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Despair

Helen

Helen passed her 81th birthday in hospital yesterday. She really could just have invited people to visit and not broken multiple bones to get attention. (Yes, that was my lame attempt at lame.) Anyway, it turns out she's been hiding a few things from us. She did not tell us she had her cat put down a couple of months ago (the cat had serious dementia), or that the next door neighbour has been doing her laundry. It turns out Helen has become a semi-invalid very quickly. There is no way she can stay in the house, but she once vowed she would not sell it and move into a home. At this point, I wouldn't mind if she just moved into an apartment with elevators instead of stairs. I dread having to deal with the necessary conversations. Even if I don't have to confront her directly, I dread the family fallout that is inevitably going to happen. She is very stubborn and unrealistic.

Just to add to the stress, my husband's ex-wife, and mother of my step-son, is going through similar problems with her parents, but it has required her to quit her job to care for them full-time. She has no money coming in and is going through her savings really quickly. My step-son is having to deal with the prospect of all three remaining grandparents declining rapidly at the same time. I'm worried about them (grandparents, ex-wife, and step-son) too.

I feel everyone's concerns and pain and give them whatever emotional support I can, but I'm beginning to feel like I could crack under this pressure.
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I'm sorry about all the stress you and your family is under. I know that both of my grandmothers (especially my paternal grandmother) were determined not to move into a home. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people have a very negative image of retirement homes and will do anything to avoid that option. My aunt and uncle recently moved into a senior's residence that sounds absolutely lovely. However, my aunt still insists that they don't have to stay and can move out any time.

I don't want to scare you as far as your step-son is concerned, but I lost three grandparents in one year. It's terrible but it's the sad reality of old age. However, my family got through it okay. In fact, I ended up getting to know a younger cousin of mine very well during one of the visitations and we've continued to stay in touch.

I wish I had some advice to give you on how to be strong, but the only thing I can think of is to do your best and take it one day at a time.
Thank you. Just being able to vent and know that I have supportive and understanding friends on LJ is a big help.
I'm not surprised she was hiding that information, she knows what would be coming if the kids knew. Of course that doesn't bode well for the conversation to come. I also hope it doesn't all fall one person.
The conversation has started. She is already showing signs of acceptance. For example, hubby took the insurance off her car today (except for theft). She recognizes she would be unable to drive for quite a while if ever. She has been unable to go into her basement for a while (that's why the neighbour has been doing her laundry) and is starting to think she may have to make some changes. Nobody is pressuring her to make changes immediately, but the conversation is underway.
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April 2015

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