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should I email my brother and sister?

(28 Posts)
TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 11-Sep-09 09:19:41

Both live abroad and neither have come to visit my mum for some time (many years in my brothers case). Both claim lack of time or money and say 'next year, next year'
Now, my mum is nearly 75 and has a serious heart problem. How long is she likely to live? They all get on with her but either they don't really know how poorly she is (she never tells anyone anything) or have a head in the sand attitude 'of course she'll live for years, we have ages to visit'.
I think I should be sending them a stiff email reminding them how old she is and how 'too late' really is 'too late' and they cant keep putting it off.
I know if she dies they will be haunted by the 'putting off visiting'.
What do people think and how should I frame it?

LadyMuck Fri 11-Sep-09 09:21:43

Wouldn't do it via an email - hard to get the tone right. I'd start dropping hints when you're on the phone to them.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 11-Sep-09 09:23:15

I cant phone them. Neither have landlines, just mobiles and I cant afford to call a foreign mobile!
We never speak on the phone, just emails and sometimes instant messenger.

GrinnyPig Fri 11-Sep-09 09:29:00

Yes, email them. Just say "you do know Mum's health is getting worse. If you do intend to visit, this year would be the time before she gets any worse". Then it's up to them. My brother and I live thousands (him) and hundreds (me) of miles from my Mum. We rarely phone one another but would send this type of email if necessary.

LittleMissNorty Fri 11-Sep-09 09:30:19

I would be straight and say that you know she doesn't tell them how fragile her health really is, and if they don't want to have any regrets, they should think about coming to see her as she's getting frail etc etc. And also say how much she would love to see them.

If they are sticking their head in the sand, being blunt is sometimes the only way IMO.

skidoodle Fri 11-Sep-09 09:38:29

My Dad had to do this with his sister. She came and was devastated by what she found. I think maybe a fear of seeing her parents old and in one case incapable was part of the reason she kept putting off coming.

She has been back a lot more regularly since.

IM can be more personal than e-mail, if phoning is not an option.

maryz Fri 11-Sep-09 09:45:22

I would email them. If something happens you will be the worst in the world because you didn't tell them.

You have to be very clear. She is ill. She may not last much longer. If they want to see her they should be thinking earlier rather than later.

I have seen this with dh's family. His sister insisted that we hadn't told her that their father was ill. I wish I had it in writing that we had. dh told her many times over the phone but it just didn't sink in, and she has never forgiven him for "keeping it a secret".

warthog Fri 11-Sep-09 09:57:41

email and tell them gently. say she's not as spritely as she used to be and you think it would be good if they did come to visit.

don't be too heavy handed, but you are right to tell them the true situation.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 11-Sep-09 10:04:41

mother hides her illnesses.

Stayingsunnygirl Fri 11-Sep-09 10:08:15

LittleMissNorty's right, I think. Write/email them and say that your mum isn't telling them the whole truth about her health and that you don't want them to put off visiting for too long and end up with regrets.

Stayingsunnygirl Fri 11-Sep-09 10:10:22

I forgot to say - my mum hid her worries about my dad's final illness from me. If she hadn't, I might have had a chance at least to have a last talk with him, if not to go and see him. As it was his death came totally out of the blue for me, which made it worse.

Malkuth Fri 11-Sep-09 10:39:11

If you want to call them use Talkster on your mobile cos it just uses minutes rather than charging loads. I use it to call the States but think it works in other countries.

Definitely think you should contact them one way or another.

warthog Fri 11-Sep-09 12:41:11

my mum hides her illnesses too. my sister tells me. i'm very grateful for that.

so that's why i think you should email them. explain the true situation and that you think it might be a good time for them to come and visit before things get much worse.

please. take it from me.

my father died and my brother didn't tell me how serious it was. i've still not got over that.

CMOTdibbler Fri 11-Sep-09 12:44:55

You could also go for the 'mums 75th birthday celebration' line, by telling them that her health is frailer than she tells them, and that maybe it would be nice if they came over to make a fuss for her birthday. It makes it less easy to just put things off if there is a concrete date to work to

TheDMshouldbeRivened Fri 11-Sep-09 17:19:33

oh great. Now my sister is pissed off cos she says she doesn't have any money and I don't know what thats like (errr, actually, we have half what she lives on and theres 5 of us) etc etc
I feel like saying 'ok, don't see your mother before she bloody dies then. It will be you who regrets it. not me'

maryz Fri 11-Sep-09 17:26:56

That is her problem. You are the messenger, you are just letting her know.

