broken bonds, broken hearts

Somehow, I always thought that family blood bonds could not be broken, no matter what. Every family has its dysfunctions; I figured ours were no worse than most.


My mother is with my brother, and I have left. Chances are that I will never go back there. I didn’t want to leave my mother, who has late-stage dementia:

Common signs displayed by people with late-stage dementia who experience physical or emotional discomfort include: increased agitation, fidgeting, or repetitive movements; tense muscles, body bracing; increased calling out or repetitive verbalizations; decreased cognition, decreased functional ability or withdrawal; changes in sleep pattern; falling; increase in pulse, blood pressure, and sweating. A good deal of emotional discomfort in dementia patients comes from difficulty sorting out and negotiating everyday life activities.

But as my brother’s rage against me escalated, I realized that harassing me was more important to him than taking care of my mother, even if the resulting vocalized tension increased her agitation and anxiety.

So I left. I broke my heart and I probably broke hers. But my presence in my brother’s house seemed to be a constant source of irritation to him — irritation that slowly built into outright rage.

Because I fought back, finally refusing the burden of the last bullying straw.

And so I left. I left my mother in pain and bewilderment. I left my brother in a rage at me for something that had nothing to do with my care of our mother.

Tomorrow, a live-in home health aide is supposed to arrive. I hope that she is kind to my mother. I hope that my brother is kind to her.

I might never know.

2 thoughts on “broken bonds, broken hearts

  1. “I might never know.”

    You’ll know, and it’ll hurt, and you’ll get pissed off, and time will pass, and you’ll find you’ve remained your loving, giving self. For now, facing unreason, you’ve done something remarkably brave, courageous, and generous and you’re paying the price.

    Look after yourself for now, Elaine.

    All good thoughts …

  2. Elaine, How deeply difficult this is for you and for your Mother. I am sending concern, support and peace your way. Judith

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