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I won't repeat the details, as some of you already know them, but my mother had a stroke 2 years ago, followed by numerous septic UTIs. Every time we think she's down for the count, she pops back up. She has 24/7 caregivers at home and about 6 weeks ago we put her on hospice (at home) bc she had another bad UTI and didn't want to go to the hospital. She rebounded from that with oral antibiotics (has required IV ones in hospital before) and was eating and drinking and doing great (considering that she's bedbound and half paralyzed).

She became short of breath on Sunday and it was very alarming and scary. Turns out there is fluid in her lung - not pneumonia, but fluid. So she is taking Lasix and getting oxygen now. Her vitals remain good and she is eating and drinking a little, but she sleeps a lot and is increasingly confused.

I'm her only child and I feel like I am falling down a well. It's so scary. No one's said her days are numbered right now, but this is as bad as she's been. What makes it all scarier is that my daughter is graduating from college in 10 days and I can barely focus on that. I am also taking her on a trip to Europe mid-June as a present. I am worried we won't be able to go. I am on depression meds, try to exercise, am taking a mindfulness meditation group, but I'm really feeling as un-hinged as I've ever felt. I hate that my girls are seeing me so depressed, though I do my best to pretend I'm not in as bad shape as I really feel.

I am also unemployed-whoopee! I have some freelance work but it's hard to focus. I'm not even sure how I could manage a full time job right now, as I spend hours per week, it seems, talking to doctors, nurses, home care agency.

Breed dachshunds! Perfect idea.

I'm doing some freelance work, but I really need a full time job.

Maybe I won't come home from our Europe trip and move to Sicily...
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Xina, starting over is terrifying. I know. I did it. After my 24 year marriage ended and my last kid left for college, I spent weeks imagining a new , tolerable life.

I decided I was going to leave Brooklyn, buy something upstate. And breed dauschunds.

It was totally crazy, and when I announced my intention, my eldest said "mom, that's a dumb plan". Eventually, I moved on.

I guess my point is, make a plan. Take one thing at a time.

How long can you afford to be out of work? Can you take some time off to take a class, learn some new skill and meet some new people? Practice being Xina? Not Xina who just lost her mom, but Xina who is learning to knit, or design Access programs, or code?
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Oh, boy, I am struggling now. After the initial frenzy of having to clear my mom's apartment (still in progress), go to my daughter's graduation, receiving calls and cards from loved ones, things are settling down. I am less distracted and numb and feeling just miserable and lonely.

I am going on a trip to Europe w/my daughter on Saturday for 9 days an I am excited about that, but dread coming back - not just because of my mom's death, but because my life is pretty empty at the moment in general. I was laid off in February, my younger daughter is graduating from high school next year (ie, empty nest), and I am single, not by choice.

I feel like I have to build a life for myself from the ground up and it's too much to imagine. I do have good things, too - a wonderful network of friends, daughters that are doing well, my health (as far as I know), but still, I'm terrified.

I know, what can anyone say or do, aside from say you're sorry and offer hugs? That's the scary part too - no one can fix things for me. I feel so pathetic.
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((((((Hugs)))))) Xina. You said all.
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xinabess, your last paragraph describes exactly what my dad has so often stated are his longed for wishes. He very much wants to die in his home, peacefully and quickly as your mother did. What more could anyone ask indeed? I hope your trip is a time of refreshment and renewal. Blessings to you
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Thanks, all. I attended my daughter's graduation on Sunday, and we are definitely going on our long-planned trip on June 9.

With the help of friends and family (and my mother's incredible aide), we have accomplished a lot in her apartment, though there is a ton more to do. I have until the end of June (because they will "pause" the allotted 18 days to empty the apartment while I am away). It keeps me running on adrenaline and almost too busy to feel sad. I also think I have been grieving and anticipating her loss for a year or more now, and when I visited her in recent weeks, she hardly spoke and looked so done (though she always knew who I was, as well as my girls and any other relative or friend who visited her. I know many people don't recognize their loved ones, and that was not the case here.) She made some funny and spot-on comments until the moment she died. She told me 2 days before she died to write my daughter a check from her for her graduation and said "don't be chintzy," and also told me to "sit down and shut up," when I was milling around, asking her constantly if she needed this or that, wanted this food or that, wanted me to stay or go, etc.

