Here’s the June 3, 2013 Dear Abby column. I hear variations of this same story almost every day. It’s a story of resentment, anger, and wasted dreams.
The family member needing care most likely chose to avoid having a conversation about responsible – and reasonable – long-term care planning when they were able to.
“DEAR ABBY: I took care of my grandmother until her death a few years ago, and now my mother is very sick. I feel angry because I’m only 23, and it seems all I have ever done is take care of sick people. I sit at the hospital sometimes just fuming.
Mom was a smoker and now she has cancer. I keep thinking if she hadn’t smoked, she wouldn’t be in this fix, and neither would I. I always visit her and try to do everything she asks of me, and yet I think I’m starting to hate her. I dread going to the hospital, sitting there and waiting for test results, etc. What kind of daughter has feelings like this? — WORST DAUGHTER ON EARTH
DEAR DAUGHTER: Please stop beating yourself up. Your feelings are normal. You have a right to be angry that your mother is sick. At 23, you have had an unusual amount of responsibility thrust upon you for someone your age. That her disease has taken over your life is also a reason to be angry.
However, please stop blaming her for her illness. Right now, you need each other. And nonsmokers get cancer, too. The American Cancer Society has support groups where family members can safely share their feelings. Please check them out.”