Dear Sister…..

Rather than stick this in a draft folder, I’m putting it out there, undecided whether or not to send. Leaning towards it; it’s how I truly feel.

Dear Sister:

When you called me to “vent” about your dilemma of transporting mom now that she is more mobile, you may have noticed my apathetic reaction. I understand your concern for your strained neck, having hurt myself transporting her a few times. You will have to ask those questions to mom’s caregivers–the ones I speak with 3-5 times a day.

The truth is: YOU have not EARNED the right to vent to me.
You used your venting chips during your drunken phone calls during that time in your life. Any additional chips I would have granted you have not done enough to claim.

Since then, each time I’ve asked you to do something, you’ve taken it as a personal affront, like I was riding you as an overbearing boss, a control freak.

I’m your brother; these are OUR elderly sick, dying parents. They deserve and have earned our time, our respect and our attention.

You have short-lived moments of stepping up to the plate, followed by relapses of selfishness. The inconsistency is the only thing that’s reliable.

What you don’t realize is what it takes for me to even get to a point of calling you.

It’s only after after fielding dozens of calls myself–to caregivers, debtors, insurance companies, mom and or dad–do I get to a point of overload and then call you.

It’s only after finally getting home on a Friday evening to find 30 envelopes of their mail and bills and worrying about the ones that haven’t been forwarded to me that are crushed up and lost forever–waiting for a call from that debtor.

I loathe calling you, fearing rejection as I would with a tough client.

Over the years, I’ve learned to deal with clients’ rejection as a professional; a sibling’s rejection, however is indeed personal.

By the time I’ve called you, I’ve reached my limit….and then some.

In one ear, I hear mom and dad–in their waning years–asking me what they’ve done to alienate you and your daughter. Why you can’t bear to spend more than an hour at a time with them. Telling me when I suggest they call you: “No, why bother. She’s busy.”

Never mind that you live 5 miles away; me 1,500. Don’t you think there’s something wrong with them preferring to call me?

In my other ear, I hear my loving, caring husband–the best man I know–telling me I’m not taking care of myself–or my relationship–because of doing it all alone for mom and dad.

If I had a third ear, I’d hear you, saying the words that haunt me–the meanest thing you’ve ever said to me: “Who’s going to take care of you?”

I don’t know who’s going to take care of us. I only do know it won’t be your daughter based on what she’s learned from her mother. Children learn what they see.

So yes, by the time I call you, I have no other options.

I remember well taking calls from you, however, in drunken stupors, before you obtained the hard-fought for sobriety you still struggle with each day. I listened; I offered advice. I helped you get help.

No, you have not earned the right to vent to me.

Mom is coming home today from nearly 4 months in rehab. The progress she’s made is remarkable. She shouldn’t be here.
She’s not coming home to dad because now he’s in rehab. He’s deteriorating. He’s down to 128 pounds and goes to sleep with his clothes on as his dementia-infested mother did before him. As we will, I suppose.

You couldn’t find ANY time to get there today, to make sure she has food in the fridge, a card, a welcome home sign–any signal that she has a daughter that lives 5 miles away? Your husband and daughter are away, freeing you of that responsibility, and you couldn’t get there and can’t until the weekend? She’s alone-albeit in an asssited living facility. You couldn’t spend an evening there rather than with a friend?

Do you even know I do a blog on parental caretaking? Do you care?

You’ll never see it.

You don’t come off well.

Let’s just say you are the Cruella de Vil of my parental caretaking blog (look it up). My followers loathe you.

It’s anonymous, just like your program. I would never want to expose mom and dad.

For the remainder of their days, I will tolerate you because I have to for Mom and Dad’s sake. It must be apparent to you from Mother’s Day, however, that I can’t stand to be in the same room with you. I feel about you like I suppose you feel about Mom and Dad.

But know now that you and I will not have a relationship when they are gone.
We’ve been good enough uncles that we hope to have a relationship with your daughter.

That used to make me sad.

Now I can’t wait to feel free.

Free from them, free from the crap you’ve left me to deal with virtually alone.

Free from being your big brother.
I will never forgive you.

No, you HAVE NOT EARNED the right to vent to me, little sister.

~ by Butch on June 7, 2012.

5 Responses to “Dear Sister…..”

  1. Sometimes you just need to tell your siblings they are screwing up. Sorry you are caring for 3 really, instead of just 2.

  2. I promise you – and your spouse as well – when this is all over you will never ever ever regret one day you have done this noble thing. In case your parents forget to tell you, I will: You are a fine and honorable man and most parents would fall on their knees in gratitude to have you as their son (and son-in-law because his support of you makes this possible). That you would think to have a welcome home sign for your mom when she came home is so touching – nevermind that you were too far away to do it – that part doesn’t matter. You are a good man – and a good man can put up with a train wreck such as your sister until they are both gone. As a good man, you most likely have many friends and the may have children – THOSE are the people you and your husband will be able to count on when you age and your health declines. Good brings good and you have done worlds of good. I wish I could clone you – most kids are really more like your sister these days. Kellidd

  3. How judgemental of you. Do you honestly think you will change her or win her over to your side? What is your motivation here? Find another way to communicate, this will not solve your problem long term, it may actually add to it. If you want to totally estrange your sibling, by all means go forward. But as to solving your frustration, it will do very little.

    • Hi Kristy:

      I appreciate your prespective on this.
      I never sent the email, and I do use my blog as a venting as well as educational mechanism.
      Only after years of trying hae I become judgemental, as her inaction has impacted my life on a daily–sometimes hourly basis.
      I have tried every which way to communicate with my sibling to no avail. She’s either not interested or does not have the capacity to partake in what’s required.
      I do believe that we will not have a relationship after my folks are gone, and while that makes me sad, it also makes me feel free. Free that I have accepted that, even if the outcome is different. Time will tell.
      I do not expect to change her, or win her over to my side. Those days are gone; too much damage has been done; I’ve been left alone holding the bag for too long and too often.
      I do appreciate your opinion though. Thanks for reading.


  4. […] I finally sent my sister THE email after my last trip ( […]

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