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I can’t forgive my sibs for their behavior. Hot Conversation

My mother passed away in October. I was her primary caregiver. I watched her fade away. It was a very difficult time for me. On top of that, my sibs rarely came by to visit. There were all kinds of excuses why they couldn’t take time to visit mom. It was horrible to experience. Mom would sit and wait for phone calls on her birthday, xmas, and other holidays. Sometimes my sibs called. Many times they did not. 

 

Now that mom has passed my sibs have found TONS of time to go by the house. Even though I was the one to completely clean the house out, sibs have taken it upon themselves to try and control the sale of the house, etc. 

 

I am angry at my sibs for their lack of giving to mom. I don’t know how to forgive them even though I know that I will need to forgive them in order to get on with my life.

 

I would like to hear how others have forgiven their family members.

Thank you!

Posted in family & relationships.

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64 Responses

  1. Generic Image Nana says

    Hello SeekerPatty:

    I want to acknowledge the pain and honor your feelings.  I have lived a similiar life with leftover pain after my mothers death, and my sisters suicide.  A great deal of struggle to comprehend the behavior or lack of from all of my other siblings.  It was heart wretching, and mind bending.

    In these situations, I personally had to seek professional help.  And I’m so glad I did.  It’s not always about forgiveness.  My shrink helped me the most when I substituted the word forgiveness with integration.

    Trying to integrate all these painful situations into my life and reality in such a way I could live comfortably with me!

    The more I keep the focus on my own life, and well being and being present for me, the better I feel.

    I lost not just my mother, not just my sister, but grieved the loss of close connections to my siblings.

    Catharine

    2 like

    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Hi Catharine,

      Thank you so much for your share. Wow, what a double dose of grief and loss you suffered. I wrote down what you said about “integration.” I would like to know more about that. I understand the concept but would like to know more about how you actually did it. True that we need to stay focused on our own lives and well-being. Every minute of the day. But sometimes this can be an overwhelming task when we get into a “funk.” Just yesterday I saw an older woman being pushed in a wheel chair by her daughter. It took me down. I cried and cried over not only the loss of my mother but how she longed to have her other kids around her to help her. I am a small person. It was so difficult for me to lift the chair and push her around. It hurt my body and I already have fibromylgia to boot. I would have loved to see my sibs help her in her final years. I can’t get over how they basically ignored her till she passed.Then the day of the small gathering we had at the  house they all acted as if mom was their best friend. How do I “integrate” those behaviors into my thoughts. Any suggestions?

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      Patty

      1 like

      • Generic Image SuzanneMulloy says

        It is interesting that when people die they often are regarded as something akin to saints by the same people who ignored them when they were alive.  The only explanation I have for this change in behavior by the survivors is that they know they could have been far more loving, forgiving, attentive, whatever, and now all that is left for them to do is speak well of the person they neglected.  You might try to integrate those behaviors into your thoughts by reading between the lines and understanding that this might be a result of guilt feelings.

        3 like

  2. Generic Image JW1950 says

    I understand, having been through something similar. You will never regret your actions, and if you are like me, being vigilant took a toll in one way or another on you — and you and your mother are forever connected. Hers was the first face you saw and likely yours was the last she saw. You cannot enlighten the unconscious, and your siblings are asleep at the wheel. Now you have information about your siblings character that you probably wish you did not have, but you do need to have. Value your friends and people who share your compassion and values. It’s very mysterious.

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  3. Generic Image SIZZELN says

    Sorry they didn’t share the weight and burden. Why they didn’t call, visit or made a call, who knows but them. So glad you got what you needed to live on with yourself and family. There will be a time they will have to answer for those actions or lack of. What kind of relationship did they have with their mother? There may be other questions that they do not feel free to talk about. What money brings out in family!! Make yourself happy. I’m not there yet.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Hi Track,

      Thank you for writing. My sibs are all alcoholics. When I moved in with my mother about 10 years ago while I was inbetween jobs I did an intervention on my mother. She was also an alcoholic. None of my sibs wanted to attend but finally came around. This intervention gave them some rude awakenings in to their own addictions. They did not like this. After my mother got sober, she made a rule that there was to be no alcohol at her house when they came by to visit. My sibs didn’t like this. They also didn’t like that I had confronted each of them in the past about their addictions. I am a therapist. I am not an alcoholic. I thank God every day that I did not get that horrible disease. When mom was a drunk everyone would complain about her drinking and smoking, therefore giving that as an excuse to not come over. Mom believed that if she got sober, the kids would come around more. But it never happened. I am so sad for my mother you will never know. And I am still so angry at my sibs for their lack of involvement in their mother’s life. I watched my mother suffer so much. I went to Alanon meetings and I try to have a positive attitude towards my future. But I don’t have any desire to forgive my sibs. Like you, I’m not there yet.

      2 like

      • Generic Image SIZZELN says

        WE MUST HAVE SOME STANDARDS. MY ONLY BROTHER BEFORE HE DIED OCT,2009 WAS ABUSIVE WITH ME IN LANGUAGE, SO HE WAS BARRED FROM MY HOME. WHEN HE DECIDED TO ASK FORGIVENESS (IN HIS OWN WAY) NOT THE WORDS SO MUCH, HE WAS WELCOMED BACK. HE STAYED AWAY 3 1/2 YRS. I DID NOT BACK ONE INCH. I LET HIS SON (ELDEST) KNOW THE MATTER AND MY DAUGHTER. MY MOTHER LIVES WITH ME WHEN HE WANTED TO SEE HER, WHEN I WAS AT WORK AND BE GONE WHEN I ARRIVED HOME. HE WAS NOT PREMITTED TO DRINK ALCOHOL IN MY HOME.

        YOUR MOM DID A BRAVE THING GIVING UP DRINK AND CIGARETTES, SORRY IT DID NOT WORK OUT IN HER FAVOR WITH RELATIONSHIP TO HER CHILDREN BEFORE HER FINAL DAYS. I HELPED CARE FOR MY BROTHER THE LAST 2 YRS OF HIS LIFE, NO REGRETS, FOR I TREATED HIM RIGHTLY AND LOVED HIM DEARLY.

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      • Generic Image Karen Flowers says

        You are not alone. I have been estranged from my siblings for many many years. I’m new to this site so I am going to test to see if this actually posts.

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  4. Generic Image liz says

    I am the one also who is taking care of my mother.  I am the closest child (hour drive).  My husband passed away and I had to get two jobs, so I work two jobs and take care of mom and her yard (1/2 acre).  The others don’t visit much.  Of course, my brother is the baby and has always been the favorite.  I already know how it’s going to be when she passes away, but I’m ready for it.  To get thru all this I have the maintain the attitude of “Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord and not unto man.”  I’m taking care of my mom because it’s the right thing to do.  I don’t do it for my brother or sisters, or to get anything when she dies.  I’m just doing it.  I’ve already decided that they can have control of everything and do what they want.  I have no desire to be invovled in bickering or aruguing or saying I did this or I did that.  My mom needs my help and I’m there to give as best I can.  The Lord knows what I’m doing and he will take care of me.  I do it for no other reason.

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    • Sandi/7 Sandi/7 says

      Bravo lzwynn!   You have found the true path to happiness.  And the time with your Mum and reward the Lord will heap upon you and your house if worth far more than any of your siblings will gain!

      Plus your so right, you will be at peace while they are tearing each other apart!

