In Defense

@AmbiePam (39345)
United States
July 31, 2011 6:15pm CST
About a week ago when I went over to my parent's home, I could tell both my mom and dad were upset. Just a recap for people who don't know me, my mom is 52 and has dementia very badly. She knows who everyne is, she just forgets how to write, how to brush her teeth, how to flush the toilet, even how to use the toilet if you know what I mean. So I'm sitting there and my mom keeps going to my dad's chair saying the same thing over and over. And my dad keeps trying to tell her to relax and just sit down. That they couldn't do anything about it that day. It had to do with her health. I asked what the deal was and long story short a relative of ours had basically told my dad he was not taking care of my mother correctly. She heard what the relative said, and she kept bringing it up, telling him maybe the relative was right. My dad didn't want to talk about it because he doesn't want anyone to be mad at anyone. And he knew I would be angry with this relative for sticking her nose in his business when they have no idea what it is like to live with and take care of her. I'm really the only one who knows what my dad goes through day in and day out. Not even my sister knows how hard it is for him (and no, the relative in question was not my sister). But I got enough out of him to get the idea of what this relative was basically telling him to do for my mom. I was livid. I wish I could videotape a day in his life and send it to this relative. I knew what I was going to do, and I also knew my dad wouldn't want me to do it, so I didn't tell him. I went home later, waiting until I was calm, and I called the relative in question. We exchanged pleasantries, and I asked if there was advice she had given my dad that could be miscontrued. She was silent for a moment. And then she went into a spiel of what she had said. I explained to her all he did for my mom. I told her what lengths he had gone to to take care of her. The entire time I was respectful. I don't like confrontations, I don't like talking about sensitive subjects. This relative ended up saying she probably needed to call my dad and apologize. I told her it wasn't necessary, but she insisted she was going to. I knew when she called to apologize my dad was going to be upset with me for defending him. But I don't like it when someone is doing something good, something right, and they are criticized for it. I felt like as his daughter, and him being the good man he was, that I needed to defend him. I called my sister later than night and asked her if she thought I did the right thing. She told me if he didn't feel the need to defend himself, then I shouldn't have defended him. And I guess she is right. If he didn't care to speak up for himself than maybe I should have dropped it. But I know he likes to keep the peace and had no intention of getting into with a relative, especially a lady. Thankfully, my dad never mentioned it to me. I know this relative called to apologize, but he didn't say anything. And I'm glad. I think he must have known I meant well, and that it was probably hard on me too. So I'm glad he didn't say anything about me defending him. What would you have done? Do you feel the need to defend your family and friends when you know for sure they are in the right?
7 people like this
23 responses
• United States
31 Jul 11
I think you did the right thing. I think your father should get credit for all the care he gives your mother. It must be a very difficult type of care-giving.
2 people like this
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
3 Aug 11
I tell you I couldn't do it. I really don't think I could.
1 person likes this
@carmelanirel (21113)
• United States
31 Jul 11
I agree with nana, that your dad might have been relieved, but didn't want to make a big deal out of it. In my opinion you did exactly what I would want to do, but if it were me, I would have called the relative and gotten upset instead of being nice like you..But thankfully you are who you are, the conversation went well and I am sure that the relative was mistaken and probably relieved herself to know what your dad does... You did well Ambie, I am proud of you..
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
31 Jul 11
Thanks. : )
2 people like this
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
1 Aug 11
Well I think you did right as you see whats happening am glla d ya stuck up for your dad!!!!!! Hope it didnt hurt him but this was something thast needed to be done as he probably thought he might be doing something wrong when he wasnt. Just careing for his wife the best he can. hugssss and blessings to ya'll
2 people like this
@carolscash (9507)
• United States
31 Jul 11
It is amazing how everyone wants to give advice in a family when they won't do the work. I think that it is important that you defended your dad since he is doing such a great job with your mom. I am sure that his days are long and hard and he is sacrificing so much of himself. He must have a lot of patience and he must have a strong personality! Good for you!!
2 people like this
@nanajanet (4439)
• United States
31 Jul 11
As much as he said not to say anything, I think that he most likely was a little relieved. Sometimes they say not to, because they fear stirring the pot, but you did it well and they apologized and all is well that ends well. Dads are used to being the fixers, not having things fixed for them. Yes, I absolutely will defend my family, when I feel that it is warranted.
