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Why didn't my sister let me know...

(64 Posts)
HazelEyes Thu 04-Aug-22 20:32:46

My sister is my mum's carer as she lives near my mum and I don't. I spoke to my mum last week and she was fine and we had a nice chat. Then today I get a text from my sister to say my mum has been really unwell for at least four days. I feel so upset that I didn't know. This has happened before. Why does she not think it appropriate to let me know?

Sago Thu 04-Aug-22 20:34:37

Perhaps if you called your sister or mother more regularly you would have known.

FlexibleFriend Thu 04-Aug-22 20:37:04

She has let you know she sent you a text, maybe she's been busy dealing with your mum. Do you really only talk to your mum once a week?

Chewbacca Thu 04-Aug-22 20:58:51

Very elderly people's health can deteriorate very quickly, certainly within less than a week and it does sound as though your mum has variable good health if this has happened before. It's quite feasible that even though you called and chatted last week, she could easily have become ill a couple of days later. Maybe keep in more frequent contact with your sister for more up-to-date news?

Smileless2012 Thu 04-Aug-22 21:03:01

Maybe your sister hadn't realised how poorly your mum was and didn't want to worry her.

JaneJudge Thu 04-Aug-22 21:03:40

I think it depends on the family dynamic in all honesty. Obviously it is good she is caring for your Mum - is this with paid care alongside? There are loads of reasons why she may not have told you straight away, some will be negative and some will be positive (like not wanting to worry you)

I don;t think only ringing your Mum once a week is weird btw

Hithere Thu 04-Aug-22 21:09:50

Maybe she was super busy with the new developments?

notgran Thu 04-Aug-22 21:28:16

Ask your sister why she didn't let you know sooner. Of course do not be as blunt as that but if you feel she should have told you sooner then find out why she didn't and how in future when this happens she will try to let you know earlier.

M0nica Thu 04-Aug-22 21:37:44

She may have been used to your mother's health fluctuatng and only got concerned when she didn't return to normal health afte a couple of days.

It is very difficult to reach any conclusion about why she didn't tell you. The answer lies far back in the dynamic between you, your sister and mother. But in your situation my response would have been to ring my sister and ask her, not in an aggressive way, but just so that we could discuss the issue and agree what should happen next time she is ill.

Granniesunite Thu 04-Aug-22 21:38:33

Texting is very simple and an easy way to keep in touch. Maybe a text every couple of days to your sister will help keep you more informed of your mums health.
Dealing with a sick loved one can be very time consuming.

Baggytrazzas Thu 04-Aug-22 21:39:12

Hi HazelEyes, your sister probably thought that your Mum would be better " the next day" and didn't want to bother you.

Your Mum might have told her not to bother you.

Maybe you could explain to both that you would prefer to know if your Mum becomes unwell at the time rather than later but I'm not sure how you can make them do that.

I am sure you are doing your best to stay in close touch.

RoseeLee Fri 05-Aug-22 07:50:51

Hi HazelEyes, I understand your feelings of upset and frustration only too well… my sister and I have never been good at communicating with each other, and it can be especially difficult in times of crisis. She too is very good at withholding information…

You can’t change your sister’s ways, so it’s better for you if you try to accept that. You’re doing the best you can. Maybe just try to keep the communication going in whatever way is possible? Wishing you all the very best.

Daisymae Fri 05-Aug-22 08:14:22

Maybe you should contact her? Maybe a daily text? What can you do to help your sister?

Urmstongran Fri 05-Aug-22 08:26:15

I think my first text would be to thank her profusely for being so kind and dependable acknowledging that her dedication and care does mean a great deal to you. Let some water flow under that bridge before you broach what is bugging you.

lemsip Fri 05-Aug-22 08:39:40

A mum will always say she 'is fine' to someone on the phone! not the sisters fault!

