At the moment it takes my brother 2 hours to drive here. He comes down for lunch, does a few odd jobs that I can’t manage – and then goes home again. Mum often complains that he could do more to help, but I’ve always defended him because he was still working full time. I always assumed he’d help me more when he stopped work.
To give him his due, some years ago, he did try to convince mum and dad to move to a retirement village that was closer to him and his children. My parents did not want to consider the idea. Now it seems, it’s just as well they did not.
I knew my brother wanted to move when he retired but I didn’t expect him to do it so soon. But before his last day at work, he’d sold his house and bought a new one – this time nearly 3 ½ hours drive away. When I said I thought he’d have put off moving so he could help me more with mum, he laughed. Now he’s not working, he says he’ll come and stay overnight – so he can do more jobs. My private feeling is that pigs might fly.
To justify himself, he points out that our parents never did much to help their own parents. So why should he put himself out looking after them? However, none of the old people coped on their own. Mum’s parents were much older and they died when we were still children. But my mother’s older sister lived with my Gran and looked after her. My dad’s father was still alive when my parents retired and moved down here. Mum and dad would occasionally go up to London to see him for the day. But granddad was looked after on a daily basis by my dad’s younger brother and his wife who lived round the corner.
So the truth is, some other poor sap did the hard work of looking after mum and dad’s parents. Now my brother is using our parents’ behaviour to justify his own lack of concern. And why shouldn’t he? Some other poor sap is looking after his mother, after all.
On a positive note: Some plants in the garden have thrived after the intense weeding! This bush has never looked so magnificent!