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Okay, first off, doesn’t happen all the time but once in awhile I will go into my mom’s room to bring her something to drink or her meal and she is knocked out!


I mean a very deep sleep, and very still, so much so that I don’t see her breathing at all. Just happened a few hours ago when I brought her soup to her for lunch.


Is this some type of abnormal fear or what? How do I stop feeling this way? I hate it. I do not want to touch my mom and she’s cold. Scares me. I guess I am not as strong as I wish I were.

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One morning I walked in Mom's bedroom to check on her. If she was asleep I didn't want to wake her. Her eyes were closed. I watched her chest. She wasn't breathing! I froze and stared at her chest willing it to rise. It didn't. I knew this day may come where I'd be the one to find her dead.

Horror and relief cycled through my heart and brain.

My eyes moved to her face. Her eyes opened to slits and she stared at me.

Scared the livin' tar out of me.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 14, 2019
Oh my gosh, MountainMoose!

This is what I am talking about. So, this feeling isn't going to change. It's kind of horrible. Like we are on constant watch waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Same with me. I can't stand when I don't see her breathing and I am standing there almost petrified until I get the nerve up to touch her or she wakes up. I hate it. Makes me so uneasy.
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I have been with several people as they left this earthly plain. I am a planner, I need a plan, that helped me very much. In other words, what do I do now?

My hubby has Sleep Apnia (he says, "I do not!!!") several times, my body jerked awake in the middle of the night with my brain saying, "Wake Up! he isn't breathing!!!" Then, I put my hand on his chest and hold my own breath until he gulps some air. One time he didn't breath for 6 long seconds after I woke up. Once I even tried to find a heartbeat on his jugular vein. It is very disconcerting. I don't know how you stop feeling, I haven't been able to.

Interesting how my subconscious brain, the part that keeps me breathing, heart beating, not letting me roll off the bed, waking me up 10 minutes before my alarm clock goes off, also is keeping track of his breathing.
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Chemoangel1967 Mar 14, 2019
My husband has sleep apnea and they told him that he stopped breathing 47 times during the night....he now has a cpap machine, and that noise...is the best thing I can hear at night, knowing there is something that is helping him breathe..makes me sleep well at night.
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Not an abnormal fear.
My Husband would sleep soundly sometimes and the though did cross my mind on occasion.
Is your Mom on Hospice? If so they can help you with watching for signs of EOL (end of life) And it will give you someone to call if you have any questions. And if she dies die unexpectedly you can call Hospice and they will have someone come right over and they will make all the phone calls that need to be made.
But if you do walk in and your mom has died take comfort in the fact that she died peacefully and is no longer in any pain. A peaceful death is what we would all hope for.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 12, 2019
No grandma, not on hospice. I agree on the peaceful death. I do. I am not going to to lie. I am afraid to find her dead. More so, than being with her while she is dying.

Get what I mean?
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I have been with three people when they died, and I can tell you that they don't look like they're sleeping. It isn't some ghastly sight, but you can tell the difference between someone who is asleep and one who is 100% relaxed because they've died.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 14, 2019
Kayrom1,

I'm afraid to ask more. Were you frightened? Was it your mom?
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I found that while my dad was on strong medications during his Hospice care there were many moments where I found him in a deeply unresponsive state with his jaw slack and his eyes not fully closed. It certainly rivets your attention while you attempt to determine if they are alive.

At the end, I came into his room to find him in the process of cardiac arrest and gasping for air. He was unconscious. I knew we were at the end and there was nothing that I could do for him. I spoke to him and told him that I was there for him and I was going to sit next to him to be with him. Eventually, I needed to use the bathroom and while I was there for a mere couple of minutes, he died. I watched for a while to see if there was any rise and fall in his chest or pulsing in his neck. Since he had just died, he was still warm to the touch.

Before I could even finish my story to other experienced caregivers, they guessed that he died when I left his bedside briefly. In fact, the owner of the Board and Care said they often watch families keep a bedside vigil, only to step away briefly for a meal. The staff exchange knowing glances and begin to prepare for the end, as it is common for people to pass when loved ones leave the room!

I understand your anxiety about finding your mother deceased. I worried about that everyday I went into my dad's room for his 80 days on Hospice. I also was unsure I could handle being present for the actual dying process. Take a deep breath. It's not as bad as what you are imagining. As someone else noted, the look of death is slightly different than the look of being asleep or unconscious. When my mom was dying from her cancer, her face had been very lined and contorted by her discomfort. She too waited until I left the room. When I returned her face was completely relaxed and line-free. She looked the most peaceful I'd ever seen her and I'm so happy to have that memory of her. My dad died in physical distress, but no conscious awareness, so his mouth and eyes were open. That happens too but you'll be clear what has occurred either way just by watching for a few minutes.

