Topic: Liz here, would like to share some memories

Hello to my new friends,
  Hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected. I wanted to talk about some family issues as well as the aftermath of my mothers passing.

  My older sister and I are VERY different. When my mother was diagnosed, my (27 yr. old) sister decided to take on the mother hen role. We all, including my mom wanted her at home, and we would share the duties are taking care of her while she was bed-ridden. As she lay in our parents room, my sister would read books trying to find high-alkaline recipes, giving my mom cantelope, acai berries, watermelon, anything that my sister thought would, "save her life". My mom really didnt have an appetite.

With her "bile bag" (As we called it, and my mom and us all made jokes about the bag on her side we had to drain. Does anyone know what Im talking about?) We had to keep track of her bili-rubin levels and write it down. It was quite gross and whoever had to drain it was gutsy. I didn't like doing it, and my mom knew and she said it was fine that my sister did it. My sister seemed to WANT to take on the roles of nurse/mother/cook!

If I would try to do somthing, my sister, would say, Liz you're not doing it right! etc.. etc...

Also, my mother had to have TPN through an IV. We did this at our house and had to be taught how to give it to my mom. It was a milky-white bag and we had to heat it up before giving it to mom, so it was a process. Everything my mom ate tasted acidic to her and she could only  have about 2 bites before saying she didnt want anymore. That is why we had to give her the TPN.

I was in my sophmore year of college at the time. I had been commuting, so it worked out that I was able to come home after school and be with my mom. I asked her if I should stop going to school and was willing to do so, but my mom told me to keep going. And we had a special connection. I knew she knew I didn;t want to stop going to school and she enjoyed hearing my stories about what I learned during the day. She often said, "I just enjoy hearing about what you did today.." It made me happy.

The next room over, my sister and father cringed at me, because they had been home all day taking care of her. They would give me dirty looks and say, "Liz, now YOUR going to stay home the rest of the night and take care of mom, WE'VE been home all day!!!

The guilt they put on me was awful. I hated the way I felt. One day, I came home with a cold ( which meant I had to wear a mask and gloves, the risk of mom getting sick was too high). My sister said and I quote, "Liz, you probably are faking it just so you don't have to take care of mom"..

This went on for so long! Thinking about it now, makes me so angry at my dad and sister. They were like 2 peas in a pod, tag teaming *but also doing a good job of taking care of my mom* But making me feel like absolute shit!

I did what I was good at! Reading stories to my mom, adding voices to the stories... she laughed and smiled. I would watch TV with her and just be "sunny self" which she said.

My sister also left a cruel note on my bed one day that said, "You are going to regret this when Mom dies, I don't know how you can go to school while mom is dying!" And I couldnt even read it. I can tell you this, I didn;t know at the time if My guilt was real or not. None of this came from my mom, was it because she didnt have the energy? I felt so trapped and sad..

I went to a psychologist a few times and brought the note with me and she told me never to look at it, it was so awful. I knew deep down it was not true. But when the only people you are about to have left in your family are telling you that you are selfish, not a part of the family, useless... What are you to believe?

Mom had a visiting nurse that came over, she was so nice, also a reiki lady whom my mother enjoyed thouroghly. And I knew while I was gone during the day my sister would tell them I was never there... And honestly it seemed like a whirlwind of activity went on that it made me feel out of the loop when I got home at about 5:00 pm.

I would come home and my mom would have a fever. Conversation with sister would go a little somthing like this:

ME: When did mom come down with this fever?
Sis: About 12:00 this afternoon, maybe if you were home you would have known.
ME: Its really not my fault that I am at school during the day, I am in a different place right now, I'm only 21 and mom wants me to go to school.
Sis: You know mom isn't going to tell you to drop out of school, you should know better, I would NEVER be able to go to school knowing mom is here dying, you'll see it when shes gone.
Sis: That's right Liz, go be selfish in your room...)


This went on for about 6 months. Trying to know the moral difference of manipulation and reality was hard, but I know whats right and wrong.

