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I read where many of you say things like ..'.blame the broken brain, not the person' ...or 'blame the disease, not the ill'. Let me tell you a story.


My 56 yr old diabetic brother died almost 8 weeks ago. He lived in a house with my 95 year old mother. I had been emailing him, then calling to ask him something. I did this for about 4 or 5 days. I got angry (the way you get annoyed with your brother or sister) so I send a final email telling my brother that I was going to call the police if he did not answer. He did not. I lived about a half hour drive away, so I drove to the house but there was no answer. I went back home, then called the local police and asked for a well-check.


Shortly after that my phone rang. The police woman told me that I should come back to the house. I asked why and she told me that my brother was dead. I returned. There were police everywhere, fire trucks, ambulance, detectives, and coroner investigators. The police kept trying to maneuver me, like a herding dog, to use this door, go that way, away from Jack's room. I asked to say goodbye to my brother. The cop took me aside and told me that my brother had been dead for several days. There was odor. There was significant decomposition and insect activity. The cop estimated that my brother had been dead for 3 days, in the house. With my mother.


As best I can tell, during those 3 days, my mom watched tv, ate english muffins, and took naps. She says she went in to Jack periodically, to try to wake him up. She NEVER called 911. To be fair, her phone was broken, but she easily could have asked a neighbor. She NEVER called me. She did not call anyone. She did NOTHING.


Either my brother died instantly, and my mom let him rot for 3 days. Or my brother was merely unconscious and my mother did not seek help for him for 3 days and he died. The death certificate stated cause of death as complications from juvenile diabetes. Yes, my mother has dementia. But the whole blame the illness, not the person? This is simply too large a cost.


I loved my brother and I wish he was here every day. I cannot get past this. I have found my mother a place to live and I can handle her daily problems, like bills, but I cannot get past what I am thinking. She cost me my brother.


Suggestions are welcome on how to recover but for those of you who take comfort in religious sayings, I don't, but thank you for the thought

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I'm sorry for your loss.
You are posting this under Alzheimer's and dementia so I assume that your mother has some form of dementia. I hear your rage at her inability to take appropriate action in regards to your brother. Based on her actions (or inaction) she is obviously much less mentally competent then you ever realized, and is no more culpable than if she were a young child. This is awful but it's nobody's fault.
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Reply to cwillie
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I understand you're angry. And I am horrified by what happened, so I can only guess at how you must feel.

What did you expect a 95 year old woman who has dementia to do? She went in to your brother. He wasn't responsive. Perhaps he was sleeping. Perhaps he was annoyed with her and that was why he wouldn't answer. Would she have known to go up and shake him? Would she have been able to understand the time intervals - gauge how long it had been since she'd last checked, or he'd last got out of bed? Could she take a pulse? Spot a diabetic coma? Has she recently had to deal with any diabetic crises? Is there any reason to think she ought to have known the procedure? She's 95 and she has dementia.

To an outsider who didn't know your brother and doesn't know your mother, or how they interacted, or how much understanding your mother has or what her daily routines are: the *other* horror is that this vulnerable elderly lady was confined in a house with her son's dead body for three days, not knowing where to turn.

This nightmare happened to you and your family only two months ago. Since then, you've had to manage a good many tasks for a woman you were feeling great anger towards, which must have been tough, but you've got there. So now, what about you? Do you have any support for looking after yourself? This must qualify as a major psychological trauma, and I think you should seek help with it.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Your brother died of diabetes apparently. It is a vicious disease that affects every organ in our bodies. Likely he did not suffer, as he did not make a 911 call. I think he may have been unconscious for a bit, but certainly it is unlikely that he suffered pain. It is a tragedy and it is way too young to go. Your brother was living with your Mom who apparently has very severe dementia. There is simply no other explanation for her not making the call, and for the fact she could not understand that he is dead. There is no fault to assign here to anyone. It is a tragedy. So there is only grief. Your mother is not at fault. Your brother is not at fault. You are not at fault. I am not one to say "blame" anything. Not one to say blame the disease, or blame the person. A disease happens to our body, often in spite of our taking best care we can. We do the best we can. I hope you will remember the good things, and will recover. There is honestly no answer to grief but time. Again, I couldn't be more sorry for your loss. I am glad that the police stopped your trying to say goodbye to your brother, for he was already long gone from the decay of his body, and you don't need your last imagine to be a body that no longer has anything to do really with your brother. Your mother will likely remember nothing of this; in that, and in that only she has had a little luck.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Hi. I too lost my brother unexpectedly last month. I called for a welfare check on him & indeed, my brother had passed away in his bathtub. He was there for “over a week”.They wouldn’t let me see him either. But they sent a policewoman to my house to inform me in person ( from NJ to MD - Jersey notified my county police. But I knew, I just knew he had passed when no one WOULD tell me over the phone.

My brother was 70, had uncontrolled high blood pressure, swelling in both legs, had cellulitis b/o this. Never watched his salt intake. Had an abdominal hernia for years and did nothing to evaluate. Enlarged prostate caused him to get up almost hourly to urinate. Refused to see a doctor.

