The hardest part for me...

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The hardest part for me of my mother's death, was that I wasn't there when she passed. And I regret it so much. I visited daily in the mornings and missed maybe a week over a 2 month period. And in hospice it was so emotionally hard for me that I skipped a few days, but usually visited in the morning. I was there the day before she died and was going to go the next day, but was worn out physically and mentally, so I didn't go. She died late that night. And I could hit myself for not being there. Hospice didn't even call me that day. At least they could have told me they thought she was going to pass that night. The whole ordeal from assisted living to hospitals, nursing home, hospice, every step of the way was a battle, nothing went right the whole time. I feel as if it was meant to be. Nothing I did could stop the inevitable. Every step of the way was uphill and a fight. But I guess her body was failing and in that case what can one do? I wish I could have saved her. I wish there was something I could have done to prevent it all. I prayed a lot, but even God can't help when the body is dying. It's futile to try, futile to pray for healing, etc. Nothing can stop whats going to happen. Its hard to understand, but easy to understand at the same time. Oh boy! Life!


Bloomschool - i have had several experiences with close family members, hospice, and death. Your mother dying when you were not there does not actually surprise me. When my grandmother died - all of us were with her constantly. We all stepped out briefly and when we came back, she had passed away. Our hospice nurse told us that she often saw that - it seems as if our loved one releases into death when they are alone. She sees it over and over. My young aunt (45 when she died) was on hospice and had teenage kids. Her priest suggested that my uncle and her children hold her hand, kiss her, and tell her it was OK to go. They did that (she was unconscious) and she died the brief time a few days later that she was alone. It might be that your mother chose to go then. You were very loving to her obviously and i'll bet she knew that and was helped by that.
I don't believe they are alone. I think a close loved one comes for them.
I think the death of a loved parent is always hard. It is natural to wish we could have done something to prevent it, even when we know that is entirely unrealistic, and that the death was expected and released our parent from suffering. In the natural course of events almost all of us lose two parents to death. We certainly might be angry that the universe works that way!

I was with my father when he died. That was a privilege. My mother died en route to a hospital from her nursing home. Only my sister who lived closest was able to get there in time to be with her, but she said Mother was not aware of her presence. My sisters and I had visited Mom regularly in the nursing home for two-and-a-half years. We advocated for her. We helped to see that she was content. While we might have preferred to have been with her, we were all just glad that death came upon her so suddenly. She did not suffer long.

Mourning a parent is hard. Be gentle with yourself.
When my mom began her "transition" hospice called me and said it would be several days to a week. I went that day to see her. When my dad passed hospice had said two weeks and he passed about four days later - I didn't want to take any chances. She appeared to be asleep but I didn't know for sure if she was or was in a phase/stage of actively passing so I didn't try to wake her - I didn't want to jolt her out of what I can only hope was a peaceful and gentle easing into whatever comes next - after. So I sat with her a while, held her hand and when I left I told her I loved her and would see her tomorrow - kissed her forehead.

The next morning my phone rang just once at about 7:20. At 7:25 it rang again - it was the nursing home. They said the first ring was the head nurse calling to tell me my mom "was having a hard time" but at the first ring an aide had come to tell her my mom had just passed.

It was really a very odd feeling - knowing what had happened in the space of just a couple minutes - between the first ring and the actual call. I had been standing next to the phone - I knew the first ring had been them. It was like I was being made present - a participant- when it happened. And for me to have been told -  in the space of about three minutes after she passed. It's hard to describe why it felt so odd but it did.

The hardest part for me... is wondering what the nurse meant when she said my mom "was having a hard time". I've never asked. Was she awake and asking for me? Was she frightened? I can't help but wonder - even knowing that if she had been asking for me, I wouldn't have made it to her in time. But still I don't ask - I guess I don't want my worst fears about mom feeling frightened and alone confirmed. So, I tell myself "having a hard time" could have been something physical, something else - and that helps most of the time. But still, that's the hardest part for me.
Rainmom, my husband died in our bedroom, holding my hand. I had been reading to him when it became apparent that he was "having a hard time." I don't know how else to describe it, but I knew that death was imminent. The "hard time" probably lasted 5 minutes. I would describe his death as peaceful.