Now, 2 years after my moms passing,  my relationship with my sister is not the same, and never will be. We've talked about the things she said to me, and she says, "Liz you know I was stressed out at the time and said things I didn't mean. I WAS THE ONE WHO WAS AROUND MOM ALL THE TIME" NO ONE SAW WHAT I SAW. I WAS THE ONE WHO CHANGED MOMS DAIPERS WHILE YOU WERE AT SCHOOL"

So obviously she still can't let it go.
I feel like my relationship is fake. And granted my sister is a paranoid hypochondriac and anxiety ridden and I never even explained that, that is a whole other story.
I can't even be around my sister because we just butt heads. Even my dad makes excuses for her and doesnt see my point of view the way my mom would have.

I am not looking for anyone to tell me that she was wrong in what she said, I already know that. I don't regret anything about my time with my mom. I just have this terrible relationship with my sister from the time of my moms passing and I just dont ever think it can get better. For someone to say such hurtful things to me and then blame it on stress. I can TRY to forget but I cant forgive.

It makes me so mad at NOTHING (WHO CAN I GET MAT AT???) to think that this evil cancer took away the one person in my family that could see through everything. Who could understand all of us and how to make our family work. Now I am left with 2 irrational people and I am prospering with my life and all they can do is make me feel guilty for graduating school and going on in the right direction. My sister has no job, and my dad can't afford to keep the hot water turned on.

The love of my life, the man I am going to marry is the only one who understands me. He is so nice to my dad and sister when I cry to him about how they made me feel. He offers to take care of my  dads house and plant flowers the way my mom did.
He is amazing and I am so thankful to have him. His mom died of a bad blood transfusion when he was 9 years old in 1993.

It is just a whirlwind of a change in my life. I wish things could have been different, and why her?

Im sorry if I have dragged this on, but I have a newfound respect for you all and feel like i can write to you.

Thanks for listening.


Re: Liz here, would like to share some memories

oh Liz, your post made me cry, my heart goes out to you.  Just remember this, it does NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT matter what your dad or your sister say, what matters is that you had, and still have, an amazing relationship with your mother, and you made her last days a comfort.  Never forget the love you have shown to your mother and ignore the rest.

3 (edited by JeffG Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:16:38)

Re: Liz here, would like to share some memories

Dear Liz,   during the period of your Mom's failing health there was nothing anyone could do but make her comfortable.  You did your part in a loving and caring manner.  Grief is so difficult to deal with and can be harder for others to deal with than someone else.  Your Sister and Dad obviously were grieving before your Mom passed on and held different perceptions of how to deal with end of life.  To me I would say their grief rolled over to anger and I'm sure they were hurting and saying things that were inappropriate especially with you being the youngest, it is almost an automatic you were their escape/ sounding board not that it was right for them to do so. You caught the blunt end of emotions for sure.  You respected your Mom's wish.  I would and have told my daughter and son the same; life needs to continue on and you are doing that.  Only one thing I might suggest, is instead of trying to forget and being the strong willed and motivated young lady you are; recognize it was a difficult time for all and maybe try more to FORGIVE and the FORGET will diminish in time.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)

Re: Liz here, would like to share some memories

Hi Liz,
What a story - how horrible for everyone involved! I am the younger sister like you, yet I was the one who took care of my mother the most (stepfather and father are both dead), yet I would NEVER THINK of putting the guilt on my sister for not being there - she was further away and couldn't get away from her job and that's just the way it is. Everyone does what they can. Hopefully as the years pass, you and your sister can be friends again - it's too soon to give up all hope on her. I know because my sister and I barely spoke to each other until we were about 25 years old and now we're really close.

Although you say you already know it, let me repeat the truth to you: Your mother WANTED you to keep having a life, to go to school and make her proud and come home and read to her and make her happy in your success. I went to France for a year in college and I never even knew until a few years later that my mother sat down and cried right after I left and had panic attacks the whole time I was gone. But she was my mother, she loved me UNCONDITIONALLY as yours did, and she would NEVER tell me to give up my dreams or my happiness. That's how mothers are - you're so lucky to have had a great mother who supported you, and you supported her, too, in the ways that came naturally to you. Plus, you were so young - what did they expect you to do????

I hope time heals this wound for you. You must be missing your mother terribly - I know I miss mine more than words can say. She was the one who understood everything, especially the family dynamics, and she kept everyone together.  Your mother sounds like that, too. What a great woman - I'm sure she would be proud of you.