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My mom's doctor just called to tell me that my mother's latest blood test results are very worrisome. She has a UTI - the 6th one in 10 months. Every other time, they gave her oral antibiotics and they did not work, so we called 911 and whisked her off to the ER. She stayed in the hospital for a week each time - one time with septic shock in the ICU. They brought her back with IV antibiotics and fluids, but she has had a very limited quality of life and the UTIs keep happening and the cycle continues. She is 85. She told me the other day that she will not go back to the hospital under any circumstances, which I fully understand and respect. Yet she refuses to admit that the alternative is she will die. She never will. She will receive hospice services at home now, though she has no idea. She is pretty out of it. I'm scared and not sure how to go about my daily life with this constant massive knot in my stomach. I have to do something besides worry about her, right?? Silly question, I know. On top of it, people keep telling me I should be there a lot, but I'm getting more scared to go. I see her 2-3 times a week and lately she has not engaged at all and even asked me to please go and let her rest alone. So it's not like she's asking for me. People say "be gentle with yourself," and to me this means not forcing myself to see her die. She has incredible aides who will see her through this. I'm not saying I refuse to go right now, but I think when they tell me "it's time," I might not be able to go through with that experience and I don't want to feel obligated to. She would not want me to be traumatized more than I have been already.

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xinabess, so sorry you are going through this. Just listen to your gut on what you want to do.

For my Mom, when Hospice told me Mom had only 48 hours left, I decided to stay with her because in the past she didn't like to be alone. Mom was pretty much in a coma state for the past week, but for me I was glad I was there.

For my Dad, when Hospice said it would be quickly, next thing I knew Dad was in a coma state, I told Dad I loved him and that it was ok for him to join Mom, etc. I believe my Dad waited until I wasn't in the building when he passed as he didn't want me to view his death. So don't be surprise if you do visit that your Mom waits until you leave.
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Xina, I was very much where you were mentally before my mom died. I was pretty sure I didn't want to be there. I ended up being there, and it was so very very peaceful! Just be gentle with yourself, and accept no guilt from outsiders.
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I can only speak of my experience with my mother’s death. Once we knew for sure it was coming she was completely non responsive to everyone. She never had food again but was kept hydrated. I saw her a few times and it was very hard to watch. It was clear she was physically alive but already “ somewhere else” if that makes sense. There was never any indication she knew I was there. This went on for just over 2 weeks. My father was there most of everyday. She was alone when she died. We’ve always been mostly at peace with that as she had seemed already gone in so many ways for the weeks prior. Only you can decide what you’ll be at peace with in the days and years after, go with that. Blessings in the days ahead
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It's hard for some people to understand what we go through when someone is in a declining stage of their life. Of course, the logic would say we should spend what little time with them that we can. But, it's not always easy. There are all sorts of conflicting emotions and priorities in our lives. We have other family, friends, jobs that can't necessarily be dropped for the unknown space of time in which our loved ones may pass away. I also found it difficult to face what was in a way my own mortality when watching my mother deteriorate from her dementia. We did go to visit, but not too frequently and in fact, when she passed (on mother's day) we were on our way to visit but got the news before we left the house. We lived several hours away from the home and it just wasn't possible to go constantly and we never really had a huge indication that it was imminent.

My advice is do what you feel you can. I think it's probably the right thing to continue regular visits even when they don't seem particularly responsive. But, you can only do so much and it's ok to be scared of the process. I think your hospice may be able to help you with some counseling resources as well so that you are more prepared. The fact is that you have arranged great care for your mother and at some point we have to accept that we just do the best we can. I hope you feel strong enough to continue being there for her but if it is too much to bear, you can't beat yourself up over it. You can't be a comfort to her if you are falling apart.
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The hardest part for me was being 3000 miles away from my mother when she was in hospice care. But i called everyday and made sure she had what she needed at home. They day she passed me and my mom had a great conversation. I told her i loved her and that I would talk to her tomorrow. My mom died 4 hours later peacefully. I know it is scary but i would visit as much as i could. She'll know your there. I think my mom felt i was there by her side all along.
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Xina - I understand your fear. I felt that same fear when my mother was very sick and close to dying. I was afraid to open her bedroom door and find her dead. Very afraid. My mother pulled through, though. I just hope I will not be alone when that time comes.
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I wasn't present for my dad's death, they called me right after he passed away. I felt terrible for a long time that I wasn't there. But I didn't know the end was coming. With my mom, when the hospice nurse said she'd probably pass that day, I stayed with her until she did. But I was in another room resting when she died. I guess I had been through so much with mom that being there to the end seemed like the right thing to do. It wasn't scary, it was just tiring and draining, since I didn't know how long she'd go on.

I don't like to give fear power because when we give in to fear, it grows in strength. My brother was afraid to go to a funeral. He avoided it until he was 70 years old. He even missed his mother-in-law's funeral (he'd been married 29 years) because of his fear. Now he's been to a funeral and he survived. Was he scared? I'm sure he was. I'm scared every time I go to a funeral. But I go.

So do what feels right, but if your reluctance to be with your mom is fear-based, please challenge that fear and what it's about. We're all going to die, it's a part of the circle of life. It's sad and scary and can be uplifting and full of grace and spirit. Please consider that part too. Sharing that journey with a loved one can be a very powerful, emotional experience. {Hugs}
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Wise words, blannie. I sit with my mom a lot these days. She is quiet and doesn't say anything unless you ask her something. Mostly, she stares into space. I feel calm at these times, but I fear being with her when she is "actively dying," meaning gasping for breath and gurgling and other symptoms I've read about. That will scare me and make me want to rescue her or run out of the room for sure. I know myself. I don't think it would be helpful for anyone for me to be there at that point - but as her only child, I feel like I have to rally, Sigh.
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Xina, hospice made my mom's passing very peaceful (which is what I had hoped). No gasping, just rapid breathing at the very end.
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You have made a good decision to have hospice there will be a grear deal of support for both Mom and you.
You don't have to be there when she dies if it is so painful. Many times the loved one will actually wait till they are alone before they pass. Visit if you can and share final thoughts with Mom, tell her you love her and that she is free to go and you will be OK going forward although you will miss her and never forget,
She is entering her final stages and it is usual for a loved one to with draw and prefer no visitors and stop eating or drinking. it is the loved ones way of prearing for their final journey.
During this time they may recieve spiritual visitors, often loved ones who have gone before or just friendly people they have never met. I personally believe these are visiting angels comming to prepare for the passing and who will guide them when the time comes.
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