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.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
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 (20)

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!
Helpful Answer (17)

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.
Helpful Answer (13)

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.
Helpful Answer (12)

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.
Helpful Answer (11)

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 (11)

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.
Helpful Answer (10)
JeanLouise Oct 2022
My husband is 82. Yes, it’s a very hard chapter. That’s quite different from caregiving for parents.
Good Morning,

Many of us are in your shoes, also literally waiting for the shoe to drop. It's like walking on eggshells because each day is a decline as they get up in age.

A few resources that may help you that I refer to:

*Teepa Snow has a Caregiver Book that gives some consolation about the end chapter of a loved one's life. She is an Occupational Therapist and her videos are on YouTube. I think she is a wealth of information.

I agree with you to see people age and you remember them as they once were in their previous life they were different people. My mother's father was a cop and my mother was so street smart and solved every crime show on tv. Now she has Lewy Body Dementia. This morning I will take her to her "Tuesday Mornings' With Dementia Friends" for a 4 (hour) respite--speech and physical therapy.

Everyone there has this impressive previous life but now they all shuffle along.

You mentioned you live in Connecticut. I, too, am wondering how am I going to handle this when it's their "time". I believe in Heaven and have a lot of faith but still it's hard to accept.

There are many retreat centers in Connecticut that are open to ALL denominations. A lot of them offer one-day three-day retreats on Grief or really many other topics too.

Maybe a weekend away that specializes in this type of thing. Some place where you can rest for 3 days, sit and have meals together and pray. You will always have these places to return to for a "tune-up" and companionship.

For example, there are two retreat centers in Farmington, Ct. also Cormaria on Long Island and Enders Island in Mystic Ct. All of them offer consolation retreats on Grief in the loss of a loved one.

I picked up a book at the library recently, I am going to read it "before" I need it.
"Surviving The Holidays Without You" Navigating Grief During Special Seasons by Gary Roe.

If you make small changes now, baby steps, and don't look to the people that can't give you what you need and are looking for.

Personally, after my mother passes, I don't want to be the woman in the supermarket that shows people a picture of my cat. I don't have one but I think you know what I mean.

I know it's hard but sometimes I have a difficult time accepting other people's decision-making when it comes to "our" parents. Dad passed many years ago. He always called me and my sister "Princess". My brothers are busy travelling the world and don't help out they way I wish they would.

Do for yourself, don't keep knocking on the door that isn't opening, and find yourself a support group/caregivers and more importantly a group to meet for coffee. Invite people over for coffee, I have yet to have anyone refuse.

You sound like a wonderful person who shows up and pitches in. You will always look around to help others because that's how you are wired. You probably can't fathom how someone else couldn't deliver the goods the way you automatically do.

You are in my prayers...
Helpful Answer (9)

I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. You seem like a very sensitive and caring person. I’ll tell you the remedy I use myself when I feel the way you’re feeling. Look up, take a deep breath, and count your blessings. Are you healthy? Can you see? Can you move around and even drive a car? Is the sun shining?
Helpful Answer (9)

I cannot personally reply to each response, but I want to thank each one of you who responded to my post with helpful suggestions…and who did so in a kind, compassionate manner.

On the other hand, some of the replies were needlessly harsh and hurtful.

Of course, sometimes hearing the truth hurts, and sometimes hearing constructive criticism and advice is hurtful, too. I understand and accept that. I’m not looking for the truth to be soft-soaped and sugar-coated - just tone down the harshness, please.

Furthermore, when you essentially bare your soul to a group of strangers, you have to expect that some people will be kind and compassionate in their responses, while others will rip you apart and make you feel like 2 cents. I understand that I opened myself up to that. Now I feel that I have to be careful of how I participate in this group, which is a shame, because that sort of defeats the purpose of the group, to some degree. Or I can just go back to being a “lurker” again, as I did for the past couple of years.

However, this group is supposed to serve as a “safe place” in which we can open up and release some of the hurt, anxiety, and anger which is plaguing us. No, it certainly does not take the place of professional therapy. But surely it can help to supplement therapy.

I was blown back by some of the hurtful responses here - and it took me a few days to feel able to return and respond. But I did glean a good amount of helpful suggestions and kind words, so I thank you for that.
Helpful Answer (9)
lealonnie1 Oct 2022
You have more than 56 comments to your post, which shows phenomenal support for the situation you wrote about, in reality, yet you choose to dwell on the very few comments you felt to be hurtful and made you feel 'ripped apart & like 2 cents'. If this were my post, I'd be blown back by the level of support, empathy & love shown to me by total strangers on the internet, and I'd choose to interact MORE with this forum in the future rather than to go back to lurking. But...........I get where you are coming from.....

I had a post up here myself back in April-June when my DH was undergoing a liver transplant & we were in another state living in a hotel to facilitate that transplant; 98% of the comments were wonderfully supportive & uplifting for me, but there were some that were downright hurtful & awful. Some comments that served no useful purpose & caused me anxiety & upset as a result. Some people enjoy causing others to feel angst, that's what I've decided. And I too dwelled on those negative comments for far too long, until I realized the SUPPORTIVE comments were the ones I SHOULD have been focusing on! You know what I mean? Look for the light & push back the dark in life, that's the thing to do.

I'm glad you were able to glean a good amount of helpful suggestions & kind words from the comments here, and I wish you the best of luck finding useful support and a good therapist moving forward. God knows we all have issues to work through in life, so finding your network of support is crucial.
See 4 more replies
See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter