Originally Posted by Cleo
Was just wondering if other people have experienced something similar?
Similar-ish possibly. I come from a family of very different and very independent people. My bro works in dangerous areas of the world and likes to fill his time with travel and danger and hard work. My sis has lots of children, lives with her partner and believes that marriage is the proper way to live. I remain militantly unmarried and childless, live on my own, work part time and study for fun.
Our mother is terribly unemotional. She has never told any of us that she loves us (although she does very much so - she just can't say it) and she shows massive favouritism toward our brother (although she denies that if we ever point it out to her). My sis and I maintain relationships with her, care for her and mostly talk small talk with her because that's what she can do.
Our dad died last year after a long, horrible battle with dementia. Mum cared for him at home for most of the time (we have no idea how she coped) until eventually social services stepped in, took him into a home where he quickly contracted pneumonia - he died after 2 weeks of dehydration and starvation.
While dad was at home, we did what we could to help. My sis lives nearby and she would sit with dad when she could. I would ring mum daily to check how she was and to hear the daily litany of all the inappropriate places dad had peed. My brother would stay with mum during his holidays.
Mum didn't nag any of us to do more and we didn't nag each other. We all did what we could. There was no pleasure in this for any of us - it was a horrible, stressful, nightmare few years and during it, there was very little support available for any of us from the family (understandably - my mum was at the end of her rope and not capable of offering help or support to anybody).
One of my dogs died after a long, horrid illness and when I told my mum that she was dying, mum told me not to expect any support and that she hoped I'd be okay. I have some very good friends who did help and support me so I was fine. I finished a degree and graduated during that time too - I went to the ceremony on my own and received hugs and congratulations from the friends I'd made on the course. (I did and do sometimes struggle with the lack of help and support from mum but I understand why it happened and so I don't resent her for it. I'm just glad that I have a good support network around me and was able to cope).
Then dad got ill and we all spent two weeks mostly sitting in hospital watching him die. We talked small talk - my bro and sis are like mum and don't do emotions. I got emotional support from my friends and my SO.
We didn't turn up and offer our support because it made us feel warm and fuzzy. Watching a loved one starve to death over a period of weeks isn't going to make many people feel warm and fuzzy - it's brutal - the stuff of nightmares. Nor did we do it out of obligation or to avoid guilt. We all did it because people we care about needed help and support and we are all lucky enough to be physically, mentally and emotionally solid enough to provide those things.
I hope that you are okay - even when we don't get along with our families, it seems that it's hard to cut them loose altogether. Take care of yourself and make sure you surround yourself with people who support you as much as you can do.