My friend Penny is the primary caregiver for her mother. Her brother Paul consistently offers to help but rarely shows up. Understandably, Penny gets angry and frustrated when she ends up having do to the things that Paul has promised he would do for Lilly.
I asked Penny yesterday if she had ever confronted Paul about his lack of follow-through. She said, “No, I don’t want to get into it with him. Mom hates it when I complain about him, so if I told him what I really think, it would be terribly upsetting to her. ”
Penny is a very nice person and she likes to keep the peace, but I think allowing Paul to get away with this irresponsible behavior is not only unfair to her (because she has to pick up the pieces) but it is also a terrible disservice to their mother.
I suspect on the days that Paul says he will come by to light her pilot light, fix her car, take her to the grocery store, or do whatever else he has offered to do, that the only time Lilly takes her eyes off of her front window is when she looks at her phone. I imagine she is reluctant to go to the bathroom, step outside or take a nap, because she wouldn’t want to risk miss hearing the doorbell. I bet she also skips lunch, because she would feel uncomfortable if Paul showed up when she was just sitting down to eat. The thought of her waiting all day for a son who doesn’t show up time after time after time breaks my heart and makes my blood boil.
Paul is a grown man, but he certainly isn’t acting like one. I think Penny should tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. He needs to know that every time he tells his mother he will come see her she believes him. And every time he doesn’t show up, it not only creates more work for Penny, but he also lets Lilly down and he hurts her feelings. Paul should be held accountable for his lack of action. He should be man enough to keep his word, and if he can’t do that, then he should just shut up and stay home!