      Congratulations your a wise woman!

      Sandi

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Hi lzwynn Wow, can I relate to your story. You are right. If we all were to let go and let God, we’d be better off. I need to remember that for myself.

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    • LockKing LockKing says

      lzwynn, I am in the same position as you are. My brother has worked his whole life making my parents feel sorry for him, that he “never got a break like the rest of you”. There are 8 of us, he got 2 Masters and made schooling his career. I had been caring for my parents for 5 years when he decided he’d move in with them. I live a block away. My father passed and he claimed that my father told him that the house was his. My mother believed him.  He has said that he will sell out after mom is gone and he wants to travel. All of the caring, upgrades, groceries, nothing I did has ever been mentioned.  It’s as if I never existed.  When I spoke up, my brother stopped speaking to me, wouldn’t even drive by my house. My mother follows his every thought and action, so she followed that too. She grew up thinking only men can take care of you and I know her actions come from insecurity. It was heartbreaking not to have my “momma” speak to me, so I made up my mind then and there that I wanted nothing to do with the house, it’s contents or anything else. Just want to spend the last years close to my mom. My brother doesn’t want me there too often, as he keeps a tight control on her and anyone who tries to advise her. So we call each other everyday, and I go over once or twice each week, one of them to do her hair.  Im glad about my decision. It’s easier to “pretend” my feelings for my brother and my mother doesn’t know the difference. I have seen a big downgrade in her health (89 yrs) this past year and it makes me feel that I have done the right thing over the past 10 years. The other 6 children visit about once a year.  So I do understand the resentful feeling that come with aging parents and siblings. I am glad I have chosen not to be a part of it.  God will straighten the rest out. He’s a much better judge of his children than I would be…It was so nice to read your story, thanks!

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  5. llacey2001 llacey2001 says

    I wasn’t the one who was taking primary care of my mother in the last few years of her life. I lived 3 hours away and had a husband who wouldn’t allot money for me to go see her more than once a month (I didn’t work at the time). But I went every time I got the chance both to see mom and to relieve the stress from my sister for a day or two.

    Mom and I had never been really close when I was growing up, mostly from my end, but I loved and honored her and would have done anything for her. I’m not saying these things to pat myself on my back (I can’t get my arms back there to do it if I wanted to). Why I am writing this is because of how I feel about my time with mom in the end.

    I was the blessed one, every time I could give to her, every, time I had to wipe her bum, ever spoonful of food I got her to eat, every time I saw her sleep like a small child. I wished I had had even more time with her. Closer to the end I found a way to get the money needed to go be with her more. Every weekend I got to go and I would spend as many days as I could with her. I found out what she had been like as a child as she reminisced about her life. I got to know and love her even more. There is a saying that “We love those we serve.” Meaning that if our hearts are in the right place and we serve someone we can’t help but loving them in the end…. How sad that your sibs didn’t give this gift to themselves.

    Sure it hurt to see her fading. It tore at my heart to know she would have liked to go faster so she could be with dad again. Sure it put stress on all of us who did care for her. But for me, I would never have changed a moment of it.  Time does change how we feel about others, if you allow yourself the privilege of forgiving your sibs. How sad that your sibs felt they didn’t need the gift of service. It is pity I would feel for them. You will come through this on top of it all, they on the other hand will always know that they didn’t do what was needed and they will never know that gift of service to others.

    Try looking at them, not with an angry eye, but a heart filled with sorrow that they will never know the mother you know. There is also the lesson that you and I have learned, that is an eternal law, ‘What we give we get back.” It will also be sad to see the children of your sibs following their example in years to come.  What they gave to your mother will be what they get from the world later. 

    You are the blessed one, the richest one in wealth that cannot be bought, don’t let them rob you of that by carrying the burden of non-forgiveness in your heart.

    What would your mother have you do? Would she want you toren by bitterness??? I don’t think so. 

    1 like

    • Sandi/7 Sandi/7 says

      Beautiful!

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    • Generic Image liz says

      Yours is a great story as well.  Me and my mom (or dad) were never close either.  i truly never felt that they loved me.  But the bible says to honor your father and mother.  It doesn’t follow up with..”unless they were mean or treat you right”.  It just says do it.  One of the last things Christ did on the cross was make sure his mother was taken care of when he said to John and his mother, “Mother behold your son.  Son behold your mother.”  All of you ladies are right in that we are the ones with the peace, joy and wealth.  The others cheated themselves by not participating.

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      • Generic Image SIZZELN says

        Like your response, however, not taking anything away from what you state here, Jesus left HIS mother with a male (John the beloved)! A head of household provider. Remember, women followed Jesus wherever he ministed, so He could have ask anyone of them to look after his mother, plus Jesus had half brothers and sisters, Matt 13:55. He didn’t leave her with them either.  And the women who followed were believers! So why do the women and usually the eldest female get all the “burden”, and that’s a biblical word. KJV-HEBREW/GREEK KEY STUDY. This does not mean the person does not love their parent, if they do not want all the burden on themselves. I like looking at the whole picture so that others do not look bad in people eyes without warrant. All who willing provided this service, may God bless your socks off, with peace and enjoy unspeakable.

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  6. JlGergen JlGergen says

    Hello:

    I understans your hurt, loss and disbelief of your siblings actions.  My sister was horrible beyond words several months before my mom passed away.  It took me years to forgive her; which I did for my mom’s memory and me.  Carrying around all that negative and ugliness regarding my sister was a drain on my own peace of mind and soul.  When I forgave her I felt a that gray cloud lift from my soul; however I have not forgotten her behavior.  My sister will have to deal with her own demons of her words and actions; something she has to live with. 

    Think of it this way you have something your siblings will never or be able to have, your mom’s  last days and the memories you two shared!

    Joyce

    1 like

    • Generic Image liz says

      Your right.  Forgiving and forgetting are two different things.  Forgiveness is for OUR OWN benefit…not others.  It’s not on their minds, it’s on ours.  We have to take ourselves out of others’ behaviors.  We will answer for only what we do.

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      • JlGergen JlGergen says

        Isn’t that the truth! Too bad others do not practice these thoughts of taking responsiblity for their actions and STOP blaming others!  As I always tell my kids make smart choices and then be accountable for these choices!

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      • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

        I appreciate all that you have said. However, I don’t KNOW HOW to forgive. I’m reading books and may join a forgiveness group at my church. Still, I can’t imagine how I will ever forgive the blatant neglect that my sibs displayed towards my mother, their mother. Even now, while we are trying to sell the house, they are greedy and unable to make rational and mature decisions. Its so sad. Deep inside I know that I will have to walk away from my sibs when the house is sold. It is more than sad. I keep dreaming that one day they will each get sober and come to me with their list of how they have harmed me. I dream that they tell me how much they appreciate me and what I did for mom. 

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      • Generic Image Katielli says

        In a sense, I think forgiveness is leaving other peoples sins and bad behaviour with them. It’s their problem, not yours. Not letting it eat you up. Sometimes I think that’s what those people want. They like the attention and feel good when they “get to” others, like they’ve “won” or “had the last word”. What they hate is indifference and lack of interest in their drama.  And it is actually the best thing you can do for them, is to leave them alone in their stink. Then they have no one to blame if you don’t get upset, and God willing, may be able to start taking a look at themselves. There’s no guarantee of that though. And it takes faith. Let go and let God have them. I have had to face in life that there are actually bad people in this world, because they choose selfishness. You can try to “redeem” them, but THEY must want that and turn to the good. Have you thought of writing a note to each of them and whether you send it or not, consider it a “goodbye” to letting the remembrance of their selfishness work on you anymore. They are the losers anyway – they have missed out on precious times with their mom and they are poisoning their lives away trying to numb out the realization of the selfish way they have lived their lives. Very sad.