It was the best possible scenario-dying in her own home at 85, with wonderful aides and a hospice nurse there. (I was at my home when it happened, not close enough to get there in time.) She had a lot of health problems for about 4 years, but, ultimately, she was not in pain or distress, and died peacefully and quickly. I don't think anyone could ask for anything more than that, so I am at peace.
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xinabess, it's possible to clear out an appartment in three days if you get in enough help and work from lists. I did this for an aged friend of mine going into full time care after living there 45 years. She couldn't even think about it.

After your various trips, go over to the appartment armed with several packets of different coloured post-it notes, just to make lists:
1. what to keep as vital family docs/photos/keepsakes/souvenirs for you and your family (think of younger generations too. Pack them up in clearly labelled boxes and bin bags ASAP if you can. These should be the only items that get taken to your house.
2. what is saleable (furniture, pictures, books, ornaments) by auction,
3. what could go to local charity shop (they should agree to collect), or do a garage sale if you really have the energy - most people don't; sort out what needs to be washed/laundered first,
4. what is broken/chpped/torn/stained that could be binned straight away - be firm - don't forget recycling.
5. Make "Don't know" pile for decision later.

Have a different colour post-it note for each of the categories above, and slap one on each item that you are sure will go into one or other category (even the 5th).

Tell the appartment landlords that you are arranging for an orderly clearance, and your way is the quickest way. Then get friends (bribed with cake, pizzas or takeaways) to help you get all items into boxes and bin bags heaped together by category, and when this is done, get vans/trucks to come one by one to remove stuff, starting with biggest items eg beds, settees, etc furniture. As the flat gets emptier, it's easier to take out boxes and binbags full of stuff. And you can decide on Category 5 items. Last bits and pieces get binned while you close off meters, inform post office of change of address.
Finally, you could think of hiring a couple of cleaners to come and hoover/wash everything, including windows, hoover curtains and leave the place empty and respectable.
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So sorry for your loss.(HUG)
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I am so sorry for your loss!
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Thank you everyone. I am definitely attending my daughter's graduation tomorrow and definitely going on our trip!! It's in 2 weeks. I think it will be just what I/we need and it's not like I need to visit her anymore.

She lives in a rental apt and they have pretty strict rules about clearing things out fairly soon. It's so weird. She lived there for 40 years. My heart is hurting so much.
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Sincere condolences for your loss, and your daughters will also be adjusting to a new life without their grandmother in the background.
For the sake of your future relationship with your daughters, yes I would go to the graduation, and

consult with your daughters about the Europe trip. If tickets have already been booked, it may be hard to cancel.
Everything to do with clearing a home can wait - months if need be.
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xina, so, so sorry for your loss. Try to relax and take care of you. Don't feel guilty if you can't attend your daughter's graduation.
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xinabess - I'm sorry for your loss. And for the shock and grief of having it happen so suddenly and unexpectedly. Take care of yourself, now. If you don't feel up to going to going on a trip, put it off until you're more able to enjoy it. {{{Hugs}}}
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Xina, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.
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So sorry Xina all this has been very hard on you no wonder you feel so terrible. In one way or another it happens to everyone when they loose a loved one. grief is a strange animal and affects everyone differently.
Of course you have to attend the graduation but if you don't feel like it the trip could be postponed.
Let yourself grieve, cry and howl if it helps. Drink the wine if it really helps and you don't feel worse afterwards. just don't mix the wine with tranquilizers
Mom's apartment can wait or get someone else to deal with it. I am sure there are things you want to keep and papers you need to find. Try not to go there alone the first time. Perhaps the caregiver can help with all that. Don't rely on the kids for help they will probably just say "hire a dumpster Mom"
Were you planning on daughter's boyfriend going with you? If not perhaps let him go in your place. Blessings and peace
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It might be a good idea to postpone your trip to Europe until you can enjoy yourselves. You probably won’t be in the mood for that.
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Xina, I want you to rid your mind of any anxiety about the "gasping for breath" thing. That's Cheney Stokes breathing, I'd never heard it before but heard people here describe it. It's shortened breaths that seem to signal that death is near. When I experienced it with my mom, it didn't seem to signal any distress in her, just her body giving out.

