Sick parent -- should I go home?

I can’t decide what to do. My father just emailed me and asked me to come home to help take care of my mother (she had a stroke in December, and came back home from the hospital late January.) He can’t handle taking care of her by himself. I was home over Christmas, and if he had asked me then, I would have stayed. But now I’ve spent money on a plane ticket back here, and I’ve got a job that pays the best I’ve had in Taiwan. I’m in debt (credit cards), and I thought I’d be able to pay it all off by the summer with this job, but if I go home I won’t be able to.
Dad said he’d pay me, but how much could I ask? Even the equivalent of NT25,000 a month sounds like too much to ask, but I can make two or three times that here.
It’s true that the last two years have been a financial disaster, and staying in Taiwan for that time was not worth it, which is one of my dad’s arguments for coming home. But, with the new job, the financial problems should be over now. Unless, of course, I lose the job – and this place seems to have a revolving door.
I feel like I ought to go home, but I’m worried about money. I’m also worried about what will happen if I do go home. Suppose my dsd decides he doesn’t need me after all after a couple of months? Then I’ll have to come back here – new plane ticket, waste more time and money looking for another job; I’ll be even more in debt.
One more problem: my father is an alcoholic. I don’t think he can take care of my mother; even in the best of circumstances, full-time care of a stroke patient will not be easy. I think my father is having trouble taking care of himself, to be frank.
I don’t know what to do. Does anyone have any advice? Or has been in the same situation? Thanks.

Well, since we’re being frank, if you really care about your mother you’ll go. Money should not be an issue. If she really needs help and no one else can/will provide it for her, then it’s your moral obligation. Sometimes situations arise in life that really suck and it sounds like this is one of them. It’s too bad this happened to your mom. It’s too bad your dad’s too fucked up to help her. . . or even help himself maybe. It’s too bad (apparently) you don’t have other relatives there who can help out. But if the above is all true, then you’ve got to help. . . unless you don’t care what happens to your mom.

If she were to die next year would you feel guilty about not having come home to help her? I suspect that you’re fairly young. You’ll work out your financial problems somehow – I doubt they’re anywhere near as serious as your mom’s and your dad’s problems. You can always come back to Taiwan later. But it sounds like she needs your help now and you can’t come back and provide it later. Sure, the situation sucks, but sometimes that’s how life goes.

And who knows, you may develop a very close and meaningful new stage in your relationship with your mom (and maybe with your dad too). While it seems like a pain in the ass now, you may look back later in life and be glad you did the right thing. Heck, I feel guilty that I didn’t fly to my grandfather’s funeral 15 years ago because I was studying for finals; this is a lot more serious as your mom is still alive.

MT is right. You should go.

My heart goes out to you, bababa. This is certainly a difficult decision to make.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have any clear advice to give you on this–and I don’t want to give some vague advice (“listen to your heart”), though this may be useful at times.

I just wanted you to know that my thoughts are with you. I will be thinking about this, and I will be sure to post if I come up with any ideas.

But one thing that I’m thinking right now is that I don’t think you will ever regret the time you spend with your mother. You can always make money (at home or in Taiwan), and you can do your best to deal with the problems with your father–but I don’t think you want to miss out on this time helping your mother.

I also think that once you make a decision (either way), you will feel a bit better.

Best of luck in the weeks and months to come.

Sounds like your mother is in desperate need of your help. Do you want to help her? It’s a very simple question for which there’s a very simple answer. Do you really feel that your mother is worth less to you than the cost of a couple of plane tickets and a little credit card debt? (I say “little” because if you plan to pay it off by the end the summer, it can’t be all that much).
Hate to say this, but we’re being frank, right? If your mother should die, you’ll still have to buy that plane ticket in any case, won’t you?

Also, are there any government subsidy programs for home caregivers where you come from? That might be something worth investigating.

Have you consolidated your credit card debt? You can often put all the amount onto one credit card and they will give you a monthly fee of only half what you were paying before. I got them to put my interest at 9.5%. I paid only the minimum fee for a few months, but I saved a lot in interest fees, and when I got back to paying off the main part of the debt it took less than two years and wasn’t much of a burden.

Good advice. Sign up for a new card where they give you six months of low interest if you transfer balances from other cards.

You should go. You really should. I left Taiwan for home when my mom got bad, and happened to arrive in time for one of her last lucid moments before the funeral. I don’t know if I could have lived with myself if I hadn’t gone back.

I’d be on that plane as soon as I had the money to get the ticket. Screw debt, screw work, screw Taiwan, in a situation like that, it can all go to hell. As for the “What if he decides he doesn’t need me later” thing - while you’re there, why not try and get things organized in such a manner that should things stabilize or improve and you feel ready to come back to Taiwan, plans are in place so that others can help support your parents in the event of things getting too much for your father?

But in the end, that’s only me. You’re going to have to make the decision for yourself. And as for the “What if she died next year” questions, what about the flipside - what if she’s alive and well for years and bababa stays there out of a sense of duty, living what may feel like half a life? It depends on how serious the situation is, plenty of stroke patients live for ages afterward.

