Relationships

My dad dies very suddenly in January this year. He was 75. Since then my mum has really changed and I am finding that I don’t really like her anymore. I feel horrendously guilty about this and I don’t really know what to do. I don’t feel like I can talk to her about it. Has anyone else found this?

Dear Nikki,

I am so sorry, and I totally understand what you mean.

My mother was 55 years old when my dad died aged 57 many years ago, she was a sweet, caring lady, who lived for her family, my sister and I. But immediately after our dad’s funeral she changed. She turned into a person that I didn’t recognise…

Our dad died in January and in the March of the same year she went abroad for two weeks on her own without telling us, in those days there were no mobile phones and no phones in the house, but luckily my sister still lived at home and told my husband and myself that she had gone to town, booked a holiday and just went.

Until the day she died 35 years later, we had a love hate relationship, she said some terrible things to me, but I had been brought up to respect our parents, so I kept my mouth shut, my husband said, she was my mother so let it go.

I let it go for all those years, but I started to dread her coming to visit us, I dreaded going to visit her because she was always picking up on something, she didn’t like this. she didn’t like that and so it went on. Even when my sister died aged 47, I am sure my mother wished it were me instead, she seemed to have got a dislike of me from the moment our dad had died.

I remember being 9 months pregnant, and my sister had decided to book her wedding for when our baby was due, goodness knows why, but, I went into labour and missed the wedding, but my husband still had to go as he was giving my sister away with my dad dying two years earlier. My mum never, ever let me forget it and said I had let my sister down.

It never ended.

I took her to Italy on holiday and all she did was complain. I never, ever knew what had happened to make her turn on me after our dad died, she became a different woman and I honestly got to the state I didn’t like her one little bit.

All I can say is, talk to her, I wished I had talked to my mum to find out why she had changed, you need to sort it out or your life will be very unhappy.

Love

Sheila xx

Thank you Sheila. I have found your reply really helpful. I’m glad it’s not just me. My husband thinks I am selfish for feeling how I feel but I can’t help it. My mum isn’t nasty to me it’s just she thinks the whole world revolves around her and how she feels. It’s almost as if all the attention she had when dad died has gone as time has passed and she can’t live without it. What hurts me the most us she has never once asked how I am. She is just someone I don’t want to be with. I don’t think I can talk to her about this.

Nikki x

Dear Nikky, my husband too told me to respect her as she was my mum so I did and kept my mouth shut. At least she isn’t being nasty and picking on things like my mum did.

Your mum is lost, I can relate to that, but for the time being, look after her and be there for her. She will find her feet after a while and start to realise she has now got to sort things out for herself. If she asks you to do something for her, just say, we will do it together and pick a day that is convenient to you. Don’t cancel something you want to do because that will cause resentment.

At the end of the day you are her daughter and she is, like I say, lost, doesn’t know which way to turn so it means you having patience, a heck of a lot of patience, but you will be working yourself and having other things to do so you must make it clear you can’t be there all the time. Give her a time when you will visit her but make sure you do visit her when you say you will. That is one of the grievances I have with our sons, they promise to visit on a certain day then nothing, no phone call for weeks, so keep your promise.

We took my mum shopping every week, took her to the GP’s, opticians, hospital appointments, like I said, no mobile phones. I used to finish work at lunchtime, then get two buses to her house and then buses to the doctors as we only had one car and my husband was using it as he worked a long way from where we lived. If you have a car, take her out for a couple of hours for afternoon tea, that is all we mums want, a change of scenery with our son or daughter for a chat. We don’t want to be thought of as a nuisance. That means setting aside a few hours a week for your mum or every two weeks, just to ensure she knows that she is not alone, talk about your dad to her and you will find she will start to sort herself out.

I was my late husbands 24/7 carer for the last three years of his life so I took on everything housekeeping, bills, banking, the lot so when my husband died, I just carried on so there wasn’t that feeling of being dropped into the middle of something I could not cope with.

You will feel like tearing your hair out sometimes, but it will pass. People who have lost the one person they have loved for most of their lives are lost and all they need is compassion and a bit of thought and that doesn’t cost much at all. Just a bit of your time.

I hope it works out for you. We old women can be very frustrating I know, but sometimes we are set in our ways, and remember what it was like when family looked after their own just because they were family.

Love

Sheila xx

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