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My 90-year old bedridden grandmother has been declining rapidly over the last few weeks, as some of you know (not my first post). Since I've been living with her for the past 6 years, I noticed her slow decline over the years, when she first started losing her balance and falling, when she no longer would leave the house even to get her pension... In a way, I've had 6 years to accept the idea that she is mortal. Now that she broke her hip, became bedridden, lost the little will to live that she had, and stopped eating and drinking, I see the changes happen every week, almost daily. I don't feel relief watching her waste away sleeping with her eyes half-open. I might feel that later, when she's gone. For now, I just feel the kind of calm and peace one does when one's made a decision. I like standing close to her, watching her breathe irregularly. I enjoy just being there for her in case she wakes up and needs something. All of the pills are more or less useless now, so I can spare her the discomfort. I have put my life on hold for real now, and I no longer feel pressured into doing it, because I know it won't be long before I have it all to myself again. Did any of you feel the same way during the last days/weeks?

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I am so glad your loved ones both had a peaceful end. It is such a blessing for all. I, too, believe it is a privileged to be with the dying, even when they are PIAs.
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Thank you for sharing this. My 32 year old son passed away 18 years ago. He told me the morning of the day he passed that he would probably die that night. It was an incredible day for us. That evening I put on his favorite music, lit candles & sat by his bedside holding his hand. He fell asleep. Soon his breathing became labored, then a final breath & he was gone. I feel so privileged to have been a part of his final journey. While my heart felt heavy with grief, my soul felt a gentle, loving peace as he began to leave us. All I can say in closing is that it was a sacred & precious time. I will miss him always but hold his last moments close
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Dear Belle,

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of your beloved grandmother. Thank you for your sharing your journey with us.

Katie I really identify with your post. I too wanted my father to turn a corner and I too wanted to "fix" him.

I felt horrible I was not there with my father or grandmother who passed last month. I'm glad you were there with her, loving her and supporting her in those moments.

Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.
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Belle, I, too, am so sorry for you losing your grandmother, I so remember that with mine as well, but also going through that with my mom; at an earlier point, when she had a reaction to a transfusion and went unresponsive my poor mom just thought she'd gone to sleep; she had no idea there was anything wrong; it took a passing CNA to notice and do something, though not sure what, because seemed she was that for quite a while, then later after she came out of that and they'd had her have a bone marrow biopsy and I ended up being the one to be there when the oncologist came and confirmed what we all suspected but then went on to say he wouldn't do anything for her and I made him tell her that; she could handle it, and got it confirmed she was going to go along with it; don't really think she wanted to do anything, anyway, just went along, somewhat like yours regarding eating, to please her children who were not ready to let her go, like my mom, who wasn't there at that point, so I had to be the one to go tell her what had happened; I was giving her a break so she was trying to get some rest, but she was so upset that they weren't going to do anything. I, too, tried to prepare her, but up until then she, too, had hoped she would get better.

