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I'm struggling and don't know what to do. - Carers UK Forum

I'm struggling and don't know what to do.

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Mum died in late February, after 5 weeks in hospital and almost 10 years of me caring/being responsible.

There was already an issue between my older sister and me (I found her irritatingly bossy and pedantic and, as she lives an ocean away, felt she had no right to tell me I wasn't doing enough for Mum), and that just exploded after Mum's death, resulting in my withdrawing from her completely. I very much doubt we'll ever see each other again, as I'm here in the Uk and she's in Canada.

I cared for Mum physically for 10 years and was originally an executor but it would have meant having to "work" with older sister - she made it totally clear she would not do that. For the sake of everyone's sanity, most especially my own, I asked younger sis to take over for me. She was happy to do so, and is very much the better choice anyway. Older sister is "lovely" to work with. She's no trouble at all. Younger sister feels that she's "tamed" her and that the problem was obviously me.

I'm so distressed about everything that happened, within three days of Mum's death, and having the wound rubbed regularly with the salt and vinegar of "it must have been your fault" really isn't helping.

I know I'm withdrawing from my whole family. I'm guarded with them, I don't want to speak to either my younger sis or my sister in law, as I don't trust them. When older sister was over to take some of the furniture, there were multiple family gatherings and meals and socialising....of course, I wasn't included. I didn't expect to be included, of course I didn't, but it still hurt. All these "I have a great family" posts on facebook and I wasn't there. I'm not part of the family, am I?

I know I'm being ridiculous. I know I've chosen to withdraw, but I still feel that I was driven to do so by circumstances. I'm really frightened about how bitter I feel about it all. I've never had such a pathological hatred for someone before in my life, and I don't want to have these feelings. I can't even hear her name without wanting to scream and rage and spit fire.

I feel so lost.
Lo, welcome, and first of all, condolences on the loss of your mum. However much of a 'merciful release' it can be when someone in need of such care does eventually die, there is ALWAYS a sense of loss.

How can it not be?

Grief is very hard to bear, and you are still very raw.

And if you have been caring for so, s long, that grief will be worse, and so will the 'weariness' that you are going through, as if all the energy has been drained out of you.

Then add the dreadful lbusiness about your sibling and so on....

So, all in all, I'm not in the least surprised you are in this state.

Personally, I think 'withdrawing' is not a bad idea. Right now you just can't cope with any more, and I don't see why you should have to.

First off, though, IGNORE any and all that comes from anyone else, sisters included, about 'it must have been your fault'

In teenage parlance WTF ?????? (Or more politely, what the HELL???) Er YOU were the person caring for your mum, YOU were the one who spent TEN YEARS caring for you mum. YOU were the one who did all that while your appalling older sister was three thousand miles away!!!!!!!!!

To be blunt, they can all just FO (and I hope I don't need to translate that!).

There is a term here on the forum called 'helicopter relatives' - they live miles away, then suddenly 'fly in' drop down on you and tell you what you are either doing wrong, or in your case now, did wrong, then merrily take off and fly away again 'job done'. We tell them ALL here to FO!!!!!!!!!

Their opinion is utterly irrelevant! They weren't the ones looking after your mum, so they can zip their lips and shut up. They won't, but then you simply can shut your ears and refuse to listen. Withdraw as you are doing.

So, yes, I would withdraw if that is what you want to do now. if they want to do their assine, self-regarding Happy Families rubbish, let them. You know it's a lie, and that's all that matters.

Wash your hands of them.

BUT, don't let them take 'your share' of the inheritance from you. Please do insist (or get a friend/lawyer) to insist you get your fair share. That said, don't agonise over it - the important thing now is SELF-PRESERVATION.

By law, if you have been left a share, yo uare entitled to it. Money is easier to 'divide up' than 'furniture' etc, and if you can simply keep a few 'keepsakes' for your mum that are precious to you, let your ghastly sisters loot the rest.

