Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I honestly don't know where to begin... I think I'll start with the happy part of today: it's my niece's big 10th birthday today! My niece (I'll call her Muffin) is an amazing person and I remember 10 years ago today so vividly. When I got the call saying Muffin was born, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. And since then it has just gotten better and better...she's a smart, beautiful, talented, loving, all-around fantastic gift in my life. My biggest treat and joy today was getting to talk with her (she lives in NYC so I didn't get to see her). :-)

Whew...the hard stuff...DB's having some challenging family stuff this week. His parents are declining and DB and his 5 siblings are trying to allow them to stay in their own home. Unfortunately, this means that one of them needs to be there all the time. None of the sibs lives in the same town, but DB lives the closest (1 1/2 hours away). One of DB's brothers (who lives many many hours away in a faraway state -- I'll call him Angry One) has spent much of the past year and a half with the parents -- leaving behind his wife and life in Faraway State. This has been HIS CHOICE -- he likes to feel like he's in control, the king, the martyr. Since no one REALLY wants to take on this responsibility, all the sibs have let this go on...and all of them have come to help when needed for short and long terms. DB has done that the most often (although for some reason none of the sibs realizes this).

Well, last week, Angry One (who, by the way, has been totally mean and awful to DB for years) calls DB and says he has to leave for a while. DB is understandably angry -- he has been trying to get Angry One and all the rest of the sibs to agree to a long-term solution for the parents for a long time. All of them (DB included) have been procrastinating...with Angry One there, no one else had to uproot their life to go handle the situation. Now, as several times before, DB is supposed to drop everything to go relieve Angry One. So, DB waits a day to call Angry One back. Angry One does not return that call for a day. Finally, DB calls again and Angry One gets, well, angry and they argue. DB then tries to rally the sibs by telling them that Angry One really needs a break. DB tells Angry One that DB himself will come up at the end of last week and stay for a week until we go on vacation. Angry One never calls DB back.

On Monday this week, DB heads up to the parents house to resolve the situation with Angry One. Angry One ends up yelling terrible mean and irrelevant things at DB. DB finally leaves, but resolves to get a solution with all his sibs. One of DB's sisters (I'll call her Diplomacy) also e-mails everyone to say that they need to make a solution. The sibs seem to be getting in line and trying to figure out a long-term schedule (even though DB and Angry One are very very angry with each other), but then today happens...

DB gets a call this morning that his dad is in the hospital. Angry One is there, bu another sib is needed to help with their mom. Diplomacy is on her way (5 hour drive) and DB jumps in the car immediately too...but not after receiving an upsetting e-mail from another sister (Horseface) saying that, while she just said yesterday that she can only come sporadically to help with the parents due to horse shows which they need to do for their retirement (she and her hubby are RICH), DB should not complain about Angry One, but should just go help. Uh, why don't YOU go help, Horseface?! Grrrrr.

I am angry at all this. DB seems to be getting this attitude from the sibs that he should be the one doing a lot of the caretaking because he lives closest and is self-employed so can just take off when he wants to...yeah, right. (P.S. DB's parents have been less than loving to him for many years...despite this, he has continued to try to be a "good son".) These are 6 people who are all between late 40s and 60 who have long-standing sibling rivalry issues (that I am just seeing) and they cannot for the life of them make joint decisions (although DB, bless him, really really is trying, he is the only one). But they have to. And they want to be ostriches. I can see them all start pointing fingers at each other. And why don't they just hire live-in help? I think there's some kind of obligation they feel that keeps them from doing that.

I am so grateful that my sister and I worked out our sib shit years ago. And that my mom (and dad when he was alive) really talked with us about what to do when they aged.

Grrrr..and that's just the Readers' Digest Condensed Version! Anyway, I feel so bad for DB. I also (selfishly) feel scared that something is going to make us miss our vacation (which I NEED a LOT right now). I really feel like eating and drinking to "comfort" myself. I have been very good at not drinking through all this the past two nights, but I have been a little sloppy with eating although good with exercise. I feel poochy and am glad I don't weigh in until Friday...

In the meantime, I've got work stress trying to get ready for vacation and stress getting stuff at home ready too. Maybe I'll just sleep for a week rather than ski! Speaking of which...I want to head to bed soon...I know this is all just life stuff, but it's been a hard week.


Vickie said...

I can only imagine how hard it would be to schedule that many people for care - even if they all got along. Have they considered hiring help? The problem with that is that the "help" doesn't always show up and then someone has to dash off at last minute to help. How much care do they really need? Is it possible to take advantage of hospitalization to "move" them to a facility of some type?

Vickie said...

I guess what I meant was - can you use this opportunity - to have a medical person say that they no longer can be cared for at home - that it is not safe - they they need to be in an assisted living arrangement?

Lori said...

I hope things have calmed down but the bottom line is that these people have set up their personas and roles with no room for compromise until it's too late. But remember, all you can do is be supportive of DB and anyone else who will let you. And the other thing? Take care of yourself.

I hope your weekend is fun; just one more day!

Helen said...

Unfortunately, at least some of the sibs do not want to try to move the parents out of the house or get care in. Go figure. Thanks for all your support, ladies!! I relayed your good ideas and kind words to DB and he thanks you for sharing your thoughts with him. :-)