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to think that my mum should have sounded a bit more willing to come home?

(135 Posts)
Arrowfanatic Mon 16-May-16 17:45:14

My grandad (mums dad) is very unwell. This last couple of weeks he's taken a turn for the worse and is pretty much in bed most days (he has cancer, and is 85). My nan understandably is finding this hard to deal with, she's the kind of person who doesn't stop and expects everyone to be up, dressed and showered every day no matter what by early morning. My grandad is too weak, due to the nature of his cancer he can barely eat and he wants to stay in bed or just sit in his PJ's all day.

My mum is abroad to help my sister who is heavily pregnant with her third and plans to stay after her c-sec to help (my sister does have a husband btw).

I called my mum explained everything and suggested she may want to consider citing her trip short as grandad is due a scan soon and I expect it to say the cancer has spread. In which case I know that my nan is likely to get very upset and my already depressed grandad is likely to get even more down. I just feel I can't cope with this on my own. I have several young children myself and although a sahm and a few streets away from my grandparents I'm pretty busy as can be expected with a mother. However when I suggested this to her she just said she has an open ticket and if she feels it necessary she will come but I got the sense that she literally just means should he die.

Maybe I'm bu, and I need to act like a grown up but this man is pretty much my dad and I simply don't feel like if things get much worse that I could cope. Since mum has been gone I've had to arrange extra doctors appts to their home, nurse visits, try to persuade them to have home help, and generally be there.

I suppose on one hand I'm scared about the future, and want my mum here to take the lead over HER parents. But she is so blasé about it all, truthfully I think she's just having a blast abroad and doesn't want to deal with her elderly parents as she's not that kind of daughter iyswim.

IWILLgiveupsugar Mon 16-May-16 17:51:47

She is being very unfair in doing the nice thing that she wants to do and leaving the crappy stuff to you. Unfortunately you can't make her into a better person. All you can really do is try to get your gps the outside help that they need and do what you can.

Choughed Tue 17-May-16 06:49:35

I don't know, maybe she thinks it's her priority to help her daughter, about to have a new baby, recover from a c section and with two other children to look after?

Do you also have a husband who can step up with your children while you are supporting your GPs?

Sorry about your grandfather flowers

PenelopeChipShop Tue 17-May-16 07:18:25

I am really sorry to hear about your grandad. I think it's possible she sees her role as a mum as more important than as a daughter, iyswim?

Ok your sister has a partner but usually dads go back to work after 2 weeks which in my experience of 2 c sections is nowhere near enough time to recover physically. My second was born 6 weeks ago now and I'm now dealing with my second scar infection and still not allowed to drive... I honestly wouldn't have coped without my mums help!

She is doing 'caring' stuff too not on a jolly. You can try explaining to her how pressured you feel but she might feel she's made a commitment to your sister which is sort of understandable.

LittleBearPad Tue 17-May-16 07:25:07

Your mum is looking after your sister, who already has 2 children and is about to have a third and major surgery. She has to choose her priority and as tough as it is I can understand why that's your sister.

Given the scan hasn't yet happened you don't know what will happen once it does.

defineme Tue 17-May-16 07:33:55

I am sorry about your Grandad.
Is your mum an only child or are there other relatives that can help out too?
It is brilliant that you are helping out and i appreciate you would rather your mum took the reins, but this is an important thing you're able to do...trynot to get eaten up with resentment. Your mum has decided her priority and I think i would have done the same.
Do as much as you can, find any help you can.

Arrowfanatic Tue 17-May-16 08:05:14

Thanks for the messages guys, I appreciate the responses.

I think I'm just finding it hard as I really don't have much of an idea what I am supposed to do. Plus, because my sister already has a lot of help available to her where she lives and has coped without my mum on her previous c-sections I suppose part of me thinks that my mum and my sister should consider a dying man more of a priority.

Honestly, I think when I spoke to my mum last night I just wanted reassurance from her that should the shit hit the fan (so to speak) that she would be happy to come home but she was so lukewarm last night about whether she would come back (as she has planned to speak a few months out there) that I'm, well, I'm actually frightened that something will happen and I'll be here dealing alone. My husband will obviously be supportive but it really depends on where he gets leave availibity as to how much he can do.

