Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Caretaker needs help from siblings

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I am the youngest of five brothers and have cared for my mother for 12 years. I live with mom and my siblings live out of state.

At 88, mom needs care that is overwhelming for me. I juggle work, home, and mom, with no time for anything else. I am very thankful and blessed to have mom with me, but it is very emotionally draining.

My older siblings call sporadically and make even less time to visit -- some only twice in 12 years. I'm so frustrated and frankly sad they can't make it a priority to visit more often, or even talk to me to talk frankly about Mom.

I believe they all love her, but just take her for granted.

I have told them she and I would love to see them but there are always excuses. They go on living, traveling and everything else, all the while I feel trapped.

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I have found myself drained, overwhelmed, depressed, and simply angry with the current situation. I need them to understand the urgency of calling longer than three minutes. And visiting more often than every couple of years. Help.

-- Desperate Son/Brother

Anyone reading your letter -- probably even your siblings, if they don't realize it's about them -- will understand that "Mom would love to see you" really means, "Help, somebody, come visit."

Do you know what it says, though, to people avoiding the hard work and even harder emotions of an infirm parent clearly near the end of her life? It says just, "Mom would love to see you."


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