I would have nothing to do with my sister if it weren’t for my mum
Karen*, 46, cares for her 81-year-old mother, who moved into Karen’s home after suffering a stroke in 2013. Karen also cares for her teenage niece.
“The stroke didn’t change Mum’s personality but she can no longer manage her finances and she’s wheelchair-bound. I lived close by but when she had the stroke, Mum moved into my home. I’m used to caring. Mum and I cared for my father for several years before he died. I was living at home then and in my 20s.
“My sister, Rachel, has drug problems and has never been there for Mum or her own daughter, which is why Mum and I have raised my niece. It never struck me to ask Rachel to help with Mum. Once I asked her to go to help feed Mum her dinner, but when I visited later that evening her dinner was cold. Rachel didn’t show up. It was the last time I asked her for help. She can’t be relied on – Mum, her daughter and I are not her priority.
“I would have nothing to do with my sister if it weren’t for Mum and my niece. I don’t like her as a human being and when Mum passes, I doubt I’ll have much to do with her. We’re practically strangers to each other.
“Mum would have done anything for me so I’m perfectly okay about doing anything for her, but I’m angry that Rachel doesn’t help. I’m not married and I don’t have children and I think Rachel thinks, ‘she doesn’t have responsibilities, so she can suck it up.’
“There is anger for what I am missing out on too, because I have no freedom. I’ve been dating someone for three years and we catch up a couple of times a week. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but I have to look after myself. I don’t want to come out of this experience feeling bitter.”