How do I deal with multiple out-of-state family illnesses?
August 12, 2010 10:01 AM Subscribe
I can't stop feeling guilty about not being able to visit sick family members or help them more. I'm scared of others dying or being sick.
posted by KogeLiz to Human Relations (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have a large extended family on both sides.
Let me explain the health problems first.
Currently my (college educated, former business owner) father cannot get on right track due to his past (legal reasons; mom left him, he got remarried to an abused coke addict with BPD that accused him of things that didn't happen - Dad pled guilty because it lawyer said he didn't stand a chance). He is living with his Mom's side of the family in the middle of nowhere in a shack. No one will hire him. He is constantly giving me and my sister guilt trips about how we don't love him anymore and how we don't come to visit (which I want to do - but I don't have vacation time nor the funds). He has heart problems and panic disorder and thinks he's going to die anyday. This week, I found out he was in the VA hospital because he "felt weird". He mentioned feeling suicidal to my sister.
His Grandmother (my great-grandmother) is 94 years old and in and out of the hospital. the family is thinking this may be her last year.
In Florida, I have two aunts that I'm close to that are sick. One has MS and the other (who I mentioned in my last question) has cancer most likely from Hep C (including liver damage, enlarged spleen, lost 60 pounds). My aunt with the liver damage and cancer always ends up crying when I talk to her... and she has anxiety issues and also doesn't want much details from the doctors because she is scared. She ends up asking me sometimes to look up her health problems - which pretty much says "grim". She always asks when I'm going to visit.
Both my Aunt and my father like to talk on the phone for hours at a time - which I dislike a lot. I feel guilty about not calling them more often - but it's hard to deal with 2-4 hours phone conversations. but I know I may feel guilty about not talking on the phone as much if somethign should happen.
I have NO IDEA how to handle ANY of this.
I can't be in three states at once.
Only one person really close to me has died - a family friend that we lived with my whole life until his death. And when he was sick from the cancer, I was 12 years old. I was terrified and didn't go to the hospital to see him. When he briefly came home from the hospital, I was so scared. I was too terrified to go to see his body (I have a fear of seeing dead bodies) and I guess I carry that guilt with me.
CONSTANTLY, I think about all the family members I have and how they're all possibly going to be dying within the next few decades (If I don't go early... which i hope I don't) and how my father's life has been pretty much ruined and there's not much I can do to help unless I had a lot of money.
How do I stop thinking about everyone dying?
How do I deal with the guilt of living in another state from all my sick family members?
How do I deal with them when they're crying?