Mom passed away yesterday - on her own terms. I'm so proud of her bravery and courage.

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Out of the blue, Mom developed systemic thrush - and she clearly used this as the avenue to end of her life. She had no prior history of thrush, no prior history of chronic infection, really. She would only take 10 to 20ml of water or Gatorade via a syringe but no food and allowed the thrush to take over. I told the Hospice nurse the reason why Mom is taking in a small amount of fluids is that she wants something very cold to ease the burning and itching sensation of the thrush on her tongue and in her throat. I also said she is purposely refusing food because she wants to die and she's using this thrush as her cause of death. She died from lack of nutrition and dehydration over an 18-day period. Her body is a fighter and did respond to the Nystatin and Diflucan - but this was round one. The second round of thrush developed just two days before her death. Mom's will to die was stronger than her body's desperate will to live and the reason why it took so long for her body to finally give in. I gave her enough morphine to keep her comfortable. The Hospice team was amazing.
Based on her labs done just four months ago - she easily could have lived another five to ten years because everything looked "good". I wanted to vomit - because she was suffering - though the labs told a different story. Since then I was asking The Universe for a massive heart attack, massive stroke, aneurysm...something....ANYTHING....to end her suffering. Death with Dignity is not a law in our State yet. Her slow decline started the year my father expired which was ten years ago. However, her real suffering began in 2013. I won't get into the specifics of her suffering - trust me - it has been BAD - but I'll tell you all that a few years ago, something prompted me to ask her if she was ready to die. She clearly said yes. She said God decides when we all die. I miss my husband. I want to be with him. Two years she started praying at first only once every few weeks but in the last month, it was daily. In fact, she prayed as much her body would allow her as the thrush was spreading. When she was too weak from lack of food and water, she stopped praying. When she did pass away, she looked so peaceful... it was like she was sleeping like a baby with a tiny smile....she was happy her years of pain and suffering ended and she was happy to be reunited with my father. I couldn't have asked for a better looking disposition on her deathbed. I thank The Universe for giving this to her - and to me.
Tomorrow after the funeral, a friend will join me and we'll be enjoying margaritas and nachos at a fabulous Mexican restaurant down the street from our home and be celebrating that Mom is finally at peace because she was suffering for so long...it just was NOT RIGHT and NOT FAIR to her and to me as I was the only one left in our family to deal with her suffering....Old World genetics made Mom's body strong and it just kept going like the Energizer Bunny - from Hell. Some people say God, I say The Universe but it's all the same...tomato...tomahto....I believe she lived as long as she did because The Universe wanted me to learn the lessons required to get me on the path I'm supposed to be on. My life plan had come together and then it was time for Mom to pass. I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to care for both parents - I became a stronger and better person for it. The lessons I've learned from caregiving two very ill parents - all by myself - because I'm an only child and my parents immigrated to America from overseas for a better life - help me in my personal and business life. I'll be working my ass off to become successful so I can fulfill my father's dream of establishing a scholarship for international students to study engineering (my father was a brilliant engineer. No joke. He has patents in material science and electrical engineering) and to open up an animal rescue group in my mother's name. I got her a few cats and dogs to nurture after my father expired. She loved them so much. They helped her with the healing process of losing her husband.
This forum has been an invaluable resource because only us caregivers "get it" and the rest of society doesn't.
Have a good night. Hang in there....There is a Silver Lining to what we've been through. :-)

Peace and Blessings,
Karen :-)

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She lost her speech in the last week of her life because the thrush affected her brain. In that last week, she blinked to let me know she understood what I was saying. I cried and told her how I loved her and she, like my deceased father, will always be in my heart and to not be scared and that I'm so proud of her for ending her miserable life. I told the head hospice medical director that there is no point in looking fantastic on labs and other diagnostic testing - when you have absolutely no quality of life and thankfully Mom knew to seize the opportunity of the thrush infection to finally give her the peace she so deserved.

