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He is in California for the winter with wife and visiting friends. Is it wrong of me to feel hurt that he doesn't be here over Christmas while our stepfather is in longterm care?

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Caregiving can be a lonely pursuit. That surprised me - how alone we feel because we really are. Nobody really knows what it's like until they've done it. Some will do anything to avoid doing it.
A sister that I thought should be there more, should have been helping even before I got there, was rarely around. Lived 2 doors down. Occasionally she would stop in for 5 min, do nothing (once she said I didn't know how to relax...) and then would shout back as she pulled the door behind her - "Call me if you need me..." And then wouldn't answer the phone for 2 days.
After one rare time when she "helped" she just created a crisis and 911 had to be called. There was some very selfish behavior that got out of control too - e.g tantrums over "stuff" that she believed she was entitled to. I came to think I was better off without her.
There were other relatives and even friends that couldn't be there much, but when they were, wanted to know what to do, jumped right in with " Here, let me do that... I can stay a while... why don't you take a break..." Followed through on promises, etc.
Maybe some "can" and some just "can't". All I know is, when it was all over I really had no use for that one sister. Ceased all contact in fact. Never thought I'd feel that way but caregiving did it. Showed me some true colors that I never saw before.
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We are all born with our own personalities and abilities. A person on another blog told me to "do what you want to do that will allow me not to feel guilty when my father is gone". I have worked for the past 21 years helping my father care for his property even when my older brother LIVED on his property. Older brother didn't like yard work. Now I realize that my family wished that I hadn't done that but I did because I am a helper. My brother was not. When my mom was dying of cancer she told me "you have only done everything I have ever asked you to do". That was wonderful to hear and I'm glad she said it. My dad's "whole world died" when my older brother died (even though I worked my butt off for dad and continue to do now). It is just the way he is.
I would say to you the same thing that was said to me. "Do what you want to do so you will not have guilt when your SD is gone." Forget your brother. This is the way it is with siblings and when you read enough care-giving forums you will realize that most families have the children who do and the children who don't. Let go of any bitterness you have toward your brother and embrace the love you have in your heart for your stepdad. Find somewhere where you can serve on Christmas and feel proud of that. The best medicine for depression and sadness is to help others.
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I've learned not to judge my siblings/relatives, or myself for that matter, concerning visits and Mom's care. It's a waste of my time and energy.
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BlackHole Dec 2018
Spot on. More easily said than done. But it is the only meaningful goal. Sure beats waiting for people to change, waiting for them to pull their heads out of their rear ends, etc. Just accept. You don’t have to like, you don’t have to approve. Just accept.
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I can see how you feel alone and dumped on, but you can't make your brother or his adult children to feel something they don't.

Perhaps instead of feeling angry and bitter you should feel thankful and peace that you have this time with SD even when it is hard, and here is why: you can go through the rest of your life knowing YOU did the right thing!

We can not control what people do or don't do, but we can control how we react to it!

Never wish ill will on someone else because it just comes back and bits you in the but. Believe me your brother isn't hurting from you being angry or bitter, you are just hurting yourself.

I can also understand that you don't want to be alone. Do what Isthisrealyreal said or find somthing else to do. You will have to at some point make up your own mind on what you want to do for Christmas I know this will be hard but no one will do it for you. I had a friend that use to go to the movies on Christmas day. That was her thing that she did year after year and she enjoy it.
I am sure you can find something to do on Christmas. This is a hard holiday for everyone. Most of us do want that big happy family holiday we see on tv but it's not real.

Good luck!
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You yourself said you were never a close family.

It is unreasonable to expect them to feel what you feel.

If you don't want to be alone at this time of year then it is up to you to not be alone. Volunteer, go visiting or bake cookies to give to the residents at the facility. This is such a terrible time of year, it's nothing but a big commercial lie, so don't by into it.

