Our Family Divided

When I told my brothers, Danny, and Stephen, about the decision to have mom live in a 24/7 skilled nursing Care Center, their reactions couldn’t have been more different. I explained to both of them that I wasn’t just dropping mom off at the center and forgetting about her. I told them both that I would spend every other day with mom to make sure all her needs were being met and in the event she got sick, I would be with her every day. I told them that it wasn’t that I didn’t want mom living with me but now that she wouldn’t walk anymore I didn’t have the ability to provide for all her personal care needs without help. Danny completely understood and gave his full support. He knew I had done everything I could do to take care of mom in my home for as long as I possibly could. He told me how much he appreciated me opening my home to mom and her dog, Beau. He even thanked me for giving up my income to become mom’s full-time caregiver.

Stephen, on the other hand, completely exploded!  He told me dad would be so disappointed to know mom had been put in a “nursing home” and he said he would never have done that to mom or dad. I reminded Stephen that mom gave me power of attorney and made me promise her I would be the one to make the decisions regarding her personal and medical needs. Stephen said he would take mom to live with him. I had to let him know that wasn’t what mom wanted. I reminded him of how much personal care mom really needed and told him that kind of care isn’t something mom wants one of her son’s to provide for her. Stephen then went into a rage, telling me I didn’t try hard enough to keep mom at home. He said I just gave up because I was tired of taking care of her after just three years. He went on and on about what he thought he knew until I finally told him I wasn’t asking his permission, I was simply making him aware of the decision I had made. I told him I was sorry if he didn’t agree with the decision but he could either get behind it and support it or stay away and not make this more difficult for mom, or the rest of the family, than it already was. At that point he basically told me where I could go and left. That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my brother Stephen, but more on that in another post.

The experience I have had helping my mother take care of dad until he passed away, then bringing mom to live in my home and trying to take care of her until the time came when I could no longer provide the quality of care she needed, has taught me so much about family, and how siblings can differ so much in the way they think things should be handled when caring for elderly parents. I wouldn’t have ever thought in a million years that caring for mom would divide our family in half, and drive such a bitter wedge between my brother, Stephen, and I, but unfortunately that is exactly what happened.

The best advice I can give based on my experience is if you have aging parents, or a loved one who is sick and in need of constant care, be very careful of judgements or comments you make, especially to the primary caregiver. Because, you can never really know, or understand, what it’s like to be the person providing 24/7 care for a loved on unless you yourself have spent time in their shoes. It’s so easy to tell someone how you think things should be done, it’s another story altogether to be the one responsible for getting things done.

Next: A Bad Situation Gets Worse!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 23:50:25

    Your advice at the end is exactly right. No one can understand unless you’ve walked in those shoes. So glad to have you back blogging my dear! xoxo More!


    • beyondcinderella
      Apr 13, 2012 @ 02:08:05

      Thanks Frissy, I am so glad to be back blogging again myself. It is my “healing art”, and I only hope I am helping other’s along the way from my experiences. More back to you!!


  2. Tracie Blackwell
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 14:14:37

    You’re right. When my brother had his stroke the first question many other families asked me was…when he gets out of the hospital, will he live with you and will you take care of him? When I said “no, I can’t quit my job and he will require 24/7 care the rest of his life”…I was judged pretty harshly but no one offered to step up and take on the job. You’ve always gone above and beyond for those you love.


    • beyondcinderella
      Apr 16, 2012 @ 19:39:27

      Yes, Tracie, it’s always amazing to me how quick some people are to judge others. You are wise to have Billy in a 24/7 Care Center. There is no way you could manage his care on your own even if you weren’t working. And, it is my believe that we need to make sure our love ones are proplerly cared for but that doesn’t mean we have to be the ones to provide that care. Your always in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much for following my blog and leaving your comments.


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