MOM IS DYING and There's So Much Blame

Dear Barbara, My mother doesn’t have very much time left. One of the issues I am dealing with, being the oldest in my family, is my siblings don’t seem to connect with me in this situation. I realize we deal with it in our own way but there seems to be a lot of blame going on, not a lot of remembrance, and there has been financial resentment as well as petty behavior. Can you give me some feedback?

I'm sorry to say when a family member is dying it can bring us together and be our finest hour as a family or it can bring out the worst in us and create resentments that last a very long time. From what you are describing this may not be your family's finest hour.

What to do about all the discord? I would have a family meeting and talk about the negative attitudes, not finger pointing but stating, "We are not doing so well here supporting mom by fighting among ourselves". Suggest a truce until mother is gone. Suggest you all come together for her sake, to show your love for her, and concentrate on providing a loving, peaceful environment. Talk of giving her the gift of a family that is getting along. When she is gone you all can resume the discord if you want.

This meeting may or may not work. You may just be criticized even more for being the “oldest” and “thinking you know best” (I’m an oldest, too, so I know how that thinking works).

Be gentle with yourself. If the discord continues then you just support and love your mother. You be the point of stability, calm and peacefulness around her. Don’t engage in the arguments or discussions. Once you have suggested the “truce” let everyone have their point of view and whether you agree or disagree just stay quiet.

You want to be able to look back on this time and know you did the best you could to give your mother a peaceful journey. You can only be responsible for your actions. This is a gift you are giving your mother, your love and efforts. Each family member has to live with their contributions.

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Truly the best advise in the world. I had a similar issue in my family when my Dad passed away a few years ago. I emailed Barbara and she gave me such great suggestions, basically do not engage. It was with my Dad’s wife. I never engaged with her or her daughter and refused to argue. I spent time with my Dad and ignored everything they said. It’s not easy at all, but I am so glad I did because I was able to spend time with my dying father. The night my Dad passed away, I walked out of the house and have NEVER spoken to them again. Sometimes people just see things differently and you can’t do anything about it. Thank you again Barbara, you are the BEST!

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