I have posted before. My mom who will just be 65 this year is an emotional mess since my father unexpectedly died in 2016. Mom’s health was never good & it has continued to deteriorate since Dad’s passing. Mom was totally dependent on Dad for everything. Financial, physical, emotional & psychological support, which also explains why Dad died so early. He spent so much time caring for her and putting her needs first that he neglected himself despite having a chronic digestive disease for 25 years that he knew needed monitoring for more serious issues.
Long story short now with dad gone the care of mom has fallen totally on me. I’m the oldest of three daughters. My two younger sisters are completely absorbed in their own lives even though we all live within a five minute or less drive of each other, I’m the one who gave up everything to move my own family back into our family home so mom wouldn’t have to live alone. Now here I am caring for mom, my two teens, my husband & myself without any extra support. My sisters expect me to take Dad’s place in everything not just care of mom but being their go to girl if they need help. One sister has a useless, cheapa$$ husband, a 2 year old & a 2nd baby on the way. Mom begs me to provide two days a week of daycare for the 2 year old to allow her to feel “useful”. Granted this means mom sits in her recliner sometimes holding her or reading to her, while I’m the one who makes sure the busy, active 2 year old doesn’t get hurt or break anything. I’m supposed to manage this while still trying to actually be a mom to my own kids & help my husband run a business. I’ve sacrificed my chance to finish my Masters degree & any chance of the career that I was pursuing prior to my dad’s untimely demise. My husband says I need to start insisting my sisters help me more with mom but they both work out of the home and have their own homes and frankly they’ll be more hinderance than help because they don’t know what mom wants/needs like me. Mom’s afraid if I lay down the law & tell my sisters to suck it up & stop expecting my help all the time that she’ll never see them again because the only reason they come over is to get help or a free meal (which I’m also expected to provide).
Sadly she’s probably correct b/c if they don’t come here for help or free food they never show up otherwise. Unfortunately mom is also extremely lonely. She had few friends, even before dad’s death and she’s now retired from her job and as is common most of her outside acquaintances and our extended family have stopped coming to visit and or even calling. So she’s alone most of the time except for me. Which means she insists I don’t leave her alone for long because she’s afraid to be alone out of fear of something bad happening. I can barely spend time with my own family. Mom gets mad if I go upstairs for a long time just to sit and watch my own TV! I’m being smothered by own mother and I don’t know what to do. It’s putting a strain on my marriage and my relationship with my kids. My own health is not perfect as I suffer from the same chronic digestive disease that my dad did & mom is so wrapped up in her own issues that she honestly doesn’t care how tired or run down I am. There is nothing mentally wrong (according to a clinical psychologist) other than her crippling emotional grief over losing my dad & her deep fear of being abandoned & left alone in her final years.
I have no intention of abandoning her but I need my own space & life & I don’t know how to tell her without further crushing her mentally & emotionally. I’ve begged her to go to counseling or a support group but she refuses. She says there’s nothing anyone can say to help her. She’s basically homebound now b/c she can’t drive & no one ever comes to take her anywhere. I feel very bad that she’s so alone but I’m tired of being the Lone Ranger who is expected to bear all the burdens & never have my own respite. Advice or suggestions appreciated.