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Hi all. I was a long time active user on TAM a few years ago when I went through a divorce and custody battle. I came back here because it was a great resource for me, and I'm looking for help with a new situation I have found myself in.

A few years ago, during my divorce, my mom was diagnosed with breast and kidney cancer. A the time, the only reason I found out was because of a text message I had seen on my sisters phone to my mom about "not wanting to tell me because of what I was going through" with my divorce. I confronted her and my mom about it and they said they hadn't told me yet because they thought I was "too fragile" in my current mental state of divorce. I was upset and told them that no matter what I'm going through personally, I needed to know what was going on.

Fast forward through her treatment, surgeries, etc. She went into remission and then about a year ago it came back, and has since gotten worse. Things seemed OK, from a family standpoint. We spent a lot of time together, doing all sorts of things. I met a wonderful new man, that they both said they like, but then about 3 years ago, when I moved about an hour and a half away from where they live, things got worse. They stopped communicating with me like they had before. (When I lived out of state, this same situation happened. They stopped calling me and communicating with me unless they needed something).

They came to the town I live in strictly for my moms treatments. They stayed with us each time, and we always seemed to get along OK, for the most part. We had some disagreements on her treatments, but overall everything was ok.

Now, this is where my current situation begins. A few days ago, my sister sent a text about not giving her info on a gift I ordered for our mom. She didn't give me a chance to explain to her that I didn't finish the text I sent to her about the gift because I got interrupted with kids and other things and forgot to finish texting back. She was very snobby about it. I told her to chill, and that I was sorry, that I got interrupted and forgot to finish texting back. She didn't respond. Then a few days after that, after I had sent a message to my cousin about not being able to make it to the super bowl party they were having because of the lateness of the game time and our travel time to and from their town, she sent me another message asking why we weren't coming, so I told her why. Then she proceeds to tell me, verbatim "So you couldn't come over early and spend time with mom..she would really like to see you and her grand kids". It upset me, terribly.

So that night I called my mom to see if there was anything going on with my sister that I wasn't aware of. She said no and asked why. I told her about the texts and how they seemed so snobby and thought maybe it was due to something I was unaware of. She said no and we had a good talk about her and how the cancer has gotten worse, and that she's going to try a new chemo, which I hate but what do you do? Anyways, I told her, in a playful way, that my sister drives me crazy and my mom says "well, yeah, but she's sure been here for me throughout all this". That statement was like a dagger in the back. I can't be there for my mom in the same way my sister can, because I live an hour and a half away. My sister takes my mom to all her appointments and does all the consultations with the doctors. I didn't know what to say, and honestly I can't remember what I did say. I tried not to let it get to me but after a couple days, I decided to text my mom. I sent her a text about how I felt, mostly because I could write it out and make sure I didn't miss anything, rather than calling. I told her I was sorry we couldn't make it down for the game, and that we will try very hard to visit more often. I told her I was sorry that I can't be there for her the same way my sister is, and that I want to be there for her but I'm not sure how because I don't live there. I told her how much I love her and that I want her to be healthy and do whatever she can to help heal herself and feel better. I told her I feel left out because they don't tell me anything that is happening with her health. They don't tell me when she has appointments or what has been happening. The only time I am told is when I call my mom. She doesn't call me, and neither does my sister. I told her that I thought maybe they think I don't care, but wasn't sure.

I told her I have a very hard time discussing her cancer because it makes me so sad, and that I don't say much when they do because I don't know what to say. I told her I'm terrified to lose her and that I pray for her all the time. I told her I support whatever decisions she makes, even if I don't agree with them and to please let me know what I can do to help her and help support her. I told her I'm sorry if I had let her down in anyway and that I love her dearly.

Fast forward to today. I tried to call her on my lunch hour and they were headed into another town for a doctors appointment. Mind you, she never responded to the text I had sent her, and didn't call either. I know I should have tried to call her that same day I sent the long text, and I dropped the ball. I can't help but wonder what I am doing that makes them not want to keep me informed. Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this situation? It's weighing on me heavily and I need some advice. TIA.
 

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Honestly, if I was battling a terminal illness for the second time, the LAST thing I would want to do is mediate between my adult children and hold their hand. I'd need support, prayers, and time with them. I wouldn't appreciate them making my cancer about THEM
 

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I appears to me your sister is getting perhaps resentful as she feels left to attend to your mother mostly alone. Her life is put on "hold" as she has to run to the doctors with mom, see to her well being and anything else that she has to contend with. She sees you an hour away conducting your life and not really putting it on hold to attend to this illness. Try to talk with your sister and understand her perspective in this. Perhaps work out some kind of schedule. You spend a weekend every other weekend. This allows your sister a break. That kind of thing.

My W and I went through the same. Ever weekend we drove 45 plus minutes to spend the entire weekend with her mother who was diagnosed and eventually succumbed to cancer. We had the kids in tow but I took up looking after the kids for the weekend while my W attended to her mom. My SIL was appreciative of the help as she was left to do the majority of the care taking during the week. Our lives basically put on hold. Talk with your sister. Ask her what you can do to help her.
 

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parents getting old and frail and/or sick sucks doesn't it?

i'm dealing with my dad who is 97 years old, but still independent and doing ok.

my mom passed two years ago after a slow 2 year decline on hospice at the end, so i can identify somewhat with your situation.

i am the local guy who lives 17 miles away from my dad, my brother lives 1500 miles away in mexico and my sister lives 80 miles down the highway, so i'm it.

fortunately, my dad is still doing pretty good, but is stubborn and won't go to assisted living. instead, he has a caregiver come in several times a week to help out.
i help him out also.

so. as to your situation. you feel guilt and sadness. there is no real way to alleviate this. you're going to feel guilt. you could always be doing more, so you're going to feel guilt.
your siblings may contribute to that. there's no way around it completely.

but, for whatever it's worth, it sounds like you're pretty much doing all you can reasonably. your dad is blessed by the fact he has family members living with him (or close by).
many do not and are horribly lonely and without.

you gotta do what's best for your dad, you and your family.

so what you can and try to be at peace with it. and don't let the siblings get to you. tune them out as much as you can.
 
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