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Help me with this family situation, my father thinks I'm avoiding an event!

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (16 May 2017) 14 Answers - (Newest, 21 May 2017)
A female Australia age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I have a difficult situation with my over 65 yr old parents

Need advice please

My parents live in another state that is a 1hour plane flight away

I visit once a year and they come to my state, once a year to visit and and we talk on phone sometimes

My dad is nearly 74 and my mother turns 70 in august

She wants to have a family lunch in her town early july to celebrate

My brothers 3 kids will be there at the time on school vacation/holidays,they are visiting from interstate.

My sister lives in the same town as my parents and has 2 kids,

Her husband will have a day off the day of the lunch.

My brother/sis in law are maybe.(not 100%)...flying to my parents town for lunch

That wkend their are hardly any flights to and from the town, its holiday season, very busy with tourists

Im a shift worker and have the day off.. but.. have to work 7am

the day after the lunch so cannot stay overnight, there are no flights to come back to my city the same day!

So i cannot go and explained to dad why, i really want to go but cannot!

Dad accused me of not wanting to go

Being anti social

Told me " its only your mothers 70th and this may be the last time all

Of us are together before my funeral" we have not all been together in 10 years)

They are older but not sick and he is guilt tripping me!

Told me "well if you dont want to go then your choice"


Said "take a sick day on monday and come"

I cannot as if its found out i am in trouble!

Told me he would cancel the whole lunch, my brothers arrival is not 109% confirmed.. and my mother would be very upset

He didnt listen and made like id devastate my mother and was deliberately not coming

Finally he said he and my mother may visit my city in august and we can meet up, i told him to have the lunch anyway if my bro can come

Then said" got to go,going out for dinner"

He will tell his side to my sister and she will be on his side

I cannot go! But am happy with the visit my city later


My whole family will hate me now and i rarely see them as it is



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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (21 May 2017):

N91 agony auntFemale anon has really blown this out of proportion.

Not a single person suggested to just go to the meal without her employer's permission, that would just simply be stupid.

If she genuinely has asked for time off work, or to swap shifts with another worker and had the request rejected then that's fair enough and cannot be argued with. Although, it doesn't sound like the OP has exercised that option.

I've never heard of a shift working job that you're unable to swap shifts with someone else. As long as someone is working at all times, why would the employer care who's doing it?

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (21 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt Anon female reader of May 21st- I don't think that anybody here suggested that the OP should just took up and leave without her bosses' permission and against their wishes . We just got the feeling that she did not even ASK, since she was only bringing up " sick days ", and not vacation days or personal days or unpaid leave days or whatever her contract may include. She should simply ask. If she is denied her request, so be it, and she can honestly tell her parents , I tried my best, but alas no can do. I am sure no parents are so selfish to wish to endanger their children's livelihod for the sake of having them over for dinner !

What company would fire an employer just for politely asking something ( which, btw, could even be the employeee's RIGHT, according to the terms and stipulations of her contract ? ) Not even in King Solomon's salt mines !

I also want to state the obvious and say that work laws are different in different countries. So the dramatic scenario you envision is perhaps possible, or likely, to happen in USA - and unthinkable in most Europe ,

( including UK ), where to dispose of a worker you MUST have fair reasons for dismissal. Kicking an employee' out for missing work ONCE is unfair dismissal - ONCE does not make a misconduct case !, and even for blatant misconduct your employer MUST follow a fair disciplinary procedure before firing you.

Now , I admit candidly that I have no idea how things are in Australia , or in the specific State where the OP lives- I may be wrong, but I guess it will be something in between USA and Europe maybe ?, or perhaps they will just model their work laws after those existing in UK, which do include fair dismissal ( with mandatory disciplinary action before dismissal).

As for " shift " workers, it's a bit vague.

Lots of people work in shifts, including hospital surgeons. Of course a good E.R. surgeon is less disposable than, say , a night shift cashier at the supermarket. Then again, the other side of the coin is that the night shift labour does not have a special responsibility / special skills - so the boss just wants somebody to do the job, does not want specifically her / him in person. So in the case of the night shift cashier, she would have two full months , plenty of time to make arrangements with some coworker for exchanging shifts, and the supermarket owner could not care

less who is where, as long as the cash register is not left unmanned.

Finally, obviously if the OP does not feel like going, she can stay home and this is fine, it does not make her a bad daughter or a bad person. Heck, I myself skipped quite a few family events , without the least guilt or the least compunction- just because I had decided so.

