How do I get over the grief of watching my mom die while taking care of her?

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Bless you. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I also had to watch my mother die. It was awful. Now, my dad is fading as well and I don't have any sibblings to support me, so pretty much on my own as well. It just will take a lot of time to get better and it's right what others have said...what a gift that you were there for her and she knew that you have loved her whole-heartedly. I can't think of any greater gift. Take some time for yourself too. You are also important.
I agree with 47 Hospice was a God-send to me and my family as my mom was in the dying process. Ask them to come be with her and talk to them yourself, ask them questions, they will quieten your process of going thru this.
Been there, done that.
I just lost my mom to ALS at 4:25 a.m this morning. My sister and I were with her and it was so peaceful as she simply took one more breath and just died. It was wonderful to see how mom's poor, useless arms were not stiff anymore but was the hardest to see them take her away. I wouldn't let them zip her up and kissed her one last time on that sweet spot between chin and collar bone. It was a horrible disease that took my dear precious mother and I knew she was ready to die but I still feel selfish and want to take care of her for just a few more days
I'm so sorry to hear of your Mom' passing, Karen. May God be your comfort, hope and strength. God Bless.
Of course, we all know this day is coming. If we're lucky we have kept our parents, or one of them, longer than those of some of our friends, and we have witnessed the struggle from the sidelines..but then, it wasn't us. Now it's our turn.
A whole new set of feelings, and a situation we cannot resolve for the good of everyone. But then, I try to see it from the other side, and realize that it's selfish to try to shield myself from the pain of the situation, when she has given me her all and she is truly ready to be finished with her life. I want that for her, because she is tired. She has had to give up her "things" that she enjoyed having around her. She has stretched her funds as far as they would go and she now needs services from agencies, with people who don't really know her. She is beyond the ability to choose her place, her time, her daily life. These things are all planned without her input. She is fragile, isolated, and has outlived all her friends and family, as well as her eyesight and her hearing. I cannot give her these things back. All I can really do is insist that she be regarded as a valuable, beloved and respected woman with a powerful spirit, and try to comfort her and see to her needs as best I can, knowing her time is short and praying she feels no pain.
Dear SandraAnn,
My name is Marianne. I took care of my mother physically by myself from 2004 to 2009 following her stroke and have watched closely as almost all of her faculties have slowly diminished. Yes, taking care of a parent we love and watching them go downhill is certainly one of the most difficult things we will ever do or experience--especially when we love our parents and family members. So much of what happens in the dying process, especially with cancer is difficult to face. There is no answer to "why"... But there are ways you can get through this better-- First, you need to enlist some help so that you can take a break-- while that may sound self-indulgent, it isn't, you need to take a step back during the day (maybe a couple of times) so you can respond to your mom's needs lovingly and with a clear head. In a sense, you (and your siblings?) are now "the parent" and are "in charge". If you have siblings who can help, that's great. I did not. My one sibling lives far away and could not "physically" be here to help me and before I nearly broke down under the emotional strain of caring for my mom fulltime. It happens and you need to be aware of that. So I finally began looking for and found others to help me--that is not always easy either. The folks from a local nursing home, hospital and hospice could point you to some in-home care "agencies" in your area and there are still others, perhaps a visiting nurses program from your local hospital where the nurse comes to your mother to change dressings, ets (?). Social Services (in our area) has been helpful. I don't know what kind of community you live in but if there is a church, synagogue, mosque or other organization, sometimes you can call a pastor or religious community leader(s) to ask for people-help...they are usually the ones who hear of the needs first and often have the resources to search out responsible people and community organizations who can help you--often, free of charge. Also organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary often help by sending volunteers to just simply sit with your loved one to give you a break, so that you can take a walk or simply get some sleep. There is something you may want to do and that is, get some grief counseling. It's not bad--and it doesn't hurt. It's hard to displace the feelings you are experiencing--I know it was awful for me. My mother is 102. When she was 99, I finally had to surrender her care to a nursing home and, because I could not physically see it thru to the end, I felt extremely guilty. I go now to her nursing home every day-- and interact with the nursing home personnel and there are a different set of problems. Your parent's pain is something I did not have to deal with, my mother was not in much pain (just emotional pain not being able to talk, etc.)-- but you might consult her physician to help her have relief for the physical pain. And you may want to consult your own physician to make sure you are maintaining your health and emotional balance while going thru this very, very tough time. It's not easy, especially for a person who has deep feelings for their parent. We may be societal "throw-backs" (someone once told me) because we want to care for our parents--I took on the job and I am not sorry. Sometimes it's very hard to admit that we are not completely capable of doing it all. After 7 years of trying, I know I am not completely capable. I did the best I could (most of the time). But I felt very badly when I had to "give up" 100% of her care--, and while I gave up most of the physical one-on-one care, I did not give up. I volunteer at her nursing home and go every evening to feed, diaper, and put her to bed. It is now what I can do for her. So my recommendation is, first, get some rest, then take a step back--assess your situation (vis a vis getting additional help in), do what you can do for your mom and enlist the help of others-- this is when you need to lean on others (maybe people you don't know yet, even!) for support. We will keep you and your dear mom in our thoughts.
I did the same thing some years ago. I cried and prayed for her and the loss of her. I still have some teary moments, but would not exchange the time taking care of her for anything.
My mother came to live with me last January. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis and multiple myeloma and I took her to chemo every Friday. I took 2 months of work with FMLA and every Friday for chemo. She went to the hospital in June and in July for blood transfusions. She was getting better but weak. On a Sat. I went in the morning and in the afternoon but ran errands instead of going back to the hospital Sat. night. She passed away in the night before I could get there. I feel horrible, guilty and sick about it. I wish I would have gone back. I wish I would have hugged her more. I didn't have a day off for 7 months and in the end went out to pull weeds a lot because I needed to get away. She noticed and mentioned it and now I feel horrible. I am angry at myself for not making my brother and sister help me. I asked several times but they were always too busy. I think if I would have had a break I could have taken better care of her (although I waited on her hand/foot and spoiled her) when I had her. Now I just despise myself. I am a single mother of four and the kids just don't understand. Love her and hug her lots while you have her!
Forgive yourself. You did the best you can. Everyone needs breaks, you didn't take too many. And besides it sounds like you took incredible care of your mother.