That sounds about right. My mom applied for a lung transplant and she is supposed to go through with surgery in the next year or so. The chances are fifty-fifty. I’ll be there. Work, Taiwan, debt are not important. Luckily(if I can say that) I actually have time to prepare myself financially and emotionally if that’s ever possible.
Do what you think is right and don’t look back too much, look ahead and try to make the best out of this life situation.
My thoughts are with you.

It is really unfortunate that you have to make this decision, because whichever way you decide to go you are going to have some regrets.

You need to decide which one you will regret the least and not look back.

If you do decide to go back, you need to prepare yourself for a long term commitment.

Find out what support systems are available in your area and use them.

Give your father a kick up the arse and sort his alcohol problems. As time progresses your mother will need more a more care, and he should be there to help you. If he can

I’m really sorry to hear how things are going for ya. I’ve gone down a dark road before. A few thoughts if I may. Either way, we hope things go well for you.

Do what ya need to do, but get there soon. Consolidate your credit card. Talk to you boss. You’ve lived with debt this long and yes it sucks, but you can live a bit longer with it. Your mom is worth any amount of money in the world. Mabe thing will get better and you can come back. Yeah it’s a bitch to rebuild, but at least it’s an option.

Two lines/cliche I like to remember…
“You usually regret the things you don’t do far more than the things you do (do).”
“How much is a good night’s rest really worth?”

Keep it easy dude.

Its a tough break… but I’m a firm believer in doing what we can in order to minimize or prevent future regrets.

She’s your mother and he’s your father.

Taiwan isn’t going anywhere. It’ll be here for a long, long time.

I feel for you. I have been in that situation a few times already in 6 years here.

  1. My mom had a stroke.

  2. My father had a suspected heart attack.

  3. My grandfather died.

In each and every one of those cases I was ready to go home then and there. My parents told me not to. So, I stayed.

Now my Dad is 76 and mom is 66 years old. I know they won’t be around forever and I’d like to be around to take care of them, but my father won’t let me do it because I have more family here in Taiwan (at least my wife and son do).

If they needed me - I’d be there.

[quote=“Tigerman”]Its a tough break… but I’m a firm believer in doing what we can in order to minimize or prevent future regrets.

She’s your mother and he’s your father.
Taiwan isn’t going anywhere. It’ll be here for a long, long time.[/quote]

I hate to risk irking you TM as we share a great taste in tunes :slight_smile:, but let’s not unfairly guilt the poor guy. My dad is a piece of work, and if he was sick, I wouldn’t go back. My mom is already gone and I was here when she died, and competely out of touch when she left. I KNOW in my heart that my leaving and dropping off the face of the world was good for me and therefore good for my then future wife and child. Sometimes we need distance.

To the OP. If you need distance, take it. If you are willing to put up with your dad’s BS and your Mom’s apparent exit from this life, go. If you want to keep the last few remaining good memories (like I did) and stay, NO ONE has the right to say anything to the contrary. Either way, it won’t be easy. But one way is easier. If we weren’t supposed to be selfish sometimes, the creator wouldn’t have given us selfishnes.



OOC, don’t you feel that what you suggest sounds a bit like using the mother to punish the father, or using her as a kind of ECT to get him back on track?
Let’s leave dad out of it for now – OP said she doesn’t think dad can do it. I took him/her at her word. If it were my old dear in that situation, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable using her as some kind of “experiment” to see if it would help dad to shape up.

All I can say is good luck with whatever course you decide upon. It must be a hellish position to be in – I’m dreading the day.

All I can say is good luck with whatever course you decide upon. It must be a hellish position to be in – I’m dreading the day.[/quote]

without doubt…this sucks…see flouder forum for hug

i’m not going to tell you what to do, cause that’s up to you, but before ooc pointed it out, i was going to say that perhaps if you were really working your ass off here, you could make a pile of $$$ and send some back to help pay for real care for your mom. sort of split the $$$ between the cost of care and your loan, in whatever ratio was necessary (100% to mom if need be …)

methinks your pop could get some help (for both of them?) that isn’t from you, unless you have special skills or are otherwise needed compared to someone who is a skilled care-giver.

that said, with my parents about the same age as bassman’s, this has been on my mind for a while too. hoping that things stay well with them at least until my master’s program is over, and then we can see. but … who knows?

feel for ya.

Since you raise the point, I think it sounds that way to you. No I don’t think it “sounds that way” nor is that the intent.

I offered some unsugared plain talk from the son of a drunk/alcoholic and father of a son who may carry the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Any decision in a family that is being impacted by a drunk should be subject to close review, less the ‘enabler syndrome’ is the basis for a given position. That’s basic AA doctrine. Tough but true.

Hmm. I don’t think Dad or her can do “it,” if total care of Mom is what “it” is. That’s why I said have Dad get a professional. Obviously Dad is doing something now, well keep him doing it and pay for some professional help.

Bigger problems can arise when daughter shows up and Dad realizes that now there’s a lot more time to spend with the bottle, cause Mom is somebody else’s responsibility.

No, I disagree. Leaving Dad out of the consideration is the WORST thing to do. Dad is a central player and a key component to both the problem and the solution. The only ‘experiment’ here would be to ignore the whole body of work that deals with drunkenes and alcoholics and pretend that Dad isn’t part of the problem or the solution.