Since Tuesday, I have been living with terrible, haunting guilt. Last weekend, my mom was in the hospital for a few days due to a bout of pneumonia. The doctor was recommending rehab instead of a direct ticket home. So was my brother. Throughout her life, my mom has never been unreasonable or a complainer. However, this time, my mom was adamant about going home, to the point that no amount of persuading was going to change her mind. I knew, for her peace of mind, I needed to support her. So, I convinced the doctor to discharge her, with the stimulation that I would be responsible for whatever happened as a result. I also texted my siblings, of which neither responded. The result? My mom ended up falling resulting in a cracked rib and a partial collapsed lung. Once again she is in the hospital, this time in the trauma unit. Thankfully, she is doing well and slowly getting better. And, this time she has agreed, when she is released, to go to rehab. Yesterday she told me, ‘I was a stupid woman.’ I told her, she was not the only one.
The most disturbing part of all this? Not only is the guilt eating me alive, but when I texted my siblings about what happened, I received dead air as a response. On Wednesday, when I visited my mom, she relayed that my siblings had come to not only see her but to meet with the doctor about her condition. I was totally shocked and taken aback that I was not included. My mom also mentioned my brother was going to call me.
Now I am not making excuses for the decision I made to take my mom home, which in hindsight, was not the best thing to do.However, right before Christmas, my mom was in the hospital again because she believed she was having another stroke. It was found that she had a torn artery so more effective blood thinner and high blood pressure meds were given. When the doctor was ready to release her, rehab was also recommended. I asked if it would be okay if I took her home with me as I had the week off. The doctor agreed. During her stay with me, my sister texted twice to wish us a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and my brother called three times. Neither of them made any effort to visit her. Which really shouldn’t have been a surprise because when my mom was in rehab for three weeks, after her stroke, my sister didn’t visit at all and my brother came once.
Anyway, on January 3rd, my mom’s physical therapist said she could be returned home. That night, I sent my siblings an email, with a calendar, requesting them to sign up for the days they were available to help my mom. Then I would make a master calendar, send it back to them and give my mom a copy. Not surprisingly, dead air was a response.
Since the my mom has fallen, my relationship with my her has not taken a hit. Needless to say, I have heard nil from my siblings. And I don’t expect to.
So not only is the guilt tearing me apart but I also have fear of retaliation from my siblings. Yes, I admit I was wrong. Yes, my mom should have gone to rehab. But I can’t change the fact I felt, at the time, what she was requesting was not unreasonable. I have been her primary caregiver for the last 10+ years which has allowed me to really get to know her.
I admit. I fucked up BIG TIME!!! I keep telling myself and hearing my friends telling me what I did was right for my mom regardless of the outcome. I don’t care if this causes estrangement from my siblings. It was coming to that point anyway. What I fear is them suing me for neglect or getting a court order banning me from seeing her. This, despite the fact my mom doesn’t, in any way shape or form, believe I ever did anything to cause her negligence. And I would NEVER, no matter how much frustration I have sometimes experienced in my years as a caregiver, EVER think about doing anything to harm her or my dad when he was alive.
What I have decided is to cut all communication from my siblings. I need to in order to direct the guilt, that is tearing me apart, into a more positive mindset so I can help my mom recover. Besides, my siblings only show up when it’s convenient for them or when something major happens. Then, they dance right back out to go about their lives.
I can’t take back my decision. I can’t fix the fact my mom fell. I can’t change the fact my siblings are who they are. The only relief I can get is to place all my trust in God, try to let go of the guilt and fear and be thankful for the family of friends I have who believe I am not a bad person.
I don’t want to smooth over the circumstance because every time I see my mom, the guilt rears itself up even harder. However, I know, looking in her eyes, that she has forgiven me. I just wish I could forgive myself.