It is nothing to do with you if she can/can't be bothered or can/can't afford to come and see your mother. It seems to me she has got off pretty lightly on the visiting/helping front, so she can bloody well borrow money to come and see her if she wants to.

And if she doesn't, again not your problem.

And would they find the money to come over for her funeral? To be fair to dh's brothers they didn't have a lot of money and had far to come, so both came a couple of times in the years before their father died, and didn't come for the funeral, much to his sisters' disgust. I think they made the right decision - come while she can enjoy their presence, not just so the neighbours will see them at the funeral!

(you may have guessed that dh's sisters don't like me much grin)

Stayingsunnygirl Fri 11-Sep-09 17:30:05

You've done your best, TDM. Now the decision is hers - and if she chooses not to come, and regrets it later, A) you'll know that you did try, and B) she won't be able to try to pass the blame on to you.

preciouslillywhite Fri 11-Sep-09 17:32:59

Can't you drop it into an email about something else?Just worried that if you pitch it as Urgent they might both turn up at once and give her a fright! My mum and nanna hid Nan's illness from all of us grandchildren, she got taken into hospital and my mum dissuaded me from visiting her cos the know how "busy" I was and said it wasn't anything urgent...and she died and I never forgave myself (or my mum, come to that hmm even tho it wasn't really her fault)...after that tho every time my granddad so much as sneezed we were all round his bedside in a flash and he said it gave him a proper turn!

Be tactful, I'd say. Introduce the concept of her being not quite what she was,and then ratchet up the pressure if they don't pick up on the hint.

That birthday idea is a really, really good one imo...

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 11-Sep-09 17:38:39

I had a letter from my Uncle saying my nana was dying and probably wouldn't last the month. Then bits about where she was etc then that she probably wouldn't die imminently. I thought, make your mind up and was just glad I already knew as a letter like that would have been devastating out of the blue. I spoke to her often so probably knew more than he did.

canyouguesswhatitisyet Fri 11-Sep-09 18:14:42

Yes, you should tell them and then it is up to them. if they claim to have no money, that is their problem. As someone else said, I am sure they would find it if they had to come back for the funeral.

My mother repeatedly told my stepfathers adult children how seriously ill he was. Only one of them chose to visit. He then went home and told his siblings that my mother had not exaggerated his condition and that if they didn't come soon ie: within a day or so, they would miss their chance. One of the siblings then visited but the third didn't, saying 'soon'. sadly, 'soon' wasn't soon enough. Amazingly, the one who couldn't quite find time to visit their dying father, managed to cut short a holiday abroad in order to attend the funeral. At the funeral, they were heard to say ' i should have come sooner', only to be comforted by the siblings saying 'You couldn't have done any more than you did'. As My DH ( who overheard all this) said to me, he felt like saying, ' yes, you should have come sooner, because however much of a bitch you were to your dad, he still loved you' he didn't say it but a part of me wishes he had done. OTOH, she has to live with that every day of her life.

It is up to your brother and sister as to which of my stepfather's children they are like, but you do need to tell them and at least give them the chance.

ProfYaffle Fri 11-Sep-09 18:19:25

I think I'd e-mail back saying something like "no pressure from this end, it's your decision, just wanted to make sure you know what's going on"

gingerbunny Fri 11-Sep-09 18:49:42

we had to do the same with bil, when fil was seriously ill. he was in denial about how bad the situation was, dh tried speaking to him, but bil never really got the hint.
so i rang and was rather blunt about it, can't remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of 'your dad is seriously ill, he will die soon, maybe not in the next few weeks but it will be soon. you might not want to see him, but he needs to see you, so get your **ing arse over here pronto. this seemed to do the trick.
you need to speak to them asap and be brutally honest.

groundhogs Fri 11-Sep-09 22:55:18

can you look up cheap calls to the countries on the net? justtalk or planet talk or whatever... Newsagents sell phone cards a few for a £5... Skype even?

i think a phone call when discussing such important matters is essential, have just spent 3 long years away from home and when my mum got ill, emails were not at all useful.

Plus you will be taken more seriously.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Sat 12-Sep-09 07:34:12

do you need speakers and a mic fo computer calls?

esselle Sat 12-Sep-09 07:46:09

you can use a cheap headset.

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