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I am not sure if End Of Life is the right category for this, but here we go.


My Grandma has been living in her house until 2 Christmases ago when she had her big stroke. It was her only house, built in 1950 and she had lived in it since it was built. Lots of beautiful memories there. A Christmas tree in the corner of the sunroom every year since 1950. Isn't that amazing?? I think so!


But anyway her health had been pretty bad for years with spinal stenosis and lots and lots of falls, breaking her teeth falling, her hips, her wrists, etc. We think she had some mini strokes, I'm not sure as I don't have all the details from her Dr and my uncle. Stairlift and lots of railings installed so that helped for a while, but of course she resisted her walker, hated that thing. It maybe represented her decline to her. Grandpa died 1997 so she had been living independently since then.


Then her youngest son, my uncle, died unexpectedly about 6 years ago, which really wrecked her emotionally.


Then 2 years ago, after years of decline, falls, financial silliness, general weirdness, eating expired food, firing her housecleaner of 25 years, accusing people of stealing things (my jade necklace! my pearl earrings! my precious this and that! all of it was found later of course), she had a major stroke leaving her paralyzed and somewhat scrambled.


I love her dearly. She was (is!) a wonderful grandmother, and as good a mother as she could be to her 3 sons. But I feel kind of like the person who called the ambulance when she was found betrayed her. I mean, not really. But she's been left in such misery since being "saved".


She's a bit scrambled but mostly very aware of her predicament, which is the worst part! She's not even confused. She knows what happened, and she knows there's no hope. Phantom pain. Real pain. 2 kinds of cancer in her bladder and colon, growing slowly, slowly, but they keep on hurting her. Life in a chair, in a room she hates in a place she hates surrounded by people she hates. Food she hates. Her home sold, her son dead, her life in shambles. Unable to read anymore, can't even control the TV channel to find her favourite program.


Dad and uncle arranged her 7 day a week companionship and care, from a lady and her daughter, who are both fantastic. Really bright girls, lively, and very loving, so that helps.


But still, she said to my dad the other week "I've always been good to everyone. Why did this happen to me? I don't deserve this." And she doesn't, no one does!


I try to be funny about it but in truth I wish she had been allowed to pass away after her stroke. These last 2 years for her have been a prison and a torment and it's not fair. I understand we want to save those we love, but not at all costs, surely?


I worry about end of life. Yes I've read Being Mortal, and honestly it's kind of why I worry about it. I don't want my own parents to end up imprisoned like this.


Thank you for listening. All the best to everyone here.

Midkid - - thanks. You're right. I'll keep the jokes for my Dad, he always laughs!

One thing I really miss about my Grandma was the big family gatherings. It just proves that she really was the center or the heart of the family. Once she started ailing, everyone just... drifted apart. She couldn't do the big Christmases anymore, so, no one did. I tried for a couple of years, but honestly it wasn't the same. Uncle didn't come... Grandma not there... sigh. Wish I could turn back the clock.

If your kids have picked up that baton though, awesome! They can cook :-)

LOL - 89 going on 120... i'd refer you to a very funny book about life in an internal medicine ward called "House of God", that touches on that topic! I laughed... but kind of cried too. It's tragicomic.

I remember once going to see my Grandma after my step mom called me all in a tizzy "your Grandma's fading fast! Go see her quick!" and so I went, and she was fast asleep in the NH bed, pale as a sheet, thin as a rail. But breathing so powerfully and deeply, and I could feel her heart beating powerfully and regularly through her thin chest. I thought - this woman is a marathon runner... she has endurance. There is no sprint happening here. Now when I get the tizzy phone call I don't panic anymore. She's 93 (94? I forget!!) but given how slow her tumours are growing and how strong she is, she'll carry on for a good bit despite it all.
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Hazel--

Hope things look up for you. I too have made the "gallows humor" comment and this isn't the place for it.

Women in my family also live FOREVER. I am not looking forward to the decline. My grandmothers were spry and independent until suddenly, they weren't and both died quickly. Mother is a very unhappy 89 going on 120.