Only , I feel that the OP is an adult woman, mature enough to distinguish " I cannot " from " I don't want " - and to realize that " I cannot " ONLY applies when first you have tried anything reasonably possible to achieve a certain intended result.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 May 2017):

Do not go if you have to work. Some people just do not understand that you are a shift worker.That meàns that if she goes when she gets back she might not have a job. If your boss let's you have off great but if not go to work. In this economy it is very hard to find employment. You can say well she will regret it but I think she might regret more not having a home or food due to a one day event. Unless your family has enough money to support you when you lose your job they should just shut up. If your family really loves you they should understand you need your job to live. I am on your side. Your family needs to leave you alone on this. Do what you need to do not feel bad.

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (20 May 2017):

YouWish agony auntI'm thinking along the same lines as AuntyBimBim here. Your dad saying this:

"its only your mothers 70th and this may be the last time all Of us are together before my funeral"

This would have me wondering if there are health issues that they haven't informed you of. This is a lot more common than you may realize -- I visited my grandmother when I was a teenager, and she called my family to visit. It wasn't until we were there that she informed us that she had congestive heart failure. None of us had any idea. She was 66. Within 2 months after our visit (we drove, but it would have been 2 1/2 hours by plane), she was gone.

I won't judge you, and only you know your parents well enough to know if they have a penchant for dramatics in terms of trying to get you to do something. But I also would never dismiss the possibility that you may be taking their good health for granted. There is a REASON they're moving the lunch up from August to July. Have you asked them what that reason is? Stuff like that isn't arbitrary.

If you're a shift worker, is there a way to ask a co-worker to cover your shift?? Two months away is plenty of time to get a shift covered.

We never know how much time we have left with our parents. I'd get back on the phone with them and get some clarification from your father about their health.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (18 May 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntI am sure you are entitled to holidays, have you even asked your employer can you go to your mothers 70th and book a day off or are you just making excuses. You say they are healthy how on earth could you know that for sure? If you want to work then by all means work, but one day you will live to regret it when your parents are no longer here. You asked the question Honeypie gave you good advice and it appears you where just rude back to her.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (18 May 2017):

CindyCares agony aunt I agree with N)!- why do you have to ask for a sick day ?

Why do you have to " wrangle " a day off ?

Don't you have personal days ? Don't you have regular vacation days ? Why can't you take a day off your yearly vacation ?

Did you at least ASK, rather than assuming they will say no ?

Sure if you don't go it's not the end of the world in teh grander scheme of things, but ...

My father died at 74. He was in great shape, then one day he got sick and in 15 days he was gone. Just saying. Age is age, and we all somehow assume that ourselves and our family are immortal, and that there always will be a " next time ". Some times, there isn't one.

Your father does not hate you, and your family does not hate you and if you CHOOSE to not go they will get over it, eventually - but I can understand how, without hating you, maybe Dad feels somewhat disappointed ,because you do not seem very bothered about finding a solution and tryng your best to do something that for them is important.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (17 May 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntAn Aunt of mine insisted nobody but her immediate family be told she was terminal until AFTER her 75th birthday .... she wanted to see everybody happy and smiling when they gathered to celebrate. She died a few weeks later.

Are you 100% sure your aging parents are healthy? Is the reason you cant attend financial? That is probably the only reason that would keep me from joining my family for such a milestone.

My opinion is that you should seriously reconsider your position on this.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (17 May 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntCant? Or wont?

Are you casual, and don't have any holidays you could take? Would it be possible to change your regular annual trip to happen in July rather than when you normally would?

Your mother is getting old, she may feel (or even know) her time is running out and she probably would like to see all the family together before she dies. Is that such a big ask?

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (17 May 2017):

N91 agony auntYou haven't said once you can't get a day off. You said you can't take a sick day, USE A HOLIDAY.

It's 2 months away, you can definitely organise to go, you don't want to, just admit it.

It will upset your mother, why would it not? As people get older they cherish moments they get to spend with their family much more because they don't know how many more they will get.

I would move mountains to attend family functions, whereas you sound like you can't be bothered.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

Tisha-1 agony auntWould your employer give you the day off so you could attend your mother's funeral?

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

You have explained that you can't go. If your siblings ask about it tell them what you told your father. Perhaps they'll be more understanding. If not it's not like you see a lot of them anyway.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 May 2017):

This is poster

Dinner is july not august and no i cannot wrangle a dayoff!!

Read the question!!!!!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (17 May 2017):

This is poster

My dad said "got to go, having dinner now"

I didnt say this!

Help he and my mother think im avoiding the lunch

Not true!!

Cannot go

Dont say I can

I cant

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (17 May 2017):

Honeypie agony auntSince it's not until August are you SURE you can't wrangle your schedule to take an extra day off for this?

TRUST me when I say, you WILL regret not going. Not because you dad keeps bugging you but because LIFE is short.

If I could have ONE more day with MY mom I'd punch the sun at the chance!

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