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 Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:25 am
Posts: 227
Post Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
I am so frustrated and upset that my sisters-in-law did not call their mom to wish her a Merry Christmas. She sat around all day waiting. Their rationale is that she won't remember anyway. How callous. She may not remember the conversation, but she remembers that they do not call. They had sent flowers with a card that said "Greetings from Montana" and my MIL sat around just looking at the flowers. I got a text yesterday from one asking if she got her flowers, but no call. Now my MIL is sitting in her room with the door closed. I go in to sit with her, but as soon as I get up, she closes the door. Yesterday she mentioned (one of her rare moments of speaking clearly) that she had one foot already in the "box." She has always avoided talk of death. How can I possibly deal with this? She can barely walk and rarely leaves the house (by her choice). What can I do to cheer her up? Does she need an anti-depressant? She currently only takes Remeron at bedtime.

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Donna (age 56) caregiver for mother-in-law Margaret (age 88).


Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:04 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:30 pm
Posts: 317
Location: southern cali
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
what a disappointment... not sure why it happened, but an excuse for your mil, that might help the hurt is.. the lines on christmas were busy busy busy.. we tried to call hubbys mom every few minutes, all day and never got thru.... and for the sil's, if it were me, id call them ( or ask your hubby) and ask them to give a call now and explain how much it hurt their mom..... it might not completely heal the situation, but hopefully it will remind them how important it is to stay in touch and hopefully it wont happen again..

hope your mil is doing better today...

cindi

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sole CG for hubby.1st symptoms, 2000, at 55. Diag with AD at 62, LB at 64.. vietnam vet..100% ptsd disability,sprayed with agent orange, which doubled chances for dementia. ER visit 11-13,released to memory care..


Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:44 am
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
How sad.

You are not responsible for your SILs' behavior, but I think Cindi has a good idea about letting them know that their mother was expecting a call and is very disappointed. They apparently are clueless and maybe would appreciate this information. (Or maybe not.)

I don't think I'd consider anti-depressants on just this one incident. When sad things happen it is OK to feel sad. I'd keep an eye on her mood, though.

Have you talked to your MIL about the disappointment? If not, maybe it would be good to let her express her hurt and to have it acknowledged. "Mom, I am really disappointed that Carol and Ruth didn't call us on Christmas."

Would it be helpful if you called them so Mom could wish them a happy holiday?

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:46 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Can you text them back, saying that their mother was disappointed that no call came yesterday but there's always today?

It doesn't sound like your MIL is depressed -- just realistic about her situation. You might want to meet with a counselor to get some coaching on how to handle your MIL's talk of death.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:03 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3305
Location: Vermont
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Oh Donna, I feel so terrible for your MIL and for you and your husband. Some people are just so clueless about the feelings of others and their whole lives are all wrapped up in themselves. I agree with Cindi that calling them and telling them how much it hurt her not to get a call, and asking them to call now would be in order. And, for the future, I'd probably call them on special days when your MIL is expecting a call and tell them you are calling for their mom and will put her on to say hi or something.
I don't know what makes people like that tick, but it can be so heartbreaking. Sending all of you a big hug, Lynn

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Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:41 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
This is very sad but there's really nothing to be done about inconsiderate people. They probably don't even see themselves that way. It probably bothers you more than it does your MIL. Life is too short to let others' slights make you miserable. God bless you for being an outstanding 'daughter' in lieu of her birth daughters. Hugs to you and Happy New Year! You certainly deserve it! :P

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:07 pm
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:25 am
Posts: 227
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Thanks for the advice. I will try again (have tried before to no avail). So sad. I find that people who are wrapped up in themselves are not very happy. They are setting an example for their own children to follow. Mine are old enough to see this. I am very proud that they call my out of state parents regularly. My oldest son wrote a lovely note to my MIL for Christmas and she keeps it next to her and rereads it often. That is my legacy for having them watch me take care of my MIL.

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Donna (age 56) caregiver for mother-in-law Margaret (age 88).


Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:47 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
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Location: Vermont
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Thank goodness your MIL does have some loving, caring family, and that's wonderful that you have been such a good example to your own kids. That's really important! Lynn

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Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:03 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm
Posts: 464
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Watching my mother and aunt care for their mom and dad through years of dementia (and the care my grandmother gave my grandfather at home) is what taught us how to care for Mom. Hopefully, the care we give Mom now is an example to our next generation for when it is their turn to care for us - hopefully. I hope... Maybe...

Kate

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Kate [i](Cared for Mom for years before anyone else noticed the symptoms, but the last year of her life was rough and we needed to place her in an SNF, where she passed in February 2012)[/i]


Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:56 pm
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:25 am
Posts: 227
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Took your advice, friends. My husband called his sisters. Left a message for one to call him back. Still waiting. The other was home but cut him off after 2 minutes (if even that). Poor guy. He says he's not hurt, but he is. Now he knows how his Mom feels. Oh, and no call to her wishing a Happy New Year. Karma. What goes around comes around.

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Donna (age 56) caregiver for mother-in-law Margaret (age 88).


Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:44 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:46 pm
Posts: 19
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Hello there,
Well may I wish you Donna and your mum-in-law a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? Believe it is quite fine and proper etiquette to grant you those two greetings up to (and prior to) January 4 2012.

And I will follow it up with saying Mum and I, as caregivers, experienced the same thing...and my Dad who has LBD. Some friends and relations melted away a little...they may come back. Mum does not understand and is hurt. I am a little different and have come to understand many people simply do not understand LBD or other dementias... and just think the patient is "out of it". This leads to much more confusion and suffering than is needed by the LBD'er and the caregivers and/or family - particularly when there is so much stress involved to begin with.

Re Crying and Remembering...My Dad who has LBD "knows' it is Christmas, the Holidays and that today is January 1st. Bless his heart - he was in tears when Mum and I arrived at the hospital this morning because he "thought that we had forgotten him or would be too busy". His lower lip was trembling - his hurt and feelings of utter rejection was heartbreaking to see. Of course, Mum and I have both been visiting him from 11-2 and 4:30-7:00 daily...both of us. So it was just that our morning visit - particularly because IT WAS A HOLIDAY - seemed a long time in coming for Dad. Because, you see, everyone (patients and nurses) kept wishing him a Happy New Year - but his family was not there and he could not understand why because he has never been away from family over any holiday in 76 years...so really missed us... Nurses were sweet and tried to reassure him - but he just did not get it...

But 5 minutes of hugging when we arrived and his tears then became tears of Joy... we were all teary and then the 3 of us laughed and cried tears of joy and gladness...And he was "happy" within 5 minutes of our being there... literally. So drugs were not necessary...I believe feelings of sadness are very acceptable. After all, would we not cry if we were suddenly sick with no one visiting us or phoning us? Does not have to be depression.... one can be hurt because ones' friends or relatives do not contact them on the high days or Holidays...

And for those who don't visit or call and think "they do not remember and just forget anyway"... here is a little advice, albeit unsolicited.
First of all, they do not always "just forget anyway", my Dad remembers an incredible amount - and particularly holidays because many happy times go way back...so it is the special occasions he remembers the most. (He just does not say so because he is sad. ) And secondly, even supposing they do forget... a joyful phone call is just that ... a joyful 2 minutes or 15 minutes or 1 hour visit or whatever... for that particular period in time - whatever it is - it is some "joy" given to the person who is suffering...

So forget about the "they will not remember anyways"... I tell everyone this in relation to my father - that it is not about what he will remember in 3 hours or 3 days from now... it is the moment or period of joy they are able to receive, and are able to experience in that moment... from the disease if even for a very brief period of time...

And also, a word of caution. My Dad and other dementia patients to go through many periods of absolute lucidity - and during these episodes, believe me, they "remember".

I will take it one step further - even if he/she does not recognize you - then introduce yourself and let them know how you came to know them...and that you have come to visit (or wanted to phone them, whatever) ... and if they are confused then just simply say "I have heard you are not well... and that sometimes the illness prevents you from remembering every little thing...and I imagine it would be completely frustrating and even sad at times...but I am your daughter and was really looking forward to a visit with you today...".

Is it just me... why do more people not understand this concept? Why do people think that the act of giving is only 'useful' if it is remembered by the recipient? Am I missing something??

But now I am ranting...So perhaps I better serve people by hoping some of the above suggestions might prove helpful when speaking with relatives, colleagues, friends, caregivers and health practitioners...


Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:35 am
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:25 am
Posts: 227
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
@edunbar - Well said! I always say that my MIL may not remember what you said, but she will remember that you never call. The joy is certainly "in the moment." To see my MIL's face light up when my sons visit is priceless. My eldest son wrote her a lovely note for Christmas. She still keeps it next to her and reads it often.

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Donna (age 56) caregiver for mother-in-law Margaret (age 88).


Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:47 am
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:22 pm
Posts: 188
Location: Portland, Or
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
We had a recent incident that this reminds me of. My niece's first grandchild ( my mothers 1st great-great granddaughter) was born the end of November. I asked my niece when they were going to be able to bring the baby over so my mom could meet her and my niece said " Will grandma even remember that she was there?" and I told her " it doesn't matter if she remembers it or not, she'll love it while it's happening". My mother has always loved babies. In addition to raising her own 10 children, she also babysat for many of the neighborhood children, and babysat most of her grandchildren when we parents had to return to work, ( I was SO blessed!) When they brought Aaliyah over my mom was able to hold her for about five minutes ( with me standing right there in case mom got tired), and took many wonderful pictures so that when Aaliyah grows up and doesn't remember her great-great Grandmother Marion, she'll have the pictures.
Ellen


Attachments:
Aaliyah and grandma marion.jpg
Aaliyah and grandma marion.jpg [ 80.54 KiB | Viewed 3188 times ]

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Ellen 59, caregiver for mom Marion 81,dx LBD Feb 2011
Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:42 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Ellen, that is so special! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful moment with us! :P

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:02 pm
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Nobody called to wish a Merry Christmas
Ellen, that picture brought tears to my eyes and gladness to my heart. Thank you for sharing
Ger xx

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cared for Dad who passed away on January 28th 2013 R.I.P.


Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:25 pm
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