Blood and Water or Family Dynamics

I’m feeling lonely again. I hate this feeling. It’s a feeling usually mixed with sadness and hurt. Potent combo. Can leave you in a funk for days….

A little context………………… my dad and I are once again talking about nursing homes…. mom is just getting to that point where caregiving is difficult. She’s having more accidents and she’s had a few other truly demented moments…… trying to eat raw chicken, wiping herself with a maxi pad wrapper (that was Sunday’s WTF moment — she took the wrapper out from the tampon bin)….. we do our best, but the woman needs constant, 24/h care.

I was mid-pee when she walked into the stall, peed and wiped with a maxi pad wrapper……….. so much for wait for me.

The nursing home topic is a sensitive one at our house…. my dad hasn’t wanted to even discuss it since “the incident…” the one inside the bin until recently. He’s tired. Caregiving is a stressful job, one that is often ignored and the toll is terrible…. depression, anxiety, sickness, loss of wages, etc….. So we’ve started talking about it, and this evening, I started doing a little preliminary research.

In the middle of my search, my cousin sent me an e-mail… nothing to do with my mom; I sent her an IM with my response…. we started chatting. The topic of my cousin, the one who was upset at the name of my blog (among other things) came up…… I started to feel those feelings again…. just hurt, resentment, frustration and anger….. the usual suspects. I recently sent her an e-mail congratulating her on some news and we e-mailed back and forth for a bit…. nothing more….. yes, this could be called progress, but I think it’s unlikely. I know that our relationship will likely never be repaired, something about the whole ordeal bothers me….. it’s like this itch. This annoying itch that’s turning into an oozing sore.

And then the stories pop into my head.

A little background………………. my cousin and her brother scolded me publicly on Facebook in front of other friends and family (I had posted pictures of my mom and titled the album, “My Demented Mom”)… Take that down. This is not a joke, wrote my cousin

Really? I thought this whole situation was rather comical……..

Thank you, wrote his sister.

I retorted, calling her passive aggressive……………… the retorts escalated and went back and forth from there………….. At the end of the day, things could have been handled better by both sides……. still, I can’t shake that virtual dialogue.

I suppose because I wonder what my mother’s family thinks of me………………… My Demented Mom is lost in translation……………. despite translations.

Or, maybe what’s really getting my panties in a severe twist is this…………….. do they care about me as much as they care about my cousins?

Would they, or do they, defend me?

Where do I fall on the family totem pole?

I guess that’s what it comes down to………….. am I truly alone? I feel like it.

A lot.

Yes. I am aware of my own flaws and fault. I have a few………………………….

It’s easy to say, “I love you,”  “I’m here for you,” or “Thinking of you,” but when it really matters, do we actually mean it?

 Do they mean it?

Would I mean it if the roles were reversed?

Do they ever wonder if I’m sinking under the stress? Would I wonder?

Do they know that I have cracks in my own facade? Would I know?

Family dynamics are always tricky when it comes to a serious family illness… old resentments and new anger festers until it just explodes………….

I don’t know why this still bothers me. I wish I could let it go, but I can’t.

I’m still clinging onto my own hurt feelings.

It sort of makes me want to run away from everyone………………

Maybe blood isn’t always thicker than H2O.

>>Flickr pic by my favorite Meredith Farmer


  1. Blood is only thicker than water when it has earned the right to be so. Have any of your relatives come to you and said anything remotely close to, “I know it must be difficult caring for your mom. Is there anything I can do to help you?” And then they shut up and wait for you to answer? Those are the relatives who really care. They don’t have to understand what you are going through but it at least it shows they give a damn enough to ask. No one can possibly understand unless they have experienced caring for someone who is demented. I don’t expect people to get it, I just want them to be genuine with their voiced concern. Lip service doesn’t count. Actions speak louder than words.

    Facebook can get the feathers ruffled for certain family members. I have often heard of stories where relatives make fools of themselves online so other relatives simply defriend them and the idiot relatives find it somehow offensive. As if just because you are family we owe it to you to remain friends with you on FB. Hardly! You are an idiot, I don’t like your behavior and I don’t have to put up with it. See, all I have to do is click right here and I have now “unfriended” you. You are “gone” to me…good riddance, you and your unacceptable behavior. And guess what, it’s my decision to do so and you can’t control who I friend and unfriend. Biologically we have the same blood, but that certainly doesn’t mean I am required to respect you or like you. You have to earn that and quite frankly you’ve done a piss poor job of doing so and I don’t have to put up with it anymore. I have enough on my plate caring for a demented mom. She deserves to receive any emotional energy I have left, not you, so I’m not even going to get mad at you I’m just going to eliminate you from my life. And guess what, that means you are gone from FB, too. At least in my world, because I can be in control of that facet of this gem of a life I have…caring for a demented mom…I’m not expecting awards for my service, not even any pats on the back, I do this because I love her and she deserves respectful care and concern from her daughter and I am here to provide that,to her, by choice. And as difficult as it is, she deserves it. She cared for me as a child and this is the circle of life. No one asks you what kind of circle you would like to have in your family, it is what it is. Some of us embrace it, others choose not to. You are “blood family” because you live it, not just because we have the same last name or share branches on the family tree.

  2. Wow! the similarities between your situation and mine are remarkable. My demented mom is driving me crazy and my dad is not dealing very well with the whole situation. I feel lonely, angry and resentful most of the time. My siblings just think I am a bitch> Yeah I am. It is me that they stay with most of the time so I think they should walk a mile in my shoes but of course they are way to busy for that.

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    home for mom

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