I’m 54. My father is 94 and my mother is 92. I’m married and live nearby. Thankfully, they have in-home care, but I briefly swing by most afternoons for about an hour and a half or so, as I handle their grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, paying their bills, etc…

I have always had a very close relationship with both of them. My mother is difficult, but she loves me dearly, and I love both of them dearly…

I only have one older sister, but she moved out of state last year to follow her kids and grandkids, which made a very difficult situation even so much harder on me, and left me feeling abandoned, overwhelmed, and angry at her for leaving me “holding the bag”, so to speak. But I’ve come to accept her moving away, and we are on good terms now. I’m no longer angry at her, but it still hurts that she left me all alone to take care of two elderly parents, especially knowing the mental and emotional effects it is having on me. Just so she could follow her grandchildren to Florida (I live in Connecticut). She moved a year and a half ago, and has never been back to visit. I asked her, “are you ever going to see them in this life again?” and she gets annoyed and won’t give me a straight answer, which I think is absolutely horrid…

I try to carry on with my life as normal as possible, but I basically feel heartbroken, alone, and scared every day. I cry a lot because it’s so unbearable for me to witness two formerly strong, independent loving parents be reduced to this… a shell of who they were. Obviously they’re up there in age, and it’s the “cycle of life”, but the fear of their passing consumes my life. Every day, I fear getting that phone call. I can’t imagine my life without either of them, and especially my father, since I was always “Daddy’s Girl.” As a kid, I had actual nightmares about losing them, but they were only in their 50’s back then, so it was a long way off, and I could shove it in the back of my mind and forget about it. But now that they are both in their 90’s, their passing is staring me in the face, and it terrifies me…

I work part time in the mornings, and I find it helpful, mentally, to be around other people in that setting. But if I had even one supportive person in my life, it would help a lot. But my sister and my cousin, who I am close with, they both live out of state now, as do my two closest friends. Phone calls are good, but certainly not the same as having a close relative or friend living nearby. Making matters worse, I have a difficult marriage with a man who lacks empathy, so I can’t lean on him, either. I joined a women’s group at church, and they are very nice, but they all have kids, and I don’t, so I find it hard to connect with them because that’s all they seem to talk about is their kids…

And to top it all off, I have two cats, one which is in the early stage of kidney disease. My cats are essentially my kids, and so now add the heartache and fear of losing him, in addition to losing my parents…

I am just so tired of living like this, feeling sad, alone, and scared every day. But there’s nobody nearby for me to turn to for support and comfort. I am NOT suicidal, but every day, I wish God would take me, because my heart hurts so, so much, there’s no relief in sight, and it’s only going to get worse as they continue to decline. Yes, there will be a certain sense of relief when they pass, because the ordeal will be over for all of us, and I know they will be with God, and I will join them one day. Yet I will be devastated, and I fear that I won’t be able to handle it, even though I am a person of faith in God. But I’ve yet to experience the passing of a close loved one, and the thought of it terrifies me…

Given the absolute insanity across the globe nowadays, perhaps the Second Coming of Christ is around the corner! I can only hope, as that would be my only viable means of rescue, LOL…

I know there are no easy answers to any of this. Just wanted to vent. And to find out if anyone can relate.

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Respectfully, I think talking to a therapist would help you get perspective on your situation.

Your sister is under no obligation to provide care for your parents, as hard a truth as that is to accept. Her first priority is her immediate family, so she in fact got it right at her end.

Aging, decline, health issues and end-of-life are hard things, so you're not imagining that. BUT you need to make peace with it and move on with your own life right now at the same time you help your parents. It is possible. That's why talking to a therapist will help you... so that you can find and keep healthy boundaries and have goals and do self-care.

I wish you clarity, wisdom and peace in your heart as you work through this time in your life.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to Geaton777

I also think you would benefit from therapy.

I'm not trying to be snarky here, I think you need someone to help you examine WHY you are so terrified of losing you parents?

I know that seems like a silly question - "because they're my parents!!" But you say you have had various feelings of dread and fear about losing them for many, many years. Yet you say you have never experienced the passing of a loved one. Did your grandparents die before you were born - or while you were young enough to not remember?

I, unfortunately, have lost multiple loved ones. For myself, anyway, their imminent deaths hanging over my head was, in many ways, worse than the actual death itself. Because once it happened, it happened, and then I grieved and got through to the other side. But waiting, and wondering, and fretting, to me, was actually more draining emotionally than the grieving was. There is also way more support for someone who has experienced the death of a loved one, than for someone who is *waiting* for the death of a loved one. You might find your sister and your husband much more supportive once your parents actually do pass away; right now, they are probably unsure of how to even approach you and the anticipatory grief you seem to be experiencing.

