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to think this attitude sucks?

(16 Posts)
Thistledew Thu 16-Jun-16 17:04:12

I may or may not BU, but need a bit of a vent.

Dad is in his 90s. He suffers from Parkinson's. This year has seen a real decline in both his mobility and in his mental alertness. He struggles to hold a conversation for as much as an hour, and loses track of what he wants to say and the words to say it.

I have a half sister (DSis) and half brother (DBro). They are themselves in their 60s. They used to be close(ish) to dad, but since they started their own families (now 25-30 years ago) became less so, and for most of those years have seen him maybe once a year with a few letters and telephone calls in between. No major fallings out or reasons for low contact, just geographical distance, and business with independent lives. I am the only child from dad's second marriage, which happened when DSis and DBro were in their late teens/early 20s and the first marriage had broken down years previously. My mum still and dad are still together, and she is in effect now his full-time carer.

DM wrote to DSis and DBro to let them know that dad is deteriorating, and to suggest that if they want to hold conversations with him that they don't leave it too long before their next visit. Due to a history of them not doing so, she asked that they give her a week's notice of when they intend to come, and that they try their best to arrive at roughly the time they had indicated. There is a significant history of this not happening, which causes dad a lot of stress (anxiety being an effect of Parkinson's) and mum problems in catering (they live very rurally, and the nearest shops are 20 mins drive away - mum can't always leave dad if he is having a bad day so has to go shopping on the day he has a carer in or when he is having a better day).

DM also included in her update on dad's condition some advice about how to make the most of speaking with dad (speak slowly and facing him as despite his hearing aids he relies quite a lot on lipreading, if he is trying to find the words to reply to a question, just sit and let him do so without prompting, don't jump around in topics of conversation as he can't follow sudden changes).

DBro is coming to see dad in about a month - the first arrangement had to be cancelled because his wife has a party to go to, and of course they can only come on a Saturday because they work during the week and have to go to church on Sundays.

DSis replied to say that she won't be coming, as her "chaotic lifestyle" doesn't fit with DM's "rigid requirements". But that's ok, as she will see dad in heaven.

AIBU to be rather sickened by Dsis' attitude and think she is a selfish cow, and to think little better of DBro for prioritising parties and church over an ailing father?

EatShitDerek Thu 16-Jun-16 21:06:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tinytemper66 Thu 16-Jun-16 21:11:22

If he is a churchgoer then he should realise that Jesus said [paraphrasing] if you visit someone when they are ill then you are visiting me etc....What you do for the least of my brothers you do for me....Parable of the sheep and Goats! So not very Christian of him!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 16-Jun-16 21:29:11

Maybe you don't have the full story about why both children from his first marriage aren't interested in seeing him. Perhaps you don't have the full story about the years before your parents got together.

Pettywoman Thu 16-Jun-16 21:42:33

That's shitty behaviour, YANBU!

Alibobbob Thu 16-Jun-16 22:00:13

It is crap behaviour but your Mum shouldn't feel bad as she gave them the option and they made the choices. See him in heaven? shock

TeaBelle Thu 16-Jun-16 22:04:07

Maybe there's more behind their choices that they aren't saying. Seeing one's parents with any kind of frailty is hard and maybe they want to remember him in better health.
Not saying that's right but a potentially defensible choice

StepAwayFromTheThesaurus Thu 16-Jun-16 22:13:45

It sounds very much like there's a story there that you aren't aware of and a strained relationship with your parents.

Sending a letter saying you should visit soon but must give a week's notice doesn't scream welcoming. If you add that to an already strained relationship then you might find that their responses look different.

Your sister's comment about her 'chaotic lifestyle' not fitting with your mother's requirements could very much suggest there's more to this than you realise.

Thistledew Fri 17-Jun-16 11:41:37

Thanks for the replies. I was trying to work out if a non-response to an AIBU meant that I was or wasn't!