2 people like this
@gdesjardin (1938)
• United States
3 Aug 11
I would have done the exact same thing that you did! People have no right to interfere in how other people lead their lives, unless of course, the person is in harms way. I have elderly parents and my family always tries to give me "advise" on things and I politely have to tell them, that I am doing what I think is best for my parents. I know my parents the best and I am going what I think they would want me to do. Even my sister who lives several states away knows not to even put in her two sense as she doesn't see our parents as often as I do (which I go over there daily). Sometimes I think people try to help, and it comes across wrong sometimes. My grandfather had dementia and my mother took care of him. She would get all kinds of "input" from her sisters (my aunts) and she would politely say, "if you don't like what I am doing, feel free to pick him up and he can live with you"....that usually shut them up...LOL
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
3 Aug 11
My sister and her husband live three hours away, and sometimes she tells me what to do to help my dad. And I think, you barely see them, I am his only support, why the heck are you telling me what to do? She has no idea what it's like.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Aug 11
My sister use to do that to me, until I finally had to tell her how it really was. She would come into town for a few days and say "oh, it isn't that bad", sure for a few days nothing is that bad. Sometimes you have to make decisions in the best interest of your parents, it might not always seem like the right thing to do, but I am around them everyday and I know what is best for them...most of the time :-).
1 person likes this
@carpenter5 (6786)
• United States
24 Aug 11
of course! And especially if it's your parent. I know from past conversations with you that things are so tense with your parents anyway. Please know that prayers are neing said in the Carpenter household for you every day. I know from experience with my grandmother's alzheimer's that watching them fade away every day solowly and being able to do nothing about it hurts beyond anything else I'd ever gone through.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
25 Aug 11
Thank you so much for the prayers.
@lilybug (21185)
• United States
1 Aug 11
I probably would have done the same thing had I been in your position. I don't care if your dad didn't feel the need to speak up and defend himself. You felt it needed to be said. He obviously is not upset with you for saying something or I am sure he would have told you that.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
2 Aug 11
I actually sent him an e-mail that night. It said, "I'm sorry." That was all I wrote. I was hoping that would keep him from bringing it up the next day. I'm just glad he didn't, for whatever reason.
@Hatley (107306)
• Garden Grove, California
1 Aug 11
hi ambiepam oh my I think your dad must be a saint for doing all he is doing as I know just what its like living with a person who is in senile dementia . my roomie had Alzheimer and goes down stairs to get a pain pill although I told her she had just had one an hour before so they would not give her another one yet You have to have the patience of a saint and yet be firm when you need to.my roomie's sister keeps telling me I am the perfect roommate but I doubt that as I am only human and sometimes I lose it with her but I do remember she cannot help most of what she does. Her memory is shot,she goes downstairs then cannot remember what it was she wanted so she comes back if I know what she wanted to do then I can remind her but I have suggested she write it down.then again she will forget where she put the paper.I try to help her find things though as I feel so sad for her.I am sure I would have done the same thing if I had been in your place as you knew first hand what your dad did each day.this woman should not have butted in and said that unkind thing to him at all. shame on her.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37358)
• United States
1 Aug 11
I think your actions Amber showed how very much you love your father! Hurray for you!!!!
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
31 Jul 11
Hi my dear sweet Amber ("little sis")~ I am so sorry that you have to deal with all of this and I know how difficult it is on you and your dad. I absolutely would have done the very same thing that you did (only probably not been calm or polite because I have a terrible temper)! You had every right to defend your dad to this relative who didn't have the right to make the "comment", especially so that your mom could hear it! Since I do know the background of the situation I can say that I'm not surprised that you would want to "stick up" for your dad because I know how very difficult he has it taking care of your mother. I think that he really does need more help, but is too proud to ask for it. I know that it is getting more difficult for you and family to take care of your mom as time goes and on and I don't mean to be disrespectful (like your relative) by saying this). It isn't anyones fault, but this very awful disease! I am always here for you anytime you feel the need to talk, as I have told you before. Love ya, Les
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (39345)
• United States
3 Aug 11
I love you too! Thanks for being available to talk to.
1 person likes this
@RitterSport (2452)
• Germany
6 Aug 11
Dear Ambie, you absolutely did the right thing in talking to that relative and making her realize that her assumptions were wrong. Its easy for people who dont live with a person who has dementia to come up with all sorts of suggestions and ideas and they fail to see why many of said suggestions wont work at all. You and your dad are very patient loving people and sure take excellent care of your mother, as you said day in and day out. Instead of pointing fingers that relative should have offered you and your dad to come over for a day so she could be there for your mother for a few hours so you and your dad both get a bit of much needed peace, quiet and sleep. That would have been much better.
