I have had a hard time deciding to share this...I am having a hard time in general.

On Feb 7 I lost my mom. I am in deep despair. My mom was a lovely Irish lady and was always smiling. I was adopted...she chose to have me in her life and I am so grateful for that. Even when I was being a rotten kid, she did the best she could.

She (and my dad) had all of their funeral arrangements made and paid for ... as she was thoughtful throughout her entire life, even into death.They carefully planned for their future, saving enough money for top of the line care if it was needed. She even had long term care insurance...something unheard of for her generation but she thought it was so important. I had to make only a few decisions...I had to write the obituary, give the eulogy, choose the flowers and plan the reception. Every single other detail was completely taken care of and paid for.For the obituary, they even had left some biographical information with the funeral home so that I would know all the spellings of relatives names and where they lived etc. This was truly invaluable.

She had been a bit ill over the past year. She fell last Feburary and broke her pelvis, back, and cracked her skull. She was literally back to her old self in less than three weeks...not exaggerating. However she had this lingering problem with dizzy spells, falls. The doctors found multiple bleeds in her brain that they couldn't explain and that would resolve on their own. They spent the entire year running tests, scans, etc. and found nothing. On the day of her death she woke my father up very early and said "I have to go to the hospital" and those were her last words. She had a subarrachnoid hemorrhage and went into a coma. At the hospital I was told that the brain damage was severe. They could save her but she would never speak, understand words, swallow and most likely never breathe on her own again. Thankfully she had her living will in place, and my MPOA. I asked for the breathing tube to be removed and she passed, peacefully and gracefully, shortly after.

Despite knowing I did the right thing, I am experiencing horrible guilt for the decision...even though I know its what she wanted. Her best friend died a week later, she had been in a nursing home for several months suffering from CJD unable to speak, understand, hold her head up, etc so we had MANY conversations about how she never wanted that for herself...and thankfully she never had to deal with that.

I know I should be grateful that she didn't suffer, but I never expected to live in a world without her (so stupid, I know). She was only 78. She was my father's caregiver (he has early stage Alzheimer's). I am now in that role.

Thankfully my dad is a very kind, compassionate and happy man, and is still safe on his own though I see him every day. He goes to the senior center where many of his friends are widows/widowers and have helped him through this time. He sees his best friend once a week, as well as his youngest sister. And I see him for dinner every day and on weekends for longer. He is keeping himself very busy and though I see him mourning, he is moving forward as my mom would have wanted.

I read all your stories about parents who refuse to plan for their future, plan their last expenses, refuse help from others or that they can't live on their own. I don't have any of those struggles with my parents, they are/were simply amazing. But it still hurts. I am suffering so greatly. Nothing will ever be the same, ever again. I miss her so much.

I pray for all of you and that your issues are resolved, that your parents soften and decide to plan for their demise. I can't even imagine if I had to face any major decisions right after I lost my mom...I'd lose it.

My main worry now is losing my dad. He is now all I have. I have heard about "broken heart syndrome" and how people who have been together a long time (they had 55 years of marriage) sometimes die within close time-frames. I will have to be hospitalized if that happens.

I don't really have a question but hope someone can understand my worries and fears, and my regret about the decision I made to remove life support.

Much Love,

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Angel, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. Others have already mentioned that you were loved very much and they did a wonderful job raising you. They thought ahead to make arrangements, so you and those left grieving would not have to deal with these decisions. You are truly blessed to have had parents that cared and loved SO much! I can hear your pain, and I will pray for you. The stages of grief are different for each person. Take the time you need and seek help in support groups, friends, family, whoever you feel safe to share your thoughts and pain with. I know as a senior mother, my greatest worry and wish is for my children to be 'ok, independent, and happy'. Take care.

Angel, the self doubt, questioning over whether you did the right thing, and grief for your mother will last for quite some time - you had a close bond and relationship with her and that won't go away; it does change from the reality to the memory, and you learn to hold those memories in high regard and cherish them, and let them influence and guide you in caring for your father.