Your mom had a death at peace with you and with the world. You gave her an incredibly fine and peaceful last several months, Xina. Much calmer than her previous years had been. You did good for her!
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I’m so sorry for your loss. Such a long road you’ve had! I wish you peace and comfort
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Oh Xinabess.

I'm so sorry. I know what a shock it is when it happens.

Who's with you? You're not on your own, are you?
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Missed the cremation part. (((((Hugs))))))))
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Xinabess, I also offer my condolences for your loss.
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((((((hugs)))))) xinabess -my deepest condolences. We are never ready for the loss of a LO. Be good to you - this is a tough passage. You did a great job looking after your mum.
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Oh, Xinabess. I'm so, so very sorry!

On a practical note, just get her body to the funeral home and tell them the body will need to be held until next week, it's unavoidable.

((((((((Hugs)))))))))
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My mother passed away last night. I can't believe it. I saw her yesterday afternoon and she looked bad, but not dying. At 11 pm the aide called me and said her eyes were fixed in one place and she was gasping for air. It all happened so fast. I was home. The hospice nurse came and arranged for her body to go the funeral home, where she will be cremated. I'm in shock and now I have to go upstate for my daughter's graduation. It's surreal. And the thought of going back to her apartment is unbearable.
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Oh, Xina. You have no idea how much wine I consumed...

17 and 21 is very tough. As you say, they are expectedly self involved at that age.

My brother ( I know you have no siblings) and I had a thing. When we'd go on vacation, we'd call each other and say "and if mom dies?" The other would say " I keep her on ice till you get home"

Seriously, talk to the Hospice social worker about this.

((((Hugs))))) from DoBro ( the new hip name for Downtown Brooklyn).
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Thank you dear Barb!

I did get travel insurance. I had to cancel two weekend trips last year bc of my mom, so really hoping she hangs in there. I don't know what I would do if a crisis/the worst occurred while we were in Europe, but I do think she would want us to go no matter what. And I am extremely lucky that the aide who lives in 4 days a week is incredible and loves her. The other one, who does the other 3 days live-in, is sweet, but new and young.

My girls know this is hard on me. They've seen me struggle so much in recent years-divorce, layoff - ugh. My 17 yo pretty much spends all her time at her friends' houses lately, most of whom have larger and happy-ish families. I don't blame her! Older is w her/bf all the time. I don't feel I can tell them "I NEED you to be with me." I have asked them to call/visit Grammy without me telling them to, but they don't. Not because they don't love her, but they're 17 and 21 and all about themselves. Plus it's increasingly hard to communicate with her.

Drink water-ha ha! Wine is more like it. I know I shouldn't, but it helps me relax in the evening (like 4:59pm bottle is opened). Right now I feel like it's my friend. Yes, I know, I know, I know, it's not good for me, but too bad.
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((((hugs))))) Xina.

I recently reread the texts my daughter and I exchanged as I sat by my dying mom's side.

Not pretty. Lots of f-bombs. From both of us.

We got through it.

For better or worse, this is life. My daughter had to cancel her vacation to Europe. She's going this year.

In your shoes, this is what I'd do...

Make sure you have travel insurance.

Drinks lots of water.

Tell your girls this is the hardest thing you've ever done and that you hope they are taking notes for the future.

Let yourself be. Try to laugh once a day. Reach out to the Hospice as or chaplain for support, to cry, to scream.

Come here. Vent.

We love you, Xinabess!
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