Follow
Share

Two years ago, my day had liver and kidney failure suddenly. I was with him for the last 3 days when he came home under hospice and I sat with him for the last 3 hours until his death. At the end I saw his skin mottle and go grey, his breathing speeding up and then he suddenly breathed his last breath. It was a terrible awful 3 days. The last 3 hours were horrible. I can see you all have been through much worse, but it really affected me. After that I felt so detached for a long time. It was like the world was foreign to me...like I wasn't connected to it anymore. It took me a long time to get over this.

Then this past weekend I was visiting my mom (who is 84) who hasn't been doing well. As I was sitting across from her I saw the skin on her left hand suddenly change color in the same way I saw my dad's skin change just before he died. That lasted for awhile and then lightened a bit. I had an immediate panic attack. I had to go into the bathroom and calm myself down. Then when I came home I am experiencing all that detachment and upsetness all over again. I thought I got over this...evidently not.

My aunt is living with me and will probably die here at some point...maybe in front of me.

I am not cut out for all these elderly people dying in front of me thing. I am so stressed out with all this. I am such a wreck since last weekend when I saw that sudden skin mottling in my mom. I know people get old and die but this is too much for me to have them die in front of me over and over.

I can't do this anymore. How do you get over this? Everyday I am waiting for the call from the place where my mom is saying she has died or maybe going downstairs and finding my aunt dead. I feel like my life has turned into death row.

Please contact hospice and ask about their grief counseling sessions. You'll be with others who feel the same way, and it can help immensely. You'll also meet people who have found peace in passing on an elder, so the perspective should help. If you don't do that, I'd suggest a private counselor. This is part of life and it's affecting your own quality of life. Please do this for yourself.
Best wishes,
Carol
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to Carol Bradley Bursack
Report

Hey there Addie,
I was with my mom and dad when they both died and it is a bear.
Personally, because everyone is different, what helped me cope was the fact that it was time for them to go. their poor bodies couldn't take any more and it was time for them to go home.
When my mom died almost a year ago now, I held her hands and looked into her beautiful blue eyes and was telling her to go and find daddy and that he was there waiting for her. It tore my guts out, make no mistake but the reality was that it was time for her to go. She was suffering and then she was free. She actually died with a little smile on her face. I will never forget it.

I agree with you that you can't continue to go through this. Carol has excellent advice in seeking a live support group and are you taking any meds for anxiety? I sure was and still am!! no guilt there! a panic attack is the worst and I was having them left and right and decided that this was no way to live especially since they have a nice med for it and you don't have to take it all the time, just when you need one. xanax works for me and talk to your doctor. If he/she doesn't see it your way, get another doctor. life's too short.

Say what you have to say to your mom, all the things.... you know what I mean, you love her and you wish she would love forever and the 2 of you could go on and on, but that you'll be ok and you will see her again in the blink of an eye.

Now here's a trick that you may be able to use:
EVERY time you have anegative thought and I mean EVERY time, you redirect yourself with a differt positive thought. For me it was a boat. I trained myself to think of a beautiful boat every time I thought of something awful like my daddy's death or mom being so sick, etc.
You can actually create a new habit for yourself in 21 days. It takes 21 days to change a behavior and if all of this insanity, and it is insanity, is getting you bonkers, redirect your thoughts and you will beging to see a difference in how you feel. It's not the easiest thing to do but it sure beats the sox off of not trying something!

Is there a way to find a facility for your aunt? Maybe it's time that you lived your life without this insanity. I know that death is part of life, but I for one am not wired to be a caregiver even though I did it for almost 6 years. I would NEVER do it again and I don't want to be the one sitting bedside holding a hand again either.
I did my job and saw both my parents to their graves and that's enough.
OK, Addie, I hear you and please keep venting here because this website is something that can keep you from going totally bonkers. We Care.
lovbob
Helpful Answer (37)
Reply to bobbie321
Report

My mom died 2 weeks ago of a very aggressive and 100% fatal type of cancer. We watched as she slowly gave way to this stupid cancer. She basically died of starvation caused by the cancer, but dying of starvation is pretty gruesome. She went down really fast, which in an of itself was a blessing from God, to take her so she didn't have to suffer anymore. I was with my father-in-law 2 years ago when he basically drowned with all the fluid in his lungs. I sat with my mother-in-law by his bedside listening to what sounded like an old fashioned percolator as he breathed his last. I was grateful that she was there, and though it was awful, she was so grateful that I was with her. I stayed with my grandma in the nursing home when she was dying, and later when she had died and I wasn't aware of it, I went to see her on Christmas night one more time, but her bed was empty cause she was gone. It's what we humans do, watch other humans be born, live and eventually die. It made all the difference in the world knowing that my mom was a born-again Christian and, according to God Himself, she's with Him as I write this. That is where I find the strength to see the people that I love die, knowing that it's only temporary. As awful as it is, I felt privileged to be with my family during these gross, scary times. Getting old stinks though.
Helpful Answer (34)
Reply to NancyH
Report

Hi Addie. I am 41 years old and have been through this a couple of times and now I am taking care of my 62 year old father who had two massive heart attacks back to back, was gone for over 10 minutes after the first and developed an anoxic brain injury because of lack of oxygen. He is the reason I joined this site.

Let me just say that I am sorry that you are so overwhelmed by the events that are occurring in your life. No one ever deals with the pain of watching loved ones suffer or die and says it is easy. Ten years ago, I was dealt quite a blow when my grandmother was diagnosed with liver cancer. Never a drink, a cigarette, nothing and this strong, vital woman was diagnosed with this terminal disease. As well as that happening, a friend, 28 years old, fell off of his roof and was in a hospital bed as a vegatable until he died. This was all over the course of 6 months. By the way, my grandmother died at 3:30 AM and my friend died exactly 12 hours later.

