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Death & Dying Message Board

Death & Dying Board Index

My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in December of last year (2008)- she tried chemotherapy and radiation, but decided once it had spread into the fluid around her heart (about 3 months later) that she would stop treatment and go home to die with what little quality of life she might have left. Hospice has been helping for 3 months and mom has gotten better since her treatment, but still very obviously dying. I have been living with her since my divorce so as her primary caregiver I am with her more than anyone. Being the baby of the family, all of this has been especially hard for me. I was also living with my parents in January 2007 when my dad passed away, I cared for him a lot in his last few months, too. It's more than I am used to- I don't have kids and I am used to being the one being looked after. All this has made me grow up really fast in ways.

I expected as promised my sisters would be here to help me with mom, and for the most part they have been. My one sister has had a strained relationship with our mother for several years. After the last "fight" they had a few years ago they seemed to make amends. But now that mama is dying she seems to have decided she has better things to do than come around. She won't call or visit, she is constantly putting down mama around me. I am the timid "little sister" and I don't know what to say. (I am under 30, she's 10 years older than me, if that matters)

We had a family reunion last weekend which we all know will be mama's last. She got to say goodbye to a lot of extended family and it was very positive for her. My sister, however, sat at my table and complained about how mama was using the reunion as a "goodbye party" and how she was making it all about her and her cancer. My sister told me "Mama is upset because we don't call or come over but I have to put myself and my family first" and then she quoted some stuff from the bible about God being first then her husband then kids...I don't know, I started to tune her out.

My sister has mental issues, she seems to be a hypochondriac or have Münchausen syndrome. She is constantly "sick" or claiming to be sick or claiming her children are sick. She goes to the ER to take medicine because she thinks she'll have a reaction to it. She even had elective surgery done when we needed her to help with mom. The surgery wasn't necessary but she did it seemingly to keep from being obligated to help care for mama...though now I can see in her mental condition it's best that she doesn't help with mom. She is also diagnosed manic depressive. I understand she has problems, but I don't see that as an excuse to talk bad about our mother or treat her the way she does.

It's hard for me to put on a happy face and ignore her but I do so for the sake of my mother. Mama doesn't want anyone fighting because of her. This same sister has already gotten into another sister over mom before and mama got very upset.

Mama is starting to request her fentanyl patches and I have a feeling once she starts using them she'll go downhill. She went from being a robust 180 lb woman to nothing but skin and bones. She's ready to go, I'm ready to let her go as hard as it is. But what to do when she's gone and my sister uses mom's death as another ruse for getting attention? I can keep it together for mom for her sake, but when she's gone I won't be able to bite my tongue anymore.

Sorry this is so long. Have any of you had to deal with similarly dramatic siblings or family members? Any words of advice for me?

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