YOU ARE THE ADVICE COLUMNIST: Should I Help My Birthmother With Her Chemo?

Should I ditch chemo mum because she ditched me as a toddler or should I do 'the right thing' and help her?

Mar 20, 2014 at 6:30pm | Leave a comment

My birth mother left me 'to be babysat' by my grandmother as a toddler to take my three year old brother to a 'movie'. She was found three months later living in another state. My birth father was married and uninterested. Consequently I was adopted by my grandmother and my grandmother's new husband and the deal they made was I was never supposed to know. My birth mother became my 'sister' and in my large family, it didn't really matter anyway, and I saw her regularly as a child. 
My birth mother spilled the beans when I was 18 (I am now early 30s) after having an affair with my boyfriend at the time and he told me. Not only was I devastated about that (I mean wtf) but who she had left me with. Her story was that she was 'confused' but the rest of the family says it was because she was violent towards me. With the scars I still have from that time, I believe them.
My grandmother was abusive and to this day denies that one of my 'uncles' sexually assaulted both my birth mother, my aunt and me as children. My adopted father was hardly there. In short, my childhood was horrific. I have digestive problems and flashbacks. My 'family' can best be described as criminal trailer trash.
With therapy and distance I have overcome these to create an awesome life. I changed my name and began again. I have a child who I parent with love. My birth mother had a lot more children (some she kept, some she didn't) and I keep in contact with all of them.
During these last years I have maintained a distant relationship with her. I realised a lot of her issues are from the abuse she suffered. She loves her grandchild and is sorry I was mistreated.
Problem is, she now has breast cancer. Due to her inability to lay off the booze and eat properly it has been a long hard road of treatment.
Unfortunately, I am the only one who can help her. She doesn't drive, my siblings are either too far away or just don't care and since I am the 'responsible one' somehow I am landed with it.
I understand this supposed to be a time where 'love brings us together' but I have a life. my son my work and my degree take up all of my life. I have responsibilies and although I feel so terribly sad for her situation, I took myself away from their lives for a reason.
I have had to miss classes and miss work to look after her knowing that if my rent doesn't get paid, there is literally NO ONE who 'has MY back'. I have used the help govt/respite has given me but still, this is a burden and I feel guilty as hell for feeling this way.
Should I ditch chemo mum because she ditched me as a toddler or should I do 'the right thing' and help her?

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