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      • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

        Those were good words of advice. I have not written a good-bye note. I should do that. In fact, I was even thinking of going back to school. I’ll bet if I did a study on how elderly and sick mothers are treated by their children in other countries I would discover that its only here in the USA that mothers are treated so poorly. Maybe I’m wrong. And you are right. I need to let go and simply let God. Every day gets better. I have you and all of the others to thank.

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      • Generic Image mz says

        I understand and share your pain.  I have been struggling with forgiveness for my siblings also.

        I have decided that prayer is all i can do right now.  My siblings may never understand how they hurt Mom.  My Mom is at peace now and I am concentrating on living  a life that I enjoy and my happiness.  That is my way of forgiving them is taking care of me.

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      • lynnericci lynnericci says

        You have to forgive them for yourself.  I lived too far away to be of any help to my mother when she passed away five years ago.  My older sister has “forgiven me” and my younger sister still has not.  They did not even advise me of the funeral when she passed and took all her belongings sharing little with me.  However, I do not harbor ill will over that at all.  I have forgiven them as Christ has forgiven me for my sins.  How can I not?  He will judge all of us one day and I will have to answer for the things I did wrong too, as will my siblings.  Not forgiving them leaves you “stuck” in the past.  Move on.  Ask for Gods help in the forgiveness and pray for your siblings.  That’s what they really need.  I hope that helps.

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  7. Generic Image MusicalMom says

    Well, we are dealing with some similar issues here, only a flip side of the coin.

    I am not sure if I’ve experienced these things because I was the baby of our family, or what, but I’ve had two pretty bad experiences.  First was my own mother. My sis is not a particularly nice person, although she puts on a good front. She is on marriage #5 last I knew, and moved to CA many yrs back. She had taken my mother to live with her in CA after my dad passed away, but would not give us her address. We could not find a way to contact her. (I don’t take this one personally – she also tried to move to CA without telling her own 20-yr old son she was leaving, so why tell me?)  But, she topped even herself by not telling me when my own mother passed away.  I found out from a sister-in-law who saw a memorial note in a church we used to attend (and I was not mentioned – only my sister!).  I have not spoken to her for over ten yrs now, but have a feeling I’ve missed nothing, other than my mother’s company those last few years.

    We had another situation with my husband’s mother.  Her hubby of over 40 yrs passed away a few yrs back. She was living alone out in the country. One of the brothers who lived in the nearest town would come out a couple times a week to check on her. She was in her 80′s, and should not have been alone in the house.  Long story short, we ended up moving back to the area, and stayed with her. At first, the bros and sisters liked it, because they no longer felt obligated to come out and check on her – it was now our job. (Which we gladly did.  The house had been paid for for about 30 yrs, but we bought all the groceries, did all the cooking, cleaning, etc etc.)  It wasn’t my first choice, for sure. Not just because of the mother-in-law deal, but also because it was out in the boonies in the middle of farmland. This city girl preferred cable tv, internet and no roaming skunks! (Not to mention septic tanks, water pumps, etc etc – not used to any of that!)  Anyway, we stayed with her, taking care of her for a couple years. I was beyond antsy by this time, and ready to get our own place. But, we had one side giving us a false sense of obligations because we’d lived in another state for many years (thusly they had the main responsibility), and the other half wanting us to leave to be sure we didn’t stay in the house if the mother passed.  Weird, huh?  Long story short, we left a few yrs ago under less-than-perfect conditions.  Lots of feelings went hard and we were treated like squatters instead of caretakers.  (Hubby has a large family and they can get really strange really fast.)  In the time after we were gone, his mother fell several times, broke her wrist once and had other health problems.  Many times, she’d have to just sit there until one of the other kids could make it out to check on her.  (How this was better than us being there, I’ll never know.) 

    She passed away this month.  If it was not for the same sister-in-law who told me about my mom, we’d have never known.  Not one of them called or emailed to keep us informed.  We were not given the date and time of her funeral, nothing.  It was all very weird.  I saw photos later on from a niece in CA from their trip back – lots of partying, going out to eat at restaurants and clubs, etc etc.  Guess we were too much of a “downer” to be included??  His family used the funeral as an excuse to celebrate. (One of his brothers had actually told us a few months before we left that our being there caring for her was “delaying the inevitable” – in other words, she would have already passed if we were not there taking care of her!! How is that for heartless?)  Anyway, it is a very weird situation. 

    We can forgive them for what they did and continue to do (iimparting as much emotional harm as they can manage), but we are not going to forget.  I cannot tell you how many times I had mentioned to his sister (who lived nearby) that {his mother} would love to hear from the grandkids more -even a short phone call to say hello.  No one really listened. 

    JlGergen said it right.  As a born-again Christian myself (which was another reason his family and ours didn’t get along as much), I know I have to forgive. However, that is not just for their sake, it is for YOUR sake.  For YOUR peace of mind, and for YOUR health.  Their actions did irreparable damage to their relationship. However, we still need to forgive them.  The words are coming way before the actions.  I am still working on the things they did 3 yrs ago!  LOL!  But it will come… the day will come when my stomach doesn’t tie in a know when we talk about them. 

    It took me YEARS and YEARS to learn this – the Bible says to FORGIVE – it does not say we must forget. God forgives and forgets our sins, but there is no mention of forgetting what others did to us. IF we did, we’d be doomed to repeat it.  We can turn the other cheek, but there are many, many of us out there who have no cheeks left to turn. We simply have to CHOOSE forgiveness.  Believe me, it isn’t always something we want to do, but it is vital for our spiritual/mental health. But, you don’t have to forget everything they did or didn’t do, unless you want to.

    Wow – the vulture mentality sounds alive and well.  We haven’t even seen a copy of his mother’s will, and might not ever see it – he is the baby of 7 kids, and very likely will be left out of any distribution. The fact is, she can include him in her will, but after death, if a sibling is left as executor, there’s no guarantee that her wishes will be followed.

    Meanwhile, give yourself time.  It is too soon to expect these feelings to surface.  But, somewhere down the road, the time will come when you are ready to be kind to yourself, know that you did all that you could do, did the right thing by your mother, and can face life with integrity and honesty.

     

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Hi Musical,

      Your letter made me cry. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I will forgive one day. I will.

      0 like

      • Generic Image MusicalMom says

        You are very welcome!  I love that we can have a forum like this to share. I’ve never been one to believe we must all find every ditch to fall into ourselves – we need each other to point out both the pitfalls and the paths. (The hard part is finding the folks who are willing to share that info!)

        I just speak blessings of peace over you right now – peace to your mind, to your body and to your spirit.  Know that the one being hardest on you for now will be you…  the rest of the family isn’t aching, you are. But, we each must answer for our own actions, which is what spurred me as well to CHOOSE to forgive. 

