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Uncle and Aunt issues. - Carers UK Forum

Uncle and Aunt issues.

For issues related to specific conditions and disabilities.
Hi, I would like some feedback about this situation please. It hurts me because my Mums brother and sister in law never visit her.
Bit of background.My Mum was my Grandmas carer and visted her 3x per week until her death in 1996, this was as well as working practically full time and looking after my Dad who was an alcoholic.Uncle and Aunt visited once a month despite only living 20 miles away etc.It was really unfair that my Mum shouldered it all and I explained that to them politely and they didnt want to know.They were making excuses, despite having a car and all 3 of them could drive.My Mum could hardly walk with hip issues and was having to do all Grandmas shopping.
Over the last 20 years my Mum has seen them about 4 times, once for Grandmas funeral, a couple of other times and 6 years ago when she was in hospital.
Now My Mum has bad health herself and only really has me whos her carer and the next door neighboor to talk to. She wont go to any clubs or anything and most of her friends have now passed away etc.
So basically she doesnt do much, isnt well and despite knowing all this, her brother and his wife dont bother.My Mum says she isnt bothered but I think deep down she is.My Mum says she shouldnt have to invite them as they know where she lives etc.They ring up very periodically and everyone makes small talk.They are in good health,still have a car and go on holiday,so its not like they are too unwell or anything.
Now I feel that I cant go on making fake small talk with them and I've explained to my Mum that I'm not doing it anymore and as far as I'm concerned thats it with them.I dont want their money or cards.Obviously I'm not going to say anything to them as it would cause trouble.
What would other people do in this situation?. Also My Mum cant visit them because she has mobility difficulties and cant step up on a bus/ train and refuses to use a wheelchair.
I know exactly what you mean. My husband had a stroke 20 months ago, and was in hospital for 7 weeks. I phoned his younger and much fitter brother to tell him and his wife drove him out to visit in the ward as
he doesn't drive and they live about 15 miles away. They have never been near him since. He never phones to ask how my husband is getting on and I am disgusted at his attitude of sticking his head in the sand and ignoring the situation.

As far as I and my children are concerned, they no longer exist. His xmas cards to the family were torn up and none of us are sending any to him or his children. My husband knows how I feel. If his health deteriorates and the worst happens, they will certainly not be welcome in my home.
My husband also has an older sister who hasn't been in touch with her brothers for nearly 20 years. My own brother is 81 and now in really bad health with cancer and certainly I haven't seen him since my husband's stroke but we are on the phone every week to catch up. I can't understand how families can treat their relatives like this.
Thanks for your reply, I'm sorry to hear of your issues as well.
I had two useless brothers. Mum was housebound with various problems, but she was mentally alert. My brothers seldom visited, one had a job which involved him driving thousands of miles a year, but might only visit mum once a year, if she was lucky. All she wanted was a visit now and then, and phone calls to hear how her grandchildren were doing at school. In the end, she was so disappointed with them, and aware that I'd done so much for her, that she changed her will - the estate had been divided equally between the three of us, but then changed it so I got half, and the other half was split between the other two. The brother that couldn't be bothered to drive 60 miles to see mum, didn't do anything as far as his executors duties were concerned, left me to do it all, then instructed a solicitor to complain he hadn't had his rightful share - when he'd had it within 3 months of her death! When my other brother was dying in Uruguay, I spent 6 months working solidly at his house emptying it, going through the 10 years of filing he'd never done, found various insurance policies, and sold the house. His son said he was really grateful......but I haven't heard from him since. I didn't even get an invite to the christening of his first child, don't know his address. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have any family now, apart from my two sons. It's easier this way. Really sad though, when in happier times all the family would gather at my place for annual significant birthday or anniversary etc.
We might be the useless ones in my wife's family. Her mother has dementia and her siblings have taken the burden of caring for her, and her husband up to his death. We visit but aren't much help due to my wife's own problems with depression and arthritis.
I can't think of anything to offer you as advice, except to ask them to help with specific things , rather than make vague requests.
It's much harder to refuse given specific tasks or dates.
Alex, why not write to them and say how sorry you are that because of your wife's situation you are not doing more to help them. If, maybe, you talk to your inlaws (ie, not your wif'e's siblings themselves) you could probably be franker about your wife's self-focus. I'm sure they are well acquainted with that, but at least it will show them that you regret that they are getting more of the care burden than your wife is.

Also, when your MIL does die, why not insist that at least some of your wife's share (assuming it's being split equally) goes to the siblings that cared for their mum, as a way of 'recompense'). Do you think your wife appreciates that she's not really pulling her weight when it comes to helping with her mother? I do hope so! (She may, of course, be horribly conscious of it, in which case I apologise!!!)
Elizabeth, personally I'm with you - I agree with you cutting your uncle and aunt dead now! I think the stuff about the 'small talk' is an attempt by them to make everything seem 'all right' with their horrible behaviour, and of course it isn't. They sound selfish people and unless there are good reasons for doing as little as they are (which there doesn't seem to be!), they don't deserve your consideration.

The sad thing though, overall, is that (always???) parents get the children they bring up - so in a way, if your grandma raised a selfish son, then that is the way he's going to be now, alas.....???
Thanks for your replies everyone.
Alex at least you visit your MIL,I think your relatives will appreciate this even if you are not doing as much as them. Next time you go could you offer to do some shopping for her or take her a couple of things to help everyone out?
Bowling Bun, your brothers sounded very selfish indeed, you are better off by yourself, but its sad that your mother had to see there lack of care when she was elderly.
Jenny, thanks as well, My Grandparents were very kind loving people and they would do anything for anyone. Its not their fault I think its just Aunt and Uncle who are very selfish,inconsiderate people.

What I've decided definately is I'm not engaging with them any further and my Mum obviously can do what she wants. When she passes away I'm going to inform them formally by post after the burial and they wont be invited and thats it as far as I'm concerned.
Hi Elizabeth
Just be careful you don't end up being cast as the 'bad guy' if you don't inform your uncle of his sister's death when it happens. If they don't phone to enquire, then when the comment 'Elizabeth didn't even tell us' is made you can come back with 'they didn't bother to ask'. But if perchance they make one of their periodic calls when you know the arrangements and you don't mention anything, that makes you look in the wrong. Do you think they are both indifferent or is one influencing the other?
Don't underestimate the power of 'bush telegraph' either. They might find out and turn up. Then how will you feel when they tell everyone that you hadn't informed them? Look out for yourself too.
I agree. When my husband died, I wrote a letter which covered everyone on Christmas card list ....I regret to inform you that...the funeral will be at ... at ... Very brief and to the point. I suggest that you send them a letter like this, and leave it at that.