Remember, their judgement of you is IRRELEVANT - because THEY are irrelevant. They did sod all for your mum, they DARE to blame you (!!!!!!) and the problems your older sister has are HERS (she sounds a head case!).

Lo - you've given your mum ten years of your life, and your devotion and care. you've 'seen her out' to what we must all hope is a 'happier existence' of some kind. You now hold your head up high - you did the right thing, for the right reason, and you should be proud of you, and know that your mum is proud of you to.

Your sisters 'dont' count' in your life any more. It is THEY who have 'withdrawn' from you, the loyal devoted sister, and whatever they say doesn't matter to you.

Your life is now for YOU. It will take a while to 'adjust', and yes, you will spend this year grieving for your mum, this is right and natural. But this time next year you will know that your mum now wants you to 'live your life' and you will be doing that I promise you. You will be moving on to the next stage of your life with your mum's blessing ,and yours.

As for your sisters, it is THEIR loss, that you have withdrawn, not your loss.

If they ever see the light and come to apologise, you can maybe receiving them back into your life. Otherwise, let them go into their own selfish lives, and you 'walk away'.

There is new life out there for you - new friends, new hopes, new things to enjoy. It will all be yours....

Kindest kindest wishes at this grievous, troubled time - but it will pass, I promise you, it will pass, and the future is much, much brighter ahead.....

Give it time, but it will be better. I promise (I've buried two parents and a husband, and I know this, for certain truth.)

Best wishes, Jenny
PS - I don't mean to say we 'forget' those we love who are died - not at all - but their loss ceases to be the searing pain that it is at their first loss. And I always remember something that someone said to me once, in my bereavement - 'We can never lose those we love- we take them with us all our lives, in our hearts'.....

And that is so, so true.

(One day, even your sisters may be nicer people, but until they are, let them be the horrible sisters they are, but no where near you causing any more hurt.....)
thank you Jenny.

You're right. I'm too concerned with what the others are doing. I want to walk away, I really do. Give me my share of the money, and that's that. I will be okay with the will stuff - it's going through as we've all agreed, and there's no arguments there. I just feel so gaslighted at the moment - everyone saw what C's behaviour was like in February and March, yet now, because she's managed to behave like a human being for a couple of months, it's all okay. Everything is rosy, look, we can play happy families. Apart from me. I'm being difficult.

I know for the sake of my own health I have to deal with the anger. I'm genuinely frightened at how much rage and bitterness I have in my heart for them all. I know this is a lot of anger that's built up over the last 10 years (starting with my older brother's death in 2007, dealing with his intestate affairs, father with alzheimers, taking legal and welfare guardianship of him, sorting his funeral and estate when he died in 2010, coping with Mum alone, the death of one of my oldest, dearest friends in 2009, diagnosis of a life changing medical condition myself....I'm exhausted).

I know that how I feel doesn't particularly reflect what's happening right now. I never had "resting b**** face" before, but now it seems to be my default expression. I'm going to need a face lift once all this is over. Something to spend my inheritance on, I guess....

I've taken up yoga since Mum went into hospital, and love it, and I'm being encouraged to see friends and do things, but we're still struggling financially until the house is sold. We have an offer, exchanging September, but the solicitors have, somehow, lost all the paperwork, including Mum's will. Yes, you read that correctly. I can't afford the holidays everyone keeps telling me I should take, or pay for the classes that folks spot and know I'd like to do. I can't do anything right now. Which is probably why I'm brooding.

Right now, we have a dreadfully ill cat too, who's proving difficult to medicate, and I feel like I'm watching her starve to death (thyroid issues). Hubby's parents are seven hours away and are dealing with advanced parkinsons, and so he's stressed about that too, and today, he screamed at me over something minor. I'm well aware that I've done that to him - overreacted to something stupid and lost it, so I'm not going to hold that against him.

Every time I see one of those smarmy "we're a family and love one another" adverts on the TV (like the screamingly irritating dol-effing-mio ones) I want to smash something large and fragile into a million pieces.

I'm sorry. I'm just ranting and behaving like a teenager, as my hubby told me this morning.