I was so glad I was able to be with her one more time by herself before the family all began to gather in; the family who hadn't managed to come be with her before, but since I had and had always been the closest one to her; she was my only one while all the rest had another who was their favorite, but she was able to tell me a story about something that happened, in her mind, anyway, while she was out of it, and then I had to take care of something else that Monday while her children were with her anyway - or had been supposed to be, to make arrangements for her - so mom ended up being with her when she passed away, but, again, don't think she realized; once again, think it took a passing or at least coming in nurse or CNA to realize, so then she at least called her brothers I think she said; like said, thought they were supposed to have already been there, and maybe they had been and things were supposed to be in place, but what she'd always said she didn't want, so who knows; I just like to think that what she'd told me over the weekend was what had comforted her and allowed her to go.
I, too, think mom and her one brother were upset at my not being upset. I,too, was actually glad for her that it was over, but even the preacher(s) at her funeral commented on how her family did so much; I don't believe she was ever left alone at the hospital.
I hadn't seen any of your posts the last 3 mos., only the last 3 days, not sure why and then took someone from another of your posts to direct me here for me to see this, but, again, so sorry for you losing your grandmother; have you had a service yet?
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BelleDarcy: Once again, deepest condolences going out to you on the loss of your grandmother.
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Dear Belle
I appreciate your thoughtful posts allowing us all to reflect and identify with this human experience of being the care taker of someone making a transition. I think this site is so helpful because the family witnesses who are not walking the walk don't really understand the larger picture. The people on this site do.
Your post reminded me of my brother who would have been 65 this year and has been gone for 47 years. He died a long painful death at 19, almost 20. When he passed I could feel nothing but gratitude that he was finally out of his miserable existence.
And you gave me another opportunity to reflect on my mothers death which was just two years ago. She went from rehab to hospice to death within about 24 hours. Aspiration pneumonia and I felt responsible. I felt it then and to a degree still do that she made such a drastic turn. Ironically you abstained from encouraging your GM to eat and it made you feel guilty. I had been told that my mother was too weak to do her rehab so I was encouraging her to eat. When she rallied after stopping all therapy and treatment (and food) I felt I had made yet another mistake as I so wanted her to make it home one more time. I was filled with confusion. She was gone in just a few hours from the rally.
I recently read the book Being Mortal and it has also made me feel better because I truly did try to support my mother in all her decisions to live at home in the manner she chose.
She was very wise and I am grateful I had her as a mother.
I very grandiosely had decided that it was my fault that she died. I suppose I felt I was in control... I know she felt she was. Lol
She had such a strong character and will. I hardly recognized the shell that was left behind once her spirit had left her body. Her body was truly used up.
So thank you Belle for sharing your GMs passage and your experience. I felt a healing. It's like I look on this site often, searching for something. I'm not sure what. Today I felt like I had recognition of my own story and again, a bit of a healing which is huge for me.
Hugs to you and all your GMs family.
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I was with my mother in hospice at the nursing home for most of the time during the last week before she died. One of my brothers was also there. We played music from her past that were her favorites. It was really very peaceful for us. My mother had suffered a lot in the last 10 years of her life with congestive heart failure. I was with her when she passed and held her hand and prayed. As I sat there and watched her face become younger looking and all the stress and pain disappearing, I felt totally at peace and somewhat relieved for her.
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Peace to you and your family Belle.
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I hope I can feel that way when it's time for my mother to go. It has been hard for me these last 3 weeks that my mother has been in rehab. I have realized that my mother most likely won't last another six months. My 95 year old mom was ok until 6 months ago when put on lexapro dr took her off of it 3 months ago. But ever since she gets sundowners. Uti every few months. I am going to have her get physical therapy at home she comes home next week. If she doesn't get better than I will have hospice come to house. Told can't have both. Trying to accept that my mother won't last longer is hard. I have read where some mothers only care about themselves. My mother still worries about me. I hope I can let her go when it's time.
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Thinking of you, Belle, and your family on the loss of your beloved grandmother. Thank you for sharing your story here - it helped me. Sending you a big virtual hug.
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Everyone, thank you - you've been wonderful!

Grandma passed away this morning. She called for me and woke me up, so I was with her in her last 2 hours. It was all relatively peaceful. Yes, she struggled to breathe at the very end, but it seemed unconscious and she didn't appear to be in pain. I opened the window to let in some fresh air and left the room for no more than 3 minutes. When I came back, she was gone. She tried to tell me something before she passed, but I couldn't make out the words, so I just told her that it's all right, that we are all right, that I am here for her and will take care of the others. I hope that comforted her.

I really feel a bit awful now, seeing how genuinely upset the rest of the family were when I told them and they gathered at home to pay their respects. I am not upset. As I expected, I am relieved that her suffering is over and comforted by the thought that we all did our best, worked as a team and did a wonderful job, considering.

