U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Grief and Mourning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-09-2017, 08:45 AM
 
31 posts, read 15,984 times
Reputation: 83

Advertisements

Since my father passed away in February, I've made a point of talking to my mother twice every day. We talk about various things from Daddy to my mother's cat. Well, yesterday, my mother started talking about my brother and how supportive he had been while Daddy was in the hospital. Then she made the comment of how hard it had been for my brother because of all the money he had spent on food he would bring to the hospital. To show I understood I said, "I know the money part is difficult, all that time I took off work was without pay so I know it can get hard." She immediately snapped at me that she knew all that and went on and on about all that money my brother had spent bringing food to the hospital.

Now, we all have to do what we have to do but, frankly, I did most of it. I understand that I chose to do what I did. I took a leave of absence from work that was completely without pay for several weeks. I stayed with my father the whole time except for 2 nights I spent at home trying to appease my husband. My brother continued to work and would sometimes bring lunch and/or supper for my mother and me when he came to the hospital but by no means did this happen all the time. A good bit of the time, I bought these meals from the hospital sandwich shop or cafeteria for my mother and me. The two of us had Christmas dinner in the hospital cafeteria. My brother continued to work out, go out with friends, have dinner with his wife, etc., although most days he would come to the hospital. I left the hospital only a very few times. Sometimes during his visits, my brother would verbally attack me for no reason that was apparent to me. The day before my father passed, my brother came to the hospital and immediately attacked me, more viciously than usual. I was exhausted from weeks of no sleep, would cry at the drop of a hat so this just tore me to pieces. I walked out and stayed gone for several hours that day. Hours that could have been spent with my father. So, I have some resentment toward my brother for this, but more resentment for myself for letting him run me away from my father's hospital room.

My mother would go home every day and spend a few nights at home every week. Most of the time I was left alone to deal with the doctors, who saw my father as an 87 year old inconvenience. When my mother and brother were present for doctor visits, they would refuse to speak or pass an opinion. I even deliberately said nothing on a couple of occasions to see what they would do and they just sat there and said nothing! I fired 3 doctors and 2 nurses but by the time we got a doctor who was willing to look past my father's age and actually tried to help, he was so weak it was too late. I tried to talk my mother and brother into taking my father to a more modern hospital in a larger city but they didn't want to because it would be inconvenient.

When the techs had to clean my father when he soiled himself, it was quite painful for him. I was the one who held and soothed him through this. I was the one who stroked his head, rubbed his back, made sure he had balm on his cracked lips and something to soothe his dry mouth. I was the one who got in the face of the incompetent, narcissistic doctor who insisted we just let him die. I was the one who talked for 2 hours straight to the patient advocate about all the mistakes and brutal coldness that happened with my father at the hospital.

I feel very responsible for my father's death. I should have fought harder, been more insistent with the doctors, taken my father to a different, better hospital in spite of my mother and brother. It is a guilt that is tearing me apart. To hear my mother praising my brother because he spent some money on a few meals while at the same time dismissing my contribution, is just about more than I can handle. It's as if it doesn't matter what I do, whatever my brother does will always mean more to her. I find myself not wanting to call her. I will, of course, but it's just one more stressful thing to deal with.

I did what I did because I love my father and mother. I'm not asking for thanks or compensation. However, to hear my mother say these things hurt me a great deal. I'm dealing with losing my father, my guilt, an unsupportive husband, and the fact that I simply can't sleep. I need a way to handle my mother when she says things like this that won't hurt her feelings but at the same time protects me so I can continue to call and support her. She tends to repeat herself, so I know it will come up again.

Any suggestions? Could my resentment toward my brother be coloring my reaction to what my mother said? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Any and all comments will be appreciated.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-10-2017, 09:14 AM
 
9,670 posts, read 7,644,282 times
Reputation: 17517
I am so sorry. It sounds as if your brother is part of the "golden child" syndrome, in which he can do no wrong and his least small virtues become greatly magnified, while your consistent love, caring, thoughtfulness and involvement are taken for granted and minimized. That's very frustrating - but you know the truth. You know that you were loving and you were there for your father (and your mother), and that nothing can ever change that. You made his final days as easy as they could be, and you were there for him.

If your mother starts up again about how wonderful your brother was/is, just agree that yes, it was nice that Joe could bring in some meals, and that you know that meant a lot to her. Acknowledge without mentioning your own much greater part. Then change the subject, and don't get sucked into your mother's comparisons.

You might call your local Hospice to see if they have help for those who are grieving recent losses. Sadly, this golden child syndrome is very common and can lead to great and understandable resentment among those who are not perceived as golden. So learning some techniques to put it in perspective might be helpful in defusing some of the pain.