Peace + Blessings,
Karen :-)
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Thank you for such a beautiful understanding of an end of life decision. Yours written words are an inspiration for those searching for the meaning of life and when it is time to say goodbye.
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Thank you BootShopGirl (and everyone else). Mom's PCP records from the last six months documented - no mental decline - and it was very, very important to me - on behalf Mom - that the head hospice medical director know this. He commented it's typical for the elder body to want to die and the patient's will is to accept it. He's never come across a case of Mom's body being an incredible fortitude of strength and recovery, fighting to live, but in the end her will to want to die by refusing to eat and taking only one cup of water in 18-days finally shut down her body, for good. I told him no doubt if she did eat and drink, her body would recover and then I would be back to crying - a few times a week - to The Universe/God for something...ANYTHING...to end her misery - quickly. She so hated her physical pain and most importantly she missed my deceased father.

I'm starting bereavement counseling next week. I'm working on my small business. I'm studying for my doctorate. I want to be a success, not just for me but to honor my parents so I can give back in their name. And most importantly - I'm getting a two-hour massage! For the first time in many, many years - I'm taking care of me.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Peace + Blessings,
Karen :-)
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Karen,
I'm glad you made it through a rough day today. I loved the answer you gave back to the medical director. Thank you for sharing it!
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Just a quick update: Today was Mom's funeral. It was rough but I was okay because I knew she wanted this and she was so ready to be with my deceased father. I also visited my father's grave for the first since his funeral ten years ago. I cried and told him Mom is on her way to be with him and I hope someday I'll join them. I also told him that I promise to work hard and do good things to honor both of them...to honor the sacrifices they made for me.

I was very concerned the Hospice doctor would include something along the lines of dementia as cause of death. Mom had a vascular dementia which affected her speech recall and mobility - but she was of clear sound until she became unconscious and died. However, she suffered from other medical conditions which caused her tremendous physical pain and suffering and is the reason why she was homebound for the last five years. I'm a very - very - strong advocate for both parents. I'm a pitbull with lipstick - from Hell(!) - when it came to getting things done for my parents. While Mom was on Hospice, I pushed for the Hospice doctor to review Mom's PCP records to get a glimpse of her health before this - out of nowhere - thrush breakout. I was told the head Hospice medical director, instead of the Hospice doctor, would review my mother's records to determine a cause of death. He personally called me to say he was surprised by how great she looked on labs (strong kidney, strong liver, a little high cholesterol, etc) and records compared to how she presented in person based on the observations of the Hospice team. I told him that I'll accept whatever he puts as cause of death - but I wanted him to know that Mom purposely limited her fluids and said no to food because she knew how strong her body was - and that it will recover if she accepted the food and more fluids. She decided she had had it with her bedridden life and was so tired of being heartbroken from not being with my deceased father. The head medical director said to honor my love and tireless dedication to Mom and to her years of physical suffering that he'll list the office cause of death as Death from Natural Causes - Unspecified. He has to add in Unspecified for it to pass the State. I'm very happy with this! :-) He commended me on being such a strong advocate and that I did such good thing by putting my life on hold to care for both parents. I told him - I'm the one who is blessed and fortunate - because I became a better person from this caregiving experience. The Universe wanted me to care for both parents to learn some very tough lessons so I can become the person I was destined to be. :-)

Peace and blessings,
Karen :-)
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I'm glad that you both are at peace. Blessings
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Karen,
I'm so sorry for your loss. May you have Grace and Peace in the coming days ahead. Mom is in a better place.
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Karen, Kudos to you and Mom. I know this was The Long Goodbye and I also know how difficult it is. Sending many hugs and prayers to you.
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So sorry about the loss of your dear mother. It sounds as though you and your parents were a very loving family, and I bet you will carry on very well with the loving gifts they gave you. Just wanted to say I know how it feels to ask The Universe to end your loved one's suffering. It is beyond painful to be caring for an ill parent, but all tests keep coming back "all clear" - leading to a seemingly endless road of more suffering. I'm so glad your mother found a way - what an amazing lady. You seem to have peace with things, and I am grateful. I struggle with guilt at what I ask for, but I too hope some day (sigh) I may know that same level of peace.
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Dear Karen,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You are a such a good and loving daughter to have cared for both your parents. Your plans to honor their memory is beautiful way to carry on their legacy. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
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