But there is a part of your post that is concerning, and that is the suicidal ideations: "I wish God would take me"; "the Second Coming is my only viable means of rescue". Adding "LOL" at the end of your statements doesn't make them less concerning. So, while I am glad you are planning on seeking therapy, I would hope you would do that much sooner than later. I have a sneaking suspicion there is more going on in your life than "anticipatory grief", and I hope a good therapist can help you 1) identify it and 2) guide you through it.

Good luck!
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Reply to notgoodenough

I don't think I've ever seen a more desperate need for therapy. Right now. You need more support than "venting" to this online forum.
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Reply to iameli

GOOD ADVICE from all who have posted, and also a quick reminder that your sister did what she thought was best FOR HER, and you are ABSOLUTELY ENTITLED to do the same.
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Reply to AnnReid

You are grieving 3 losses.
Your sister
Your mom
Your dad.
Granted they are not dead but the relationship has changed.
Your parents are somewhat dependent upon you, or what you do for them.
Your sister is living her life the way she should. And you may be a bit jealous of the life she has, kids and the support of her family and you don't have that.
Have you thought of cutting your daily visits to your parents and having the groceries and prescriptions delivered.
Make plans to visit a friend, your sister, a cousin. go by yourself if your husband does not want to go.
I also think talking to a therapist might help. Even if it is just 1 or 2 visits talking to an unbiased third party sometimes helps. Some of the the things you describe can be related to depression and medication can help.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Therapy. Possibly antidepressants prescribed by your doctor. Then back off a bit from your parents. Being so entirely absorbed by their dilemmas is killing you. Decide if you want to go down with their ship. It looks like you’re headed down that gangplank and it doesn’t have to be that way. In time they’ll pass away no matter what you do, and you will still be alive. As a parent, I wouldn’t want my children to die with me, and I don’t think they would want that for you. Cherish the life you have and get a psychiatrist who specializes in overcoming grief. I’m sure you’ll start feeling better shortly after starting treatment, especially if you find the right meds ASAP. Good luck to you.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Fawnby

I am going to second Geaton's excellent suggestion that you find a therapist to work with.

You have the burden of an unsupportive spouse in addition to your perception that all of your parents' care is on you. You need to be able to plan with a clear head and not quite so bogged down with longing and regret about the actions of others over which you have no control.

How has your parents' aging and your relationship with your husband affected your planning for your own old age?
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Ah welcome to the club that we don't want to belong to, but do. The curious part is that almost everyone will be a participant and yet few people talk about it. I think the only thing to do is cry when you have to, do the best you can to help out, and then when your time comes, try to make a peaceful transition. The sadness is just overwhelming most days, but we struggle through and do the best we can.
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Reply to Tynagh

Oh sweetheart, thank you for posting. Your issues seem similar to mine, and it is comforting to hear you describe them. In my case, it's my 81 year old husband who is a "shell." Your parents are so blessed that you care about them. I did not show such devotion to my mother when she was older, and I regret it now. I agree with others about finding a therapist, if you don't already have one. I've had various psychotherapists through the many challenges of my life, and they've been very helpful.
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Reply to EstherBernard
JeanLouise Oct 11, 2022
My husband is 82. Yes, it’s a very hard chapter. That’s quite different from caregiving for parents.
So sorry you’re feeling down. But, know that “ only you” can give all of this dire negativity a new perspective. It begins by changing your thought process. Seems to me you’re fighting against the inevitable.

We all have emotions but, our emotions can build us up or literally destroy us. Unless we accept the
“ what is” also the “ here and now.” Then make peace with it!
Figuratively speaking, look it dead in the eye and say I dislike what I’m seeing and experiencing but, I will not be defeated and this does not define ”who I am “ you’re faith must be allowed to work! Don’t allow emotions to keep you depressed and down.

Yes, death is inevitable. Make peace with that! Every living breathing Being on God’s green Earth has a beginning and an end. Acceptance of that is half the battle and moving forward completes the battle( the moving forward journey may be long and tedious and expect that it will). We can’t prepare for death physically because it will come when God says so but, mentally we can (by accepting that it is inevitable).
I mean isn’t that why we have wills and leave burial instructions with our families?

Finally I’d like to say to you to enjoy and cherish spending their final days with them. Find something that can bring some joy( give them each a rose and you both smell its essence together) put some polish on moms nails, etc… and just talk to them about your love for them or the
“ remember when times” you talk whether the respond or not!!

I’m so appreciative that I was there when my dad died. I layed my head on his chest while he took his last breath, I cried a river of tears and I told him will meet again daddy some sweet day!

In the natural order of things where children bury their parents, I kinda see it like this, my parents got to see my 1st breath and I get to embrace their last breath.
Find your peace, it will sustain you!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Endure

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