Family Dilemmas

by on June 14, 2011

in Emails

When parents are elderly

Some of the issues on this site apply to me, I think, but not all. My Mom had several miscarriages and still-births so after 8 years of trying (8 failed attempts) I arrived on the scene; my mum has a self-confidence issue so I think went from being a “failure” to being a “success” as her 6 brothers mainly all had children. When I went to Uni I partly based my choices on where would be beyond a day’s journey from home and I remember thinking when my own daughter was born “Mum won’t kill herself now if anything happens to me.” I understand why my mum was (and is!) the way she is and we have a good relationship that I wouldn’t say is dependent, but partly because I lived in France for 5 years after University and I think she learned to deal with me not being around, or down the road etc.

Both my parents were from large families so I had lots of cousins and never found it hard to make friends, with one in particular who lived in our street so despite feeling a little smothered I never really “felt alone” as such.

In the past two years, for the first time ever (I’m 34), I’ve felt the loneliness: my wife and I live with her parents in a large house because my Mother-in-Law has very bad Multiple Sclerosis and my wife helps look after her dad, who is the main carer; my wife’s brother lives in London and we live far up North, but she still can call him up when there’s frustrations or sadness and she can discuss the issues away from her dad.

We’ve had our own children now, both under two, and they’re very happy playing with each other.

With my own parents hitting 70 and living 300 miles away, I’m starting to wonder what on earth I’m going to do when they need me to step in. Do I uproot them and move them 300 miles North? Do I ask my wife to relocate her wheelchair-bound and very ill mother 300 miles down South? Who can I call up to have a rant, have a beer, come up with a plan and who knows my parents and knows the issues?

My personality is such that I’m sure it will all work out; I’ve never been a Hamlet-type, suffering from inaction and generally get on with things – but I can really see my wife and I having both sets of parents living with us and I flick between feeling happy that this is the right thing to do and being pretty frustrated.


  • LJ

    My situation is different from yours but let me say that I can quite identify with your angst. I hope you the best and that it all works out well for you.

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