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I was blessed with three lovely sons, of whom I am very proud. Despite my mothering skills they have made excellent adults and they all still speak to me, so I must have done some things right.
Alas, only one of them lives anywhere near me, my eldest. I taught them all to be independent and sometimes think I did the job too well. This means that the burden of support falls squarely and solely on firstborn's shoulders.
He fetches my prescriptions for me, chauffeurs me to all my medical appointments, takes out my rubbish, etc. When I was in hospital and it was allowed he visited me, rubbed my back when I was in pain, helped the nurses clean me up when I had sudden onset diarrhoea, etc. In short he has been my rock and I don't know that I could manage without him.
But and it's a big but, I feel so guilty that he has to bear this burden all by himself. I have told him how, much I love him how special he is to me and what a difference he makes to my life. I have suggested he gets in touch with the carers support groups here and elsewhere. Is there anything else I can do to reduce the burden on him or to help him through my illness? Cancer is so unfair. It's one thing affecting me, but it's also having such an impact on his life too. I try not to make too many demands but some days I am just too poorly to manage much.
Sorry for ranting on, but I needed to vent about it all and this seems like a safe place to do it.
There is so much in your post that is positive, not only the support provided by your eldest son, which sounds exemplary, but also your delight and justified pride at how well your sons have developed. I suspect that their independence isn't the only part of their upbringing that they value. I'm well aware that for someone living with cancer, it is often our nearest and dearest that suffer more than we sometimes know, but their suffering is so often because they care for us, and may feel helpless and unable to do anything that could help, whether the reason for that is because they aren't close enough, or just as likely, because they simply don't know what they can do.
One word that you mention several times is 'burden'. I think that for someone who has raised a family and therefore has been the principle care giver for so long, it can be difficult having to rely on others and none of us want to be a burden on our loved ones. But I wonder if you have spoken any of your sons about how they feel. I wonder if your eldest son has spoken to his brothers about how he feels about what he is doing or about how they might be able to help. Perhaps more frequent contact may help, be it, over the phone, a video call, or even the occasional letter - very old fashioned I know, but with a lot of potential to do good as it takes time to think about what to say and how to say it.
So many things are both different and difficult right now, but finding out what local resources or organisations exist to help, could be time well spent. If we are fortunate, our nearest and dearest are so often the key components in our support network and I suspect that caring is a word that your sons would prefer to describe you rather than burden and that being able to return some of the care that you have given to them would help everyone.
Have a little more trust in your parenting skills, they have served you and your sons well so far.
Thank you for your helpful response, Gentydog. It is much appreciated. There is a lot for me to ponder ￼, a different perspective to where I was coming from, which has been comforting. Thank you. ￼
When I was a teenager, many years ago, I cared for my mum who had cancer. I did so out of complete love and compassion for my mum which I found to be as natural as breathing, never a burden.
Ourgirlinthenorth, thank you for your kind response to my posting. You must have had such a tough time and at such an early age too. What a blessing you must have been for your mum. Big Hugs from me.
Thank you Michele, so lovely of you to say. Sending big Hugs your way too.
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