Your mother might also benefit by some grief counseling or perhaps a group for widowed spouses...others in similar situations might recognize what's going on and draw it to her attention without seeming to blame her.

I doubt if she intends to cause you pain, btw - she may subconsciously recognize that you are stronger than your brother and were consistently there when he was not, so she is building up his lesser contributions for her own benefit, so she won't have to think of one of her children - your brother - as less competent and caring. This, too, is a common pattern. Not fair at all and enormously frustrating, but it is what it is.

Best wishes to you and your family.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 09:27 AM
 
6,737 posts, read 2,619,543 times
Reputation: 18284
Here's what I'm seeing, and have seen it in grieving adult children/family dynamics.

Your mother and brother were allied in the belief that your father should be allowed to pass away, and that no extraordinary intervention should take place. You were working as hard as you could to medically intervene in the hopes that it might give him some more time, perhaps even quality time. Most of the doctors disagreed with you, and you had to fight a mighty battle with both your family and the medical community to have someone ally with you, and by that time it was too late. It was likely too late from the beginning. He's 87.

And now, your mother and brother feel a twinge of guilt that they were willing not to fight, and feel a little awkward around you because your goal with him was so different from theirs.

My guess is, they've always been allied, and my guess is, you've always been allied with your father.

Did your father have a DNR, or did he in other ways express the level of intervention he wished for at the end of his life?

I wish you peace as you move forward from this. Your mother isn't going to be able to be grateful to you - from her perspective, you made his passing harder on her.

Please don't think I'm accusing you of anything, and that I don't admire you for your loyalty and energy you put into your father's last days. I'm sure he very much felt your love. I'm just suggesting why your mother might not be grateful for your efforts.

I'm very sorry for your loss. He must have been very special to you. With great love comes great grief.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 09:51 AM
 
3,749 posts, read 7,236,375 times
Reputation: 3684
I'm sorry for your loss of your father. You did everything you could and more. Please be good to yourself. Your mother is either unintentional, emotional and just not thinking, or she is being intentional and for whatever reason not acknowledging how much you did. Either way, it's is not about you. It is hard to understand and process that but you need to move in. That may mean professional help (therapy) but do it. Don't let this weigh you down. Your father is grateful.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 09:57 AM
 
16,724 posts, read 13,676,345 times
Reputation: 40996
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiter-2 View Post
I need a way to handle my mother when she says things like this that won't hurt her feelings but at the same time protects me so I can continue to call and support her.
Your mom is grieving, but so are you.

Why are you doing all the calling? Maybe she doesn't need you to call her so often. Let her set the pace.

Take some time for yourself and let them do the same.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,316,975 times
Reputation: 27720
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
Here's what I'm seeing, and have seen it in grieving adult children/family dynamics.

Your mother and brother were allied in the belief that your father should be allowed to pass away, and that no extraordinary intervention should take place. You were working as hard as you could to medically intervene in the hopes that it might give him some more time, perhaps even quality time. Most of the doctors disagreed with you, and you had to fight a mighty battle with both your family and the medical community to have someone ally with you, and by that time it was too late. It was likely too late from the beginning. He's 87.

And now, your mother and brother feel a twinge of guilt that they were willing not to fight, and feel a little awkward around you because your goal with him was so different from theirs.

My guess is, they've always been allied, and my guess is, you've always been allied with your father.

Did your father have a DNR, or did he in other ways express the level of intervention he wished for at the end of his life?

I wish you peace as you move forward from this. Your mother isn't going to be able to be grateful to you - from her perspective, you made his passing harder on her.

Please don't think I'm accusing you of anything, and that I don't admire you for your loyalty and energy you put into your father's last days. I'm sure he very much felt your love. I'm just suggesting why your mother might not be grateful for your efforts.

I'm very sorry for your loss. He must have been very special to you. With great love comes great grief.
That is a pretty good possibility of the dynamics. (As with any, the standard caveat "or it could be different" applies.)

There is a bottom line that the interaction between you and your father was between the two of you alone, and that judgments from the outside (positive or negative) have about much meaning as the weight of a dust mite on an elephant. IOW, what you mother says or believes doesn't change the truth and there is no need to argue it. At this point, your relationship with your mother is the one you can have. If it is worth it to you to press the issue, you can try. Some battles are best left unfought, especially with the elderly or mentally ill.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 10:17 AM
 
4,113 posts, read 3,450,347 times
Reputation: 8192
I am sorry you lost your father.

