Fifteen years ago, an old schoolmate (Debbie) moved into the same building as my best friend. Initially, my (widowed) friend whom I will call Sally, was very pleased to have an old schoolmate as a neighbor. Over the years however, it appears that Debbie became increasingly needy and Sally often complained to me about it. She told me that as much as she could help, she was tired of always having to put out Debbie's fires.
Over time, Debbie also became a hoarder. Sally and another friend spent two entire days cleaning out the rubbish from Debbie's apartment when she was hospitalized a few years back, recovering from surgery.
Debbie was an only child, divorced twice and never had children....she has no family to speak of. Sally is her surrogate sibling and for practical purposes her only 'family'.
Fast forward to the present:
Sally took Debbie to the doctor recently because Debbie's mental state seems to be deteriorating. Debbie no longer takes care of anything.....she doesn't bother to pay her bills, buy groceries, fill out her prescriptions or take out the trash. There is dog poo everywhere because she doesn't even walk the dog. She won't bathe or groom herself and she is living in squalor. Doctors ran some tests and Sally is now awaiting results.
So here's the problem.....Sally has been a teacher (English Literature) in a private girl's high school for over forty years. She finally retired this last September. An amateur artist, she looks forward to travelling, drawing and painting, but has no time now for any of that.
She was very upset when she confided in me, that she doesn't want to be Debbie's caretaker anymore. She resents the obligation that has been imposed on her for years and she looks forward to her retirement and her well deserved freedom. I can't say I blame her.
I'm hoping that Debbie gets the support she needs from social services but short of Debbie being institutionalized, Sally may still find herself tied down by Debbie. I want to give her some good advice, but I live over two hours away and so far, I've been nothing more than a sympathetic listener. I know the solution would be to cut Debbie loose but having a good heart can be a liability.
Sally sent me an email today. She wants to visit in the next two weeks. She's willing to drive all the way out here for a much needed respite and I know she needs to talk about this. I want to give my good friend the best advice possible but I am at a loss,,,,help!
willa45 Wed 08-Nov-17 03:11:25
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Wheniwasyourage Thu 09-Nov-17 13:52:15
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VIOLETTE Thu 09-Nov-17 14:07:32