We live with my dying mom, 13yo dd doesn't like her - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-02-2009, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so the situation is complex.

DD and I moved to my mom's town two years ago after my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma - a blood cancer that starts in the marrow - and given a prognosis of 3-4 years to live.

She couldn't live alone, so I moved in with her, with my (then) 11yo DD.

They had a very close relationship, periodic visits, "grandma camp" in spring and summer, and I also get along with my mom fairly well.

Living in the same house has changed everything. Besides the dynamics of being 40 and living with my mother (despite the reason why), my mom also seems to want to be a second parent to my daughter but often behaves like another young teen in a power struggle with her.

All this is compounded by Mom's meds that make her moody and irritable, or prone to crying.

DD goes to an alternative school and is home three days a week during the year (at her dad's this summer). But hides in her room when home, avoids my mom, doesn't like her anymore and can be a little brat (big brat?) to my mom. They both are kinda bratty to each other, but my mom pulls the "I'm the adult you have to do what I say" card when I'm at work. I try to support my mom, but often don't agree with her ways of communicating with DD, or how she handles things. I don't want DD to dislike my mom, but I can sure understand why she doesn't.

I try to encourage her to be kind, compassionate for what her grandma is going thru, but also allow her to vent her frustration appropriately.

My mom is probably going to die within the next year. I am broken up about it, and right now am furious with DD that she doesn't seem to care, and is nonchalant, matter of fact....I get it, part of me feels awful that there's a shred of relief that it'll be over at some point also...but I just want DD and my mom to find some bit of what their relationship used to be like before my mom dies.

I don't know how to balance the needs of my mom, the needs of my daughter, and my own needs, while working full time, and building my practice.

Any ideas?
Has anyone else helped a teen cope with living with a dying grandparent? Or even living with a disliked/difficult grandparent?

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Old 08-02-2009, 06:23 AM
 
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Wow, what a complicated and heartwrenching situation! Hugs to you for keeping it all together.

I wonder if your local hospice organization could give you any resources.

Your dd may benefit from someone to talk to. She may be experiencing teenhood, her gran's mortality, fears about her own and your mortality, and who knows what else all mixed in together. An uninvolved 3rd party may be a good sounding board and also be able to help her realize the bigger issues of the situation.

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Old 08-02-2009, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, DD is resistant to that because that's my own profession....and it also poses a whole new set of sticky wickets like affording a good counselor/therapist, how to get DD to the appt during the day when I'm at work....

....but I think you're right. I think we could all benefit from having someone to talk to that isn't US.

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Old 08-02-2009, 04:12 PM
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There are therapists with evening hours.

A couple of additional thoughts:

1) It seems that you expect your dd to feel the exact same way about your mother as you do. But she can't..........because she's a generation removed. And she's young. So the full impact of mortality and what it will be like to miss grandma hasn't hit her yet. Of course she can't feel all the feelings of grief that you have. You don't want to spend the next year or so being mad at your dd. So give up the expectations that she should feel the way you do.

2) What is the point of dd attending an "alternative" school and being home with g-ma 3 days a week? Is it unschooling? Is g-ma supposed to be homeschooling her? Is she supposed to be babysitting grandma? (which is too much responsibility at that age, I think.)
If she were in school full-time she might be happier, less bored, and there would be fewer conflicts with g-ma. That seems like a really simple solution, but of course I don't know for sure because you didn't fully explain the schooling dynamic.

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Old 08-02-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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I am wondering if you guys have your own space, or is it all shared with g'ma? Part of it could be that your DD feels like her room is the only place she can "escape" gma if gma follows her around into every other room in the house.

Another thought- will things change as your mom gets more "stuck in bed" and your DD can choose to go visit her, or then walk away when she gets frustrated?

My uncle is fightig Multiple Myeloma right now It is really heartwreching to go through. He had one transplant that didn't work, and is now starting chemo again to prepare for a 2nd transplant. So hugs as you go through this with your mom.

I think Hospices in some areas have teen support groups, and maybe even free/reduced counseling options. I would call your local hospice, explain the situation, and ask what resources they might have. Can't hurt, and maybe they will have some great ideas.

