Follow
Share

Hello all. Some of you may remember not too long ago I asked for (and received) help because my mom was becoming agitated after eating. Well, the hospice team had actually cut back on visiting because they didn't think she was close to the end and thought the family dr had jumped the gun referring her. The visited a week ago and said she was doing great, good color etc... Mom was drinking lots and eating well. She even requested salmon for dinner yesterday and she had periods where her speech was quite understandable.

Then today. She slept all morning (not unusual), has some noisy breathing (not ususual), I sat her up and she coughed up some mucus (not unusual) and her breathing became quiet again. I prepared dinner and she ate most of it and drank a glass of milk. I changed her and noticed her legs and thighs were mottled (not usual but I was thinking we still had months and it didn't raise the alarm in my head). I went to clean the dishes and when I came back she looked a little strange. I couldn't wake her and her pulse was so weak. Her mouth opened, she leaned back and she was gone. It was peaceful and quick. I'm in the kitchen right now typing this as the undertaker removes her body. I'm all over emotionally and feel very guilty that I missed something and then angry that hospice missed this and then so achingly sad that she was dying and I never knew. I could have told her just how much she meant to me had I known. And it's probably laughable but I get worried that I brought on death by feeding her. Maybe the blood rushing to digest diverted it from her weakening heart and it gave out.

Anyway, thank you all for helping. I felt so alone when I came here and your replies and messages kept me going.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
BDSP37 I am so sorry for Your sad Loss. Your Mom knew You Loved Her because You Cared for Her, and Your Mom knew She could always count on You. Indeed I know the great pain You are felling right now as My own Mother passed away in mid June. Sadly none of Us are ever ready for death because it creeps up on Us long before We expect it. I questioned Myself many times, " if I had done this, or should I have done some thing else instead...and I stopped all of that nonsense as I know that We did Our best. Be thankful Your dear Mom did not suffer, as She had a beautiful peaceful painless death. Give Yourself plenty time to heal BDSP and take Your time, but please come back to this wonderful Site again, since You have a wealth of experience to help many more Caregivers Who kneed advice and encouragement. I know that I would not have been able to Care for My own Mother had it not been for Aging Care . Com.
(1)
Report

I am so sorry. Sometimes in their last days it can be like they're feeling better. It is like they are sampling a little bit more of the life that they will be leaving here. The day my father died at the hospital, he ate a big turkey sandwich and drank all of a strawberry Insure. It was more than he had eaten in a long time. Right after he ate he went into the final hour of breathing as his lung filled. I don't think it had to do with the meal. It was just the final surge that he was going through. I am so glad that he got to enjoy the turkey sandwich before he left. My father was ready to leave his life here on earth. He passed peacefully.

I am glad to read that your mother also got to enjoy a little bit more of life before it was her time to cross over. We can never predict exactly when it will be. We just have to make them as comfortable as possible while they are still here.
(2)
Report

BPSP - your mother knew you loved her - it showed even here when you asked for help to try and address her agitation. Please don't feel guilty over the meals - things happen in their own time. My sincere sympathies.
(0)
Report

Oh I know how this hurts!
I know how much harder it is when you really didn't expect it
I know the self doubts that follow....why didn't I know? Why didn't I stay and sit with her? Could I have don't something? Did I do something?

Oh I know. My Dad passed one month ago. Very similar. I thought we still had months. When I put him to bed that last night, why didn't I stay and listen to him. He told me the air concentrator was trying to kill him...should I have pay attention and not just assumed it was dementia talking?

I know the pain and self doubts. You have all my sympathy. *hugs*.

But, take comfort in this...she died at home with her loved ones with her. Her last days could have been ever so much worse....she died in peace and comfort that you made possible for her.

You will come to your own peace with this. But, never doubt her passing was made so much more peaceful because of your loving attentions.
(1)
Report

Oh, I'm so sorry, BD. It sounds upsetting indeed. My condolences.
(0)
Report

BDSP37,
I'd like to say how sorry I am on the loss of your mom.

Please do NOT feel guilty. You did not "miss" anything. Today was her departing day, prearranged by God. There would have been nothing you could have done to change that. She had a very peaceful passing without severe pain or anxiety. That is a blessing, as many people aren't as fortunate.

Hospice nurses don't have a crystal ball and go on many "signs" to help them figure out when the departure day will be. As a hospice nurse, I have seen people hang on for many days longer than I thought they would. Conversely, I have seen patients pass in the blink of an eye, when I thought they would have held on longer. Usually a time frame can be given, but not always.

The sadness you feel is normal. I felt the same when the nurse called me at 5 am and told me my dad didn't have long and I arrived 5 minutes too late, after I had slept at the hospital for many nights.

Do not worry that you didn't tell her how you felt. She knew without words.

You did not "cause" your mother's death by feeding her. The blood rushing theory doesn't hold up. How wonderful she was able to enjoy eating (and of her choosing-salmon!)

If there was a near perfect passing, your mom had it. You were there with her, she was comfortable and she enjoyed a good meal just hours before passing.

I'm glad you were able to let out your previously held in pain by crying. You may have more episodes and they are cleansing and assist in the process of letting go.

Hopefully, your family and friends coming will be a good support system for you. Blessings to you and yours in the days ahead.
(2)
Report

Oh Sweetie, I'm so sorry, it is so incredibly hard to lose your beloved Mom, especially when they are so young. I lost my own Dear Mom to the Dreaded Cancer at the age of 74, and it is devastating. You must know that you had nothing to do with her passing. You so obviously took such good care of her, and that she was still eating and enjoying your good cooking is a testament to your loving care!

Sometimes we just do not see the changes their bodies are going through and that too, is not necessarily a bad thing, as honestly, what could you have done differently? The good Lord felt it was her time, and honey, please know that it is far better for her to go peacefully, without the pain and long time suffering that often accompanies most cancers.

You are in a sort of shock right now, but your family will all be there soon to comfort you, and in the meantime, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and sit quietly and keep reading on here, call a friend, listen to music or watch your favoriteTV show, and relax for a while. Your body and mind need to calm down now, and please know that everything is going to be alright. I'll bet your Mom truly appreciated everything you did for her these last weeks and months, and you know that she is in a much better place now in Heaven and has received a Beautiful welcome and reunion with all of her loved ones who departed before her. It's us left behind that struggle with the sadness of missing them so much. In time, you will be able to focus on all of your wonderful memories you have of your Mom, its true, but it does take time. Please know that I and so many of your friends here on the AC site are thinking of you and again, I'm so sorry for your loss. You take care now! Stacey B
(3)
Report

Goodnight, take your vitamins.
So glad for you that you have Christine.
A few of us can be reached late-night on the 'Cargivers Behaving Badly' thread.
Gershun, Luckylu, Ms. Madge, Ali, and others, many reading, not posting.
See you all midnight to 3 a.m. Oh, and SharynMarie-she is very late-night.
Take care.....
(1)
Report

Here is something. It may be too soon, and there is time for this. But if anyone is spending the night with you, if anyone will be in your Mom's room, you might want to get some clean sheets out ahead of time. You don't have to change the sheets, or even go into Mom's room, but after talking late into the night, last minute clean sheets will be too much for you by then. I am sure you don't want to do any of this right now. ,I just looked outside and it is not as dark as I suspected, just the house was getting dark.
You can step outside, embrace the feel of the air, see the sky, then come back inside. I would be picking a flower from my garden in memory of Mom, but that is just me. The rain is gone-we even had some sunshine.
(1)
Report

My neighbor Christine has just come back with supplies to make some sandwiches for the visitors. I'll log off and get to work for a bit. The undertaker will be visiting soon to discuss funeral plans. I just showed Christine this thread and she said it's a little glimpse of all that's good in the world. Stay safe whatever your plans tonight.
(2)
Report

Sendmetohelp I won't be. Moms sister will be here first and she is renting a car and waiting for other arrivals. Her brother is driving in and will stop at the airport too and some others will rent their own vehicle. She was one of 9 with 7 still living so they'll figure it out. They're used to the logistics of their meetups. They all met 3 times a year mom was with them last on Easter Sunday.