        The day will come – it doesn’t have to be tomorrow, so don’t put a time limit on yourself. I think you’ve honored your mother, which is what we are supposed to do. Siblings are a different story. I wish we all had great families, but we don’t. (Those who do should be very thankful for them and enjoy them!)  My hubby is still having a very hard time with all the betrayal he feels. It will take him longer, but he will get there, and so will you. Once we realize we do not absolutely have to have a relationship with everyone we are related to, life becomes a little spoonful less stressful. One spoon at a time!  :  )

        God bless you Patty – and be gentle to yourself.  You deserve it!

         

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      • Generic Image pminmaine says

        Thank you for saying something that I needed to hear as I deal with a similar situation in my life. “We do not absolutely have to have a relationship with everyone we are related to!” I took care of my dad after my mom died. I come from a very dysfunctional family as well. My mom was cold and selfish to me because I did not do what she wanted me to do. I married an italian catholic man and had 2 children in my 20′s. She favored my brother who turned out to steal from them and use them. I had the gift of taking care of my dad the last 3 years of his life. I had to have him come live with me shortly after my mom died because my brother was sucking my father dry. He was making him feed him and pay his bills even thomy dad had lost my moms social security. I had him come stay with me for a week to get away. He had his own room, his own car in his own driveway and good cooked food. He never went back and thanked me so often but it was me thanking him. My children got to know him and be with him and he got peace and love with family. My brother raged and tried to break in and I took him to court 3 times to stop his stalking. I had no other siblings to help me. I asked my sister in law to send my nephews to help a few times but they were always busy. I asked them to call him and they never did. He died 3 years ago and to this day they dont talk to me because they are mad I inherited my dads things. They each got money for college from him so go figure! I have decided to turn it over to God because I can do no more. I have tried to reach out to them this past year but they wont meet with me or my son who misses his cousins. I know I have no regrets and they have to live with what they did. thank you for what you said! it made a difference to me today!

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  8. Five to Nine Five to Nine says

    First let me say, I’m truly sorry for the loss of your mother.

    I can relate to your post in many ways.  I lost my brother last August and I was closer to him than I was to any of my other siblings.  His sudden and unexpected passing caused an avalanche of emotions and revelations, some good, some bad.  I’ve never been close to my sisters — the two of them bonded early on and as the middle sister, I felt left out in the cold and often I still do.  Very recently an emergency caused us to have a family meeting where everyone was encouraged to say whatever they felt, to unburden themselves of anything that had caused resentments or hurt feelings over the years.

    What a huge mistake that turned out to be.

    This ‘meeting’ turned into a shouting, screaming, crying, fault-finding, insult-hurling mess.  This ain’t the Cosby Show, folks.  We didn’t all hug and cry and talk about how grateful we are to have each other at the end.  Au contraire.  My mother turned into a total drama queen, my older sister dissoved into hysterical tears and left before I got there; my brother walked out while my mother screamed for him to “GET OUT!”, my other sister and I talked AT each other but not really to each other. Even though no one had any major complaints about me, I left there feeling not at all ‘unburdened’; instead I felt bruised and emotionaly fragile.  I didn’t speak to anyone in my family for nearly three days afterwards and it was an enormous effort to answer the phone when my mother finally called. 

    I learned a few things that day:  1. Some things are better left unsaid; 2. My mother is nearly 80 and will not accept responsibility for the pain she has caused, nor will she change her behaviors at this point in her life; 3.  My siblings who ignore me will continue to do so and there’s not much I can do about it. 

    So when I finallly stopped crying, I made a decision.  You cannot get more from people than they have to give and that has always been my mistake.  It’s difficult in the extreme to stop expecting your family to treat you as well as or better than your friends do.  But it is what it is and continuing to get them to stop categorizing me as ‘the family flake’ and to actually see me is an exercise in pain and frustration. I could walk around wearing a sandwich board with an itemized list of transgressions, and they probably still wouldn’t bother to read it.

    As young people like to say, “Whatever”.

    As I learned in Naranon (for family and friends of addicts): Big expectations, big disappointments, small expectations, small disappointments. NO expectations, no disappointments.

    It’s hard.  But I’m single, in my mid-50s and unemployed, so I have greater priorities in my life than whether my siblings like me or not.  You don’t get to choose your family, you just get what you get.  I love them, truly.  But often, I don’t like them… and there’s no law that says I have to.

    I’m not sure that this is helpful to you; I can’t say that I’ve forgiven my siblings, but I am learning to accept them.

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    • Generic Image SuzanneMulloy says

      Excellent letter with much insight.  Suffice to say that you and I have had many parallel experiences!  One of the things I had to learn about forgiveness is what it means.  Contrary to what I was taught as a child, it doesn’t mean that I have to act as though nothing ever happened to cause pain.  It simply means that I have to give up the anger and bitterness and desire for revenge.  To illustrate, if my neighbor comes into my house and steals from me, I can forgive him by not having him arrested but you can be very certain that I will lock my doors in the future.

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      • Five to Nine Five to Nine says

        To illustrate, if my neighbor comes into my house and steals from me, I can forgive him by not having him arrested but you can be very certain that I will lock my doors in the future.

        ======================

        Excellent analogy.  I agree!

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  9. lovemylife lovemylife says

    Just wanted to say I’m so sorry and I’m angry right there with you.  I haven’t had to go through this yet.  I would be very angry as well.  Don’t know if I could keep it in.  When you do that it becomes to me like a cancer that eats away at you.  I hope you get some good advice Dear.

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  10. Generic Image Just Plain Tired says

    Wow I feel your pain~  I took care of my brother who had brain cancer and died at the age of 49.  I think some posters are missing the point.  I never felt anger as being the caregiver of my brother.  In reading your post I feel that you felt pain because of your siblings lack of response to your mom.    My parents didn’t visit my brother when he was in intensive care ( made my brother cry), my brother’s favorite little brother who lived just 20 minutes away wouldn’t come and see him so on~~~~~~ so on.  I’m going to be really blunt ~~~~~~ how ever harsh it may sound in the moment I kept my cool and never got angry towards my parents or brothers but if I had to do it all over again I would tell them all that it was time for them to put on their “Big Boy Panties and Grow Up”  Excuses such as “I just can’t see him like that or I want to remember the way he was”  What a crock of blather!  Simply taking the easy way out!

    So back to your siblings ~ if you want to have a relationship with them you are going to have to be brutally honest with them. You are going to have to tell them what you feel and why.  Feelings at this level can’t be swept under the rug.  

    On the sale of the house simply go about your business at this point you took care of all the important issues you can handle the sale of the home.   

    You are forever changed ~~~  

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  11. meigler meigler says

    Hi Patty. I am sorry for your loss. I also lost my mom recently, October 21st I think. I think it’s great that you know you will forgive your siblings. My older brother is some kind of bitter, twisted, non-human pod who treated my mother badly when she was alive. I didn’t see or speak to him for the three years prior to her death. He showed up at the hospital an hour after she died. I said hello to him that night. He said nothing. I spoke to him at her funeral. He said nothing. When we were cleaning her apartment he took her Bible (one of the few things I had truly wanted) away from me. He’s an atheist. I never intend to speak to him again. It sounds horrible to admit, but I don’t think I have it in me to forgive him; and I don’t think he deserves it. Sorry to get off topic, but reading your post brought it all up to the surface for me again.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Thank you Meigler and everyone who has written on this post. I”m crying right now with all of the love and support I feel. Its so good to know that others have experienced what I have. I just don’t understand how people who are so blatantly cruel to family members can actually sleep at night! I guess that everyone has their “story” as to why they behave the way that they do. Forgiveness seems like an overwhelming task for me, and I see how others are having the same problem.