Thank you once again for the warm words and your support - this website really got me through the last 3 months!
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I think you have an unusually mature and compassionate approach, and it's a very realistic approach. I did develop an approach similar to that when my sister was dying of cancer, after she agreed to a DNR order, and after I had consulted with her medical team and processed the unsettling if not devastating news that cancer had compromised literally every part of her body.

At that point, I wanted it to be over for her and my father, and perhaps selfishly, for me as well. It was agony to see her suffering and deteriorating by the day.

I won't say that we were comforted by the knowledge that she would be dying in less than 24 hours, but we were relieved that her suffering would be over.

I'm glad you've had such a rewarding experience with your grandmother that you can see both the excellent and the poor times and put them in perspective. I think this is the best way that someone can accept the death of a beloved family member.
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Thank you everyone for sharing your stories - it is really good to hear that we are all going through a very similar process, albeit at different speeds. I saw my mother try to wake up my grandmother and have a conversation with her. Grandma was fast asleep and mom looked annoyed that she 'refused' to wake up for her. She is SO not ready to let her go. I try to prepare her, but I suppose her grieving process has just started - up until last week she still had some hope that grandma will be all right.

I am here for grandma now. But as soon as she's gone, I will go be with my mother for as long as she needs me. We will have tons of PJ parties with wine and funny movies and will slowly start living for ourselves again.

Please feel free to share more - I admit I can't quite get enough of the wonderful and sad stories we all have to tell :-)
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I haven't had to go through this with my mom or grandmother. I do appreciate you sharing your experience. It really does make us appreciate everyday that we have that is healthy and happy.

I know that the days you are describing will come not too far away for my cousin, who I care for. We are now about 4 years into her dementia and she is progressing. She was taken to the ER a couple of nights ago from the MC. I met them there and while she wasn't hurt, but, had a minor injury, they wanted to check it out, I could tell that she really has gotten so much more feeble.
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I felt that way once my mom passed. I was with her the last day for over 12 hours because the hospice nurse thought she'd pass that day. She did, late in the night. I found peace in that the ups and downs and the crazy-making last week of hospice were now over. And I knew that I had done everything in my power to make my mom's life as good as it could be for as long as she was here. I felt great peace and great relief that it was finally over, after 15 years of caregiving. I had done my best and mom was at rest.
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BelleDarcy,

I'm so glad you're at peace. End of life with our loved ones can be very stressful and agonizing. You sound very healthy.

I used to work in hospice and people would always ask me, "How can you do that? I could never be with people as they die." But it's not scary or uncomfortable and I would experience that peace you're talking about. It was a different kind of peace because I wasn't a family member but it was peaceful to me.

God bless.
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I didn't feel that way. I felt responsible to "make it all better"

Up until the last 10 days, I was still trying to get to the bottom of what was causing the pain, and "fix" her.

The last 10 days were the most stressful for me...and the final day was a horror I would never wish on anyone. Peaceful is not a word I would use for any part of those weeks.

Peace only comes now...months later. When I realize I lost Mom..not last June, but more than a year before that when the stroke stole every bit of who she was.
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I'm so glad you are feeling at peace. Even after we brought in Hospice (who were wonderful), I kept thinking that mom was going to "turn the corner" and "get better". She had a long slow decline and then fell, breaking her wrist. Then she developed pneumonia, which we treated. But as you say, her eyes were half closed, she stopped being able to process food and her breathing was irregular. I think I got to the feeling at peace part about 10 minutes before she died. You are lucky to have such insight!
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I genuinely thought my mother might get better. We had been through some close shaves before during the previous two to three years, and I honestly hoped that if I didn't make any mistakes and didn't panic and kept on keeping on she would turn the corner.

But I'm glad for you both that you've reached this kind of acceptance - less stressful for your grandmother, as well as for you.
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Very insightful and bravely spoken message, Belle

Trying to make decisions concerning not just another's welfare but their life is very stressful and the calm and peace you feel is divine guidance letting you know all is as it should be
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