Sod teenagers. I want to scream and rage like a toddler.
Once the estate is finalised you will never have to have anything to do with family ever again. I've disowned my younger brother, who couldn't be bothered to visit mum but DEMANDED his share of her estate within weeks of her death.
He DEMANDED that I met him at the motorway service station mid way between our homes on the last day of the financial year, to give him his cheque (for £70,000) so that he could take advantage of the year's unused ISA allowance!!!
I knew mum didn't tell him she had changed her will, he was expecting much more. He then instructed a solicitor to say he wanted more, my solicitor told him where to go. After that, my eldest son and I agree that I don't have a brother any more.
Yes, it's incredibly sad, but I really don't want anything to do with him any more.
I know I did my best to look after mum, despite also having a son with severe learning difficulties and health problems of my own. I have a clear conscience.
How did you get yourself past the resentment and anger about it, Bowlingbun? All tips and suggestions welcome, even if it is "slap yourself in the face and stop being so stupid"!!! If it works, then it's right.
Oh Bowling Bun your post could nearly echo what happened with me, Brother and SIL turned up a few days before Mum's Funeral from Australia. I had kept them informed of Mum's condition they told people at the funeral that I had not told them anything about what was happening. The day after they were demanding their share of the house and threatening not to go back until it was sorted. They also wanted my brother with LD (75 lived in the house all his life) put into a home. They keep in touch Birthday Christmas and occasional phone call but I don't feel apart from Brother A that I have a family :(
Hi Lo I know the feeling about not feeling one of the family. I tend to withdraw too (only way to cope). I knew I wasn't considered family when I mentioned to my Nephew that I got travel sick, his reply My Family don't suffer with that (I am his bloody Aunt is that not family?) :)
Maybe I'm grieving for the relationships that I thought I had, but clearly don't. I guess this is just the new reality.

I already had a very good counsellor, called Helen.
I had some really tough years, my in laws died, my father died, my husband died, and I was disabled in a car accident, and then my brother died (and that's just part of it!!)
We lurched from disaster to disaster, and although I'm a really grounded, well organised person, I just couldn't cope any more . For me, the worst bit was not being able to walk properly until I had 2 knee replacements. However, through all this I realised that the only thing that really mattered was being with my family.
Although having both mum and son to look after was difficult, I did it because I loved them, whatever. I couldn't walk away and do nothing.
My brothers left me to it for years, even when I was dangerously ill didn't ring me to see how I was or what they could do to help me. It was my eldest son that made me realise that my parents were reaping what they had sowed. They always seemed to put my brothers before me. I married at 19 to the love of my life, and never EVER borrowed off mum and dad, whereas I much later discovered my brothers were later given regular hand outs. They earned much more than my husband and I, but spent it quicker!!
I said to mum, not long before she died, that for years, it had really been just her and me, "the boys" couldn't be relied on to do anything, they kept promising to visit, do things, arrange things, but it never actually happened. She agreed, sadly. Not the way either of us had expected it to be at all.
So try to bite your tongue as much as possible, because the important thing is you don't lose your dignity. Try not to be too bitter once it's over. Walk away rather than fight, but get a good solicitor to make sure you get what you are entitled to.
Then concentrate on having a happy life, that's what mum would want you to be doing after all your help. I can now treat myself to two holidays a year, in the Med. Even if you can't actually have a holiday yet, you can plan it, there are lots of good deals to be had on the internet. Each time I allow myself a little treat, I say a silent "Thanks Mum".
What do you think would suit your brother best, in future? I know this will be a big dilemma. My son now lives in "supported living" in a privately rented flat, with carer support. There are lots of options to consider, so be sure to contact your local Social Services Learning Disability Team asap so you can start those discussions.
It takes a long time to find a "new normal" so don't make any long term decisions unless you absolutely have to. Your sisters will never understand how tired you will be feeling having been a carer for so long, try to look after yourself, even if it's just having a long bath and cocoa every evening.