Chocolatelovinggran Fri 05-Aug-22 08:54:00

Urmstongran- spot on! The wrong word now could really upset family dynamics.
And yes, lemsip, my mum would say "fine" to everyone who asked after her health: some people are like that, whilst others give you a list of their every ailment in graphic detail.....which was probably not what the enquirer was looking for.

MawtheMerrier Fri 05-Aug-22 09:00:02

Diplomatic suggestion Urmstongran !

luluaugust Fri 05-Aug-22 09:32:27

Maybe the first couple of days your sister didn't think your mum was so ill and it was only around day 4 she felt she should have told you. I don't think a once a week chat is odd either.

Shelflife Fri 05-Aug-22 09:53:53

HazelEyes, please don't take this personally. My Mum lived with me for 4 years. I have siblings but my house was the most appropriate for Mum's needs. I don't have one second of regret about being her carer. However in your sisters defense I must say that caring is all consuming - general daily care , feeding , washing, managing hospital,
GP, and hair appointments!!! It really is full on . Four days will fuse into one for your sister. She will have been so intent on looking after your Mum that everything else will go on the back burner including her own health . My advice to you is to message/ ring your sister regularly and check on your Mum's welfare rather than waiting for her to contact you with news when her mind is so full of her caring responsibilities. When you ring please consider your opening words ie " How are you managing with Mum hope you are not neglecting yourself" . Ask about her before asking about your Mum. Ask your sister what you can do to assist her. This is not about you and your feelings about your sister it is about you showing an understanding of your sisters situation. I wish you all well during this difficult time.

HazelEyes Fri 05-Aug-22 20:39:58

The first two comments are particularly cruel so thank you RoseeLee for your very understanding response and thank you also to those who said they don't think it strange for a mother and daughter to only speak once a week. It has made me think hard about posting again in what is supposed to be a non-judgemental forum. A lot of the comments are way off the mark as my mum lives independently and does not need personal care.

Fleurpepper Fri 05-Aug-22 20:50:51

Sorry Hazel, but your first sentence was that your sister is your mum's carer.

You perhaps have no idea how much 'resentment' there can be, when one sibbling does all the day to day caring, and others just phone once in a while. Blunt, yes- but the reality.

Madgran77 Sat 06-Aug-22 06:42:25


The first two comments are particularly cruel so thank you RoseeLee for your very understanding response and thank you also to those who said they don't think it strange for a mother and daughter to only speak once a week. It has made me think hard about posting again in what is supposed to be a non-judgemental forum. A lot of the comments are way off the mark as my mum lives independently and does not need personal care.

On the basis of your first post Hazelpeople have tried to consider various possibilities as to why your sister didn't contact you earlier. They were not being cruel. Particularly as you stated your sister is your mums carer which doesn't suggest "lives independently and does not need personal care". Comments about phoning more often seem linked to people's impression that your Mum was not well/maybe aging and needed regular care from your sister!

I understand that you are annoyed with your sister but to solve the problem it seems best to have a chat with her rather than people on here who are trying to respond and help with only a bit of information available. I hope that you can get your concerns sorted out flowers

Sago Sat 06-Aug-22 08:43:49

HazelEyes If my comment came across as cruel then I apologise.
My comment was based on the fact your sister was a carer.

Gransnet is not an “ echo chamber” we are generally a helpful but honest bunch so please don’t let it prevent you from posting again.

One or two posters I think drink vinegar for breakfast but we know who they are and either bite back or ignore them!

Yellowmellow Sat 06-Aug-22 11:40:03

Hazeleyes l very rarely comment ir post on here because of the comments. Totally unnecessary

knspol Sat 06-Aug-22 11:45:10

I used to be in the same situation, my sister lived close to my mum and I lived a 3 hr drive away. It was only after I repeatedly told mum that I wanted to know exactly how she was as opposed to her telling me she was OK that she eventually started telling me the truth. I told her that I worried all the time when I never knew if she was really OK whereas if I knew the real situation I would only worry when she was ill - and obviously make plans to visit asap of course.