Perhaps your mother says similar things to your brother regarding your sacrifices. If you are feeling chronically under appreciated, you should step back.

You need to work all the way through the grieving process until you find peace. It takes time. There may be support groups in your area that could help.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 10:48 AM
 
31 posts, read 15,984 times
Reputation: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
I am so sorry. It sounds as if your brother is part of the "golden child" syndrome, in which he can do no wrong and his least small virtues become greatly magnified, while your consistent love, caring, thoughtfulness and involvement are taken for granted and minimized. That's very frustrating - but you know the truth. You know that you were loving and you were there for your father (and your mother), and that nothing can ever change that. You made his final days as easy as they could be, and you were there for him.

If your mother starts up again about how wonderful your brother was/is, just agree that yes, it was nice that Joe could bring in some meals, and that you know that meant a lot to her. Acknowledge without mentioning your own much greater part. Then change the subject, and don't get sucked into your mother's comparisons.

You might call your local Hospice to see if they have help for those who are grieving recent losses. Sadly, this golden child syndrome is very common and can lead to great and understandable resentment among those who are not perceived as golden. So learning some techniques to put it in perspective might be helpful in defusing some of the pain.

Your mother might also benefit by some grief counseling or perhaps a group for widowed spouses...others in similar situations might recognize what's going on and draw it to her attention without seeming to blame her.

I doubt if she intends to cause you pain, btw - she may subconsciously recognize that you are stronger than your brother and were consistently there when he was not, so she is building up his lesser contributions for her own benefit, so she won't have to think of one of her children - your brother - as less competent and caring. This, too, is a common pattern. Not fair at all and enormously frustrating, but it is what it is.

Best wishes to you and your family.
Thank you, CraigCreek, all excellent advice. I've been looking for grief counseling but so far have had no luck. I haven't tried hospice, but will give them a call.

I've never heard of the golden child syndrome. Thinking back to episodes as far back as my childhood, I can see where that might be the case. I'll do some research. It might be helpful to understand this type of family dynamic. If I know what's going on, I can separate myself from it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 11:32 AM
 
31 posts, read 15,984 times
Reputation: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
Your mother and brother were allied in the belief that your father should be allowed to pass away, and that no extraordinary intervention should take place. You were working as hard as you could to medically intervene in the hopes that it might give him some more time, perhaps even quality time. Most of the doctors disagreed with you, and you had to fight a mighty battle with both your family and the medical community to have someone ally with you, and by that time it was too late. It was likely too late from the beginning. He's 87.

And now, your mother and brother feel a twinge of guilt that they were willing not to fight, and feel a little awkward around you because your goal with him was so different from theirs.

My guess is, they've always been allied, and my guess is, you've always been allied with your father.

Did your father have a DNR, or did he in other ways express the level of intervention he wished for at the end of his life?
Don't worry, ClaraC, your post came across as very kind and caring. Thank you.

You are correct that I was allied with my father. He was extremely active, even at 87. He was a professional level pool player on the level of Minnesota Fats. He was much sought after for tournaments by sponsors because he almost always won. Yes, even at 87 (can you tell I'm really proud of him?&#128578. Anyway, he made it clear to all of us (my mother, brother, and me) that he wanted to fight and live. Even the day before he died, he was asking when we were going to get started on making him better. So, yes, I fought.

The doctors were just terrible. They badgered us for a DNR which we refused because we wanted to think about it. One doctor actually screamed at my father and pounded on his (my father's) chest, asking if that was really what he wanted done to him. And then we later discovered the staff had put a DNR bracelet on him anyway! Treatment that could have helped in the beginning was not implemented. When asked why (after my own research), the doctors just said, "he's 87". The doctors wanted to keep my fully aware father who wasn't in pain knocked out with pain meds. I could go on and on but it won't change any of it.

I personally don't agree with the "he's too old to live" mindset. Doctors should look at the whole picture. An active person living a full life (by that person's definition, not someone else's) should be given every chance to survive as long as that's what the person wants. And my father made it clear he wanted to live. And I totally failed him. I just didn't seem to have the ability to make anyone listen.

Well, anyway, I guess that's far off the actual topic. Thank you, your insight is much appreciated.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2017, 11:39 AM
 
31 posts, read 15,984 times
Reputation: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by StilltheSame View Post
Your mother is either unintentional, emotional and just not thinking, or she is being intentional and for whatever reason not acknowledging how much you did. Either way, it's is not about you.
This is what it all boils down to, isn't it? Whatever is going on with my mother and brother, it's not about me. Now if I can just get my hurt feelings to accept that....

Thank you, StilltheSame.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Grief and Mourning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top