Mother

My mother is in the ICU right now. Very early Monday morning, she called an ambulance and was taken to the emergency room. She was in a great deal of pain. I’m listed as her emergency contact so I was called and told that help was on the way. I called her and talked with her until the ambulance arrived. I told her that I love her and asked that she call me and keep me updated. She said she would. We hung up and a little while later, I got another call confirming to which hospital she had been taken.

Starting early the next morning, I left my mom a few messages and was getting worried because there was no response. We live on opposite coasts so I wasn’t able to drive over and check on her. I messaged a friend of hers and asked if she could check in on my mom, explaining my reason for being concerned.

The friend messaged back, explaining that my mom was sent home with a prescription and still in a considerable amount of pain. She picked her up from the hospital, helped her get her Rx, and got her situated at home. 

Feeling relieved and thinking that my mom was probably just sleeping off whatever had been making her feel bad, I went to work but sent her a couple of messages to let me know how she was doing. There was no response.

That afternoon, I got a call from her friend. She went to check on my mom and found her on the ground, disoriented, unable to move, and it appeared she had been there since the day before. My mama was on the floor, in a nightshirt, cold, in pain, and probably terrified for a whole day. I keep hoping that she passed out so that she didn’t spend all of that time afraid. I wish I would have been there. Her friend called for an ambulance and after they took my mom back to the ER, she called me to fill me in.

We’re on day three of the ICU now. My mom has an infection that has gotten into her blood. She is intubated because she wasn’t able to get enough oxygen on her own or with a mask. Her organs are stressed. She has AFib. She’s in her late 60’s. She’s very ill. It’s a waiting game to see what happens and whether or not she will respond to treatment.

My siblings and I decided that the time to move her in with one of us has arrived. My mom has been stubbornly resistant to the idea in the past and as long as she had the energy and state of mind to tell me to stuff it when I brought up the idea, I knew she would be okay.

That’s changed. 

The expense of moving someone across the country is costly even when it’s a bare minimum move. I reached out to my father to ask if he was willing to help with the cost. They’ve been divorced for many years but I thought it was worth a try. He could have just said no.

Instead, he told me the following: Stop crying. Calm down. Can’t you put her in a state institution? This situation sounds like the result of her slovenly lifestyle. I’ll help but if your brother doesn’t pitch in something, I will pitch in nothing (he emphasized nothing). Once again, the burden falls on me.

Here’s what you should know:

My dad has more money than anyone else I know. A few thousand dollars to rent a vehicle and get her across the country is a drop in the bucket for him.

He isn’t my brother’s father. He beat my brother from a young age.

My brother doesn’t have any extra money. He works hard and supports himself and never asks for help. But there isn’t anything extra. I had already explained this.

My dad’s mom died when he was young. He knows what it’s like to fear that your mother may die, and want to help her.

My sister is helping to physically move my mom across the country because she has the time to do so. 

I will be caring for my mother for the rest of her life with assistance from my siblings. 

I’m trying to figure out what exactly his burden is in this situation. He’s an old, well-to-do, caucasian, cis-gender, republican, heterosexual male in America with a bunch of money. 

After I yelled at him and told him what an ass he was being, and that he could have simply said no (and that would have been fine), he agreed to help without conditions. But not without bitching about the “burden” that he was taking on. 

I haven’t talked to him since. 

My mom’s prognosis isn’t hopeless by any means but there are still many unknowns and she is still critically ill. We just don’t know what is going to happen.

I put a lot of effort into rebuilding my friendship with my father after many years of not talking. He was an abusive drunk and I didn’t want anything to do with him. At some point, I felt it was worth trying. And I felt I might regret it when he died if I didn’t at least give it some effort. Now I am right back to now wanting anything to do with him. 

He has every right to say no to a request. And I wouldn’t have been upset if he said no. I would have figured out something else, like I have anyway. I’m paying for whatever she needs on my own, with help with things like transportation and packing her belongings from my siblings. 

Apparently he is now bitching at my sister about not wanting to help. So, he can keep his money so he won’t feel burdened and see how good its company is. He seems to fail to understand that it isn’t money that cares for a grumpy old jackass when he can’t care for himself. He’ll probably learn that when it’s too late. But I don’t particularly care. I just want my mom to be alive and healthy and happy. 

8 thoughts on “Mother

  1. This is such a hard situation for you, not only having to digest that your mum is in hospital, but also having to deal with your dad, coordinate the siblings and all the change that needs to follow. I hope your mum will get better. Sending you lots of love from Scotland. Please take good care of yourself. We sometimes forget ourselves, when we’re too busy caring for everyone else and fixing the world at the same time. Good luck with all that is to come.

