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.
I used to have a boyfriend who would do that to me. I'd get such a fright waking up with his face right there.
When my boyfriend's asleep and stops snoring I also check him. I'm a little paranoid and a lot terrified of someone dying and me not knowing it for a while and finding them dead.
Thanks for your reply. It makes me feel uneasy when the thought crosses my mind about her being dead. Of course, she’s old, 93 but people are living past 100 so I don’t know what to think at times. All the falls she has had and never once breaking a bone! She has Parkinson’s and that’s tough.
What’s worse, is thinking I will die and then who will care for her? I’m telling you, caregiving can make us neurotic, can’t it? I so envy the people who seem to have it all together.
I know, it can be creepy. Haha, my mom does the open mouth thing too.
Thanks. I wish I wasn’t afraid or anxious but I am. Don’t know if that feeling will change or not.
Then I see a finger twitch or a heave of breath and only then can I breathe a sigh of relief...she's not left me yet.
From what I understand, yours is a normal, natural concern. My consolation is that most people's fear is to live and die in a cold, unfamiliar facility with no loved ones around. Your lovingkindness is granting that wish.
Thanks. Very sweet answer. Makes me feel better knowing I am not alone in this.
So, my feelings aren’t as weird as I thought. Interesting how things change for us. Full time caregivers go through a range of emotions. We really do.
Absolutely nothing to do with negativity. It has to do with a genuine fear of walking in my mother's room and finding her dead. You know, the one to find her. Big difference than if I wasn't around and then heard of her death. Death is hard, no matter what the circumstances but when a person does this for a long time like I have, it changes people. I suppose because it's a day to day routine with a loved one and fears are in the back of our minds. Periodically, it makes me very anxious. It's a fear that I wish I could learn to overcome.
Spoke to my brother about it (retired law enforcement) and he said every officer is uneasy in those situations when doing a welfare check on someone. It's just an uncomfortable, uneasy feeling that creates anxiety.
Yes I've thought about it too when my mom was sleeping.
I think that's true. Your mom did not want to die in front of you. I've heard those things over and over. But still, I get so anxious about finding her deceased. Can't help it. I understand how you can feel the way you do about your husband.
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.
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.
Flashlight? How do you figure out breathing with a flashlight? Have heard of using a mirror to check breathing.
I'd help in hospice situations now an then. A nurse there gave me a pamphlet, “GONE FROM MY SIGHT” the dying experience. written by a hospice RN. Barbra Karnes
Barbra Karnes books. web. www. bkbooks.com
it's 2.00 very well spent. I’ve been with 6 people as they passed, wished I had this knowledge. Fear is relieved with knowledge an truth. I bought a few and gave them away, if I you can afford a couple extras to give, you’ll be glad you did.
Like is short, sometimes down to the hour. Gods speed.
My mom was propping up my aunt's pillow and she fell back in my mom's arms. Scary. She only lasted a couple of weeks in the hospital, kidney issues. I don't know if knowledge would help me. Sometimes I think I don't want the knowledge so I won't imagine anything. Does that make sense to you? Or do you see where I am coming from?
Yeah, it's very scary. I don't think we can get used to it. Anxiety builds up. It is interesting because even those that see this often in work. My brother is retired law enforcement and he said that every welfare call he had to do was uneasy. It's just hard. He was a cop and said it made him uncomfortable to touch someone and fear they were cold. It's never easy for them to notify the family if the person is deceased.
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.
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.
I'm afraid to ask more. Were you frightened? Was it your mom?
When he is in his chair sleeping I am concerned but not necessarily afraid. It is at night when I get anxious. Our little dog sleeps with us & alerts when DH has a prolonged apnea episode...but the time will come when that is not enough. That does scare me!
Animals are amazing, aren't they? They truly are. It is so scary.
Awww, your mom's dogs sound absolutely darling. I'm sure they brought her so much joy. I think we reunite with our pets in heaven. They become such a loving part of our lives and families.
Yes, it is normal.
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.
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.
Another good reason to have support you can call upon.
I understand exactly what you mean. But I was told by our Hospice nurse that for some people dying is a very private thing and they want to be alone. And they will wait to be alone.
All I know is I was in another room when my Husband died and all I can hope is that he was not frightened and he waited until I was not there. I hate to think that he wanted me by his side. I think that is the one unknown that I have had since his death.
I have heard that people choose when they die too. It’s hard to think about. You loved your husband and you were always there. Your husband knew that.
I wish I wasn’t anxious about it. You know, her dying, but the truth is that I am.
I agree with CountryMouse, you *are* a brave soul! Someone has said that courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is carrying on in the face of fear. And that is exactly what you are doing. That makes you heroic. 🤗💖
You just made me feel better about myself. I appreciate that. I don’t see myself as strong. I see myself on autopilot. Know what I mean?
Giggled about speaking loudly because I do that daily, mom is practically deaf.
As for not wanting to touch her, would a mirror held under the nose work? It would fog with breath no matter what. Hope this helps!
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.
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.
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.