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My mother is dying and I just can't live with my dad anymore

(93 Posts)
Sisterblister123 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:19:40

Hello all, I'm hoping for some advice as to whether I WBU or not.

My mother has got terminal breast cancer - it's spread to her bones and the doctors say there isn't much they can do. I am closer to my mother than my father and am obviously finding this a difficult time. I've been having a tough few years and am currently taking medication to help with anxiety.

I'm currently staying in my parent's town (in their house) while mum goes in and out of hospital, so I am mostly in the house with my dad. He is a bit vague, old-fashioned and forgetful (my mum used to just look after him whilst all he did was work) and I find him hard work to talk to, although I do try. He is also (IMO) ridiculously messy. I am one of those people who can't stand unnecessary mess and I can't stand living with him in this house any more.

So, with that in mind I have arranged to move out next week into a flat in the centre of our town (5 minutes away from my current house and the hospital). That way I can live as I like and still see my mum regularly.

My sister (older than me and lives 4 hours away) is really unhappy with my decision. I mentioned the upcoming move on facebook and somehow she found out (I'd previously blocked her from seeing my statuses) and asked me about it. I then had to tell my dad about my plans to move out sooner than I wanted to. He's really upset, but I can't see any other options.

My sister's main arguments are that my dad would be on his own in the house if I move out (he's not from here originally and usually lives overseas) and that it would be kinder to stay and try to emotionally support him and my mum at this time. We have a few other relatives nearby (my mum's side) but I don't like them much. They visit mum a lot but my dad isn't especially close to any of them.

So what do you think? Have I been unreasonable? Is there anything I can do to make this situation better?

I am 25 if that matters - no kids or partner (or job at the moment, although I'm looking). Thanks.

magimedi Thu 06-Mar-14 15:24:54

What does your mother think of this?

I think you need to cut your father a bit of slack & put up with living with him.

If you have now job how are you going to afford this?

Sisterblister123 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:26:56

I've told her and she just said that if I have to, then I have to. I've got savings that I can use to pay rent.

Mintyy Thu 06-Mar-14 15:27:12

I'm impressed that you've found a flat in the town centre so easily with no job and no children. Who is funding that?

I think it would be nice if you could stay and support both your parents for a while ... the reasons as to why you find your dad hard work seem relatively trivial in comparison to what your mum is facing.

natwebb79 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:27:58

I think you're doing what's best all round, especially seeing as your health is already suffering. Unless your sister is planning on 'not being so selfish and living so far away' (just playing her at her own game there!) then she doesn't really have room to talk. You will be 5 minutes away and I'm sure you will be in and out to see your dad very regularly. I'm really sorry to hear about your mum.

Ok, I have been in your situation re your mum - so sorry by the way - and I think you are doing the best thing really.

You are near enough to be a support to your mum and dad and let's face it, most 25 year old daughters do not live with their parents anyway. You can still emotionally support your dad without living with him and in a way it's best he learns to live alone now so that he won't be reliant on you later.

You are going through a really tough time so please don't feel bad.

and Mintyy - that's a bit below the belt asking OP about who is funding her house - that is not what she is asking so why mention it!

cozietoesie Thu 06-Mar-14 15:30:23

Rather than spending savings on flat rent, why not see if you can hire a housekeeper for a while? That way, your Dad would be helped, you'd have fewer physical obligations - and who knows, they might be able to stay on for a while and help after your mother dies.

AngelaDaviesHair Thu 06-Mar-14 15:32:12

It's not your sister's fault that she is further away, but she is. She is simply not getting the same picture that you are, or suffering the same distress. And even if she were, she still doesn't get to decide how, and how much, you help your parents.

This is happening to you too, not just your mother and father. Do what you need to do to get through it, really, provided you can afford it. I hope your sister can manage to support you in this decision and through this situation.

ChoudeBruxelles Thu 06-Mar-14 15:33:05

I think you have to do what you need to get through. Your dad needs support but equally so do you.

Mintyy Thu 06-Mar-14 15:33:06

I asked because I thought the money might be coming from her parents. It's not "below the belt" its an obvious question.

Its a rare landlord who will let to someone who doesn't have a job, even if they do have savings.

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Mar-14 15:33:32

I think you have be kind to yourself - you can't support your parents if you're falling apart.

I also don't see why you can't provide emotional and practical support to your father while living 5 minutes away. If you always lived 5 minutes away from him then no-one would seriously expect you to move in with him, surely.

thegreylady Thu 06-Mar-14 15:34:11

Just remember that bone mets are very treatable and although they can't be cured, many people live with them for several years. The main problems occur if the mets get into the major organs,liver , lungs, or brain. You need to be thinking of the longer term. It may be a while before your parents need your support in a more intensive way.

ColdTeaAgain Thu 06-Mar-14 15:36:57

As someone who has lost my mum to cancer I think you should stay at home and support your parents. You say you have no other commitments atm so I see no reason not to put them first for a while. I wish I had been living at home during my mums last year but she wanted me to finish uni and would of been so upset if I'd dropped out. If it hadn't been for that I would of been at home with them.

I also think you sound harsh on your dad. His mind must be all over the place and is no doubt frightened about how he will manage without her. Sorry OP, probably not what you wanted to hear but this is AIBU.