You must be reading my mind. I don't know what to do with my hands. I'm so used now to focusing outside myself I don't know if I even could recognize hunger, tiredness, thirst anymore. I ate and slept on mom's schedule.
(2)
Report

Freqflyer She had chronic bronchitis for years so mucus and cough were so part of her that we didn't notice it anymore. She had rattled breathing that hospice said was because she was lying down mostly. It has crossed my mind that she developed pneumonia. the symptoms are all things she had anyway. But that another what if. The replies here really bring home to me that she died as she lived. Quietly and with no fuss. It was very much "in character" and I suppose losing your mother is always too soon and never the right time.
(4)
Report

Sometimes it helps to do something with our hands, even when our hearts are breaking. Can you scrub the bathroom sink? Wash up your face while you are there?

Don't forget to drink water.
(1)
Report

Will you be picking up people at the airport? Are you okay to drive?
(0)
Report

Sendme2help I appreciate how much you're reaching out. It's very comforting and helpful. I may get those thoughts written down eventually but right now it's too raw. Yes 75 is young but she smoked from 12-72 so she could have been taken from us so much earlier. Earlier this year I lost a former boss to the cigarettes at only 42. Mom went through 8 rounds of chemo with no side effects at all and allegedly no disease remission so she had good genes. The dr said to me this evening that if she hadn't smoked she would have seen 90. Funny her parents both saw 90 and went out of sheer old age.
(1)
Report

My mother's cancer had spread to 3 tumors in her brain. Our last visit was what I remember was good, not all the things that happened after that.
I am glad that your Mom was spared what could have been if her life was extended. I am sorry for your loss today.
(1)
Report

BDSP37, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

My Dad passed suddenly, he was only on Hospice for a few days. He had aspiration pneumonia but he was doing well for having this diagnosis. His passing caught everyone off guard.

It is so very normal to go through the "what ifs". Let the what ifs come, but try to realize there wasn't anything that you did, it was just time for your Mom to let go. It was part of HER timetable. And how peaceful she went.
(2)
Report

No I don't have faith. I'm a very stereotypical logical physics major but my own beliefs about the world and our place in it give me consolation. My mother was (Irish) Catholic and went to mass daily for most of her life. My neighbor actually joked that's it's a shame we're not Protestant because those churches offer a social support network that the Catholic Church can't here, it's just one priest serving too many scattered about over a huge area.
(1)
Report

You can say those things you were unable to tell her in a letter, share them when your family arrives. Or even share them here, if you like. I am sure it is very touching, and personal. You are doing well expressing your loss so far. No one has yet to lose their mind on here-I don't think-so staying in touch can be healthy.
No pressure.
(1)
Report

Yes, 75 is a young age.
Do you have a belief, or a faith that you can turn to? For yourself?
Mom had last rites, by her priest?
(0)
Report

Showing love in other ways is just how your Mom was, and perhaps how she felt comfortable. If you showed her anything different than how you did, by devoting yourself to her in the end, then she might not have been able to receive it. In axsense, she died how she lived, and that for her was comfortable and good.
Now, it is time for your needs to be met....you must still be in shock as you are trying to figure this out. Sending hugs to you---so many hugs right now!
{{{{Hugs!}}}} {{{{{{Hugs}}}} Big embrace, hugs, lean your head on our shoulders......{{{{Hugs}}}}}…here for you now. It's getting dark. Turn out your lights-you don't need to answer the door for any trick or treaters. Go into a back room, turn on the t.v. softly, call someone on the phone. Go to your neighbor's house for a moment, walk around the block. See the beautiful sky? It is a little grey?
(0)
Report

