Struggling to support my mum

Hi, my dad died a few months ago in hospital after a six week stay through complications related to prostate cancer; he was also late stage with Alzheimer’s.

My mum and dad lived in supported living whereby my dad had carers daily to support with personal care and my mum had a sitting service for two afternoons a week. My brother and myself also had my parents over, took out shopping, outings, meals etc, each seeing them around twice a week of which one was for a full Saturday or Sunday afternoon and evening, we alternated the weekends. We both work full time, I’m married and my brother has a girlfriend who also has her own home. We both have grown up children.

My mum has always been a negative/glass half empty personality which only got worse when my dad became ill; she resented the care she needed to provide and constantly complained. She was not always very nice to him either.

When my dad died I did the majority of organising everything; my mum didn’t even want to go to the funeral home but had to to sign papers. My parents decided long ago that they didn’t want a funeral so it was a direct cremation. I have the ashes at my home as she hasn’t even mentioned them.

My mum is now becoming totally dependent on my brother and I to fill the void and just will not socialise more where she lives, only lunch with one other lady (lunch in a dining area everyday as part of the rent). Mum continues to moan if I’m ‘later’ picking her up after work one day in the week and is snappy, I can’t always finish early. I am also struggling seeing her every other Saturday as she just moans at me all day and just wants to go shopping and then sit and watch TV. If I have other plans the sulking is on another level. My husband finds it difficult and my two adult children tend to try to stay out of her way.

I was always close to my dad; he would be the buffer and would say just let it go over your head and would just go out and about as he found her very difficult at times. I have never had a close relationship with my mum which I know doesn’t help. I’m just finding the negativity overwhelming but I know it’s early days for my mum also. We are all being so patient while dealing with our own grief but just don’t know how to support my mum x

1 Like

Hello @Cookie0109 ,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling overwhelmed with supporting your mum while managing your own grief. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,


I’m so sorry for your loss @Cookie0109 . I can totally relate to your post, and my situation is so similar in lots of ways.
My Dad passed away late November last year, after a very short illness and hospital stay (12 days diagnosed to passing away). Until then he’d been pretty healthy, as is my Mum now. When he went into hospital I stayed with my Mum each night and haven’t been home to sleep since! Other than a few odd nights when my sibling has stayed with my Mum. I go home during the day but stay overnight at her house. I’m married with an adult uni child and have one sibling who lives 4 hours away. When my Dad passed away, my husband and I registered his death and sorted out all the funeral arrangements with the funeral home. We also sorted all his financial affairs out with banks, charities, subscriptions, utilities…you name it. We took all the worry and hassle away from my Mum. Meanwhile, my sibling has visited for a 3 day weekend 3 times since Dad passed away, including the funeral 5 weeks after he passed away, even though he’s self-employed and can work from anywhere. As he visited my Dad in hospital, he didn’t then bother to come back when he passed away until the funeral 5 weeks later. I was left with the sadness of the first Christmas with my Mum and the funeral took place just afterwards. No-one asked me if I was ok and did I want to be in my own home. Sadly, my sibling seems to get away with everything, always has, as far as my Mum is concerned. My Dad could see through his selfish ways but not my Mum. All the companionship and looking after my Mum has been left to me. She’s mentally well and keeps herself pretty occupied during the day. Mum can’t stay with me as my house is too small and she can’t manage the stairs very well now. We get on ok but have always clashed at times and I feel completely trapped now and just want to be in my own house at night, with my husband. She said she’d be ok if I stayed at home but she doesn’t really mean it and so that makes me feel guilty and so I continue with this arrangement. There’s no empathy at all towards me from my sibling and my new situation.
Like you, I miss my Dad so much as I was really close to him too and I too would get frustrated how my Mum would talk to my Dad at times. I’m grieving for my gentle, calm Dad but also grieving for the life I once had. I used to go on holiday a couple of times a year and would meet up with friends for the odd weekend away but I can’t do any of that now as my sibling will only cover one full week over summer, which is never a time I’d go away due to cost and no longer having to be tied to school holidays. For years my husband and I have met friends for a couple of nights over New Year but my sibling said he has his own plans this year so I can’t meet them (they don’t live anywhere near to us so we meet in the middle). He won’t come up for Christmas either and didn’t come up for Easter. Everything is on his terms and he carries on with his life without a thought for all I can’t do now.
It must be so difficult for you to juggle everything now. Could you maybe prepare your Mum for the week ahead and find out if she wants to do anything when you or your brother see her and then “manage” the time spent so you don’t get the negativity? Even limit the time you spend on Saturday to a morning or afternoon if she just wants to watch TV? Its a tough one when you’re trying to be sensitive to her grief yet at the same time having to deal with your own. Could you maybe say you’ll be over after work later that you think it’ll be but turn up earlier, if that makes sense? Or if it gets too much, say you can’t manage it every week, knowing she’s safe where she lives? I really feel for you. Sending :heart:

Your situations are a little bit similar to mine:

We’ve lost my amazing, gentle, responsible dad.

My sister is selfish (2 examples: I asked her if she could help by driving mum to a big supermarket, because I work full time and my sister doesn’t, and she replied that she doesn’t do big supermarket trips any more. And, she is now trying to burden me with her own crappy problems.)

My mum is usually very grateful and even tempered, but I sometimes see her treating me the way she treated dad (which was, on the whole, pretty bad).

It’s going to be an uphill struggle, but we just have to do what we can. My first 39 years on this planet were easy, thanks to my dad. But things have changed, now.

1 Like

But my mum is very good to me, and I love her and my dad the same. But it just so happens that my dad was completely flawless, in my mind. I wish we’d have been able to keep him here :broken_heart:.