My point is, it’s not your mother’s fault your brother died. If he was juvenile onset DM, he most likely had his ups and downs with his blood sugars as well as progression of diabetes which can effect every organ, specifically the heart & circulation.

As for your mother not noticing the decomp odor, maybe mom got used to the smell because it developed spontaneously . So mom could have just acclimated to the odor & didn’t think anything of it. Add her dementia to this picture & anything is possible.

I loved my brother very much but ultimately his death was on him. Not to sound cold, but he saw my mother’s health decline with high BP, CABG, etc. I myself have been on BP meds for over 20 yrs (began at age 40 because I knew the probability of me having her genes & having the same disease). My older brother died from cardiomyopathy in 2014.

I am a RN. I pleaded with him to go see his doctor when he had swelling and redness on his lower legs. I tried every single scenario to get him to go. But ultimately it was his choice to pursue or not pursue treatment. He chose not to.

I understand you are grieving for your brother. I am right there with you, sister. But it was their time to leave this world.

You are hurting now. Give yourself time and space to heal. I am sorry for your loss.

Will you have to place mom now? Sounds like it may be time. It doesn’t sound like she can live alone anymore. This no doubt is contributing to your stress as well.
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Reply to Shane1124
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I am sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how it would feel to be in that situation. You have every right to be angry and hurt. You are entitle to feel how ever you feel that is your right! I wouldn't be surprise if you have some mixes feelings...loving mom because she is your mom at the same token being so bad at her that you could...well I can only imagine. She cost you your brother and your brother paid the biggest price...His Life and that sucks.

I know and well understand that we here throw the term "broken brain" like we are passing out candy, but that is the fact with dementia. Trust me it took me awhile to get it and your talking to someone who understands the human body with it different systems working separate as well as together. But unfortunately none of that matters--emotions get in the way...logic comes into play and it is do darn hard for us to understand how they can not JUST GET IT! But they can't and that is a fact! They turn into kids and kids don't know what to do when something major happens. You can't know what you don't know. Your mom is 95 yrs old and mentally she just can't process information anymore or at least not the way she use to whether she has dementia or just an ageing brain. She may have loss her sense of time; not knowing the days of the week or that three days went by. Time just becomes loss to them. She may have thought your brother was sleeping. As CM has stated there are just to many questions that an outsider just doesn't know.

I know none of this helps you and I am sorry for that. This really is a nightmare for your whole family. Again, I am sorry for your loss and I hope that you will find yourself help and forgive your mom someday. Right now, just do the best you can and take care of yourself.

Hugs!!
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Reply to Shell38314
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So I have a 42 year old cousin with diabetes and he went into a coma. Because he had been sick with the flu, his daughter went to check on him when he didn't answer or return her calls, found him unresponsive, and called 911. He barely made it even with prompt medical attention.

If my cousin had died, who would have been at fault?

Your brother (who chose to live with an elderly dementia victim) was essentially in the same position as my cousin - living alone. Diabetics who choose to live alone also choose to accept the additional risks that living alone with his/her disease causes. Your brother made a choice. Please do not blame your mother for being too ill to mitigate the risks your brother chose.
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Reply to TNtechie
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I am so very sorry, but, that brings the reason to the forefront, why we need to place a LO with serious dementia in a AL or MC home, this home care stuff has many, many bad consequences for both the patient as well as the caretakers. There are times in life that we need to accept the truth about what needs to be done and follow through. I hope that you can work your way through this, it is so difficult, sending support your way.
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Reply to DollyMe
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I am so sorry for your loss and the terrible trauma you've suffered. Post traumatic stress is very real and you should speak to a professional very soon. I had to be medicated after suffering PTSD in 2000....it was a very bad time in my life, as I'm sure this time is for you now.

Your mother is 95 years old and not in possession of the mind she had even a few years ago. Had she known her son was ill, or God forbid dying or suffering, and if she had ONE breath left in her body, she'd have done something to help him. Think about it. In your heart, deep down, you know that. Otherwise, you're accusing your mother of something almost NO mother on Earth is capable of, and that is allowing her son to die without intervening. It's easier to feel angry with your mother than it is to feel the crippling grief that comes with the staggering loss of your brother. Allow yourself to process your grief for BOTH losses,,,,the loss of the mother you used to have as well as the loss of your sibling. It's huge and it's overwhelming, and I'm so very sorry, my friend.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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My condolences on the loss of your brother. I haven't had to endure such a thing, but, I would imagine it must be terrible. I am also a Type I diabetic, so, I also relate to your account on that level. The circumstances are also very sad. When your heart is grieving a loss, it's really your prerogative to deal with your feelings in the way that suits you best.

It's good that you made arrangements for your mother's care. In light of what seems to be her level of progression, I'd ensure that she has around the clock supervision and care. Unless, it's in the early stages, people with dementia can't be relied upon to provide their own care nor that of others. Perhaps, in time you will view what happened differently. Or maybe not. I learned after my LO was diagnosed with dementia that she was damaged cognitively and could not be relied upon to do anything really.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I'm so sorry you lost your dear brother lakin.It's awful to loose the one's we love.
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Reply to luckylu
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