The evening my dad passed (16 years ago), I was the person who laid in bed with him - telling him "its ok to go"... In hopes that he would, I made a promise saying, "I will always take care of mom....". The funny thing is, she and I just don't like each other. I have always been a thorn in her side...and hers in mine.
Dad was gentle, kind and a very loving dad...but I was the wild child...I think by the time I came along, they were too overwhelmed in life - with work, family, their parents...they were just too busy for me. I was always alone and cared for "pawned off" to others. It haunts me that I am the caretaker - of parents who really didn't take care of me.....
My siblings are now both retired and live out of state. I am 59 and work at a very high pressured job, I have 3 grown children (1 with a birth defect)...and oh yah - I have a husband who is a President of a business and has an auto immune disorder that caused havoc with his health and mind over the past two years. Family and friends are life for me. My only hobby is golf and I force myself to run a league-just so I can get out and play once a week. Golf is the only sport that allows my mind to be clear of thought - so it's great relaxation for me.....despite having to run the league with 24 players.
For the past 6 years, my mother has lived 4 blocks down the street from my place of employment. She was living (after dad passed) in Florida but my brother convinced her to invest into an apartment in his home so he could watch over her... 6 years later, she was fighting so much with his spouse, mom was asked to leave (without any financial compensation - giving him over $130K) and I helped her move up here. She had $7K in her pocket.
She is now 86 and recently had a major fall (she tripped) on her chin breaking 4 front teeth 12 hours before we were all scheduled to depart for a family cruise. I made the executive decision that she stay home and paid to fly my sister out the next morning so we could enjoy our vacation and not worry about mom. I cried for the first 3 days - I was filled with guilt....but I needed this vacation. My sister was already planning on coming east so she just arrived earlier than planned. She lived and stayed with mom for 3 weeks - waiting on my mother hand and foot - going to doctor's appointments, reviewing all of her meds and noticing mom wasn't taking the correct medications and mixing them up. I had just done this 1 year ago. She commented to me how mom didn't seem to have any food in the house and had major concerns about her living alone. She said, "If I didn't have my husband to care for and lived alone, I would have mom live with me...." Yeah RIGHT! Anyways, my mother soaked up the non stop attention....and actually is more resentful towards me now because I'm not willing to do this. In reality, I think my mother blames me for her injury and is angry I told her she couldn't come on the trip after the fall....even though doctors advised against it.
When younger, Mom was always too busy to be a mom yet her memories of being a mom so different than mine. I have longed for a close mother-daughter relationship with her...I have bent over backwards trying to please her - all my life - but it's never enough.
I have seen her destroy people with words and actions. She's very negative and jealous of everyone...she'd rather see a person sink than swim....even me. I have worked so hard to remain positive in life and not dwell on the past, but I am really struggling with her attacks and arguments. I can be with her for 10 minutes (or talk with her on the phone)...and it destroys the rest of my day.
I don't know what to do.
I made a promise I can not keep to my dying father...the guilt I have inside is from my own making...but I don't know how to stop the guilt.
Mom complains that I'm always too busy for her...but I call her every day - sometimes twice a day and I plan my days off - with her. Yet she complains to my siblings that she hasn't heard from me or seen me in weeks... She calls them when we've had arguments... I'll admit, I'm stubborn, and like a bull...but I do care a great deal...she's my mother. I don't think I can handle this responsibility...but neither can anyone else in our family.
For my entire life, I have dropped everything, gone without food on my family's table - so I could help my parents when they needed it. I called doctors, argued with nurses in hospitals - I was the "go to person" to help them figure out everything...yet Mom won't allow me to be listed as a contact for medical. I fear I'm failing as a caretaker. I am filled with anger, guilt and resentment. I can't keep going like this... Mom refuses help...she calls it welfare. She wants to prove to her siblings that she's better than them.
I don't want to be mom in my elder years....I don't know how to deal with having her pass some day and having me remain resentful and guilty.