My parents came to live with me about 6 years ago. At that time, my dad was having a nervous breakdown. Almost all of his siblings had died within the past year, and he was also the primary caregiver of my cousin who had cancer and died at home. I think it was just all too much for him. My mom had taken care of my dad alone for months because they were in NY and I was in Florida. My brothers were in NC and CA. Finally, she just couldn't cope any longer. My dad got to where he wouldn't let my mom answer the phone or the doorbell. He only wanted her to sit on the couch next to him and hold her hand while he would just sit there by the hours with his eyes closed. It was a nightmare.
So my husband went up to NY and flew down here with them. When my dad first arrived, he would not even get out of bed for weeks. He just stayed there with the covers over his head and wouldn't eat. When I came home from work, I had to pry the sheets off him just to talk with him. We did manage to get him to a doctor who put him on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, which really helped a lot. It was weeks before we could get him to come out of the bedroom, but he finally started coming out when no one was home during the day. However, if someone came to the door, he would run back into the bedroom and stay there. Finally, little by little, he started coming out and staying out for greater periods of time. I would say that within 9 months, he was about 90% better. He stayed better except for stressful situations where he would cry and whine a little bit, like a child. It was very difficult to see your dad like that. I cried a lot of times.
Then everything was pretty much normal for 4 years when my dad got pancreatic cancer. Of course, being a nurse, I understood things and saw signs that my mom did not. That was very hard because she was in such denial that he was dying. I had to spell it out to her over and over, and she still didn't understand. She even tells me now that she didn't think he was going to die, she always though he would get better. But I am so very thankful that he had a very peaceful and painfree homegoing. The Lord is good.
Now, life after that has been difficult to some extent. My mom is great, she is hanging in there and rolling with the punches. There are times that are annoying, too. And sometimes I feel bad because I know my attitude leaves a lot to be desired occasionally. She has this incessive need to talk, and I have this incessive need for quiet. It just about makes me a not nice person sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself that she is just lonely without my dad. And she wants to interact with my kids like it was 20 years ago and they get a little resentful.
You know, about the bonding thing. My oldest brother (who is 1 year younger than me) has always been very spiteful towards me since I joined the Circus. But he was around when my dad was diagnosed and going through a lot of the bad times, and he was wonderful. We got to be very close. That was a blessing.
So anyhow, I think I wrote enough. Just wanted to say that I can relate. It's not easy when the roles are reversed.