Friday, October 18, 2013

I Have a Life

I've had to go through this my whole adult life.  The idea by others that I don't have a life because either I'm not married, or I don't have kids, or I don't have a job.   Well here's a newsflash, I have a fucking life!!!  I have a pretty full life in fact.  I'm so tired of that mentality I could just scream.  I guess because right now, this minute, it is happening again.

I don't get a say in what time holidays are celebrated because before I was married, I was single and had no life.  Now it's because I don't have kids and have no life.  My plans, my life, they are never considered when family plans are made.  And now it's because I don't have a job.

If you're a regular reader to this blog, you probably know that my father is ill.  He is not going to get better but he could make things easier on himself if he actually did the things the doctors suggested.  He doesn't. When people ask me if he's given up, I tend to say yes.  He has a very poor quality of life which consists of sleeping, eating occasionally, sitting in chair and watching Bonanza reruns or sports, and going to doctors.

Most of his care falls on my mother, and then me.  My mother needs someone to help her get him to appointments.  He is a lot to deal with and she is 82 years old.  He has lost one leg, wears a prosthetic and uses a walker or wheelchair.  He is now facing losing part of his good leg, so there are a lot of doctors and tests and appointments.  It's endless, tiring, stressful.

Herein lies the issue.  Because I don't have a job, it is automatically assumed that I am available to go to these appointments with my mother.  I have 3 siblings, but 2 of them live out of state.  So ideally and logically, these appointments should be split between my brother and I.  I am even willing to take on more because I don't work.  But my brother seems to think that I should do everything.  And when I ask him to do something, he has 100 excuses why he can't.  In fact, he does nothing in regards to helping out with my father.  Nothing.  Last year my mom asked me to take her to Chicago for her aunt's 90th birthday party.  Bro never even offered to come check on OUR father.  And when asked, it was the same thing occurred, more excuses.  Mom had to hire people to come in and check on him, make him meals, etc.

Yesterday was the first of what is going to be many appointments trying to safe dad's leg.  This appointment was 6 hours long.  About 4 hours longer than I had anticipated.  Anything I had planned for that day was void.  When we were leaving that appointment we were told that he will need another next week, and basically to plan on a long visit then too.  Yesterday's appointment was extremely emotionally taxing.  I'm glad I can be there to support them, but I shouldn't have to do everything all the time.  When I got home yesterday I was spent.  Physically drained, emotionally overwrought and truly not in the best of moods.  So I poured myself a glass of wine and went to go relax.  I promptly missed the coaster and the wine went flying.  poured on me, all over the rug, and the glass shattered on the coffee table.  And it was red.  It's at this point that I sat there in a puddle of wine and cried and cried.  It was all too much.

I am not an only child.  I have a life.   I am trying to find a job.  I do job searches every single day.  I apply for jobs almost every day.  I am having trouble with my marriage.  It's all so emotionally draining and I need for someone (ahem.... my brother), to take some of the burden off me.  And he won't.   He just won't.  And it's not fair.  Yesterday I told him he needs to go to some of these appointments and that I can't do it all the time.  His reply was, "you can do it easier than I can!"  So there it is.  I don't have a job, therefore I have no life and this is what... my obligation?

What happens when I finally do get a job?  True I've been looking for a year and half.  But eventually I do expect to get a job.  Then what?   My mom acts the martyr.  While she does understand that we need my brother to step up, if I ever say I can't do it, she will either cancel the appointment he needs or she will say something absurd like they'll just take a cab to the appointment.  But its not just about driving.  It's about going into the exam room with them and listening, taking notes, asking questions.  My mom does none of that.  She is of a generation that blindly accepts whatever the doctors say.  You cannot be that way in this day and age.  I have told her endlessly that she needs to be an advocate but you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.  And here's the clincher... bro's wife is a nurse.  If they went to some of these appointments with them, they would know much better what questions to ask.  As it is, when I do go to appointments, he asks me a million questions and did I ask this, did I ask that.  It's all so fucking annoying and stressful.

How do you get through to people who don't want to listen, don't to step up and do what they should, and then act like it is someone elses (i.e., mine) obligation?


  1. My heart goes out to you Lalia. Oh God, it's so hard. And when I read about you and the wine, I cried too. I'm still crying as I write this. The spilled wine and broken glass kind of crystalized what you are going through... trying to keep it all together, by yourself, and when everything falls apart, there you are, by yourself. Having to clean up everything, alone, scrambling, with no one to help. I'm so sorry you are going through this. My second oldest brother and I went to every appointment with our Mom together, with our oldest brother never even entering into the picture. (Anecdotally he is suing me and my brother for a greater share of the estate). It was grueling, trying to do all this, and knowing that there's someone else there, who is essentially worthless when it comes to asking them to help out, just seems to make it harder. I feel so deeply for you because I've been there. And I empathize with your anger and feelings of helplessness and frustration. Compounded by the fact that you're trying to find a job, and the total insensitivity towards that, and the problems you're having in your marriage. I feel sad about your marriage problems because I know you and he have been together a long time, and you're trying to figure out how to keep that most essential relationship going, amidst everything else that is going on. Dear Lalia. I send you so many healing blessings, for you and your family, that somehow, someone will see the light here. You're in the tunnel and it's dark. There needs to be a light somewhere. I am praying that the light comes to you very very soon.

  2. Your family members are taking advantage of you and the fact you're at a low point in your life. Not having a job/job hunting is a big job, takes time, energy, hustling, etc. but they don't see or respect that. You are not an olden-days spinster. You're a vital young woman with a life of your own that they don't take into account. And there's a Me inside you that's weighed down by the chains they have put around you and is the one screaming I have a life. I can relate to your situation, but there comes a time when the only person who can get you out of this forced obligation is you. The only way out may be to summon up your old self and show them you have limits. Otherwise they will keep stretching you to and beyond your breaking point. Wish I could be more encouraging but I know that feeling of being used and misused and pressured and being treated as a commodity. Good luck and keep venting. It's good for you and for us.

  3. I really feel for you, K. The most frustrating part is that in truth, we really can't control other's behavior. As long as you've been open to your brother about your boundaries/ your limits and how you want things to change, then I think that's really all you can do. The rest is up to him. I also hope you always remind yourself to take care of you first. You will burn out very quickly and only resent everyone if you keep bleeding yourself dry this way.

  4. I'm so sorry you're going through this! I completely concur with Joy. You have to set boundries and put yourself first for the sake of everyone.

  5. I feel for you. It is important to set boundaries and take care of yourself. Have you talked to your brother? Maybe you could write him a letter explaining that you are at the end of your tether.
    I am in no position to give you any advice and can only tell you what I did in similar circumstances: I found a job in a different country. Not too far, not too close. I can keep an eye on my (dysfunctional) family without being swallowed by their endless list of issues. Moving was a lifesaver in my case. Good luck.