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Ask Ellie: Forgive elderly mom for lashing out over losing licence

Your mother’s poor health is behind why she blamed you for being unable to drive — it’s a harsh blow to many older seniors’ lives

Dear Ellie: Recently, my mother fell flat on her face ending up in hospital with a broken nose, concussion, and severe bleeding as she was on blood thinners. She also has diabetes, a heart condition, and a weak right leg.

I joined her while she waited to be medically assessed. She’d been in a head-on collision, a year before, with concussion, bruised ribs, and difficulty walking.

I used a sick day. I’m the oldest child with a flexible work life, so felt my responsibility to support her as my three other siblings also work.

My mother wanted to leave the hospital. But the doctor warned that she’d lost a lot of blood and should stay for observation. Upon reviewing her meds with him, she didn’t mention one of her prescriptions which were long expired.

The doctor warned that these meds are dangerous for older adults (i.e., cause falls), but she said she needed them for sleep.

(I later took them to a pharmacy for disposal.)

I stayed with her until she was admitted and resting, got her food and water. When she was released from hospital, my sister took her home. I called my mother every day.

A week later, she was swearing at me, stating that I’d “called the ministry of transportation to get her driver’s licence suspended.” I was unaware this had happened and said I’d not called anyone.

After several days, my mother insisted it was my fault she had her licence suspended. My siblings then turned on me. They backed my mother’s assertion of fault for her lost license.

She started taking Uber rides for various appointments. She’s also been insisting the next oldest sister drive her for errands and shopping. My sister’s angry that it’s my “fault” that she has to do this.

I’m no longer comfortable being alone with my mother, due to any future false claims. She recently emailed me a list of Uber charges for about $2,000 stating that I had to pay because she lost her license. My sisters continue to blame me for this situation.

Fed Up with Family

Your care and concern for your mother at a time of crisis was what family is for. As the eldest of her children, you gave her the time and care she needed.

But the rest of your siblings are users. They didn’t show up or offer help, and left everything to you.

Your mother’s poor health is behind why she blamed you for being unable to drive — it’s a harsh blow to many older seniors’ lives. Forgive her. But know you can’t rely on your siblings.

Dear Readers: More than halfway through this first month of 2022, I looked back at some of the lingering annoyances and persistent grudges expressed by letter-writers during the pandemic. I published very few of them: So much wasted potential for finding creative solutions and resolving minor relationship issues on one’s own!

Here are two of these so-called crises:

Reader 1: “My neighbour upstairs is very noisy! Our small boutique-style condo building is only three years old. I purposefully bought here thinking only very selective people would choose it.

“When COVID arrived and lockdowns began, my neighbour, a single woman living directly above my unit, moved her parents in with her.

“I could hear heavy furniture being moved. It destroyed my peace of mind. Too many parcels are delivered to that unit, cluttering our mail room. I spoke to her about it when the lockdown was over, and she ignored me!”

Reader 2: “When Omicron came, more people were wearing masks when outside but many keep them under their chins. On cold days, a number of those people are sneezing. It makes me so angry!! I yell out, ‘Hey! The mask goes over your nose!’

It’s maddening when people don’t care about others!”

Reader 3: “My adult son, a father of two, says he’s not against getting vaccinated, he just hasn’t found time to get it done.

“My grandkids are old enough to be vaccinated, but their mother’s against it for them and herself. I feel sick about this but still invited them all for Christmas dinner. We’re vaccinated seniors who took a frightening chance. Now I worry what to do on Valentine’s Day.”

Ellie: FaceTime and Zoom are two safe ways to connect. Mail Valentines, have chocolate treats delivered. The kids will enjoy seeing you online. Their parents aren’t even trying.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Personal relationship issues deserve an honest effort, or meaningful change.

Send relationship questions to [email protected]