Daughters and sons.

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by gringo, May 30, 2015.

  1. gringo

    gringo Registered User

    Feb 1, 2012
    I’ve just finished reading Sally Magnusson’s book about her Mother’s battle with dementia, ‘Where memory goes’.
    It is very well written and very sad, like so many many threads on the forum. I do not believe that we, living with the reality of dementia, will learn too much new about the illness from this book. There was not much there that I hadn’t experienced myself or read about on here. What was new, to me, were the conjectures on what actually constitutes memory.
    But S. Magnusson’s Mother was fortunate to be cared for, in the main, by three devoted daughters. They all had busy lives with families and problems of their own. Indeed, one of them lost her husband to cancer during the course of her Mother’s illness. Their love for and devotion to their Mother was very moving, and illuminates the whole telling of the prolonged illness, making it a very worth-while read.
    My other reaction, to the story, was an ignoble and jealous one and it shames me to tell of it. My two sons tend to stay away and seem content to leave the whole caring business to me. Fortunately, my dear wife, lacking all insight, is quite oblivious of this. But I am not, and find myself, at the end of long, and worrying days of coping with dementia at close quarters, harbouring dangerous levels of hurt and resentment.
    Would it have been different if we had had daughters? I daren’t let myself think about it!
  2. MabbsDaughter

    MabbsDaughter Registered User

    Apr 30, 2015
    Hi Gringo, I am sorry you are dealing with this alone :( I don't think it is just because they are sons and not daughters, my brother helps my mum with my dad without being asked and is there when ever mum needs him. It is each individual and how they cope with it. Can you talk to your sons and tell them how you feel or ask them to try and help you?
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    My OH has two sons and two daughters who are more or less equally invisible. The only one who ever helped productively (twice) is his eldest son.
  4. mabbs

    mabbs Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    so sorry you dont get the support you need from children, I feel very fortunate to have two children who both offer help and support, I am very lucky. xx
  5. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I only have one child-my Dear Daughter-we are very close. She was very supportive to me when Pete was ill; however, she lives a couple of hours away and has a Husband (who was/is equally supportive) and a young son. She doesn't drive so apart from a few visits to Pete/myself her support was largely on the phone:)

    In a way I'm glad that she wasn't on the doorstep as it were, as whenever she visited Pete she was very upset as she had always been close to him. My Daughter at times is not very strong emotionally and had her own problems regarding her son's health. When I really needed her, after Pete passed away, she jumped on the first train to come to my side.

    Sometimes our children-whether sons or daughters- have to get on with living their own lives. I don't know if I would have felt differently if M was living close by. There seems to be a common theme on here that Sons and Daughters are equally invisible; I don't know if that is because they are so upset at seeing a parent suffering so much or if they think that they are looking at a possible future for themselves.

    I'm sorry you are upset Mike-you do sound very tired. Do you think it's worth telling your Sons how you really feel?


    Lyn T XX
  6. ellejay

    ellejay Registered User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Sometimes I feel (some) children have difficulty accepting the reality. Even though they are adults themselves, the mind-set seems to be " Mum & Dad cope & fix stuff, always have, always will , that's what they do !"

    I remember when my MIL was living with us ( Dementia & cancer) & things weren't always easy , our son phoned to enquire if we'd forgotten to post Easter cards & money to his 2 young sons.

    When it was pointed out to him that Easter eggs weren't exactly top of the agenda & why, he was mortified that he just hadn't thought.

    Sometimes, they need telling .

    Lin x
  7. truth24

    truth24 Registered User

    Oct 13, 2013
    North Somerset
    I have to say that although my son and daughter supported me with visits, phone calls and practical advice when it came to care homes etc, none of their own proposed plans for taking their father out or sitting in with him to allow me to go out, ever came to fruition. I think they have only been to visit him once or twice since in the 11 months he has been there although they always want to know how he is when they ring or email. They both say they want to hold on to their memories of how he was and not as he is now. I understand but wish they could bring themselves to go now and then instead of airbrushing him out of their lives.
  8. marsaday

    marsaday Registered User

    Mar 2, 2012
    I'm the helpful reliable daughter and always have been. Saying that, I have 1 brother who is helpful and 1 who is not. I have a son and 2 daughters and often think it would be my son who would be more helpful if and when the time came. But who knows? I do think, no matter how times have changed, there is still more expectation on daughters to adopt a caring role and some are just better at it. So sons tend to get away with doing less.
  9. Miss Merlot

    Miss Merlot Registered User

    Oct 15, 2012
    I can only comment on the dynamic between OH, MIL and me.

    OH is a good son, but seems to view MIL's illness as a "problem to be solved" rather than a "situation to be managed", as I do.

    He is good about doing the daily visits and practical stuff like picking up her medication, changing her light bulbs, doing bits and pieces around her place etc - things that can be "done" and ticked off the list. For a long time, he was one for researching cures (scientific or herbal or vitamin based or whatever) on the internet in the vain hope he could "fix" her, and still gives in to the temptation to "make" her remember at times - though less often than he did before.

    Whereas I am the one to exercise the compassionate communication, pour oil on troubled waters, put forward initiatives (carer visits, putting a stop to driving, move to assisted living etc) and sort all the admin, which OH has a horror of (not just dementia related stuff either).

    I honestly think, if I wasn't on the scene, OH would still be muddling along without any help whatsoever until a crisis hit, and sticking his head in the sand still.

    Not sure what my point is here!
  10. Lilac Blossom

    Lilac Blossom Registered User

    Oct 6, 2014
    I am sorry to read your post Gringo as I can identify very much with your position. We have a son and daughter and they are both the same - they don't want to know! They do not live near us as both moved away from home to find work after university but they don't seem to understand (or don't want to be bothered?)
  11. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    I can only comment on my own experience, Mike.

    My Nana lived until she was 93, seven children...four daughters and three sons. The sons were adored visitors and one of the daughters was a beast of burden taken for granted, not my Mam, she was busy in her political life.

    'Twas the same when my mother had her years of need,(six children) one brother appeared and stepped up to the plate in her final days but it's my opinion it was to salve his conscience as he had been absent, apart from Interflora deliveries, for the previous 18 months.

    My partner is an only child, his parents are 89 and 92.
    His dad(89) has dementia.
    Granted he works, granted he endured the years of care I had to devote to my mother in her time of need and granted he has to endure the sometimes overwhelming, ever constant needs of my severely disabled son.

    He is kind hearted and empathetic, but even so...I have to constantly remind him to include kindness and love into his repertoire...he forgets so easily and pragmatism, without me poking his conscience, would rule the day.

    I agree with Marsaday...quite often daughters are expected to fill the caring role and more often than not they do but, as with all things, there are exceptions to the rule.

    I am the mother of two sons but I expect no more of my able-bodied son than I would a daughter...love, respect and support.

    If I didn't get it my son would know about it.
    I would tell my son I felt disappointed by him but that's our dynamics, each family has their own.

    In mine, it's straight talking, love, laughter and rows!

    He's already informed me that the first time I can't finish a crossword I'll be having me bum wiped by a stranger!
    As long as he keeps watch on the stranger, that'll do for me.

    But visits...emotional support...simple loving input...I would expect that of a son OR a daughter.

    I found an essay mam had written when her mam(died at 93 with dementia) was still alive.

    It was Easter weekend and she was writing how lonely she felt (she was in her late 60's and a very busy District Councillor at the time) she was remarking to herself that she had six children but didn't expect to see any of us until we 'wanted' something :eek:

    Then she continued to write how she felt so depressed she wasn't going to see her mam that weekend.

    Pot calling kettle!

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