1 person likes this
@KrauseHome (28097)
• United States
5 Aug 11
Personally I think you were right to want to say something, and stick up for your Dad because personally no one else can live in your Dad's shoes but him and if you know the situation there, and what your dad faces everyday sometimes it is best to help shed the light on it with someone else and help them to understand. Many times people are only there to judge, and never think about what really is going on.
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6246)
• United States
4 Aug 11
I probably would have confronted the person as well. There is no reason anyone should put another down when they are doing something good. I'm glad you were able to bring the subject up with the person without losing your temper because that could have caused serious problems for everyone. Have a great week!!!
1 person likes this
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
1 Aug 11
I'm with you on this one. Your dad has a full enough plate right now, so even if he's a little upset on the surface, I'd be willing to bet that deep down he needs all the support in his corner that he can get...and knows it. You're probably nicer about it that I would have been though. I'd had taken my dad's oldest pair of shoes and mailed them to her, with a note that said, 'After you;ve walked 500 miles in MY shoes, call and we'll talk.' Quick question: Do your parents have any pets?
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (24547)
• United States
1 Aug 11
I probably would have left it alone myself.. not because I was told to leave it alone or because I didn't think the relative was wrong.. personally I would have just wanted to avoid the conflict, like your dad. I always feel like I'm being the better person by not going and looking for the fight.. like with my sister in law. Yes she deserves to be told off, but I think it would be childish of my to call her up to tell her off. Instead I'm just waiting for the right opportunity to arise where I will be capable of telling her off.
1 person likes this
@cynthiann (18687)
• Jamaica
1 Aug 11
I will have to tell you something about myself. I am a very calm (well-usually) pleasant lady with a smile on her face but if anyone attacks my family then I turn into a rotweiler This is what families do - stay together through thick and thin. I would have done the same as you and you went about it in the right way by not attacking the relative but calmly giving her the facts. Don't beat up on yourself as you are a wonderful daughter and person. Your sister appears to me to be always a day late and a dollar short
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37358)
• United States
1 Aug 11
I think you did the right thing! And your dad probably never mentioned it because deep inside he was thankful that things got straightened out. I know what it's like to take care of someone and I only did it on a part time basis. I can't imagine what your father is going through....and you too! It's so very hard when they are physically ill...but with dealing with mental issues is a whole different ballgame...he is doing a wonderful job and you are a wonderful daughter for helping him out....I am glad he got an apology. If it had been me in his shoes I would have cried after the call!
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32277)
• United States
1 Aug 11
Funny how people are quick to judge when they don't know the whole situation. Sad thing is, we're all guilty of doing this. I am glad things got straightened out and your dad didn't mention it to you. I suppose he did assume you meant well with calling up that relative. I'd have done the same I am sure, as you don't truly know until you're in that person's shoes.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15900)
• Australia
1 Aug 11
Your dad may have preferred you didn’t intervene but was also more than likely happy that you took the trouble to stick up for him and the fact that you appreciate what he goes through each day; that is how I would feel if I was in his position. Part of me would want to complain at you for what you did and the other part of me would feel very appreciated and loved because you cared enough to say something on his behalf. Your dad sounds like a beautiful person and that is probably why he has let the whole thing go.
1 person likes this
@veejay19 (3592)
• India
1 Aug 11
hello ambiepam, frankly i have never got into such a situation like this so i wouldn`t know how i would react.Now it will never arise because i am all alone.However i am shocked that your mother has dementia at such a young age and i know how horrible it can be.My mom also had dementia but when she was 87 years old and she was bedridden for 10 months and ultimately she passed away 6 years ago.She went through hell and so did i because we were the only 2 people in the house besides my helper who had to look after me as well as her. You see i am severely handicapped with Muscular Dystrophy since the last 41 years and i need someone to take care of me as i am wheelchairbound.My man looked after my mom as though she was his mother but i know how and what he did,thats why i feel sorry for your dad.He is doing a great thing looking after your mom, hats off to him. Sometimes well meaning people like your relative think that by offering advice they can help but they hardly realize what sacrifices the family of the patient have to undergo.You did the right thing in letting her know and she did the right thing in apologizing to your father. Your father also took the whole matter sportingly, thats why he did not mention it to you,i suppose.
1 person likes this