Sibling Strikes Again

Denise
christmas-1046068_640I have many complaints about Sibling. The loudest one involves her inability to follow through on her offers to help. For instance, during our 2011 blizzard, she volunteered to shovel our parents' driveway and then simply didn't. When she orchestrated my mom's transfer from the community hospital to the university hospital, my biggest concern was her initial involvement and then disappearing. And, that's just what happened.

Earlier this week, my mom asked me to bring their fake Christmas tree to their apartment; Sibling said she and one of her daughters would assemble the tree for them.

So, I pulled the tree box out of storage, down a few flights of stairs, into the car and to my parents' apartment on Friday.

On Saturday, I spoke with my mom, who shared an update with me. My mom emailed Sibling that they have the tree and that my dad needs her to bring a pliers and screwdriver to put it together. Sibling replied that she didn't know what kind of pliers and screwdriver to bring so she'll just ask her husband to put together the tree.

In other words, my dad and I will put up the tree.

Sibling, who can't bother to actually help but loves to stir the pot, also shared another little ditty. Apparently, Sibling knows an employee of the retirement community where my parents live. This employee asked my sister why she hadn't been invited to the community's Thanksgiving brunch, held the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My parents had invited those who helped them move--myself, my sister and her family, and one of my brothers and his wife.

So, Sibling wanted my parents to know she wasn't invited.

Sibling spent my parents' moving day enjoying a great day riding her bike and enjoying a day in Chicago. She was invited to my dad's birthday party and my parents' anniversary party but simply didn't show up.

After receiving that email from Sibling, my parents fretted about how to respond. They fear upsetting Sibling because she retaliates by encouraging her children to stay away. My mom finally replied with a simple explanation: They didn't invite my other brother, either, because it would have been too many people.

I'm focusing on getting through the holidays because I want my parents to have some joy this holiday season. I've made some headway with Sibling's children, who agreed to join me to decorate Christmas cookies later this month. On Thanksgiving, I had a pleasant conversation with my oldest niece, who had turned down my invitation to get together because she didn't feel comfortable spending one-on-one time with me.

After the holidays, though, I'm setting boundaries with Sibling. I'm no longer standing by as she upsets my parents for no reason other than she's just sick. Enough's enough. My mother has long requested that we let it go when it comes to Sibling. I can no longer do that. My parents have room in their lives for the four children who care and love them. They are sick and frail--they don't deserve the heartache Sibling causes.

In the meantime, though, I'm speaking with the staff member at the retirement community who spoke out of her turn about our Thanksgiving brunch. She's not to speak about my parents' activities with Sibling again.

Join our mailing list

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter that includes caregiving tips, news, support and more.