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  2. Hello, first of all, will be praying for your mothers full recovery. Secondly, I’m a Christ Follower, am not a heartless person, and fortunately was raised as an only child. I’ve read over your scenario several times, this is the conclusion I’ve come to in the form of a suggestion for you. Since what your mom needs right now is to be carefully & peacefully transitioned across the country to live with you or one of your sisters, and since it’s gonna take money to do this move PLUS even more money to help care for her. Your dad sounds like he’s more of a blowhard who would rather sit around in his misery & gripe about his life, or lack thereof. I may have misread part of what you wrote, it seems like he finally said he’d give you the money but it would come with a lot of groaning, complaining & threats against you & your siblings if you didn’t utilize it to his satisfaction. If I got that part right, I would “cowgirl up”, take the money along with whatever cussing or threats he can throw at you and get her where she needs to be. Words only hurt you as long as you give them the power to do so. The bottom line is money; he has it, y’all need it, so do whatever you have to do to get it. If it gets to the point where you need more money, you’ll have to repeat your original pattern in hopes he’ll be begrudgingly generous again. I’ve seen this in other families and you’re right; it always seems like there’s one partner that has control of the money, the other partner is the one who needs to have access to it for health reasons, and the siblings are usually split down the middle, each one taking a side and it taking a really long time for the person in ill health to finally get the help they need; sometimes they never do. Just remember, don’t give his words or attitude more power than they’re worth. God Bless You.

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    1. Thank you for your words. I considered what you suggest, accepting his financial help along with whatever complaining would come along with it. The problem with that is that his toxicity is incessant and creeps into everything. He holds his help over people for as long as he can. I can get my mom to me without his help (though it will be a struggle) and I think that it’s best for everyone if he’s just not involved. I may not have to constantly deal with him but my sister lives very close to him and he’ll hold it over her and constantly give her a hard time about having to help. I really shouldn’t have asked him in the first place but I was so worried about my mom that I didn’t consider his response. I was just looking for a solution.

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  3. Hello Melissa,
    I found your blog somehow through Facebook and wanted to reach out to you. First of all, I knew your mom through Caregivers of America. I was one of her aides for a little while before she got really really sick. I have also worked and still do work in her building for the last 3 years with a few other clients as an aide. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am to hear about your mom. She was a sweet lady and had sooooo many stories to tell. She spoke very highly of her children and she missed you guys all the time. I also wanted to comment on this blog bc I know first hand how hard it is lose your mom. Before I started working for caregivers, I was my moms caregiver 24/7 for the last 12 years of her life. The weekend my mom came out of the hospital on hospice I called my father and literally begged him just to come up here and get a hotel room for me and my brother to come to just to relax as all of my family members and my mothers friends had come to stay at mom home to see my mom before she passed away. I didn’t ask for money just for him to come up and provide me a safe place to go so I can relax and get my head together. My mom was my life, but not in a way that we were close, but bc my mom all my life was a very depressed person and I spent my life trying to fight for the attention I needed from her. Also for the last 12 years I spent with her she was my income, my only income for being her caregiver. My whole life changed when my mom died. I went from being home with my kids everyday for the first 12 years of my sons life and the first 9 years of my daughters life to having to work outside the home and hardly ever getting to be with them all bc of my mother not taking care of herself, it sounds selfish of me in a way to think like that about my mother, but my mom died from diabetes. She was an amputee bc of diabetes and she would not even try to take care of it. Her sugars were always in the 4 to 600 range and she would eat anything she wanted and drink a gallon of sweet tea a day. But that is neither here nor there. Back to my dad tho, he told me he would think about coming here and he literally fell off the planet after I talked to him. A few weeks after mom died, I got a hold of him and asked what happened and to tell him mom died peacefully. I wasn’t rude but he come back apologizing and told me that if he would have come up here for me and my brothers he would have danced the jig when my mom passed and he didn’t want to hurt us like that!! He knew what my mom was to me, why in the world would he say such a thing, he went on to tell me how much he hated her and blah blah, they had divorced 30 years ago!!! I was. DISGUSTED by my father for telling me these things. I left him alone until about a year ago when I decided I didn’t want to hate him anymore. I still hold a little grudge. But 3 years later as much as I miss my mom, she is in the best place now. She isn’t hurting no more and I know in my heart my mom is sorry for the stuff she put me through. Idk that our situation is alike, but I wanted to let you know that you will get through it. It took me a long time, but I finally can talk about my mom and can accept that she is gone. I know she is watching over me now and she is proud of me. I guarantee Cindy is doing the same thing as she loved you so much. You can get a hold of me anytime.

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    1. Thank you. I’m actually doing okay. Lately I feel like she’s happy and free wherever she is and that makes me feel so much better. I miss her a lot. But knowing that she’s able to watch over us and protect us in a way that she always prayed for is very comforting.

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