Right at this moment, I am seething.
Those who know me well know that my mother is 85, in not the best of health and her memory is going. Over the years, she has done far more than should be expected of any one parent to do in helping out and caring for an extended family that includes many grandkids and great grandkids.
Some of these grandkids have lived with her over the years when my (step) sister was unable or unwilling to support them. In many cases, she stuck by them when anyone else would have simply kicked them to the curb, as their mother had done (though no fault of their own, I might add) My sister had no parenting and didn’t know how to parent, as a result). In fact, she was the mother that their mother never was. She housed and fed them and financially supported them.
While a couple of them keep in regular contact even coming over to help us with chores and to socialize, others just don’t bother to pick up the phone and call.
So, I sent a Facebook message out to remind everyone that Mom isn’t getting any younger and that they might take the time to call, especially as she has been sick these last three weeks.
The only one who responded was the one I knew would respond, and in the manner in which I expected… She essentially blamed us for not being in when she calls…. She doesn’t leave a message (which doesn’t help me think she actually DOES call) and whenever my mother calls her, she tells her she’s at work and not to call her at work. The is fact that I have been working at home (aside from the 5 days “holidays” I took to be home with Mom) and Mom has been sick on the couch next to the phone for the last three weeks and neither of us has heard from her.
The fact that Mom has been sick for three weeks received no comment, not even “I hope she feels better….” Not one of the times on Facebook that I have said she is sick has gotten so much as a “gee sorry to hear that” from her or any of the other relations. Since none of them has bothered to give me their phone numbers, Facebook is my only way of contacting them.
Then I get a curt private message telling me that she has been working 12-16 hour shifts and “only has two days off” a week…. Again, no concern about Mom.
Last year at this time, I had to take Mom in to declare bankruptcy because she was tens of thousands of dollars in debt (she had no idea how much money she actually owed!), a good part of it because of helping out this same niece after an accident with the “promise” that she would receive money from the insurance settlement. Of course, she has received little bits of money from time to time but nothing near the amount she spent (including all her retirement savings) over the years ensuring that my niece and her kids had shoes on their feet and a roof over their head. Luckily, my mother has a reasonably good pension, otherwise she could have been out on the streets. It isn’t enough to provide her with the life she SHOULD have or the life she deserves at this point in her life, but 0nce the bankruptcy is discharged, we won’t have to worry about her living in a homeless shelter.
Strangely enough, before I told her that if she ever asked Mom for a single dollar more, I would put a restraining order on her, this niece called every day (often followed by a request for money). From then on, she has been “too busy” to call…
My nephew’s ex wife has made it impossible for my Mom to see his son and daughter (she has also managed to have a no visitation order for my nephew so he can’t ever see his children, either) and my Mom has now given up hope that she will see them before she dies.
It makes me angrier than I can say the someone whose whole life has been her family is either ignored by her family or has the right to see her family taken from her.
For those who are perfectly capable of picking up the phone but are “too busy” I guess this mantra will be some comfort when Mom is dead.