I just want a relatively pain free life with family and lots of love around me. I know what NOT to do--hopefully I will learn how to do aging "right".

I'm only 63, but beginning to see that I am too tired to do all the huge family get togethers--and I don't HAVE to. 5 very competent kids---all in their 30's and 40's--I've started passing the baton off to them. Trying not to feel guilty b/c I can't "do it all" anymore--but glad I have so many people to help.
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Hi Segoline,
youre 100% right, i was insensitive. I'll definitely be more mindful. thank you!
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Op you said.

A little warning here: I am one of those awful people who sometimes makes jokes about suicide... I hope it doesn't offend anyone. Gallows humour runs deeply in my family.

I Am intimately familiar with suicide. Your post does not offend me, but there are caregivers who have that ideation. As the only solution to their dire situation. There are members here who have dealt with attempts by their loved one.

I understand it is a release for you. But this is not the venue for it.

Search suicide here.
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Someone posted on this site a while back asking what could they do for their 90+ plus deaf and blind mother. They wanted to keep her as active as possible because they couldn't stand the thought of mother dying. I thought at the time, really! What kind of life does anyone have who is deaf and blind. Can't watch TV or hear it. Probably can't learn braille at this point. As my daughter says, have lived past their expiration date. The poor woman probably prays asking God to take her.

I see where ur coming from and I agree.
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Midkid58 - can't seem to reply to you directly, not sure why!
Thanks for your reply. I am so sorry about all that your parents went through and still go through, and for what you went through with your poor dad, that sounds heartbreaking. We do cling to scraps of life don't we, despite brave words.

A little warning here: I am one of those awful people who sometimes makes jokes about suicide... I hope it doesn't offend anyone. Gallows humour runs deeply in my family.

So anyway, when my dad was in his 50s he told me "kid, when I turn 60, on my birthday your job is to come into the bedroom before I wake up and put a bullet through my head, deal?" and I used to laugh and say "yeah dad, deal!"

Of course on his 60th I just baked him a big chocolate cake and said tough luck, keep on trucking.

But he and I have both talked about it as a viable end of life option, if a few conditions are met. 1. don't leave a mess for your loved ones. 2. make sure it works. 3. Make sure you understand what you're doing.

And I think of my mom, who is alone but super healthy. All the women on her side make it to 100. But what if she's the unlucky one: has a stroke, can't paint anymore, personality changes? It scares me to hell.

And me! I'm dying alone for sure :-) We live to 100, no kids (couldnt, tried), and my spouse although 5 years younger than me will likely predecease me: his dad and granddad both popped their clogs at age 60 on the dot, so he jokes that his days are literally numbered. Personally I think if he goes like they did he'd be lucky!

Ugh. If I hit 80 and still have my wits about me, I am looking for a way out. The hell with all this age related decline! AGAIN IM SO SORRY IF THIS OFFENDS ANYONE! Really I am. But I don't want to end up in diapers eating cream of mushroom chicken day in and day out, gack.

Love to you for your reply and your understanding. I always read what you have to say. Wisdom personified!!
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Hazel--

Your post is so sweet and you are so kind and loving.

WHY? Indeed. WHY do so many people seem to linger long past any joy is found in life? Living with untenable pain and in a place that is NOT where you want to be.

I don't have the answer. I don't think anyone does.

My greatest fear is I will wind up like my dad did--similar to your grandma's. He was a good "sport" but so depressed about the way he was "going out".

My mother tells me every time I see her that she could die if she just stopped taking all her meds. (True, she'd go into insulin shock in a few days). But she doesn't. She takes her meds religiously and hates life. There's no joy, she was not (sadly) a good mother or grandmother and so now she is "paying the price" for that. We're not angry, we just know she doesn't want us around, so we respect that.

My sweet daddy tried twice to OD on pain meds. He almost made it, but mother found him and called 911. He was so angry at her. He begged me to help him to do it....and to this day, I wonder if by saying I just...couldn't...I added a couple of years of torment to his life.

My heart aches for you, I wish I had an answer that would be a balm to your soul, but I don't.

Bless you for your obvious love and care.
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