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  12. Generic Image MountainMom says

    Don’t worry about it – YOU did the right thing, like I did.  I haven’t spoken to my siblings who live out of State and couldn’t make the time to assist when mom was in her last stages (or any other time for that matter).  I haven’t spoken to either in 12 years now and do not regret losing them.  Before my mother was warm, they trashed her apartment, looking for what was worth anything, then left the mess for me to clean, give away or whatever.  They were always preoccupied with their own lives and I have decided that life is too short to deal with their bullshit!  I have no remorse and feel no guilt for how I treated my parents.  Dad died young and mom was alone for almost 20 years after that.  I lived close to her and took care of her, for better and for worse.  Ya only get one set of parents.  As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and know you did the right thing, move on and smile!

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    • Generic Image liz says

      You’re awesome.  You definitely have it figured out, and you’re right!  I love your story.  God bless.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Your situation sounds like mine. It sounds like you are very confident in your decisions and you have moved on with your life. I hope to be like you some day soon!

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      • Generic Image MountainMom says

        Give it time – I was lucky because my siblings live out of state.  Problem was they used that as their excuse for not being here when needed.  My father passed when young but I was the only one in the state to assist my mother.  They flew in for the funeral and then left.  My mother actually passed in my dining room where I had set up a bed and had hospice nurses care for her.  She went peacefully with my son rubbing her arm, surrounded by those who loved her.  I had told my brother not to return home but he did and then had to turn around and fly back to the east coast.  My sister could not deal with it at all. 

        After 9-11, relatives told me life is short, get in touch with your siblings.  They are right!  Life is short and I don’t need to listen to their excuses!  I have moved on and feel no remorse.  You are right, I am very confident in my decision.  I know I did the right thing at the right time (and in front of my only child).  I can only hope he does the same for me.

        Like I said, as long as YOU know you did your best, then you can sleep well.  Stay well and smile, it does get easier ;->

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  13. Helena James Helena James says

    I was  just thinking about this subject the other day because I too have a similiar situation. I just can’t seem to get over athe bad feelings my sister and I had towards eachh other when my mother was alive but now that she’s passed almost 20 years ago and my sister has tried umerous times to mend things I just do not feel it in my heart to ever be close to her again. I sometimes feel bad about this but feel she can’t be trusted. Once I’m done, I’m done.

    Helena

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Trust is a huge issue with me. Over the years I tried and tried to mend things between me and my sibs. Sometimes we would begin to get along. But as soon as I let my guard down and trust, the trust was broken. In my case my sibs are all very critical and judgmental. I would show my vulnerable self and the next thing you know they would take my vulnerabilities and use them against me. I know that I sound like a “victum” but this is the way that they behaved! I’m talking about all three of them. They behave exactly the same! So, if I keep true to remembering my experience of constant broken trust, and not let them in, I will be safe from hurt and pain. I plan on going on in this manner. But I probably won’t be settled in my soul until I forgive them.

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  14. Generic Image auntbkaraoke says

    First, my mother was in one of the best nursing homes in the area and my sister decided to bring her home, against my will. Well, guess who had to step in every time my sister decided to go to a ball game or a one week vacation every month.  I would have helped a lot more with my ailing mother, but my sister ( known as sister-dearest) thought I was there for her beckoning call. On a moments notice, I was told “its your turn” to stay with mom regardless of my own plans. I waited 2 months for a doctor’s appointment and sister dearest told me to change my appointment, she wanted to go somewhere. I now need to have surgeries and again I was told “you better get them ALL done in February.” I had to cancel exterminator’s appointment to my home, because I had to run to my mother’s because I was TOLD to be there.  I don’t help or call my mother because the moment, sister dearest hears my voice, I catch some type of Hell. I love my mom and would take more time with her, but my sister has caused me sooooooo much grief and made my life so miserable that I refuse to help anymore.  There are always two sides to a story.

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    • Generic Image barbdallman says

      I’m trying to say this as gently as possible, really I am.  It isn’t about YOU, but you have made it that.  Focus on your mother.  You have absolutely no idea what it’s like to care for someone 24/7.  Your sibling does.  So be pro-active.  Sit down with your sister and a calender.  Hash it out.  Take one HALF of the work.  So far she has been doing 80%!  Re-read yur post, you sound like an immature brat, and we all know that you are not.  You simply have no idea what it’s like to carry the burden alone.  And for pete’s sake, talk to your mother!  If she was truly happier in the nursing home, then open that discussion again.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      If my mother were still alive, I would do ANYTHING to spend time with her. At ANY cost. Your sis needs a kick in the butt. She only gets away with her behavior because you let her. I can say this because I was the same with my sibs. I let them step all over me. If I had to do it over again I would stand tall to my sibs and say yes to my needs first, then my mother. I wish you all the best in getting well yourself. From all of the caregiving I got very ill. I have fibromylgia. I got clinical depression and was sick with colds and flus all the time. I’m convinced that my illness was a direct result of not standing tall to my sibs.

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  15. Maree Maree says

    You took the high road and God bless you for it! I have a similar story except it was my dad. It’s all to common to hear over and over again how taking care of a parent falls on one sibling. Makes me wonder which one of my three children will be the “one”! ;-)

    Doesn’t it help to know you are the one with the clean conscience? You did something for your mom that was so absolutely wonderful! You will receive the blessings for that…not them. I feel so sorry for them, they missed a chance to be human.

    I love the movie Marvin’s Room…it came out when I was in the throws of taking care of my dad. He died three years ago at the age of 97….I did good! You did good! Let it go! Be happy!

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  16. ladydove1997 ladydove1997 says

    GOD BLESS YOU SeekerPat

    I also fell your pain, I also lost my mom in Aug of 09, I took care of mom for the last month of her life. I live in Illinos

    and she was in Texas, thank GOD and my husband that let me stayed with her for that moment. yes my brothers and sister were there with mom and I two brothers from Iowa one from Michigan, and one from Texas and my sister also from Texas,

    I have not regrets taking care of mom, I love and enjoy the last few weeks of her life. mom new she was dieing and she keep joking with us and making us laughing and crying. moms last wish was for all of my sibsing to get along and look after one another, sometime sibbing have lots inside to say about one another and dont know how to let go. til one dies in the family and all feeling pops out. when mom pass we all huged and cry and we for gave one another for the pasted, I think we are closer now than ever, please dont let your sibs take away what you had with your mom in the last moments of her life.

    its not wroth fighting over materialism, the most important person is gone and that is what is worth the most.

    the love that our mom and dad gave us.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      reading your response reminds me of how many times I looked at my mother and admired how brave she was. She knew that she was loosing her mind. She knew that she was getting sicker and sicker with lung disease. She was so brave to let go to me and other caregivers to take care of her. I will always strive to be like she was in the end. And I will let go more and more every day of the control my sibs have over my emotions. Thank you.

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  17. Generic Image Utila says

    So Sorry to hear that you did not get the support that you needed while your mother was alive. As a sibling who has inherited taking care of my mother, I can say that sometimes it is very hard to know how to relate to an aging or failing parent. If you can forgive your sibs,  maybe you can start over with a different kind of relationship. It sounds like yall live physically close. If not, then you can live comfortably with the feeling that you did as much as you could for your mother. They will have to live with that also. Wishing you peace.

