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My mother (age 75) died on October 20th, four days after my 50th birthday. I pulled away after some nasty hurtful behavior on her part regarding my getting my degree this past June. I know that while this was a happy moment for me, she might not fhave felt that way given her medical condition. That I could truly understand, but it felt like she took great pleasure in hurting me by acting like my accomplishment was nothing. On day I graduated I received no phone call, atta girl, nothing! I've been her caregiver since I was 14 up until the last 4 months of her life. I am now being accused by my sister of abandoning mom in her time of need? My mother had a live-in home attendant, a grandson who visited nearly every day and, of course, my sister who claims to have visited daily. Based on the physical condition I found my mother in, my sister was not paying close attention to was going on with my mother. On the last night of her life, the first time I'd seen her since August of this year my mother had a horrific smelling heal ulcer and necrotic tissue on her remaining leg. My goal was not to abandon my mother, I just wanted it to be about me for a change. It took me nearly 20 years to complete my degree and my sister(45) in the meantime completed her bachelors and master's degrees while I took care of ma. Why am I suddenly the bad guy? My sister is telling anyone who will listen that I deserted my mother. Did I desert my mother?

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I have a feeling that your sister did NOT visit daily and that she is guilt ridden- and it makes her feel a little better by blaming it on you. Maybe, as time goes by, she will realize what she is doing. It took me almost seven years to get a degree and I want to congratulate you on sticking to it and finishing college. Good luck!
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Great advice from all the posters. Revel in getting your degree and forget about them. It is hard to do but some people have issues which they won't acknowledge. Focusing on your own life isn't a crime, it's your right. Be proud and know you did you best.
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Congratulations on your degree. I completely understand your pain. I have relatives like that too. Just forgive sis and mom and move forward. Just tell yourself they are/were troubled human beings. Don't let it get to you. Again congratulations from brandy.
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The more we become everything to our ailing elders, the more we become nothing to them.
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Sis is blaming you to relieve her own guilt. If she knew you were not going to continue as mom's main caregiver, and she was there and could have been helping, and you had every reason to believe decent care was being provided, you are not the one who let your mom down. If you knew or heard that she was deterioriating and chose not to deal with it - whether dealing with it meant an APS call or stepping back in to verify for yourself, to try to mend fences or just to visit, maybe a different story, but that's not what I'm understanding from your post.
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It sounds as if for some reason your mother was not able to give you credit, praise and gratefulness for what you did for her. I'm not sure why. Sometimes it's a learned dysfunction. Other times, it's from mental illness or some injury, but I would try to focus on the belief that if she had not been hindered by something, she would have given you all those things. Maybe they were there, but she did not know how to convey them. I would take that with me.

You did what was right by her and I would also take that with me in my heart. You should find peace in that.

You might have to ignore your sister and realize that some people throw stones to distract from their own shortcomings. She must be very guilty and is trying to distract by pointing at you. I might try to get some counseling to learn to move forward. There is nothing to be gained by focusing on the past, but so much to learn from it.

I congratulate you on your hard work and accomplishments. I wish you much peace and success.
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Your sister is in the angry phase of grief. Unfortunately the anger often is misdirected at siblings, hospitals and doctors. Try to get someone else to listen to her venting. You did your part, and went above and beyond the call of duty. Don't let her grief drag you down to her level.
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It's unfortunate that you're made to feel bad for focusing on your own life and are now questioning yourself.

The description of your sister's care doesn't sound as if your mother was really getting the attention you need. I think your sister is trying to push the blame off on you to avoid scrutiny of her actions, or lack of appropriate actions, in caring for your mother.

I think it's also common for caregivers to second guess their actions, in retrospect, wondering if they did all they could, if they provided the right care, were available enough, etc.

I'm not sure anyone in a caregiving position can avoid this even though at the time we all did the best we could. I just think the second guessing is natural. I did that for YEARS after my sister died.

And we are all entitled to our own lives, which is often where the conflict arises. One thing I've realized is that when something important occurs in our lives, it might not be shared by our elder b/c he/she is focused on something more basic, such as pain, eating, getting around, even just getting to the bathroom, and these conditions occupy his or her full attention.

So while you're concentrating on getting your degree, your mother might have been just trying to get through a day w/o pain, or just trying to get up on her own. There's no way either of us can walk in their shoes, even if we think we can.

I would ignore your sister's attempts to upset you and focus on your new career. Don't bother to take her calls or answer e-mails if they're upsetting.

By the way, congratulations on the hard work, determination and perseverance in getting your degree!
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That's a rough life if you've been caring for mom since you were a teenager. There's a discussion thread on the forum about dysfunctional families. Check it out. Lots of folks from situations like yours.
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