The nursing home my aunt and father-in-law were in, said in their experience many older people go right after loved ones leave them for the day, perhaps wanting to spare them that part of death. Don't know if that was true but we were told my aunt could die at any moment. I told her brother was coming to see her one last time. He was 2 hours away. HE got there and spent some time with her. Then he left and told her he was getting something to eat but would return before he had to go home for the day. He came back and said good-bye and had to leave, as his ride had to go. She passed on right after we all left the nursing home. My father-in-law did the same thing.
I just lost my mom recently and was also blessed to be there for here when it was her time. A lot of things just hit me still, missing the way she used to be, her house the way she kept it, all that. It is hard this way, because you are mourning losses and impending losses and caring for the person who is very much still here at the same time. Sure, some of the grieving and the giving up of things is done in advance - like selling the house - I think that was absolutely thye hardest part for me. I don't know that I will ever be over it. I keep trying to find ways to memorialize and find more meaning in all of it. Losing my Dad was hard too, but with him we had said all the good things that needed to be said and we didn't have so much unfinished business - Mom right up til the last days was still very much expecting everything to get better. And I even managed to be shocked when the end came very suddenly one morning in hospice, we had actually been making arrangements for longer-term residential care because she'd been a little more stable. I'm sure more time will help, but they are starting up a support group and I will definitely want to go. Staying on here just to share more of how we coped, what hurt so much, and what helped a little has been a plus for me. SO, hugs, and stay in touch - it really is very sad, sometimes you just have to let yourself be sad and cry a little, or a lot...God bless...

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