I would love to get a bit of perspective from you as “older parents” on this…… My Dad passed away a few years ago, after a very short illness. It was a traditional marriage for its time with him doing a lot for my Mum in terms of looking after finances/bills/holidays etc and her putting a lot of trust in him. My Dad was a difficult man at times and we clashed particularly in later life - as a child, I was always upset at the things he said to my Mum to “belittle” her at times and his moods were quite unpredictable, which I resented and I suspect I ended up being a bit of a peacemaker. I would say I favoured her and we got on well and if I’m truthful, I found my childhood stressful (I was a sensitive child). Later in life when I got married, I have found peace with my life, my husband and my kids and am determined to give my three kids a more “level” day to day life. My mum is kind but not always confident. She has a strength to her and I always admired how she dealt with my Dad’s illness. Fast forward a couple of years and after some financial issues (my Dad didn’t leave the finances in a great state), she has a new home, is quite independent, happy to drive, shop etc, has some friends (although a few have died in the last few years) and there are three of us children. I live close’ish, but the other two don’t but not massively far away. One of them is brilliant in terms of “helping” the load by going over and having her to stay, but the other isn’t so much. I have noticed more and more since we deal with her, without my Dad that she is very “bitter” about how her life is now, I think she was more demanding of my Dad than we realised and is quite determined to get her own way – that might have added to the irritation he had with her, I now realise. Financially she has her own home, a pension and a small amount of money over and above what she “needs” for bills etc but having had a “good life” financially is now resentful that she can’t pretty much do what she wants. She will constantly say things like, “oh I can’t afford to do that” or “it’s nice this “x” in your kitchen, I can’t afford one of these”… or, “I don’t know if I’ll ever go on holiday again” or, “I watch far too much telly, life is so dull”……you maybe get the picture a bit. I feel a bit resentful that my Dad was so selfish to leave the finances this way (and we have had many discussions over the years about them trying to make plans for the future (20 years ago I had that discussion and was “shut” down) ), but we can’t turn back the clock. I also resent that it’s fine for one sibling to never call her, yet I don’t call the minute and it is commented on. I meet her for coffee/ lunch/ invite her over for Sunday lunches but still we tell her stuff “Oh that’s nice, shame I don’t get to do things like that anymore”. It is quite wearing in that I will edit what I have done so it doesn’t fuel her fire and I get resentful that, when she was our age, they led a very full life.
I then feel guilty that I don’t do enough and I go round in circles. I have also had to point out to her sometimes that we all, as children, lost a dad, that we all have kids (teenagers), we work and I have a husband who also has ageing parents. My husband is really good with her but, understandably, doesn’t want her here every weekend because she’s a bit lonely.
This was like this pre-covid I might add -I would love her to maybe volunteer somewhere to maybe feel a bit more fulfilled and give something back, to go and see that her life is actually quite good in the grand scheme of things. Then I think, maybe I’ll end up like this too and so I shouldn’t judge !
Thank you for letting me rant a bit and having put all this down, I don’t really know what I am seeking other than a different perspective from the one I get from similar folk my age with ageing parents !!!
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