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I cared for Mom 24 years. My mom lived 10 miles from me. I worked a full time job. I am married and was raising a daughter. For the 24 years I cared for her my 2 brothers lived 2 hours drive from my mom, and the third brother lived 5 hour drive from mom. My mother was a widow since she was 43 years old. My father died when we were all little kids. My mother lost her family in the holocaust. There was never, in 24 years, a Saturday morning where I wasn't called by Mom to be asked to come and see her. I worked a highly stressful public service job. There were times that my mother would cry because her sons visited very infrequently. (Oldest brother maybe 2 to 3 times a year and lived 2 hours away, middle brother 6 to 7 times a year and lived 2 hours away, and youngest brother 3 to 4 times a year and lived 5 hours away.) My mother and I were shy about asking for more help from them in the form of social visits. She never needed financial help from any family member. When she had medical or emotional issues I left my home or my job to give her the care she needed. As a result I lost time at work and suffered financial loss. I also was always feeling emotionally drained due to knowing how alone she felt and constantly having to make a choice of: Do I leave my daughter and husband to spend an evening with her? I visited my mother at least twice a week spending 2 to 5 hours with her. In the last 2 years of her life my husband, who worked at night, spent 5 to 7 days a week for 8 to ten hours a day. I loved my mother dearly and knew the suffering she went through losing her family in the holocaust, then losing my father after only ten years of marriage. She was left with 4 little children who all became very successful people. My emotional life and my financial life were drained, although I certainly am not poverty struck. My siblings did not pay in any form the price I did for my mother’s care. How do ask for some type of compensation?

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What compensation would you like?

I don't know, but I have an idea that once you try to put what you're feeling down in actual, real numbers...

Your siblings can't compensate you.
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I believe that if one child in a family does all the caregiving he or she should be compensated for it, if that is feasible. But it is the parent who should do the compensating, and while the caregiving is going on. If Mom had given you $X per month to cover your gas money and missed work, etc. that might mean there would be less for every one to inherit. So be it.

Unless you had an agreement with your brothers to share some of the financial burden, you have no basis for asking them now.

Family is precious. Your mother lost her birth family through the Holocaust. I hope you won't lose yours through quarrels over money.

I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Our thought processes are not at their sharpest while we are mourning. (At least mine weren't.) I suggest some counseling to help you through the worst of the grief. You deserve peace.
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No, don't ask. It stinks it really does, but your siblings would get very pissy about it, and then there would be even more to feel bad about. It isn't like you don't deserve it, you deserve the moon for all you did. But that is how the world works. It isn't fair.
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What do you think would happen if you asked your brothers for money? Are they well enough off financially to give it to you? Do you have a figure in mind and some evidence to back it up, such as receipts for expenditures you made for your mother's well-being? Would having the money make you feel better? Those are all things to consider before you approach them, but I agree with the others that it's too late. If you wanted them to kick in their share for your mother's upkeep, you should have asked them back when you first started being her caregiver. And it's probably best not to go into the fact that they rarely visited your mom. That's between them and your late mother.
On the other hand, if you're not particularly close to your brothers and their families, why not ask and see what happens? The worst they can do is refuse and act offended. You won't have lost anything and they'll be aware that you sacrificed a lot by caring for your mother and you think they're being pretty cheap not to pay their fair share.
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After reading your letter again, I have one thing to add. Yes, do the grateful journal; well, maybe two things.

You have something your brothers will never have and if they have any kind of heart; it is something they will regret the rest of their lives. Time with your Mother! Apparently she had many years of good health and you were able to visit and provide companionship. Then when she really needed help, you and your husband were both there. As hard as it is, there is a joy and a peace in knowing you made the right choices for you and Mom when you felt it was necessary.

Please don't turn those precious memories into a financial situation. Hugs!
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I'm going to chime in here as well - but I'm afraid my response will be the same as others.

You're not going to get compensation from your siblings. In fact, they will probalby be highly insulted if you even ask - and rightfully so - because you *chose* to care for Mom. Even those of use who end up caring for a loved one because we're essentially forced into it (no one else will do it, so we do) will never see a penny of compensation for it. It's just a fact of the caregiving world.

I moved in with my mother when my father passed away over a year ago. When he died, she lost about $700 a month in income, because they were both on Social Security - and when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse is given the larger of the two incomes - but they still end up losing some income. So I pay for things that she can no longer afford - like groceries, her emergency pendant (which she didn't have before I moved in), vehicle repairs, excessively high energy bills during the winter (last winter was brutal, our bill tripled), her clothing when she needs it and the co-pay on her prescriptions. Not to mention meals out come out of my pocket, as well as any vacations - because she simply can't afford them. I'd love to tally up a bill and send it to my siblings and demand reimbursement, but I don't - because as hard as this situation is, I'm the one that put myself here. No one else could or would do it, so I did, because I didn't think Mom would survive without Dad to take care of her - and given her recent decline, I think I did the right thing.

I do agree with VegasLady - get some counseling to deal with your grief and your resentment towards your siblings. They are your family, and if you want to have any sort of decent relationship with them, you need to get past this.
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I too am sorry for the loss of your mom.

I'm afraid I have to agree with the others. Asking for any kind of compensation from your siblings for back pay from your lost wages over the past 24 years is wrong. It's inappropriate to even ask them and they don't owe you anything either.

This is the kind of thing that families fall apart over. I'd think long and hard before taking such an action.
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Go to counseling. Do not ask your brothers for money. Try to have a relationship with them that is not centered on what you did for mom, but how you can all enjoy each other as people and the family you have left. Do you think your mom would be pleased if you now billed the family for her care? Where is your husband in all this now? Deal with your grief and anger. Do not make it worse by expecting others to pay you for your choices. Stop dwelling on this and put your mind on positive things. Keep a gratitude journal. Come back in three months and let us know how you are doing.
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I am very sorry for your loss.

You won't like my observation, but that's just what it is: an observation.

You don't ask for some compensation. You made the choice to do what you did. Your siblings made theirs. Yes, you gave more, and it sounds like you were probably guilted into it somewhat and your siblings didn't let your mom's crying get to them. (Sounds cruel, but it's not.) But you made the choice of your actions.

A friend of ours made a choice to purchase an extremely expensive engagement ring for his girlfriend. Expensive enough that he's in debt for it for quite a while. At the engagement party, they broke up and she has the ring. It was a gift. In retrospect, he's seeing it was not a smart one, and it was based on emotion and persuasion from her. He's thinking about taking her to court for it. But, from what I hear, it was a gift, and a judge (most likely) won't rule in his favor. Should she give it back? Sure, but she won't. It's not FAIR. But that's life for everyone on this planet.

I truly hope all goes well for you. If you decide to pursue compensation, be very prepared when you sit down with your brothers. Don't try to guilt them; just state facts. Put a dollar amount to your time, estimate your time, money out of pocket, whatever else. Be very factual and precise.

Good luck! Keep us updated.

Sharon
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Like your Mother, you sound like a very strong and courageous woman. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a Mom at any age is tough business. My only thought about compensation is if you felt it was necessary, this is a conversation that should have happened years ago. How would you put a price on 24 years at this point in time?

Your brothers probably feel some guilt in not being there for you and Mom. Unfortunately, this happens a lot in families....the only daughter does all the caregiving. Not everyone is able to be a caregiver (for whatever reason) and you should be very comforted by all that you did for your Mom. Best wishes!
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