My mum has a sibling who doesn't live local so just comes to see my grandparents around work commitments. I have other siblings who don't get involved (a pp asked if my mum works, she doesnt). So should the worst happen for the probably most difficult early stages I'll be the only family member here.

I suppose I'm just feeling overwhelmed by it all and a bit abandoned.

ZippyNeedsFeeding Tue 17-May-16 08:08:58

For me, terminal illness would come before anything else and I would come home. It sounds like you feel the same way. Unfortunately your mother seems to think otherwise. I can see that it is definitely more pleasant to help out with the beginning of life than the end. She may also not want to face the fact that her father may be about to die.

As much as I think she is wrong, I think you may have to accept that your mother will not be the source of strength that you need. I have had similar problems with my own mother and i gradually realised that it isn't her fault, it's just that she doesn't have what I need from her. Thinking about it is a waste of your time, I'm afraid, because she isn't going to change her mind and come rushing back.

Does your grandfather have a MacMillan nurse? They are brilliant and if he does it would probably help to have a chat with him/her. You can just phone as well, for support and information. The number is 0808 808 00 00 .

Kwirrell Tue 17-May-16 08:13:41

Although I can understand how you feel, I would try to cut your mum some slack. I imagine she is the about the same age as me. I spent the last 10 years supporting 3 elderly people as well as trying to help out with my many grandchildren.

I did it out of love, duty and obligation, but it is bloody exhausting.

Blu Tue 17-May-16 08:26:34

Your sister has a partner, you have a partner. As your sister is abroad I dare say your Mum has missed out on seeing much of her grandchildren, or giving them any support. Does your Mum ever have your kids? Did she help you when yours were born?

Or maybe she is avoiding because she has been finding it all so hard and painful, supporting your grandparents?

Maybe she will come back for the scan, but doesn't appreciate you effectively guilt tripping her...,

I'm not having a go. I'm your shoes I would be upset and daunted, too. But I think you need to work out what you can fit in to support your Gran, rise to that occasion, and call your Mum only if she really must come.

Is your Mum a long flight away?

Some practical things: does your GD get attendance allowance? The Macmillan nurse should be able to help: attendance allowance would pay for a carer to pop in for an hour or so a day to help with bathing, dressing, cooking etc.

It is a hard time, and sad and frightening, sorry your grandad is so poorly.

CassandraAusten Tue 17-May-16 08:34:03

It's hard to be sure, but I think in the circumstances I'd feel the same way as your mum. If my child needed me that would take priority over my elderly parents - and I say that as someone who has a great relationship with my parents.

Hope you're ok flowers

BarbarianMum Tue 17-May-16 08:46:00

You and your sister both want your mum right now but you are in different countries and she can't be there for both of you. That's the reality, no point in trying to guilt her into choosing you.

I'm sorry about your grandpa, watching someone you love fail is awful. But none of us really know what to do/how to handle it, we just do the best we can (this I've decided is one of the great secrets of adulthood). You are just as equipped/as little equipped to deal with this as your mum is.

I always assumed I'd come into some great inner strength and wisdom before I had to deal with the 'big' stuff. Sadly it seems, this isn't how it works.


ZippyNeedsFeeding Tue 17-May-16 09:01:24

Unfortunately I have a lot of experience of supporting terminally ill relatives and I'm doing my best with another one right now. It's hard and lonely sometimes and there really isn't a magic button which will make it all easier. The one crumb of hope is that when a loved one eventually dies, it can be a great comfort to know that you did everything you could for them.

ohtheholidays Tue 17-May-16 09:02:11

I'm with you OP and I really think your Mum should come home for her parents sake,the only reason I could think someone would stay away is if they didn't have a good relationship.

I lost my Mum just over 2 years ago,she was in her early 70's,I was only 38.It is honestly the hardest thing I've ever had to go through(and parts of my life have been like a horror movie)and I still struggle now with having lost her.If your Mum does have a good relationship with her parents and your poor Grandad passes before she decides to come home she will regret it and unfortunately it's one of those huge regrets that you can never change and it's one that you then have to live with for the rest of your life.