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  18. lyn lyn says

    I was in a similar situation with my family. Only I had to forgive my mother and my sibs couldn;t. Our mother was mentally ill. and as a result there was severe neglect and abuse in all forms that we as children and young adults suffered at her hand. I chose to forgive my mother after I got sober 23 years ago. My sibs could not and it has destroyed them! They are bitter angry people who have very negative outlooks. I went back to school and am now a social worker with child welfare and do what I can to help kids who go through similar trauma that I did. I hope nothing but positve results for you and your sibs regarding your situation.

    Regards, lyn

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  19. Generic Image pmc says

    When they ask about the sale etc. Tell them talk to my ATTY. AND EXSPLANE TO THE ATTY.

    YOU NEED HIS SECRETARY,TO EXSPLANE OR HIMSELF,THERE IS A CHARGE .FOR INFO.ON SUCH.

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  20. lorelai1956 lorelai1956 says

    I can only imagine how hard this must have been for you and how hard it continues to be with adding anger towards your siblings to the grief you must feel at your loss.  I am wondering, however, if your siblings behavior came from weakness and inability to handle watching her fade rather than from lack of giving or caring for her or you.  We all handle death differently and for some the only way they can cope is to block out the reality.

    As for how to forgive them, perhaps you could try to remind yourself (over and over if necessary) that your anger hurts only you.  You have already sacrificed so much for your mother.  Perhaps you could also view letting go of this anger as your final gift to your mother.

    I hope you find some peace. 

    1 like

    • Generic Image liz says

      I like what you have to say…and also “has a final gift to your mother”.  That’s wonderful and wise.

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Hi Lorelai,

      Thank you for writing. Your question about my sibs is a good one. They were never really good at keeping in touch but it was very obvious that they avoided mom when she became sober. They had to face their own alcoholism issues every time they saw their sober mother. And yes I’m sure that it was very difficult to face the fading away of their mother. Mom had been fading for about 3 years before she finally passed. I moved in to caregive her for those 3 years. That was another reason why they didn’t come by. I got a salary to caregive mom. They all thought that I should do it for free! They didn’t want their inheritance going towards my salary. These are the type of people I was dealing with. Greedy, critical, judgmental, drunks. I am a therapist and I have worked in the chemical dependency field so I knew about their addictions. Their way of handling things were to avoid both mom and me. They are all very angry souls. Its so sad.

       

      I realise that my hurt inside is going to keep me down from getting on with my life. What a wonderful idea you had about letting go of my hurt and anger as a final gift to my mother. This is making me cry as I type. She wanted us kids to all get along when she was alive. Thank you. I will find a way to forgive them for my mother. It feels easier to do this for her rather than for myself. Thank you.

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  21. Generic Image marlenevilleneuve says

    Well I have not forgiven but do speak OCCASIONNALY  to them. I spend 7 1/2 months running back and forth 2 or 3 times a week to see my mom. I was working 2 jobs and she was 200 kilometers away. I purchased everything she needed as I did not have time to go to her apt. When my brother packed it up he left almost everything. I paid the bills for her personal things like haircuts, phone bill and comforts like cable and tv. The gas alone was horrific. When she passed away with her tiny insurance policy it was split evenly 5 ways for each kid. I was not reimbursed and they did not feel I should be. I was blessed to spend that time with her. I was beside her when she died at the young age of 67 and left this world fighting. I do not think I will ever forgive them for the way they treated her and the burden they put on my shoulders. I spent 3 years in a deep depression. I am now climbing out of that hole. So, sorry I have no magic solution. I made sure she did not know how selfish they were being. I wanted her to go in peace beleiving her kids cared. I hope I succeeded.

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  22. Nyvana Nyvana says

    Oh boy! Reading all of your comments got my emotions up and down like a roller coaster!

    One that strikes me the most is from Five to Nine when she said: “You cannot get more from people than they have to give”.  Here is a thought for forgiving!  It is so true, whether they are siblings, friends, parents, children or ourselves for that matter!  We cannot give more than we are capable of.  What if this is all we could give?  Should giving less make us careless?  Less of what … less of expected?  Careless for some, but not for others, all depends on our story.  As for you and I, it is a matter of not falling into the trap of expectation.  Again, what if this is all they could give?  I agree with Five to Nine again, “forgiving or accepting”, either way should make us feel more comfortable.  There is a song that goes like this:  “All you give is all you get, so give it all you’ve got!”  There!  life should take care of it now! … 

    Many quotations I read say how important your siblings are, how much closer to you, to your heart, how much warmth and trust they bring, they are the one listening, understanding and supporting you the most … are they?   There is this saying:  “The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing”.  Well now, for our purpose … or for my own sake … may I answer:  “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life” and please allow me to add: “Friends are the family we choose for ourselves”.  How comforting!  How important to believe in this when, as Five to Nine would say:  “… expecting your family to treat you as well as or better than your friends do“, is not happening.  Is it really or is it that our expectations are too high? 

    Here is my story … hmmm … it has two sides!  You are to choose!

    A good way to start would be by saying that I come from a dysfunctional family.  A drunken father whom left when I was 17 … he didn’t, my mother let him go.  A controlling mother expecting us to follow her … I did, the only one out of 4 siblings.  Then, a promise I made in which when I’d grow older I would give my mother what my father never did.  Everyone has told me how I am so much of my mother and so little of my father … it was a compliment … today, I question it!  For 10 years I didn’t see my father, until too late he was gone out of his misery.  Funny … being the only one not seeing him and yet the only one at his funeral!  I guess life has its way to get back at you!   

    So I have a good life, a good husband, in love for 27 years now!  I couldn’t have children therefore I adopted.  I always felt privileged to have a loving daughter and now 2 little grandsons.  My sister was not as lucky, she would say, she married and divorced 3 times, two children from her first marriage.  One of my brothers never married and has no children.  The other one was married, divorced and had two children from different women.  But hey! I trust that each made their choices as to what is important for themselves.  No one is to judge … shouldn’t we? 

    Life is good to me, I proudly offered my mother comfort and a chance to live her old age with serenity, or I thought!  She has been living with us on and off since 1987, but continuously, at my cottage, since 2001.  I kept my promise!  I never asked for anything.  My siblings couldn’t partake, struggling with their own issues, they were much more taker than giver.  I was the lucky one or else I must have made good choices?  More than once, they all came to me seeking for help and I did … months at the time, proud to offer, never asked for anything. 

    My daughter was 13 when my brother, in need, stayed in my home and sexually harassed her; he was 33 then. I taught my daughter so well … how family is important, supportive, loving, and trustworthy …  that I guess she didn’t want to shatter this image so it took long before I learned about it.  Then, I promised to myself that he would never be part of my family again; he was not welcome.  He disappeared for years and came back with empty hand 4 or 5 years ago.  Had he come to apologize rather than pointing at my daughter with blame?  My mother and my sister pitifully took him under their wings in my own home against my will.  Ever since it’s been the family against me, wishing me all the loneliness of the world till my death.  Trashing out my daughter and I, blaming her for everyone’s misery, for breaking the family ties, calling her “the adoptee” or anything hurtful to anyone who had an ear!  I didn’t fight back, I didn’t want to lower myself to that level and people were free to believe what they wanted … they knew me better. 