Wishing some ill because they aren't behaving the way you want, in my opinion is a sure fire way to feel bad. He has his life and you shouldn't be angry that he is enjoying hisself, you get to make your own choices as well.
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I told him. He knows. He thinks that I need better boundaries. Just a cop out in my opinion.
Maybe one day he will experience being alone for himself.
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He’s right though. It’s ok to have boundaries. He’s also got his own family. It would be easier for you to travel to see him, then it would be for him to travel to see you and your stepdad. Your step dad didn’t raise him and he obviously doesn’t have the same bond you have with step-dad. Your brother isn’t a bad person here.
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I am feeling alone and dumped on. I absolutely know that we each are responsible for our own feelings and lives. I have told him that I don't want to be here by myself at this time of the year. I cannot help how I feel. I know it may sound petty and selfish, it just hurts ! Our stepdad may be demented and old but I know he has feelings and cares for us. He was there for our Mom and now I am the only person who visits him. He has no family here in Canada and no children of his own.
It wouldn't be a sacrifice for my brother or his adult children to at least make an effort. Nothing.....no card, no phone calls and never a visit.
Yes I am angry and bitter. I cannot seem to change my own feelings. Maybe I DO need a therapist.
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Tothill Dec 2018
Why do you think it is your brother's responsibility to keep you company over the holidays?

I went through an incredibly traumatic separation and divorce over the last 4.5 years. At no point did I feel it was anyone's responsibility to keep me company over the holidays, not my young adult kids, other family, friends etc. It is my job to create new traditions for myself. I would not ever think it was my brother's responsibility to rearrange his life to include me.

Whether or not you feel it is a sacrifice for your brother or his children to visit your step dad does not matter. When my step dad was in hospital for 6-7 weeks before he died, I never once visited him. The hospital is literally a 5 minute walk from my home. My daughter decided on her own (she lives with her Dad an hour away) to go visit him once. My son, choose not to go. When Mum told me she thought sd was dying and asked me to join her at the hospital I did and I was there with her when he died.

A long time family friend is now in the hospital, perhaps dying and I will go visit him. I had a great long distance relationship with him when I was growing up and I actually like him.

Judge me as you like, I know my boundaries and I know my limits.
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No, its not wrong to feel hurt. I read your last post. Seems that your stepdad didn't raise you. I can see where u may have gotten closer when Mom was sick but brother may not feel that close. Does SD know who you are or would he know brother?

I wish my brother's had done more for Mom. My Dad would have been so hurt but he passed 11 yrs before Mom. I refuse to be angry with them. We all deal with things differently. Me, even though I lacked patience and caregiving was not my thing, I was there for Mom. I can say I did what I could.

You need to take care of you first. If you can't visit SD please don't guilty about it. Be there when you can. He is lucky he has the time you can give.
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If your stepfather is in long term care, what do you need help with? I think a little background would be helpful.
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JoAnn29 Dec 2018
She posted before with some background.
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Well---
How did you 'Present yourself" when talking to brother? You aren;t giving a lot of info.

Did you say you were burned out and tired and needed help? Or did you kind of gloss over things and expect him to offer up help?

I don;t know you, he does. Suggesting therapy for someone seems to be a real hot button issue. I recently suggested, very kindly, to a friend that she might benefit from some outside person listening to her and helping her in her VERY difficult life--I did say the word "therapist" and she LOST IT on me. "I AM NOT CRAZY!! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S CRAZY".

Ok, bad plan. But she could use some help.

Does your stepdad need you to be there for his day to day care, or are you angry b/c it appears that brother is dumping a responsibility on you that you feel you should share?

Why not simply TELL him what you'd like from him, as far as help goes. He can't read your mind---tell him. The worst he'll say is no.

Christmas is so overrated--doubtful your step dad really even cares if it;s the holidays. I know I'd love to have my whole family around at Christmas, but it hasn't happened in the last 10 years and won't probably EVER happen.

We make new memories any old time of the year. Too much pressure put on the holidays to be "Hallmark moments".

Those just do not exist! Try talkng to brother again. Be upfront with him,

Good Luck!
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