You made the best decision for your mother, what she wanted, and don't ever forget that your decision avoided long term suffering for her. Be proud of yourself that were able to do that for her, the last thing but perhaps the most important thing you did for her.

Let yourself grieve as long as you need to, and allow the memories to segue from the sad ones into the happier ones when your mother was healthy. Remember all she gave to you and strive to be a good person as she was.

Think of ways you can honor and remember her. One gardening person I know has created a little memorial garden for one of her deceased parents; every time she sees that section of the garden, it reminds her of her parents.

Angel, you wrote such a lovely tribute to your mom and also are the best of role models for all of us - how to be a great daughter! I can understand your hurt and pain as it sounds like you were a very close family. I'm sure they are/were both proud of the good daughter they have raised and loving you very much, they taught you to love. So much so, they thought ahead to spare you grief and decisions.

I will be making a decision about Mom soon so I get what you are saying "I know I did the right thing, but I still feel guilty". I will feel that way too, when the time comes. I suppose it is one of those things that will stick in our minds forever. My mother refused to give us any instructions and has put the responsibility on my sister and me. She once said she would kill herself if she had to go to a nursing home, and here she is, there for 4 1/2 months, slowly dying of old age (101) strong heart, but totally helpless, out of it with dementia. So, there we are, having to decide not to treat her which feels unfair that has to be our final interaction with our mom.

My father died 45 years ago, of cancer. In the end, I asked the doctor to remove his IV, when they told me it was just hydrating him, keeping him alive in pain. He had been "hanging on" for two weeks. I was young (22) and I had a knee jerk reaction because to me, it was prolonging his suffering. After the IV was removed he passed peacefully in 2 days. I know I did the right thing but it haunted me too.
Your parents have taken the decision and guilt out of your hands and heart. Although you feel sad, it is actually their final act of love for you, and granting their wishes is yours to them. Enjoy your Dad, every minute of the time you have. Bless you.

Thank you all so much. I'm still torn up but hearing that others have gotten through this means so much to me.


I hope you come to peace soon, dear. I, too, had to give the DNR order for my Mom 1 year ago - my 90-year old father now lives with me and my husband.

Yes, I felt guilty at first about giving the order - but have come to terms with it for the same reasons you mentioned. And Papa - still in really really good health - chose to come away from the Independent Living apartment (living among his peers) and move in with us - 1,400 miles away. I worry constantly about the broken heart syndrome. My folks were married nearly 65 years - when I think about the enormity of the loss, it edges on overwhelming for me.

So I do my darnest to keep Pop focused on the here and now - and keep his interests active and varied. I try to keep him as busy as a 90 year old will be. And I tell him that I love him and that I'm happy to see his face in our home every day and that I appreciate him coming to live with us - it's enhanced OUR lives to have him here.

I can't fill that hole in his heart for Mom - nobody can. But I strive to be the best daughter I can be and make sure his days aren't spent in wait to leave this plane. I took him to Florida last fall. We were standing on the beach on a warm, sunny day with the water lapping at our ankles. Papa said "It's good to be alive on a day at the beach." I'll take that a sign that he's not anxious to check out anytime soon.

It'll get better. Take care of yourself and let you Dad know how much it means for you to have him with you.

It's so hard to deal with all this. Who do you have to rely on? We can understand your feelings, but I hope you also have friends who can take you out for a drink or whatever.

I tell myself that my parents are in no pain, and are safe. I would be a wreck if I didn't have a husband and child to drive me to distraction.

God bless you.

this reminds me of a lady in my aunts nh . she was probably sedated but every few minutes she would let out a surreal howl . i overheard the staff saying that she was dying from internal infection because her family was tired of the roller coaster ride . infection , major antibiotics , reinfection , etc . what a heartwrenching decision !! .
i will never believe that the family had any selfish motives . they just chose to let this poor gal go .

Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I have someone like you around at the end of my life. You did right by your mom. No guilt. Take care of Dad. My condolences.

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