    20 years of living with us, and it comes to that. Looking back, I don’t recall a moment when I felt that my mother loved me for who I was but for what I had to offer.  Actually, there were times when my brothers were the “black sheep”, my sister was the alcoholic, my niece and nephew something else.  So often we felt that we owed her our lives; hasn’t it been of all her sacrifices and efforts to make us better, where would we be today?  Myself, how often did I jiggle to get her love, that comfort in her eyes?  I even questioned what really happened to my father?  Was he to blame for our misfortune or am I following his path?  Well, there is no point of looking back all I get is sorrow.  And yet … what if that is all she could give? 

    Here is the tricky part, the other side of the story.  

    Enough defamation!  Last year I demanded respect for myself and for my daughter. No one could sit at my table, drink my wine and be so malicious anymore.  Out of rage, with the police assistance, I threw everybody out, except for my mother!  I gave her a two-month notice to find another place to live … but she never did.  She’d say:  “you’ll have to drag me out of here on my knees!”  Lawyers were hired, but I didn’t go through with it.  After all, she was my mother and, for the angry times, she was a 76 years old woman with no place to go … or maybe it was my lack of courage, sometimes I’m not sure.  It has been a year and half now, my brother and sister never came back or not while I am at the cottage anyways.  They surely used every opportunities to damage my relationship with the extended family …  my poor mother was thrown out in the street with nothing … what a monster I was … how could I destroy the family … and my daughter she is so … add a few tears with that and you can win any heart!  I was to be lonely this was a promise.  

    My mother had a little money aside.  She often provided for my sister and brothers and when she couldn’t she expected me to take over and I often did.  Then, living in the comfort of my house, her old age secured, she gave it all, especially those in needs.  I did get some, not as much, but again life is good to me I was not in need.  She would say: “it’s your heritage given in advance, take it as reimbursement for living with you”.  I figured, she has been living with us for so long, free of charge, what is that worth?  Big mistake … I should have never taken it!  Now, years later, I owe her, not them, just me because I can afford a life they can’t!  She owns me.  I often thought what if I reimburse her?  But that money was put in the house.  Because of that money, I should provide a comfortable home for her and “her” family … me not being part of it no more, worst for my daughter.  I survive with her in the house, for the respect of her title “mother”, for her elderly status; but the rest of “her” family, I refuse, even though I know they are there when I am not!  I don’t owe them nothing and they had as much opportunities in life as I did … they made their choices and it goes with consequences.   

    I have a good husband, he took all that crap for years, he is the provider.  I can sleep well at night knowing I gave as much as I could.  My misery is how much of a monster am I not to want to live with her no more?  To reject any compliment of me looking like her?  I got my daughter to promise me that if comes a day when I will be that ugly … to throw me out and not look back! 

    So, family … life’s greatest blessing … to accept, to forgive, not to forget … but for my own sake only! 

    Sometimes I wonder, I gave it all and see what I’ve got? 

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    • Generic Image MusicalMom says

      Wow Nyvana – that is a really bad situation too.  Since you mention that you are not in need of anything in partifular, is there a place to build a small place for your mom on your property but away from your actual house?  You’d both get some privacy back.  Maybe there is a way to modify your existing house?  I know that isn’t a perfect solution, but it is something to consider.

      Family relationships are always tricky, it would seem.  Of course, all relationships are!  :  )
      I know many folks appreciate their church families more than their real families for various reasons, but one of the main ones would be similar interests.  Just because people are related doesn’t mean that any of them think alike, like the same things, or even share similar interests. Yet, we are often thrown together and expected to get along like peas in a pod.

      For what it is worth, I do not think you are “a monster” for not wanting to share living spaces anymore at all.  You’ve done more than your share. You want some peace and privacy – that isn’t being a monster!  That’s normal. I love my kids (college age), but at the moment, we are in a 2-bd 900 sq ft place with one bathroom, and I could really use some elbow room and privacy! (I tease them that it is like a country song – how can I miss you if you never go away – but they know I am joking. But it would be nice to have a bigger place again.)  I didn’t much like staying at my mother-in-law’s place. While she had a fairly large 3/2 house, I never felt welcome in it, and never had much privacy. She walked right in on me one day when I had just come out of the shower, because she “needed something in my closet”. Um, naked here – you couldn’t wait a few minutes???  But, I put up and shut up because we were basically doing each other a favor by being in the same place.

      It has been really interesting to read this thread and see all the various problems we ladies have had with our families and parental relationships.  I think the best we can do is just do the best we can do.  We don’t really owe our siblings anything, nor they us, but we should honor our parents. Sure, some of them were/are goobers and technically do not deserve it. However, they are probably doing the best they can/could do. Not everyone is cut out for being a parent, but there’s no place to sign up first or take training!  I do my best with my kids, but maybe someday, they’ll write their own version of Mommy Dearest – who knows.  But, I figure they’ll be a lot more forgiving of my mistakes when they have kids of their own.

      One thing that I really did appreciate reading, was someone mentioning that maybe the brothers and sisters were doing the best they could, and they had no more to offer. I’d never really thought of it that way – mostly because of the big bravado show they always put on when we were around. You know the drill – the family order (oldest, smartest, etc etc) never seems to change, even though the baby of the family is now 51!  Perhaps all the unkindness was actually a form of a boatload of insecurity. It would make sense, since many of Hubby’s siblings never EVER disagreed with his mother, and would act as a group (like a gang mentality). Those who dared to disagree or do something independent of Da Family were treated as suspicious!  Hmmmmm….. now, if they could only learn to be either secure, or insecure without hurting everyone else along the way. Dare to dream, right?

       

       

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  23. Generic Image MusicalMom says

    One yardstick I like to use these days is – what would I tell someone else in my situation?

    This is still somewhat difficult for me, because I am my own harshest critic. However, after having been in lay ministry for over 20 yrs, one day a year or two ago, a light bulb in my head finally lit up! I realized that the things I was telling MYSELF was not something I would ever tell someone else in the same situation!  I realized I was beating myself up for no reason at all, except for some stinking thinking patterns. It was like listening to a radio station that you hated, but were too lazy to get up and change the station! Ha! I finally got up and made the choice to change the station

    I made the decision to be more gentle with MYSELF – just like many folks, I was doing the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time. As the old saying goes, we need to walk a mile in the others’ shoes to truly understand them. I know I am guilty of often just not being interested in understanding!  While not intentionally done, I am sure I’ve stepped on some toes from time to time, or hurt someone’s feelings. 

    I don’t think anyone expects instant forgiveness to surface.  These family matters are so much more serious than say, someone eating the last piece of cake you had saved. However, in the long run/big picture, harboring unforgiveness and resentment just never helps.

    Has anyone else noticed that sometimes, one parent must’ve been the peace-making force in the family? It is like once they are gone, the family unit falls apart or acts up. In both mine and my hubby’s case, it was the fathers keeping families together peacefully. While my sister was always hostile to me, Dad made sure we (my family) were still included in all holidays and gatherings. Once he passed, that went out the window fast, and she took mom to CA without telling me.  In Hubby’s case, we were included in family gatherings and parties, etc, until his father passed away. Then we were never included in anything. I wonder how many of us can relate to that one? (Maybe it was the mom, but you guys know what I mean.) We are both the youngest in our families – not sure if that has anything to do with it, but I think it does somewhat. The siblings still think they have the right to make decisions regarding the parents without our input. Maybe the thinking was that they knew them longer?  Ha!

