Situation With Elderly Parents and Fear, Guilt


Hi Beautiful Brooke, Can you help me with a thought/pattern of thoughts? I have an elderly father and a step mother who is completely dependent on him. His stomach is bothering him and subsequently, he is convinced he has cancer (not diagnosed!) and is eating very little and refusing all medical care. I am their POA and medical POA. My husband and I are checking on them twice a week at this time, but due to distance, work and my dad’s tolerance for company, that is all.

My dad is a tough old farmer and suffers no advice or interference from anyone. He would only leave the farm for other living arrangements (such as longer-term medical care) by force or if he became incapacitated. My step mother backs him. I understand this is all circumstance and neutral, and I also understand my brain will (and does) make this all mean something. My approach has been to take things day-by-day, trying not to project an outcome on a future I don’t yet know, but I am very worried underneath it all. At night my mind spins with scenarios and guilt.

I am thinking thoughts like “He is starving himself to death and I can’t stand by and let him.”
“I am not doing enough for him (and my step mom)”
“He is depressed and therefore not able to make good decisions and I have to make these decisions for him now”
“He will hate me”
“(step mom) isn’t able to care for him and could be a vulnerable adult in this situation and I would be responsible for not doing something about this”
Feelings: scared, guilty, helpless, angry, depressed
I also worry that I will feel forced to make a decision against my dad’s wishes that will be the wrong decision that impacts my future relationship with both he and my step mom and my brother (who is not in this area and is currently choosing not to become involved in this situation.

I want my feet under me. This is life, and I can do life, but I could use some solid thinking about now.

I also want you to know – on the brighter side 🙂 – I love SCS and your stop over eating. After commiting for 1 week, 2 days, I am down seven pounds, completely off sugar and flour and have never felt better healthwise. Thank you thank you thank you.