And frankly, you know mom is going to die in some fashion whether you worry about it or not. If you plan to focus on telling your mom what has happened and offering her kind words for her journey, it will give you something to do to help you handle that moment. The moment of dying is not as bad as the moment you feel the loss. Of course, then you'll cry.
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Rabanette Mar 14, 2019
Curious that people pass when their LO leaves the room. Do you think they are sensing that it's ok to go?
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LOL.... I think it likely crosses every caregiver's mind under similar circumstances. Part of coping for me was to have a plan in place for such an eventuality, once mom was accepted into palliative care (our version of community hospice) and listed as an expected death in the home it was a relief to know who to call. I think you can reach a point where you are at peace with the thought of them dying, and maybe even are a little disappointed when you realize they haven't.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 12, 2019
I don’t know if I will ever be able to cope as well as you, cwille.

I’m trying though.
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Yup, every morning, more or less. Heart in my mouth every time I went into her room first thing. You feel a bit ghoulish sidling up and poking the person just to check, but what are you supposed to think?

NeedHelp, you are much stronger than you're giving yourself credit for. You are THERE. You are doing this! You're in a situation that has terribly frightening and uncertain aspects to it, and it's not surprising that you're on hot bricks about it sometimes, but you are already coping. There's nothing to say you have to take it all in your stride; in fact I think there'd be something missing in a person who wasn't troubled and sometimes fearful.

To give yourself more faith in yourself, what about looking back over the last two years or so and checking off all of the challenges and emergencies that you have brought your mother through. This is not to say there won't be new ones ahead, or that they won't be tough going, just to prove to yourself that you are in fact a person who deals with what she's given even when unprepared. Because you do. QED - here you are, still standing.

I know, because of your other thread, that you are very afraid of the last challenge there is going to be when your mother does pass away. I wouldn't rub it in, except that it is a massive elephant sitting in the corner and it's best looked at. Nobody can tell you, and you can't know yourself, how you will feel and respond when it happens. There are two things to say about it, though.

One, as above: you are a stronger person than you think.
Two: in a way, that's what this whole caregiving challenge is about - seeing your mother safely to a soft, peaceful landing. And *when* it happens, whether at home or, if it so turns out for clinical or comfort reasons, in another setting, that will be when you know you've done your job to the very best of your ability. What more can you ask of yourself?

But who do you have with you? You shouldn't be having to face this alone.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 13, 2019
Thanks, Countrymouse

You have made me feel better. Those are good points. I suppose we don’t get through this without anxiety. For some reason I feel like a failure if I become frightened. I say to myself, my mom is 93! It’s a big possibility she will die soon, yet I still become anxious about it.

Especially, alone. Hubby is working. Kids grown and out of the house. Just me and my mom during the day.
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I think this is probably common (I don't know what is "normal" in anything anymore!) I know when Mom was home with me, I would frequently check to see if she was breathing - heart in throat! - because she just didn't move once she fell asleep! Of course, I'll have to admit at that point (well, for a long time!) I had an enormous fear of losing Mom, so I was probably pretty reactive! (OK, so when it comes down to it, I even check my cat and dog!)
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 13, 2019
Wow, IMP

I know I will miss mom terribly even though caregiving is hard.

We do get wrapped up in our emotions. Some of us do. Your answer touched my heart because I have loved my pets so much. They are gone now and having to put the last one down due to old age and hip problems, it hurt so much that I can’t bring myself to get another animal. Thanks for your response.
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My Mom is a snorer. When I don't hear her snore I always have to go in and check on her, make sure she is still breathing. I don't know why , but since my Dad passed it has really been a concern. I hope it's normal for the situation.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 14, 2019
smeshque,

I do understand. My mom snores too. Hubby does. I do too, allergies.

Yeah, we adapt to the snoring and if it’s quiet we can tell immediately, can’t we?

Like when my daughter was 2 years old and being awfully quiet when I was on the phone for a couple of minutes. Oh my gosh! She got her water colors and painted the entire bathroom, including the tub, toilet, sink, floor, walls! I asked her why did she do that, to which she replied that she was an artist and wanted to make it pretty for me. Well after that answer I couldn’t possibly be upset with her. I told her that it was pretty, that I loved the colors but next time put her painting on paper. Then I handed her a sponge. I took a sponge and we cleaned it up. She wasn’t crazy about erasing her art! Haha.
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I married a man 30 years older than me. Not a day went by that I didn't watch to make sure he was breathing. 33 years we were together.

Yes, it is normal.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 14, 2019
RayLinStephens,

My cousin married a much older man. They had a beautiful life together. My favorite saying of hers was that she would rather be an old man's sweetheart rather than a young man's fool. Age is just a number. It's two hearts that connect, right?

Well, her husband was the love of her life. Awhile after he died another man from her church kept asking her out. She kept refusing him. He was persistent! He had lost his wife and she her husband. They eventually went from a friendship to dating. She agreed to marry him and shortly before the wedding date, he died! She told me, never again, that she was never going to date or marry again. She grieved for both men so hard.
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