My mother-in-law fell in her apartment several times due to a balance problem that wasn't going away. The hospital strongly urged a change in her care. We brought her home to our condo. Reality set in but we hung in almost 3 years. We sold our condo and she moved in an assisted living.
She fell and broke her hipwithin the year. She had surgery and we had no other choice but a nursing home.
My wife and her siblings collectively decided same. My wife was crushed at breaking the promise which obviously did not include all the veriables not considered at the time it was made.
She lives a tortured life but has been her Moms guardian angel helping to create a standard for her mom at the home second to none. I am so proud of her.All parents should have a daughter like my wife. But she continues to suffer for having failed her mother. She needs help. I've suggested therapy but she is set on punishing herself. We need help.
Fred and Sandy

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Dear Fred and Sandy Rivera,

Thank you for your touching story. What a beautiful tribute to your wife! I am sorry to hear you are struggling with the emotional side of things, Sandy. May I suggest you haven't failed your mother? I do understand some of your struggles.

I am the first born daughter (of 2), and am my parent's legal Guardian and Conservator. This is no small task. My Dad was removed from his home of 50+ years last summer, due to his decline from Alzheimer's Disease. I recently moved him 200 miles closer to me. Mom was in her home alone, with many a long distance trip to care for her myriad of health conditions. She was not thriving, and unable to keep up with a huge home, acre of gardening in her yard, and Golden Retriever. She had Emphysema, COPD, heart problems, and Breast Cancer. After surgery to remove a lump, I moved her the 200 miles closer to her husband and myself. Since then, Mom has been diagnosed as having a "serious Personality Disorder." We have always struggled in our mother/daughter relationship, but I am determined to help as much as she allows. Dad is failing due to his disease process, with anger and aggression issues, preventing him from leaving the Nursing Home. My Mom has always been a bitter, angry woman, so being with us was never an option. Still, there are "guilt" feelings involved, like I'm a "bad" girl for not having them in my home. On the other hand, this would not be a healthy choice for me, my wonderfully supportive husband, and sweet 9 year old son. I have to let go of the false "guilt," and realize I'm doing the best I can for everyone. Prayer helps.

You mentioned doing "God's work." That is an interesting perspective. As a servant, we take on a lot of responsibility that demands wisdom, perseverance, patience, grace and forgiveness. And we need to learn to give ourself grace, and forgiveness. May I suggest the same for Sandy? If we try to be the most loving, compassionate daughters possible, can we forgive ourselves our imperfections? There is only one who's perfect, and I know that's not me.

I have made tons of mistakes along the way. I wasn't the perfect daughter, ever. I caused my parents some grief in my growing years. I made many errors in judgment, and still fail, at times. But I am learning not to beat myself up over it. God helps. I just keep striving to do the best I can at any given moment. Ultimately we all stand before God, so I go to him often to guide and direct my steps. I've failed in some of my decisions in caring for Mom and Dad, but am still on the learning curve, and keep seeking answers. They cannot help themselves, and I have chosen to try. It is no small task, but God has given me a large support system, including this site, and loving friends and family to help along the way.

Sandy, I pray you can be gentle with yourself, with grace and forgiveness. A support group may help, and just want you to know, you're not alone. We all struggle with Caregiving, and how we relate to our parents under these circumstances. I'll be happy to pray for you, and offer encouragement along the way. And, believe it or not, we can find joy in the journey. We can find a bit of that, even in the worst situations, I believe. Please take care of yourself, and enjoy that great husband's support. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Be gentle with yourself. You are a hero Caregiver!
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