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Thu 06-Mar-14 15:37:22

A couple of things come to mind:

Why did you move in? E.g. was it with a promise that you would stay and help while your mother was ill? Or were they helping you out at the time, and then her illness developed/worsened? Or was it just one of those practical arrangements that worked at the time? None of the above would oblige you to continue living in the house, but it might be a useful way of working out how to go about things, what to say, etc.

If you listened to your sister and stayed where you are, when do you/your sister think would be a good time for you to move out? When your father is newly widowed? Some time afterwards, when he has got accustomed to you being there to look after him? He may well come to see it as your role to look after him, if your Mum has spent her life allowing him to be vague and preoccupied while she did all the practical/mundane stuff.

You're 25, with health issues and grief of your own. You've arranged something that would still allow you to help and be there. You aren't proposing to move - let's say, 4 hours away, like your sister has. It's an accident of birth that she isn't the younger, single, childfree one, or even an only child. I don't believe you are obliged to do anything, nor should you have a guilt trip laid on you. If your sister isn't selfish, then neither are you.

MinesAPintOfTea Thu 06-Mar-14 15:37:45

There's a lesson here about not putting anything on facebook that you aren't happy to be circulated to everyone you know even if they aren't on your facebook.

But its a sensible decision and unless your sister is going to move in to support your parents then its not her place to comment.

deelite72 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:38:34

You're young... 25 years old. Living with your dad could become a very depressing prospect. If I were leaving my children, I would hope that they would have the strength beyond grief to go out there and keep living. I would be very sad if my kids lived out their best years stuck at home, looking after dad with not much of a life. Dad wouldn't want this either. You can still be loving, supportive and hands on for your dad without living with him. Think about all of those people, including your sister, who do not live with their parents and still offer love and support in heavy measure. Don't let people guilt-trip you. In fact, having your own space and your own life will probably help you to be more patient and tolerant of dad's messiness. It's not right that at the age of 25, you should be resigned to a 'carers' role. You have a life to lead... just like your own parents did at your age. Loving parents will want you to live life, find love, and grow your own roots. You're not abandoning your dad. Live your life without cutting dad out of it. Be there for him through the bereavement process and beyond. And be patient with him. The loss of your mum will be tough on you all. Wishing you well.

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Thu 06-Mar-14 15:39:46

Do what you need to do. You may well be better able to support them if you have your own space to go to unwind. You can't always put everyone else's needs before your own or you will burn out. Unless your sister wants to step up and do something practical to help I would ignore her guilt tripping

Sisterblister123 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:39:58

We've only known about mum's illness since the beginning of January, so it has all happened very fast. I was at uni in a place a long train journey away (I don't drive) and decided to defer my course so I could come and help look after my mum. I may not be able to help with the physical looking after as much if I'm in my own place but I can still visit her.

I probably won't visit my dad that often, to be honest - he is very upset with me and would just sit there making monosyllabic replies, then I'd lose my temper and we'd have a row. Best to avoid him altogether really.

sillymillyb Thu 06-Mar-14 15:40:16

Is your dad hurt because it has been presented as a done deal and you are moving out next week?

Perhaps the answer would have been to have consulted him sooner on, and explained to him your reasons why you both need your space.

I think it's a tough situation, and I feel for all of you.

KirjavaTheCat Thu 06-Mar-14 15:44:17

Sorry to hear about your mum.

Personally I think it's a bit drastic to move out and dwindle precious savings on rent just because he's messy. His wife is dying, I'd be cutting him some slack in your situation if I were you. It's times like these you need to pull together and not sweat the small stuff.

On a purely practical level though it really is unwise to move somewhere you can't realistically afford.

Sisterblister123 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:44:32

Part of my sister's objections are based on the fact that I mentioned it on facebook before talking to him, yes. She said it was disrespectful to say it publicly before talking to him. But I honestly never thought he'd know about my post (or her for that matter).

My dad generally tries to guilt-trip me out of whatever I have planned to do, so I have learnt to do things first so he can't make me change my mind.

BeverlyMoss Thu 06-Mar-14 15:45:25

I think you should spare a thought for your father, he's losing his wife and you're treating him like he means nothing.

Thumbwitch Thu 06-Mar-14 15:45:52

If where you are living now is affecting your anxiety levels, then you're not going to be much use to anyone if you get more ill, so moving out would be a sensible thing to do for your own state of health.

As you have said you are moving 5 minutes away from your Dad, it's hardly the arse end of nowhere, and it's hardly abandoning him - you can pop in every day, you can still "look after" him as much as is necessary, you just don't have to live in the mess that you can't stand.

I think your sister IB a little U - but I think that there may be an element of her feeling guilty that she can't do more, and so she's transferring her guilt onto you, so that she doesn't feel so bad about her own inability to do more.

If you can't manage to deal with the mess/cleaning at your parents' house, would a cleaner help? Maybe even once a fortnight?

If you were going much further away, I might think you were being more unreasonable, but realistically, 5 minutes is very close if you're needed!

EnidB Thu 06-Mar-14 15:48:12

My best wishes to you and your family. It isn't just what needs to be done now, but what you need to do to live with your decisions longer term. As a "grown up" daughter (40+) the idea of moving back with my parents irrespective of my own family's needs would fill me with dread. Living with, and supporting are two very different issues. There is absolutely no reason why you can't live nearby, have your own space and support your mother and father.

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