I'm so sorry about your poor Grandad and your poor Nan she must be really struggling and you.For what it's worth OP what your doing is amazing,especially as you have a large family of your own,if you haven't spoken to your siblings or your Mum's siblings yet I would,they could end up regretting not seeing your Grandad and Nan more and any help they can give will take some of the pressure of of you.Another thing I don't know if you have yet but I'd speak to one of the cancer charitys,even if it's just for an ear to listen,someone who's been through what your going through and they may be able to offer some practical support and help for you,your Grandad and your Nan. flowers

BillSykesDog Tue 17-May-16 09:03:23

I hate to say it, but I suspect that if your mother read this she would be feeling an awful sense of Schadenfreude. It sounds like perhaps you are getting a sense of what life has been like for your mother. It sounds like there are an awful lot of people around who could offer support but aren't. It sounds like there are other options for outside support which could be taken which aren't. Everybody seems to assume that your mother should drop everything and take on the entire responsibility with no or little support. You're now experiencing this and you don't like it. It's probably not very nice for your mother either. What I'm getting from your post, is that everybody else seems to think they have a reason not to help or other things to do. Bear in mind, you don't have confirmation that the cancer has metastasised yet, his infirmity could be due to his age as well as the cancer. Even if it has spread, the end can take months or even years.

Rather than focusing on pressuring your mother to return, I think you would make much more positive changes by reading the riot act to the rest of your family regarding support. Your siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, all need to start stepping up and offering support too. It sounds like there are a lot of people not doing very much, so it's unfair this is all falling at your mother's door. Get the rest of the family to understand that they need to start helping, get your grandparents to accept outside support. Not only will this ease the current burden on you, it will mean your mother has support when she does return.

I have to say, I really don't feel I can blame her for feeling for once she shouldn't be the person shouldering this on her own.

MoonfaceAndSilky Tue 17-May-16 09:12:22

She is being very unfair in doing the nice thing that she wants to do and leaving the crappy stuff to you. Unfortunately you can't make her into a better person.

Exactly this ^
She is probably not as strong as you.
I doubt very much that you will change her mind on this, so don't even waste your time. Be there for your GPs and try as best you can.
You will cope, because you have to. Be kind to yourself flowers

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 17-May-16 09:14:27

I have other siblings who don't get involved

Is it time to point out the obvious, that your mum isn't around, and it's time for them to step up. Put together a list of stuff that needs doing / you need help with and ask one or two to start looking at what is required should the worst happen. An awful lot needs arranging and doing when someone dies and if someone has done some research in advance while it is a bit morbid, it is very helpful. A sibling who is not so emotionally close might be a good choice to look at practicalities and to talk to local hospices etc?

I am very sorry that your Grandad is so ill. flowers

ShatnersBassoon Tue 17-May-16 09:18:17

The woman is torn. She's hoping she'll be able to support both your sister and her parents at times when she's most needed. At the moment she'd be dashing back 'just in case' he goes downhill after the scan. Without wanting to sound uncaring, your grandfather might live long beyond the point that your sister needs your mum's help, so she'll be available at the crucial moments for all of her family.

mouldycheesefan Tue 17-May-16 09:21:09

Sorry but I am with your mum. It doesn't sound like your grandfather situation has changed dramatically since your mum went away. Yes he has a scan coming up but as an 85 year old with cancer your mum presumably knows that the outcome is unlikely to be good.
Your mum sounds torn in many directions, supporting her elderly parents and dying father, supporting her dd who is having a baby overseas, supporting you and your stress over your grandparents. It sounds incredibly stressful for her and I wonder if part of her going away is to take a breather from it? It sounds like she spends a lot of time caring for others and I wonder if she gets any non-caring time herself. Expectations in the family appear to be that mum will sort everything.
What exactly would she do if she did come back? How else can you manage those things e.g have you spoken to social services about care for your grandad or support for your grandma?
I think you need to let mum make her own decisions. In the meantime you need to manage the grandparent situation without mum by getting other help.
Good luck to you all but especially to your poor grandfather.