I hope you can take comfort that even in a very peaceful death there is an element of disturbance that could be described as a hard time.
My dad was alone when he died, even though my mom had visited him that afternoon and he seemed OK and I was going the next day. They called me to say he was starting on oxygen but was OK (I asked if I should come and they said no). They called 90 minutes later and told me to come. When I got there, he was gone. I felt bad about it for a few years, but have come to a place of peace. I did everything I could for him in the years that I was caregiving, which is the most important thing to me, so my conscience is clear. Would I have preferred to have been there? Yes. But I wasn't and I can't change that.

I hope you can come to a place of peace as well. You did what you could for him while he was alive. The few minutes or hours of his passing are just a short time in his overall life and not the focus of his life. Hugs...
Wow, thanks jeannegibbs. It means a lot. I have a tendency to imagine the worst and then the thought sits and festers. It is honestly very comforting to hear what you said.

I know I very frequently rant about my issues with my mother - and the truth is she was a very difficult, complex, self-absorbed and eccentric person. But she was also extremely intelligent, driven, independent, unique, adventuresome, and she had a huge thirst for everything - a real seeker. For every negative aspect there was a positive one that I admired. My mom was and still is the voice in my head telling me to do more, try harder and to be better.

I'm not sure I'll ever get over being angry at her but I also know I loved her. I would not wish her one moment of suffering.

Your words have given me some comfort - and a bit more peace. Thank you for that.
My dad died of a heart attack in bed, while watching TV.  My mom was in another part of the house. I was at work, 25 miles away. (I was a young adult, living on my own.)

My stepdad died after a month-long drama involving a respirator, feeding tube, dialysis machine.....and the inevitable Family Meeting With The Doctor. We chose to discontinue support. The tech gently reduced the oxygen to a level that would terminate anyone else, and he hung on for 35 minutes. So ended a surreal journey. We had been exposing ourselves to MRSA and c.diff for the better part of a month -- what's another half-hour?

My mom's cockeyed independence did her in. Head trauma from a fall, while she was home alone. Severe balance issues and the first flickers of dementia are a bad combination. Too "with it" to be declared incompetent. Too "out of it" to recognize the need to make changes. Changes I would have gladly facilitated. But that ship sailed.

So, a semi-attended death, an attended death and an unattended death. All with the same outcome: dead.

I gleaned no meaning, no revelation and no new understanding of the universe. I am glad that all 3 did not suffer excruciating pain at the end. In a perfect world, all deaths would be painless.

Dear Bloom,

I hear you. Its only natural to have this regret. You loved your mom and had been through so much together. It was only natural and normal to feel like you would be there at moment as well.

I too have this guilt. I am so angry at the doctor. She told me my dad had 6 months to one year left. The last day, I saw him at the hospital, he was so weak and it never dawned on me that he would pass. Never. I was convinced I would see him tomorrow. But there was no tomorrow. Two hours later the doctor called to tell me he passed. It was the worst moment of my life.

7 months after his passing, I am still tearful. Tearful about not being there for him. Tearful for not recognizing that our time together would be coming to an end.

Everything you write Bloom resonates so clearly with me. I have too have the same thoughts and feelings. I don't know when they will abate. I keep going in circles about it. But I take comfort from all of you sharing your experiences on this forum.
To all of you, I totally get it. I spent almost every minute with my Mom for seven days in palliative care in the hospital. The last day I told myself I'll stay four hours today and then I'll go home. Reason being, every day they said it could be any time now. This went on for a week. I was falling apart at the seams. For some reason when I left that last day I took my puzzle book and various things that I had been leaving there. So, it's almost like I knew. When I got home my one cat came and sat on my chest and put his paw on my tears. Then the phone rang and they told me she was gone.

I wish I had stayed that day. Four more hours and I would have been there.

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