    I’ve forgiven my sister for her bizarre behavior, but I’ll never forget it. She hasn’t tried to have a relationship, but if she did, I’d doubt I would want one – the trust would not be there. I suppose she thought she was really hurting me by keeping my mother in another state all that time. Well, she did hurt me. And, it hurts that I don’t see the niece and nephews I used to be so close to anymore (she doesn’t want them to talk to me either). Hard to tell what she has told them.  But, I can’t sit and stew on her actions all day – it isn’t good for me.  In the end, it also helps to know that she will also be accountable for her actions, just like I will. 
    As for Hubby, he has said he doesn’t care if he ever talks to his siblings again after the last few yrs. He isn’t ready to face it all quite yet. He’s had a lot of emotional hurt in his life and has to really work to believe he is worth something. I am not pushing him to forgive quite yet – he’ll do it in his own time. I’ll be there to listen if he wants to talk. (By the way, we’ve been married 26 yrs now, and while we were staying at his mother’s house, we still could not share a bedroom. How’s that for bizarre rules and odd thinking? I think I’m not really going anywhere by now.)

    Meanwhile, I’d like to encourage all of us to be nicer to OURSELVES. What would we tell a friend who was going through what we were going through?  Would we tell them “shame on you for feeling alienated! How selfish!”, or would we say “give yourself time to heal”?  I bet it would the last one.  Have a conversation with that imaginary friend and listen to what you would tell her. Then take at least a little of that advice for yourself!  Heck – I bet many of us would bake their favorite cake, and just sit with them with a box of tissues if needed, and just be there for them.  We wouldn’t be kicking them while they are down, or telling them to get on with it and move on. We’d probably just love them.  We need to be a little gentler on ourselves, and definitely much kinder. We are all just doing the best we can!  : x

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    • SeekerPatty SeekerPatty says

      Wow, what wonderful comments I am reading today. What wonderful reminders that we are all so very fragile and that all we really want is to love and to be loved. I am so grateful for your shares and for this website!

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  24. llacey2001 llacey2001 says

    I just had a thought while reading some of the comments since I commented. This is a thought right now I haven’t had time to really process it all the way. But here goes anyway.

     

    It is really our place, responsibilities, right to forgive or try to forgive a brother & sister for what they did or didn’t do for/to a parent? If the action or inaction was towards our parent we shouldn’t try and take the ‘forgiving right’ away from our parents.

     

    Obviously I believe in life after death. So yes I’m wondering if it is wrong for us to think it is up to us to forgive neglect of a parent by another child as our right & responsibility. Shouldn’t that be left to the parent or offended one?

     

    I sure hope that made any scene at all. LOL

     

     

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  25. lorie Schnell lorie Schnell says

    Sorry to hear the loss of your MOm. My mother is still alive but I do share some of your feelings. When my mom is in need I am there for her and everyone seems to be busy. I to get angry at my brothers and sisters but I have come to the conclusion that they have to change and we can not change them. You  have done what is right and you will be blessed for that as I am sure your MOm was glad you where thier for her you are a great daughter and thats all that matters. You have to forgive in order to heal yourself and go on. Our time on earth is a short time and to hold grudges in not good for our body and soul. Just hopefully thier children will be thier for them when they are older. Setting an example to our children is the greastest thing we can do for our  children. Hopefully thier children will not do what  your siblings have done to your Mom and to you. keep your head up and put a big smile on your face as I am sure your Mom is doing in Heaven looking down.

    Lo Lo

     

     

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  26. jfalco7@yahoo.com jfalco7@yahoo.com says

    Pat:  I had a similar situation when my mother was ill.  There were only two of us, I was living in NYC, my sister in Albuquerque, my mom in Arkansas.  My sister at first was right there with me, but when she saw my mother slowly going thru the dying process, she suddenly became unavailable.  It was terribly difficult to manage  and painful at the time, but I look back now with gratitude. Because I can hold my head up high and say I did the RIGHT thing, and was there when my mom needed me most. During that time, roles reversed, I forgave my mother for all the perceived damage she’d done me over the years. For me, the process was cathartic.

    My sister, according to reports, drinks at night and cries over her abandonment of her own mother at her time of greatest need. She has to live with that — forever.

    Forgiveness is a tricky thing…..first, it takes time, and second, you, on your own, can only do so much.  I had to come to the conclusions (listed above) to realize that regardless of anyone else, I did what I considered the right thing. My sibling has her own set of values (I should use quotes around values).  Some say that praying good things for the person who injured you. regardless of how you feel about them, helps. I did this.  I also HAD to let go of the moral superiority I felt and comfort myself with the fact that I was there, alone, with my mom when she took her last breath, and what an honor that was.  It took years, but at some point I suddenly realized that – gulp – my sister had actually been doing the best she could.  She was terrified of our mother’s illness, and — bottom line — I had more courage than she.  I came to the conclusion that she and I have almost opposite sets of abilities and talents, which now seems like a no-brainer:  she’s a civil engineer, i’m a social worker,   I still don’t like my sister, but then again, I never really did. I have decided you have to choose your own family, and for me that means my friends.   All the best to you….

     

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  27. Generic Image mom53 says

    Hi SeekerPat,

     I just joined VN and noticed your post. 9 years ago…wow next Tuesday, my mom passed away after a long battle with emphasyma. Her last 13 years she lived with my husband,my children and myself. I was the one who took her to the doctor for appointments, cooked her meals, did her errands. I was the one who changed her air tanks, carried the tanks, lifted the wheelchair. I was the one who toward the end bathed her,changed her, fed her. All this while taking care of three children and everyday chores of a normal household.

    I have an older sister and younger brother who never called (still haven’t) never visited and never helped. I buried my mom alone. I cleared out her stuff alone. My siblings could have taken everything she owned, I would have gladly gave up control of everything. I have ONE thing they could never take from me, the one thing that means more than any of her possessions. I have the memories my mom gave just to me, and the honor she gave me to have taken care of her.

    Am I angry? HELL YA…I cant remember 10 years of MY life because of all the stress and responsibilities.I too am angry with my siblings… But I realized that they were the ones who missed out. I guess I can forgive them, feel sorry for them. I know I did the best I could for my mom; they can not say the same. I think once you look at it that way, you can let the animosity go and get on with your own life. I truly wish you the best!

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  28. Granmom Granmom says

    I would like to write in honor and respect of the pain that you are feeling. I am just beginning the process of caring for and helping aging parents. I am amazed at times by the uncaring manner in which my brother handles things. I have decided that he just has no diplomacy or tact. I have been angry since this all started as brother and sister inlaw have not been involved in my parents lives prior to this as they were too busy but now they are there all the time trying to control everything. It is sad to know that it is about money.

    I know that I can not  control what other people do and only can work on what I do in the situation but that does not mean that I won;t feel the feelings I am having right now.

    I have come to think of by brother’s behavior as guilt for not being there and now he wants to be like superman and be the hero of the day to make up for it.

    People do strange things when feeling guilty and trying to make themselves feel better.

    I watched my mother go through what you are going through now and it was so hard for her to know that through the last years of my grandmother’s life she craved calls from her five sons who never called or visited.

    My mom said that the boys would have to live with thier own shame for thier behavior and that she would just honor her mother and go on with forgiveness for their weaknesses.

    I feel compassion for you and hope you find the forgiveness you seek….honor your mom and look after you and carry on with your life with peace in your heart that your mom had you in the last stage of her life. You were her smile when no one else would be.

    take care

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