My mum calls her “My daughter” because she didn’t give birth to a girl. We are three boys. I was the first to get married. The day I took Lizzy home, my mum made sure that she was very comfortable. She loved my mom and my mum also loved her. Five years after our marriage, my mum had a stroke.
We thought she was going to die. We were desperate to restore her health so my brothers and I took her to one of the best facilities in town that treats such conditions. It was very expensive. It took a huge toll on our finances but it is mom we are talking about so we did our best to keep her there until she was stable.
My brothers live out of town. Me and my wife live in the same town my mother lives so we were the ones who did the trip to the hospital and back. Most often, my wife had to stay at the hospital and take care of the woman who calls her a daughter. My mom couldn’t speak or walk so my wife had to figure out everything by herself. It was very difficult, I can attest to that. My mom is huge. Taking care of her in that condition required a lot of strength but my wife never complained about the lack of strength.
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I will wake up in the morning and say thank you to Lizzy. I will go out there and get her gift for being kind to my mom. My brothers sent her gifts and sometimes money for being the woman who helps their mother. Everything was smooth until my mom had to be discharged from the hospital.
I told my wife, “I have to bring my mom home to live with us. She can’t go back to where she lives because there’s no one there to take care of her. When she’s here with us, we can join hands and take good care of her.”
She asked, “So who’ll take care of her when we go to work?”
We have three children. My wife’s sister came to live with us to help take care of the kids so in my mind, it wasn’t a question of who takes care of my mom while we are away. Her sister could handle it without any problem. I thought I had everything figured out and was ready to bring my mom in. My wife said no; “No your mom can’t live with us. I’m already tired. For three months I’ve been going up and down. I need some rest. I can’t get that rest if you bring your mother in here.”
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“This woman calls you daughter, Lizzy. Before she fell sick, she was all over the place loving you and letting it show. Why can’t you show her the same kind of love now that she’s sick?”
It turned into an argument. I spoke pleadingly, softly because I was the one who needed her help. My wife said no. She asked me, “For how long? For how long are we going to take care of her? For how long is she going to live with us? Taking care of three kids is already a lot of work. Find someone else to take care of your mom.”
We spent days discussing this. While my mom was at the facility, the cost kept piling up. My brothers were asking me why mom was still there when we had agreed on the way forward. I couldn’t answer them honestly. I couldn’t tell them it was because of my wife. I felt it was an internal issue I could handle as time went on but because the cost kept piling up, one day I went there and brought my mother home.
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My wife prepared her room, bathed her and helped administer her drugs. I felt this wave of victory moving slowly in my mind. “I’ve won. Look at her playing her role without a fight.”
It was a Friday evening. The next Saturday morning, my wife started packing out of the house. I asked where she was going and she said, “This is your house. You pay the rent so maybe I can’t determine who you bring in here and who you don’t but I can determine for myself where I can be. I’m going to my parents with the kids so you can have enough space to take care of your mom.”
So, a month ago, my wife left home with my kids. It was one of our neighbours who saw my plight and decided to help me. She’s a trader. She has stopped going to the market because of my mom. I pay her weekly. I couldn’t keep quiet on it so I told my brothers about it. They are angry and asking me to divorce my wife because a woman who can’t help her mother-in-law is not worth it.
Of course, I’m not going to allow them to dictate to me when it comes to my marriage. I know my wife and I know the quality she brings to my life as a supporting wife. I need her. I want her home with me and I’ve said it over and over again but it looks like until my mom leaves my house, she’s not coming back.
I want to talk to my brothers so we rent a place closer to where we live so the woman can continue taking care of my mom but it sounds like I’m choosing my wife over my mother and my brothers will fight me because of this decision.
It’s tough, whether to go left or right. I’m not angry with my wife. I wish she could be more understanding but I can also understand my siblings. This is our mother we are talking about. The sacrifices she has made for us. If I can’t make the same sacrifices for her, then what kind of a son I am?
Where do I go from here? What decision would bring the best results? I want my marriage. I want to be in the good books of my brothers. I want the safety of my mother. Does it mean I love her less if I obey my wife?