My caregiving days have ended....

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Not entirely unexpected...my Mother passed away yesterday. No more pain, no more suffering, and I am sure she is now rocking her angel-baby (my youngest brother was stillborn) and filling him in on all of the details of the life and family he was unable to experience for himself here on earth. In my heart, I knew it was coming, and I was already making preparations for the inevitable - as a matter of fact, I was just getting ready to send an email to the mortuary for more information on pre-need arrangements when the phone rang. Ironic, huh?

Mom was admitted to the hospital on Sunday with another hypoglycemic episode - her sugars dropped to 23 this time around, and it took them awhile to bring her around. She had a couple of the same episodes in July, and they had noticeably taken a toll on her, especially on her cognition. She was "awake" but talked about things in her past..asked if my father was "still here, or did he go home already?" (he's been dead for 20 years), talked about a church she used to go to as a child, family members who have passed, etc. The doctor at the hospital was planning to keep her for a couple of days to stabilize her blood sugar and get a jump on the persistent UTI that had been plaguing her for over a month now, and then they were going to transfer her back to the nursing home, since she was on limited intervention with a DNR in place (I can not express how thankful I am that she signed that paperwork!). My sister actually came to the hospital to see her (first time in over a year) and had a good visit - Mom was happy to see her. All seemed to be going "okay" at that point, but deep down I knew the time was near.

Yesterday morning I was just getting ready to head to the hospital when I received a call from the hospitalist. He told me he made his rounds and spoke to Mom. She seemed to have had a good morning, she ate breakfast, said she was feeling better, wasn't in any pain, and that she was ready to go back to the nursing home so she could get some sleep...she can never sleep in the hospital. He said she looked better than she did the day before, her numbers were all good, and he was planning to call me with her discharge information later in the day. About an hour later, the nurses called him and told him her heart monitor readings were off - she had inadvertently disconnected a couple of the leads the day before, so they thought that had happened again. When the nurse checked on her, she found that she had passed. He believes the "funky" readings were the result of her pacemaker still pacing away.

The doctor told me he didn't see this coming at all, or he would have called me sooner to come in. He said it appeared as though she nodded off for a nap, and that was that. When my daughter and I arrived to sign paperwork and to see her, that is exactly how she appeared - no trauma, no scared expression on her face - just peaceful sleep. I thank God for that visual.

Some of you have seen me at my worst - venting like there's no tomorrow from exasperation and frustration in caring for my (stubborn as a mule) Mom. I feel that caregiving is not something that I was meant to do, and I feel that I didn't do it very well. Of course I took care of my Mom and did what I had to do for her because I loved her, but when things got so bad that I could no longer care for her here I would be lying if I said I wasn't relieved. Having her in the nursing home these past 5 months gave me my sanity back...well most of it...and I felt again like I was her daughter who could have nice visits with her and calmly talk to her instead of feeling like a raving lunatic from the stress of doing everything on my own, without the help of my siblings. I will not and do not feel guilty for that...at least the last few months have been filled with better memories than what would have been had she remained here.

Just a week ago my family and a couple of my Mom's sisters gathered at the nursing home (in their private dining room) and we had a birthday brunch/party for her - she reached the milestone age of 75 years and after all she had been through these past few years, we were determined to celebrate it with her. She enjoyed the day as much as she could, and we got some pictures of her with her sisters before she said she was tired and asked to go back to her room.

I miss my Mom more than words can say. I especially miss the Mom I used to have...the one I had before chronic pain and disease overtook her body, her life and to a lesser extent, mine, in these last few years. Happy memories....that is what I will focus on from here on out....nothing can take those away from me.

25 Comments

Purplesushi, I am so sorry... It's a hard place to be, being a care giver...the frustration, insanity, anger...and relief that your mom's suffering, and your own in the dealing, is at an end. Your mom passed peacefully, in her sleep. That's a blessing. You have nothing to feel guilty for. You were there for your mom like a champ. Take comfort in that, and know that your mom is indeed in a warm, peaceful place now, with your brother... Take care... *hugs*
I am so sorry for your loss Purplesushi. Standingalones words are perfect. Comfort and peace. I have nothing to add. God bless you and your Mom.
Again, so sorry to hear this. It sounds like a peaceful passing that we all wish for. Hoping you and your family have wonderful memories to share and a sense of peace. Hugs!
Purple, my condolence on your mother. Like you, Father and I was caregiving mom for years without much help from my 7 siblings despite our repeated request for help. When mom passed away in March and at her funeral, my siblings tried to pressure me to “find closure” at her casket. Made me so angry. I have no need for closure. For years, I have seen mom slowly dying. I cried my tears these past years. I later read in a book that we caregivers for years have been slowly mourning our loved ones as they slowly “forgot” each of their original personality. So, please know, that if at the day of her burial, and you do not cry, it’s because you have already been mourning her all these years. {{HUGS}} Book
So sorry for your loss, Purpleshushi.
((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))) Chris. I am glad your mum passed peacefully. it is something we all wish for ourselves and our loved ones, So nice that she enjoyed her 75th birthday surrounded by loved ones. I agree you have nothing to feel guilty about, You did a great job and I am glad you had a few months with her in the nursing home. It sounds like she had so many health issues there is no way you could have looked after her at home. In the end, all we are left with is memories. Look after you - more (((((((hugs))))))) Joan
as inevitable as death is to an elder in poor health it still leaves one hell of a void in your life. you were good to your mother and i hope you can pick up your own life now with no regrets.
So sorry for your loss.
Purplesushi,

Your mom was very blessed to have a daughter like you, caring, brave and smart enough to get the support she needed from this site. You did your best caring for her and now God is caring for her. No more chronic pain and now He has a great plan for you now that your hands are empty. God bless you dear. Hugs.
What a beautiful and thoughtful description of a very sad event. She is no longer in pain, and she is safe. May she live in your heart forever, well and happy.

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