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Sadly, this site is filled with caregivers whose siblings couldn't/wouldn't help care for parents in need. For those who cared for their parents while dealing with absentee siblings, how is your relationship with your sibling(s) now?


This is on my mind because we just had the one year anniversary of my MIL's passing and no communication between my husband and his brother. Hubby had a good conversation with his sister that day but didn't care to reach out to his brother or hear from him.

Being born into a family doesn’t automatically make it a family. Family dynamics can be very complicated. It takes all parties to make it work. Not everyone has that. For those who do I am truly happy for you. What a blessing.

Please understand that some of us wanted that too but through no fault of our own it simply wasn’t possible. We can’t force siblings to care.
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Becky04473 Nov 5, 2019
Sounds like my family. My brother had absolutely no use for me other than as family slave. He passed away several years ago and it doesn’t bother me. At the time he died, I gave him a nice funeral (his daughter tried to steal jewelry from I’m me at the funeral. I cut his children and wife out of my life. I want nothing to do with them. His daughter tries to get me to take her two little girls, but let her husband’s parents take them.
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I don’t anticipate ever reviving my relationship with my sibs. You find out how people really are when the chips are down
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madzeena Nov 7, 2019
So true
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I read through quite a few responses before I decided to respond.  I think it is one thing to have a sibling who lives across the country and logistically can't help, but it is certainly another when the sibling lives next door to you, makes more money than you and works out of his home and has the ability to make his own schedule and chooses not to help. Oh, and I forgot the best part...he is an RN.   After my mom was diagnosed, she was still lived in her own home.  That meant the grass needed cut, the bills needed paid, meds needed refilled, put in a dispenser and calls made twice a day to tell her to take them.  Grocery shopping needed done.  She needed taken everywhere...doctor, dentist, grocery, etc.  I was working full time, had a kid at home and my own acre of grass, and grocery, etc...  I was killing myself trying to manage her life.  My brother did NOTHING.  I kept calling him and saying we need to divvy up these responsibilities until we can figure out what to do with her.  I was visiting assisted living facilities, trying to sell her car, getting crazy phone calls from her at my job telling me she let a strange man into the house and he gave her a pill to take...just crazy nonsense.  When I approached my brother to say lets work out a schedule ...I suggested I take one week and he take the other... something like that.  He literally WENT OFF THE RAILS and said he didn't have to do sh*t.  Then the personal attack started...the name calling and what not.  I hung up on him and we didn't speak for 3 years.  He is a self absorbed narcissist who doesn't do anything that doesn't some how benefit him.  During that three years, I had to put my moms home on the market, put her car on the market, leave my job everytime there was a showing to clean her house and take her out of the home during the showing.  Find an assisted living facility, buy her new furnishings that would fit in the efficiency apartment, sell all of her old furnishings, clean out her house once it sold, meet with a lawyer to get POA.  etc.etc.etc.  Once placed in AL, I manager her care, bills, laundry and personal items.  Much more doable.  I WILL NEVER forgive my brother for his actions and the lack of assistance he gave our mother.  After three years of silence, we do speak and he does come over for holiday meals and what not but it is not the same.  I choose not to focus on it because the anger and bitterness will eat you alive and it's not hurting him, it is hurting me.  So I choose not to think about it, but deep down there is a real dislike for him.  I got to see the real him.
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AnnReid Nov 7, 2019
I understand you, and I’m living it with you. I work at forgiving it all, but I don’t always get too far with this goal.

I can remember better times, a kinder affable guy, and I brood about when and how it went off the rails. I can’t see how anything will improve. Still, I naively hope.
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No relationship here either since my dad passed. I saw this coming years ago, but even I did not think that it would turn out this ugly. Unfortunately I do need to deal with him in the future when my mom passes as I am executor and he is a beneficiary, but I plan to do all communicating through lawyers because I will not subject myself to his abusive tirades.
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My Mom & Step-dad lived 4 hours away from me, each way. My sister lived 3 miles down the road from them. For almost 20 years, two days a week, Tues. & Thurs., I would go down to see them, do what I did, for 20 years. Called every day. On my days there, my sister would show up, mouthing. She brought them a pot of beans, once a month. This is what I did; cleaned the house, did the laundry, shopped for food they could prepare, arranged with the drugstore to let them get their meds., & anything else they wanted, I paid the bill. I also paid the utilities for the home. I would leave each of them a 100$ bill, to use as they chose to. My sibling told me I never did anything for them. She believed she would "get everything" when they were gone. As a notary, I knew how to fix that. Me and parents talked bout this; they did not want her to have it. I made their wills, did all necessary paperwork to have everything transferred to another sibling - not me - and when they went home, my sibling got the shock of her life. She walked away empty handed. Greed will do you in, everytime. I have been "disowned" by my sibling, 8 years now. I don't miss her b*tching at me. I have found peace in my soul.
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alexis9368 Nov 5, 2019
Wow. That is so satisfying. One of my brothers won't even talk to my mom and told her he wouldn't go to her funeral because she wouldn't tell him where the money was. He had already been estranged for years. But she won't disown him and he gets as equal a share as I do. That's insulting enough but what troubles me more is the fact that I will have to deal with his litigious greedy ass no matter what. I think even if I signed over every penny to him he will still harass me asking for more documentation to make sure I didn't hide anything. Mind you this is from a person who has a guaranteed government pension, something most don't have these days.
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It's sad but if I never see my sibling again, I'll consider that a win. Unfortunately she's vulturing around now so that's unlikely for a while. She's done virtually NOTHING to help with either parent, emptying the house, etc...the works, but the second Dad passes she shows up after years of estrangement asking for an 'advance on her inheritance', among other greedy behaviors. It's hideous. If anything she's created more work for me since I need to keep track she's not going to try to defraud mom, etc...And she acts like a victim!

Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I'm not glad there's more of us 'out there', but I'm glad we can acknowledge each others' experience.
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marymary2 Nov 7, 2019
We've got to vent somewhere - so thank you to all on this site. Seeing anyone else vent makes me feel not so alone, so double thanks!
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I am still close to my only sibling, my brother. Even though he doesn't help out my Mother I don't hold it against him. He's been in therapy and he is not obligated to take care of my Mother anymore than I am. But I live 15 minutes away and he lives 5 hours away. He has a wife that my Mother NEVER EVER got along with. My brother has a daughter that my Mother doesn't even acknowledge. So I really don't blame him for not wanting to be in my Mothers life. My Mother on the other hand always was their for both my kids and was always good to my husband. So I honestly can say I don't feel resentment towards my brother. He is 9 years older than me and I have always looked up to him. We are still close. They lost their only son years ago at age 21 in an automobile accident. My Mother still can't put herself in their shoes or show any kind of empathy whatsoever. The only thing she said was I'm glad it happened where he lived and not when he was visiting me. My Mother said my brother and sister n law would have blamed My Mother if it happened when he was visiting her. That's all she could think about was her own self!!!! I have always been heartbroken over it. I can't imagine going through that. I'm not about to turn my back on my brother since my Mother hasn't been their for him and his family at all.
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janeinspain Nov 7, 2019
Elaine, I really admire your ability to see the big picture and support your brother, despite your mom’s attitude and actions. You are lucky and wise to be able to nurture your relationship with him - hopefully you will have it to enjoy well into the future, beyond your mother’s life.

Jane
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It’s been 4 years since the last parent passed, and 3 since my only sibling and I “divorced”. At the time of our parents’ deaths 14 months apart, I was the full-time caregiver for both who were in late-stage cancers. I moved them into my home and cared for them while mom passed, them dad, while working full-time. I am single, and though it was crazy challenging-over whelming at times, it was also the richest, most rewarding time of my life. Brother and SIL live in the same city and both even work at the hospital where they were treated. They were of some help while mom was alive, but not at all once mom passed away. As soon as she went into hospice in the last 3 weeks of her life, they went into full-monster mode! They hired a lawyer to re-draft all of the parents’ paperwork-will, POAs, beneficiary deeds. This was not necessary, though it did enable my brother some advantages of which we were unaware at the time. Also they accused me of not repaying a loan 15 years earlier (I had, but had moved several times since, and been through a divorce and did not have records that would satisfy them, as if I needed to!)
After mom passed, dad had me contact another lawyer to make the necessary corrections to his will, and other documents, spending more good money after bad. This put a target on my back, because I’m sure that my brother and his wife thought I was behind it all so I could steal from him. ( they did not know that I was supporting him myself after mom died).
After dad passed, things only got worse. Dad made me the sole executor. I went out of my way to be more than fair, expecting the vilification that was certain to come.
When it came time to divvy up dad’s estate, the claws really came out, and it was a nightmare. My SIL was the greedy one behind it all; my brother had been rendered useless by her narcissistic demands decades ago, so it was whatever she wants, and she was our for blood to get all she could from my parents’s estate, no matter what.
In the end, lawyers, delays, accusations, etc. destroyed any chance for my brother and I to have a relationship. I’ve moved on—I did not come away with even half what my parents’ wished for each of us, but I have memories, self-respect, respect from others, and my head held high. I miss my brother terribly, and wish there was a way forward but realistically, not while his wife is alive. I hold out hope, but do not hold my breath.
Knowing what I know from having gone through all of that, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but I’d be a lot more aggressive in protecting my interests and not be trusting that the people I’d known for years, trusted as my siblings, would have my interests at heart.
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doctorno Nov 7, 2019
I can completely relate to your horrible story and situation. I wish there was an organization besides a law firm that could deal with this. i bet your parents probably rarely used a lawyer for anything. You were very fortunate your dad was still able to understand the situation and somewhat protected you. A smart parent would have cut them out of the will. I feel your pain. I am reading some of the answers just to feel I am not alone in this situation and how people are handling it.
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I’m involved in both my elderly parents care. They do pay me some but certainly not the equivalent to having home care but I’m fine with that. My siblings know I get paid so that gives them the silent excuse not to be more present for my parents. I find this sad but refuse to dwell on it. It certainly has changed my view on those that choose to be absent. Thankfully I have a decent relationship with my parents but caring for them can get overwhelming.
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Invisible Nov 7, 2019
I get that. When you fill the void, they think they don't have to. Interestingly enough, your parents know this and you will be blessed with a stronger bond between you. Is there any talent/interest your siblings have that can be used to facilitate their participation in their parents care? For example, I had a sibling that liked to throw the family holiday dinner (yay - not me!). I have another sibling that has always been a hypocondriac and is excellent at medical matters. I have a sibling that likes to make/bring treats. They don't do what I need them to do but they can still fill a void. One sibling told me he just didn't know what to say so he didn't visit.
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As one person answered, holding on to all those negative emotuins againat the "absent" sib(s) hurts you, not them...but it doesn't mean you have to become best buds and that their actions were ok.
Your sib(s) actions demonstrate the lack of love and respect for the parent(s) also, which to me is the biggest offence. These people who gave them life, housed, fed and clothed them, loved them....are being tossed aside because their "usefullness" is gone. These sibs have lost more than they can ever fathom. I pity them...and wonder what will happen to them when they need what they would not provide.
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Grammy6pak Nov 7, 2019
When I finally decided that it was better to get my sibs out of my life, it was like a load of bricks off my shoulders! I hardly ever think about them anymore and I’m at peace with that!!
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