard on me growing up, and I pat myself on the back sometimes for sticking this out and taking care of her. I have 1 sister and 2 brothers and no one comes around or even offers to help. As I said before, I have a birthday party for her every year and her sisters see her then, they only live a few miles away also but everyone has there own life I guess, but I have begged them when we are together for that hour or so, please don't bring up the other sisters name. But with this reunion coming up, I'm so afraid someone is going to say something and I know my mom will never ever forgive me and even worse I don't want her to give up on herself and I think she would. I just don't know which way to go with this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think you have every right to do what you think is best for your mom. You're with her every day and know far more about her than her sisters and their children.
I'm unclear about whether your mom's remaining sisters visit her in person or not. If they do, it might be an issue, but if not, I'd say you call the shots and ignore their criticisms. If you go to the reunion (and I assume your mom doesn't?) and she wants to know about that one sister, you can play it by ear.

Is your mom's mind clear? You didn't say anything about that. If it is, it makes it a bit more difficult to redirect or distract her.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Sounds like you have painted yourself into a corner with no way out. Why has it not been in her best interest to tell her that sister died? Seems to me that the longer you wait, the worse her anger is going to be. Is she on any kind of mood medicine? I have no idea at all how to deal with this now. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.