Mom is dying and I am supposed to go to Japan next week.

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I am the main caregiver, along with the long term memory care center she is in. After a year of caring for a pressure ulcer on her foot that grew into a huge wound, seeing a wound specialist every 6 weeks, and treating the wound every other day, 3 new wounds have opened up almost overnight and the home health care nurse called and said it was time for hospice. She said mom's body is breaking down. She made that suggestion with the knowledge of some bad congestion in mom's respiratory system too, as well as lack of alertness or responsiveness. I respect this person's opinions so that is what we are going to do. However, I have had this trip planned for a while along with some impossible to get reservations at a couple of restaurants in Tokyo that are once in a lifetime experiences. It was not a simple trip to plan. What I am saying is, the timing is horrible. I have everything planned out for after mom passes. No funeral or burial will be immediate, as that will happen in another state at another time. Brother and sister are on standby to come down at a moment's notice. Cremation is set up and ready to do it's thing. I have been caring for mom for 8 years by myself, with the facilities she has been in, but right at the moment I am supposed to take this very special trip, it looks as if mom is going to die. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but within the next couple of weeks. I would hate to not be there for her in her final moments, but this is the kind of trip, you cannot just cancel and rebook. Believe me. The nuances and details of the reservations, bookings, connections, how it was paid for etc etc are unlike anything I have done before and I really want to go. Some of you might think that is selfish or cruel to leave my mother just as she is dying and I might agree with you, except that I have been the least selfish of any of my family for 8 straight years. Only those who are charged with taking care of every part of their loved one's life (medical, insurance, financial, POA, etc etc) on a day to day basis understands. I have moved across the country, was let go from my job and have had to live in a town I despise, all to be close to mom and take care of her needs. I do not regret a moment of it, but this has been my worst fear. That she will die just as I am about to embark on a major trip. I have another one coming up in November, that is even more complicated, which I will go on, no matter what, but i guess I am just looking for reassurance and support. I was at my father's side when he died. And I have been at my mother's side almost daily for 8 years and I am trying to separate to get some semblance of my life back, and taking these trips is part of my healing process. And yes, I will have all the time in the world to take these trips after mom passes, I agree, but the ones coming up cannot easily be repeated and it all likelihood, will not be. So my choice to is be there for my mother, for the moment of death, and then oversee the cremation, notify the organizations mom is affiliated with, such as doctors, pharmacies, insurance, banking etc, but that all can be done on email or calls after I get back as it is only 5 days. Is it horrible of me to want mom to die in the next few days so I can do both? Take care of her needs and after death responsibilities as well as go on my trip, with my nephew who also is very conflicted about this?

21 Comments

It's horrible timing, but you are not horrible because you have these thoughts.

Has hospice been by yet, or has she moved to a hospice facility? I ask because having been through hospice twice, hospice is rather good at time frames. In my case, they advised me days (in one case) or hours (for my other relative) when the person was going to pass, with accuracy within an hour. The more information you have, the better you can weigh your decision to go (because you've got everything in place and backup) or stay.

Best wishes. And again, you are not horrible!
There is a possibility that your mom may slip away without you there even if you cancel the trip, I have read of many instances where the family sat vigil and their loved one waited until they left the room, or she may still be there when you return. You have been there for your mom through the years when it mattered most, and you have everything in place if something happens while you are gone. I think the ultimate decision needs to be based on your feelings, whether you would feel overwhelmed with guilt for not being there or if you would be satisfied with saying your goodbyes before you leave.
Sdbike I think most parents would want their children to take such a trip. So, go. You have sibs that will do what is needed in those few days that you are gone. Go and have a good time knowing you have done a fabulous job caring for your mom for many years. I believe she would really want you to go. Mine would.
Just go
Go. Can your brother and/or sister arrange for FaceTime or Skype, so that you can see and talk to your mother? Or even just a phone call?
i would definitely want my daughter to go. You have covered all the bases. Years ago , a similar thing happened with my mother. Her mother was dying , ( a 6 week battle with cancer). Her mom had 5 children. All 5 of them, and I took turns helping my aunt. She was visiting my aunt who thought her cough sounded bad. She never knew she was sick. She never returned back to her house and died in my aunts house. But my mom had started a new position that involved relocating. She said her goodbyes to her mom , and went to work. She had no regrets. I was there with my grandma and her 4 other kids when she died. Believe me , I don't think she knew one way or the other who or who was not there. You have been there 8 years. Go to Japan. You have done so much for your mom.
Mm.

I'm not sure I can agree with the consensus. Not because I think it is wicked or selfish for someone to proceed with expensive, complex and unique plans that they have carefully laid; but because I don't think someone who spends nearly 700 words arguing with herself about it is really prepared to cope with how she'd feel if she were enjoying an exclusive dinner in a high end Tokyo restaurant when she got the news that her mother had just died.

What does your travel insurance say about bereavement cancellations? Have a read through and see if it's got any helpful loopholes for you.



Good point country mouse about travel insurance. We had to cancel a trip this summer, Not because of my mom, but because of a knee surgery that wasn't planned. The person who had the surgery was told directly from the orthopedic surgeon the risk of blood clots was to high for him to fly several hours. We purchased travel insurance. Got immediate reimbursement from cruise line. Waiting to hear from airlines who wanted all medical records from surgeon.  I wonder if caring for parent with dementia is something that could be considered to be a condition that would be insurable   We had purchased the insurance before the knee surgery.  The knee surgery was totally unexpected 
Well, you're not an only child. Put some of the burden on your siblings to step up and cover mom while you're on your trip. My mom passed away a couple of months ago. I sat with her all day from 10 AM until late evening (the hospice nurse thought she would pass that day). She passed while I was in the other room lying down for a break. So a lot of the time your loved ones don't even pass while you're there, as others have mentioned.

I'd say your goodbyes to mom, tell her whatever you'd say knowing you probably won't see her again, get your brother and sister to step up to their responsibilities and go on your trip. We all die alone in the end. You've been there for the 8 years when it really mattered. Her last few days or hours aren't nearly as important as those 8 years, in my opinion. So I'd say go!
Go to Japan and celebrate your mother every step of the way whether she is alive or not. Your mother may die in her sleep in the middle of the night while you are only a few miles away so does it really matter whether you are nearby or in Japan? Life is for the living. Your mother has lived her life. It's time for you to live yours.

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