Maybe I should have pushed for an explanation for her loss of coherent speech recently and her dementia. I never did receive an adequate explanation. It really seems like her cancer had spread to the brain causing dementia and then taking her ability to speak, use cutlery, dress etc... and the oncologist missed it. Or it was a quick progressing dementia that she got independently of the cancer. As you all said I need to take great comfort that she was at home, it was peaceful, she was on no medication at all and she never knew, to my knowledge, that she was so ill. Her family dr is signing a death cert I guess he will say it was the cancer. I just called the hospice nurse to tell her and she said we just got lucky that the family dr came to see her when he did. Otherwise because of her relatively young age (75) and oncology report the coroner would have wanted an autopsy.
(2)
Report

I can't thank you all enough. I'm alone now as everyone makes their way here and these replies (so many) are all so lovely. They're keeping me sane because it's so quiet here. I don't know what to do. My whole routine was centred around mom's schedule and now I'm looking at an empty bed and new pyjamas I had just bought her when the hospice nurse said she was so well and likely would see well into next year and the oncologist sent the hospice nurse a letter saying that her lung tumor was stable on her most recent test and he saw no evidence of disease relapse just increased frailty. My father passed suddenly from cardiac arrest and I thought we would be prepared this time. Mom was very typical of her time and culture - not physically of verbally affectionate. She showed love in other ways but I really thought I had time and when the end came (hospice were predicting cessation of food and fluids and como down the line) I would take her hand and tell her all the things I never said to her over the years.
(5)
Report

Oh dear, as unprepared as you were it sounds as though she had a sudden, peaceful end, the kind I pray for with my own mom. ((hugs))
(7)
Report

BPSP, So sorry for your loss.
That one hurts and I think that I am feeling some of your pain, by your description, made all the more difficult by your expressed guilt. You did not miss anything, it appears your Mom had rallied just before dying. If this could have been predicted, then Hospice nurses would have noticed. You did nothing wrong. You were hopeful when she got better, for that brief time? Feeding her did not kill her, if I could die peacefully, without hospice, and without a lot of pain or pain medication, soon after my daughter brought me a meal-that would be so much better than the alternatives.
Caring for her needs was the best you could have done for her. It is not your fault that she was a tricky patient, and passed while your back was turned. You can say goodbye to her in a little prayer. I know you are so very sad, because you said so.
Please be kind to yourself, stop wondering why a frail elderly woman passed away
when it was time to go, and go peacefully, she did that well! You will miss her.
Honor her with your life well lived, and please don't spend too much time at all on any guilt.
God Bless you and your family during this time of grief.
(5)
Report

God bless you and your family
It sounds like you gave your mom the best care and she had a good last day
Follow your heart on the autopsy decision

Do not second guess any of your decisions - you did everything right
(6)
Report

(((((((hugs)))))) I am so sorry. Don't worry - her time has come. She went quickly and easily which is a blessing. I know you will miss her dreadfully. Look after you - the next while will be challenging.
(6)
Report

Dear BD, I'm so sorry for your loss. Be comforted by your good memories of your mom.
(6)
Report

Thank you all. Peace seems so far away right now. My mind is going crazy.
I have family on planes right now and our dear neighbor came over to be here when the priest gave her the last rites.
Mom's brother suggested an autopsy because he thinks knowing exactly what happened would help us heal. I agree in theory but I worked so hard to keep her at home, out of hospital and away from medical assessments that I couldn't do it now either even though I'm tormented myself by the unknown.

I've kept it together and a brace face on for mom for so so long that when my neighbor Christine embraced me today I didn't cry- I wailed- it was so animal tic and came up from my feet. It was a total release of energy that I'd never experienced before. I have so much emotion buried and it's going to take a long time to bring it out and work through it.
(6)
Report

I'm so sorry for your loss. It does sound like your mother was very well cared for in her final days and was able to enjoy her meals. No doubt you have much to be proud of regarding her care. I'm sure it meant so much to your mother. I hope you may find peace in knowing this.
(4)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.