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Mom has terminal cancer. I want to spend more time with this woman who used to be sharp as a tack. Now that her mind is slipping fast, I find it very hard to watch her slide away. How do I beging to cope with the fact that I can only spend so little time with her before I start falling apart myself?

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This has to be so hard for you and the above answers were great and I do hope you have siblings and friends who are able to help you also during this time-you know you are doing your best.
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Dear kj,Sometimes I would have to wait and cry a bit before going in to see mom each day.Every single morning, I prayed to God and the Holy Spirit ,to give me strenght and guidance to cope with what I was about to face.It helped me a lot to remind myself that she was the one going through it,and if she could handle it, so could I. Try to focus on something pleasant or soothing for both of you. Read a poem,sing a song,or just brush her hair. There are a million and one little distractions you can find to help get you through the day. try to be grateful for having your Mom here still, hold her hand. Tell her little stories about all the things she did for you and the family. She'll get the message even if she,s not fully clear. There'll be plenty of time for tears later on. Please see that you take care of yourself too , during this most difficult period. Perhaps it would help you to visit with someone to accompany you. I know you can handle it,and you know what ? If you do cry , so be it.It might just help your mom to express what she's feeling too.So relax , you have bigger things to worry about now. The important thing is that You're there. Good Luck and God Bless. D.
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i just want to send u huggggggggggsssssssss-and yes, use this site to vent- it helps-
she feels your love-because u r part of eachother-
k
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I so agree with "lilliput"
quality time helped me go thru it and you will feel you did your best when the time comes, and more important "God Knows too"
He will see you thru it. He said "I will never leave you" and that's the truth.
He will not forsake you at your hour of need. I am a Christian and If you are a Christian, then just believe in your heart He will help you in your time of need.
May God bless you.
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Thank you for asking that question as I am going through the same thing except that my mom has Alzheimer's and my dad is falling apart, too! We just moved them into an assisted situation but they are both reacting in unpredictable ways and need constant attention trying to help them adjust. I am actually finding myself in a constant state of distraction wondering about their current well being and needs at every moment. Great-fully I have 4 sisters living in various distances from my parents but we are barely able to handle all that needs to be done and sometimes we are at odds! I unexpectedly broke down one morning into heaving sobs. To my surprise, I felt relief afterward.
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kimackay - The following website at Mayo Clinic has some information that I just found to be helpful in this journey:
Sending you a hug for today - (((( ))))
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I would google a bereavement group in your area. Most states provide funding to such non-profits to help people in your situation. Being able to share your feelings with other people who have either gone through or are going through a similar experience can help.
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Thank you for your support and insight. I'm so glad I found this sight. I know I will be coming back for support and helping anyone I can through the troubling times they may be goin through. Thanks all.
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Going through this with your mother will be extremely challenging and very sad for you to see your mother deteriorate. However, there may also be times when you will feel peace and feel rewarded by the experience of helping her through this transition. Do you have any siblings or family members or close friends with you you can discuss your feelings? Even if the answer to this is yes, short term brief counseling is also a very helpful support strategy to help you cope with the sorrow and stress you will endure. It's natural to feel extreme sadness at the thought of losing a parent and it is important that you release those feelings through crying and talking and doing some activities you enjoy, also, to help balance the demands of what you are dealing with. Getting a massage or going for a walk, to a movie, anything that will give you a healthy outlet is therapeutic, also. On days you may be feeling overwhelmed, take a break and recharge your batteries. For me, prayer and reading books about loss are also helping me cope since I am a Christian and believe in an afterlife. Coming here to "talk" is also helping me cope, particularly when I am in the falling apart mode. Sending you hugs ((( )))) and just remember that all we have is today so take it one day at a time.
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It really isn't the number of days or hours that you spend with your mother, it is the quality of your time with her that counts. She knows that you are present, she knows that you love her, and she can relax knowing that you are doing everything possible for her care and comfort.
There is no easy way to help someone transition into the next life, if that is your belief. We can only do our best, while acknowledging that we are human and can only handle so much.
I can see that you already know your limits. Do not try to do more than you are already doing. If you feel overwhelmed, do not visit on that day. When you have more energy and feel more centered, stay longer and do little things that will add to her comfort. Think of all the senses: can you bring flowers or bring naturally scented items into her room? play soft music? bring lotion for her hands and arms? or throw a colorful comforter on her bed?
I think that our presence is the greatest gift we can give someone who is nearing the end of her or his life.
Do what only what you can do...she knows how you feel about her.
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