TheABC Tue 17-May-16 09:21:31

OP, it sounds like you are doing a fab job, but you don't have the support you need. Understandably, you are looking for that from your mum and other family who are not forthcoming. I would echo the other posters that you need to get the cancer charities to help you as they do have expertise you need. Do you have any local hospices nearby? They can be good sources of advice and some run outreach services for this scenario.

As for your mum...It does sound like a combination of not wanting to face up to her fathers illness, coupled with the fact that he could be with you for a while to come. No one knows what the scan will reveal whilst your sister's c - section has a definite date scheduled. Hence the "wait and see" approach. You can't change her choices, but just do the best you can, for your grandparents and yourself. Is there any way your aunt/uncle can come up for the day of the scan?

catsrus Tue 17-May-16 09:29:01

I'm a good deal older than you and have been through the death of parents and grandparents. All I will say is that the process of dying, and it is a process we will all face, is far more unpredictable - time wise- than the process of giving birth. My friends df, same age as your gf, was diagnosed as terminal 3 months ago. They were told he had two weeks so people rushed to do the whole "last goodbye" thing. Now it's an endless round of carers and the family are in limbo, one dd having moved across the country to live with them in his "final weeks" - Dare not go home but is feeling the strain of sharing their small flat.

Knowing what I know about death, and having sat at a few deathbeds, I would probably make the same choice as your mother.

puglife15 Tue 17-May-16 09:32:51

What a great post BillSykes

Your mum is not superhuman. As much as you want to be able to lean on her -in addition to your sister and her own parents - who has she got to lean on?

I'm sorry you're in a difficult situation with your GPs, and you feel like you have to cope with it yourself, that might seem unfair. But it's also unfair to lay it solely at your mum's feet.

BarbarianMum Tue 17-May-16 09:37:16

<<Your mum sounds torn in many directions, supporting her elderly parents and dying father, supporting her dd who is having a baby overseas, supporting you and your stress over your grandparents. It sounds incredibly stressful for her and I wonder if part of her going away is to take a breather from it? It sounds like she spends a lot of time caring for others and I wonder if she gets any non-caring time herself. Expectations in the family appear to be that mum will sort everything. >>

Well put. I realised when my dad got ill last year that our entire family just expects my mum to sort everything blush. It was a bit of a wake up call tbh.

shovetheholly Tue 17-May-16 09:40:06

Everyone deals with grief differently. Some people have to be on hand and involved, others want to escape and be away from it. It may be that your mother feels that if she stays with your sister, the whole thing with her father is much less 'real'.

I realise this is frustrating for you, as someone who likes to be on hand a bit more and who clearly feels very responsible for making sure that everything is OK. However, there are other people in this situation too - your nan, and a whole host of medical professionals, carers, cleaners who are there to support, albeit in a very overstretched care system.

Negotiating these situations is an absolute minefield: very seldom does a family take the 'sensible' decision of getting in all the help they need, and there are pretty much inevitably difficult conversations to be had about the limits of what different people can offer, and the need for more outside help. There are also, increasingly I'm afraid, problems with the coordination of care across overstretched services.

Your mother's presence wouldn't necessarily make it all better. There is no order to these things, and no-one to press a magic button to make it all fal into some kind of order - sometimes all you can do is your best in the circumstances as they are given.

I also wonder if there isn't a bit of sibling rivalry here. Reading between the lines of your post, it sounds as though you feel that your mother has chosen to support your sister over you. I can see and understand how negative that would make you feel. However, there are other interpretations: it may have far more to do with your mother's own capacity to deal with her father's death than with either you or your sister. Perhaps thinking of it in that way might be helpful going forward. flowers

HeteronormativeHaybales Tue 17-May-16 09:47:08

Great posts from barbarian, billsykesdog, and mouldycheesefan. I feel for you but I also feel for your mother.

If I were in your GPs' position I'd like to think I'd want my child to be with her child.

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