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Old 08-08-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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I'm sure it's tough for your DD. She is a teenager and going through the usual emotions that young teens have. Combine that with her having to deal with an elderly person in the home that is sick and hard to get along with and it's bound to be tough on your DD.

Is it possible for you to hire someone or get involved with Hospice or another organization to take care of your mother and that way you could move out and visit your mother daily, rather than living 24/7 with her? Maybe you could find a home nearby to rent so you aren't far and can go anytime of day quickly. I'm not saying to abandon your mother but your child will only be young once and will be grown up and gone before you know it. You need to enjoy this time with her as well.

When I had my now teenaged son I was single and lived with my mom. I can't imagine living with her right now with my children even if she were healthy. It was tough living with her for the 13 months after my son was born. She was controlling and tried to be a second mother to him as well. It wouldn't have worked out for the long term and no way it would work out now.

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Old 08-08-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
1) It seems that you expect your dd to feel the exact same way about your mother as you do. But she can't..........because she's a generation removed. And she's young. So the full impact of mortality and what it will be like to miss grandma hasn't hit her yet. Of course she can't feel all the feelings of grief that you have. You don't want to spend the next year or so being mad at your dd. So give up the expectations that she should feel the way you do.
I agree. I have a very compassionate teenage DS and he just lost his grandma (MIL) to cancer and wihle he was sad for her and felt bad he didn't mourn like DH and I did. He went on with life and didn't really need a lot of time to mourn and heal over the loss. It's hard for kids that age to understand death as well as we do because they are young and don't realize the reality of it all.

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Old 08-09-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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i absolutely agree your dd needs help - some support, even if its just someone to talk to over the phone. as pp said seh is a brand new teen and there is way too much going on for her apart from gma.

you already work in the system so you know what resources are available. even a support group once a week, just to see others going thru similar things might help. i know in my city they have groups - not too many - for children taking care of adults.

or even someone else to talk to - a trusted elder who is a family or friend. just someone who can explore with your dd her feelings. who can listen without forcing their opinion on them. where your dd will feel she is heard. i am pretty sure she doesnt want to feel this way about her gma with whom she was once close. it must be eating in her that she hates a sick person. that could be another factor in the whole thing.

during those 3 days a week could your dd do some extra curricula activities to keep her out of the house more and to keep her mind busy?

mama. taking care of dying family members is such a hard place to be. i moved in with my dying inlaws for a year with my then 4 year old. it was so hard and yet so worth it (for lack of a better word).

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Old 08-09-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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you say you 13yo doesn't care your mom is coming to the end of her life. I beg to differ. I bet this is her way of dealing with it (acting out) as children just don't have the coping skills like adults do.

do you have access to hopsice counseling or support groups? this might help her cope better.


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Old 08-17-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
you say you 13yo doesn't care your mom is coming to the end of her life. I beg to differ. I bet this is her way of dealing with it (acting out) as children just don't have the coping skills like adults do.

do you have access to hopsice counseling or support groups? this might help her cope better.

I agree.

My DH's grandmother lived with him, his mother and his sister, and died in their home after some illness when he was about 13.

DH remembers that while he had a good relationship with her previously, when she was very ill he really avoided her. He says he didn't know what to do or say or even how to feel.

One of the most cathartic moments of his life was when she passed. His mom called DH and his sister down to say goodbye, as his grandmother was ready to pass. Granmother said some last loving words to everyone, and patted DH on the head and looked him in the eye and told him he was a good boy. Which was very emotional for him because among his many feelings (which he kept to himself, he ignored her as she was dying) was, well, guilt about not being with her. Guilt about not knowing how to deal with it. But she told him he was a good boy and he remembers that feeling still. And she died a few minutes later.

I was only 7 when I went to see my dying grandfather. And I loved him but I had no idea how to act around him either. It was scary, he wasn't the same man anymore, he had lost that twinkle in his eye. Grandpa always kind of drove our interactions, and I'd respond to him - he'd play a game with me or tell me a rhyme or something. So when he wasn't driving our interactions anymore, we didn't really HAVE any. I didn't know how to reach out and relate to him since he was the one who would reach out and relate to ME. And like I said, he was different and it was scary.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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