The only 'history' that I have heard of from DSis and DBro is that they never felt close to him as they were sent to boarding school as children/teenagers. For context, dad worked abroad whilst they were growing up and moved countries every few years. Back in the 60s it was just seen as the 'done thing' to send your children to school in the Uk in those circumstances, but I know it was not something that dad was entirely happy about. They were both far more close to him when he returned to the UK in their late teen/ twenties years. DSis even stayed with my parents when she had her second child as she was single then. They became less close after the death of my grandparents and the sale of what was very much the family home where everyone congregated, but this also coincided with them starting their own families and my own arrival.

Yes, my parents do get frustrated with DSis' and her 'chaotic lifestyle', which has been going on for years with many examples- from the time more than 30 years ago now when her 3 yr old DS had been staying with us for a couple of weeks and arrangements were made to meet in a town at a halfway point for her to be collected to go home DSis was 6 hrs late by which time they had taken a very upset child home - to the most recent visit when they phoned already nearly an hour late for their mid morning ETA to say that they would not be there until the evening, but then showed up half an hour later.

She accused my DM of being 'rigid' but will do nothing to put herself out to fit in with other people's schedules, preferring to work to her own preferences which will change on a whim.

bumbleymummy Fri 17-Jun-16 11:50:38

YANBU Your poor mum sad They don't diubd very considerate.

bumbleymummy Fri 17-Jun-16 11:50:48


IamtheDevilsAvocado Fri 17-Jun-16 11:59:16

yes their attitude is a bit,,,meh....but also you may not know the full story..

I would give it a once and for all last shot..could either your mum or you depending on who it comes best from:

what about? 'I understand that this may seem a bit rigid,,,but this is only so Dad gets the best out of any visit you're planning.
His health has deteriorated a lot recently, he does find any plan changing very difficult and challenging and sends his anxiety through the roof. however, he would love to see you both. It is only one weekend out of the rest of your lives!!

Peeporeader Fri 17-Jun-16 12:06:55

There's clearly a reason that they don't care that much about visiting your father. Might be that they are selfish, might be because of something you don't know about. Either way, there is unlikely to be anything you or your mum can do about it. I wouldn't try and push the matter because youre unlikely to change their minds.

Witchend Fri 17-Jun-16 12:47:53

DM also included in her update on dad's condition some advice about how to make the most of speaking with dad (speak slowly and facing him as despite his hearing aids he relies quite a lot on lipreading, if he is trying to find the words to reply to a question, just sit and let him do so without prompting, don't jump around in topics of conversation as he can't follow sudden changes).

This could come across really badly. I'm not saying it has done, but if there's a bit of a strained relationship between your dm and them anyway, along with the week's notice etc. could come across as very much "I suppose you can come, but I am in charge and you will do as I say". Particularly if she is then going to criticise them.
The arrive at the time you say sounds very pointed, and if your dsis has already called her rigid, I suspect there's already tension over this. I suspect they will say (and many step children do) she has blocked their relationship with their df.

Thistledew Fri 17-Jun-16 12:56:32

The advice about how best to speak with him was as a result of DSis at her last visit ending up berating dad - telling him "You need to talk more or you will lose the ability to do so". He was sitting there quietly because he was struggling to follow the conversation. The trouble is he won't speak up for himself in a situation like that and ask her to slow down. He just does this sort of shrug and goes even more quiet, but you (well, mum and I) can tell that he is hurt and frustrated with himself because he can't do what others want from him. sad

CombineBananaFister Fri 17-Jun-16 13:25:00

Your DM has explained the situation and its up to them. I think she is entitled to be 'rigid' under the circumstances and if they can't appreciate why then it would seem they lack a bit of empathy. Having said that maybe they are just not close to your dad anymore, has harsh as it sounds.

They will have to live with their decisions so if they are at peace with their choices I'd leave them to it. Personally, I couldn't behave like that but everyone is different.

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