Hello to everyone.
First of all, let me just say that I love my parents dearly. I don't begrudge them for anything, and I never will. My father has been handicap [in a wheelchair from a degenerative disorder in his spine] since I was probably 5 or 6 years old and within the last 4 years he has accomplished the impossible by walking again with the use of forearm crutches. My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 10 years old, give or take a little bit of time.
I am a 22 year old female with a now 19 year old brother. At the time of my mother's diagnosis nobody told me. My parents had gotten into an accident and my mom was never right after that. Her driving got worse, her moods were horrible and we were yelled at constantly. She started to forget things that had happened five minutes before, and the doctor's visits became more frequent. My brother and I got home from school one day just after my parents had left to go to an appointment with my mom. Now, I never really made it a point to be sneaking and snooping in my mom and dad's room, but I was young and something didn't feel right.
When I went looking, it didn't take me long to find all of the literature that my parents had tried to hide from sight. I started reading them when they were gone, and soon enough I understood. It was probably 5 or 6 weeks into my mom being really
sick that they told us she had MS. My brother wasn't really old enough to understand at the time, but I'd been reading... I knew it was coming. I cried, my mom cried, and so did my dad. I was in 7th grade at the time, and my life changed at that point.
It took my mom a year to start thinking straight again; of nurses coming to our house to teach not only mom and dad how to do her shots, but myself as well because I was the oldest and I wanted to know everything I could. It was in this year that I realized what my responsibilities really had to be. My mom got fired from her job at a Golf Club called TPC here in OH because of her illness -- the company did not want to have to pay for her medical bills since she was eligible for insurance through them at the time of employment -- and my dad hadn't had a source of income other than SSI for years. Things were tight. During this time I began to do the housework, take over the chores and cooking and other responsibilities that my mother was unable to do.
In my 8th grade year I was molested by a boy in my class, and my mom was devastated. In the weeks following the police, the trials, and the ridicule I was going through at school my mom's condition worsened again. I blamed myself, and knew when I went into my high school career things would change even more. I started working when I was 14 years old, and I bussed tables for my mom at the place she worked up until about 4 years ago. When I got a real job, when I was of legal age, I put most of my money into things for my family. This has continued ever since.
Now I am 22 years old, and I'm having a lot of trouble letting my parents go. I've just got engaged and moved out of my home, and while I'm extremely happy I'm also extremely worried. I fear for my mom and dad's health, my 19 year old brother refuses to work or go to school [college] or contribute to the household. Every month when my mom and dad's money runs out, I give them what I can to buy food, or just buy it for them. I call them every single night, and I go down to see them whenever I can. I'm just worried that maybe I'm wrong, and I should let them go. Not to say that I'd let them out of my life, but that I'd break the chain a little.
Is it that easy?
I don't think so.
My fiance is a wonderful man, but his family has never faced anything worse health wise than a broken bone. He doesn't understand why I worry so much, because he can't see it in my mom like I can. He doesn't see the way her eyes glaze over and her face ages when she's not feeling good. He doesn't see what I see, and that's making things hard. Tonight my mom had 2 seizures in a row, and I got called at work by my dad. He told me she was okay, but in the back of my head I couldn't help thinking that it was my fault. I missed a day calling her, I didn't remember to do her pedicure while I was down last week, I forgot to text her good morning...
I know it sounds crazy, I really do. I've spent 10+ years taking charge and taking care of my family, and now I feel like I'm hurting my relationship with my fiance because I can't break the chain with mom and dad. Am I wrong? Am I treating them poorly by perhaps caring a little too much? Or am I just being paranoid and taking on too much? My mom is 42 and my dad is 48. I'm more proud of my family than I could have ever imagined. I've watched them stand up to odds and God and laugh, but I've also watched them collapse and beg for help. I needed to look somewhere for support, and I'm hoping maybe I've found it here.
I feel like I've abandoned my family for my fiance.
I feel like... maybe I just need to stay with them forever.
I miss them too much.