I was with my grandmother when she died. The last word she spoke was "pain". It was heartbreaking. She was heavily sedated after that and her heart gave out. The suffering that I saw this woman, one of my best friends, go through almost made it bearable that she was gone. I also think it was a gift to me to be there with her. On the flip side, it was a comfort to her not to be alone.

It was not an easy day and I miss both just as much today as I did ten years ago, but if you have done all that you can do and the person that you love so much is ready to go, you just have to keep plugging through your life and let them go. Your life has not ended. You need to enjoy even the smallest of things that bring you happiness. For some it is volunteering or getting a pet. For others it is prayer. I don't know you, but it seems like you have an overwhelming amount of sadness and grief. Maybe you have someone to speak with. Maybe a long walk could do some good. For me, I get in the car, blast the radio and sing my favorite songs at the top of my lungs. By the way, I am a real sucky singer, but I don't care. It is a release. You do what you have to do and try to be strong for your loved one.

I wish you peace and happiness in your life. Don't ever give up and don't ever be afraid to vent or ask someone for help, but you have to do something for your well being. Take care and I really do hope the best for you.
Helpful Answer (23)
Reply to mywhitesasha
Report

Listen to the above....MANY years of experience here! Everyone "hits the wall" at some point during their caregiving journey. Yours is now. Do not ignore it. It is your body's way of telling you to make a change or it will do it for you.
Look into an ALF or NH for your aunt. Limit visits with your Mom until you can get things under control. And please seek counseling and a good doctor who understands how to treat emotional issues. I am not normally a fan of drug therapies but it might be a good "stop gap" measure until you can get your feet under you.
Make just one change today that will improve your life....even if it is a small one.
And come here as often as you need...we're open 24/7 :o)
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to toadballet1
Report

I'm not certain how far along the grief process you are about your dad, but your mom's health is creating emotional flashbacks to that loss and filling you with anticipatory grief about your mother. It's time for you to find some help for yourself as already described above. I've seen many people die in the emergency room and other places as well as buried many people during 20 years of my former life as a pastor, but it is different when it is your own relative. One reason it is different is because of distance. Right now with your mom declining and your elderly aunt at home, you do not have any distance or space apart from people dying all around you which would exhaust as well as depress anyone over time. You need some space and I hope for your sake that you can find some.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to cmagnum
Report

My father passed a week and 1/2 ago. Im already back at work. It seems like a world away and a century ago, but it was just 9 days. I miss him so much, but as was said before on these replies, it was time for him to go. He suffered so much. He died at home in hospice care. We made the decision to bring him home because he wanted this and hated hospitals. I asked God daily to please do his will or take his pain while he was suffering at home.He continued to ask for my grandmother who passed in 1988 as if she was in the room and he was telling her he wanted to go. These experiences teach us to be humble and not sweat the small stuff. Love matters more than anything. It is worth the experience, no matter how many times you go through it.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to appletreetop
Report

I was with my brother 60 when he died, I was holding his left hand, his wife was holding his right. He entered the hospital on July 14th, he was weak because his liver was failing and he had a bleed in his intestines. Almost immediately after entering the emergency room things went downhill, the next thing we knew, he was intubated and in ICU, then his kidneys began to fail, then coma, then he's getting better, comes off the ventilator and out of the coma. However, he's never the same, he's confused, delusional, hepatic encephalopathy they call it. Out of ICU into intermediate care, now it's August 1st, the doctors start talking hospice, me, another brother and his wife are his constant companions, going to see him in shifts. It's exhausting, sometimes he knows you, sometimes no, he wants to get up, he wants the furniture moved, he wants cigarettes, on and on. On his last day, Friday August 22nd, I was first to arrive, immediately I can tell something is different. His breathing is shallow and there are long pauses, he isn't swallowing, the nurse is suctioning his mouth, this started sometime in the middle of the night. Unplanned, two of my brothers show up along with his wife. The nurse tells us that his time is at hand, it was surreal, watching those last few breaths, his eyes, it's something I won't soon forget. Actually, I can't get it out of my head, it's causing me a lot of anxiety. Today his wife gave me some personal items that belonged to my brother, I feel guilty calling them my own. How is it that we don't have to take a class on how to deal with death?
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to EKKKKG
Report
HolidayEnd Jul 11, 2018
American society fears death. During earlier times in our history, grandma or grandpa moved in to one of the kid’s homes and since families were larger than now, there was help. The elder could interact with the family, do simple tasks to help out, etc and no one thought that anything unusual was going on.


Now people want aging and death out of sight. Also, there are so many only children who become overwhelmed with caring for their parents but Americans began having smaller families or no children at all during the twentieth century.

I am a retired oncology RN. I’ve held many people’s hands as they died. We had four deaths on the floor one night. But it will be very different when it’s my mom that’s going. Or my dad. Or even my daughter who’s also an only child. Or my husband! But don’t have fear of death. It’s usually very peaceful, spiritual and amazing. It’s very hard if you love the person because they are leaving you temporarily. I do believe our spirit lives on and that most people go to a happy place with no more suffering. I’ve actually ‘felt ‘ people leave their bodies ( the spirit goes out the head).

I believe that I was putting myself through a class so I would be less afraid of death by doing this job. I also know it won’t be the same with my loved ones. But the physical process is nothing to fear. Probably your physical symptoms are your nerves and you’ve got plenty to be upset about. Ask your doctor for a tranquilizer or what he thinks is best for you. Explain your circumstances.
(2)
Report
I was with my dad taking care of him the last 6 mts. before he passed from cancer. I was with him holding his hand as he passed over to Heaven. I wouln't trade those moments for anything! He had such a peacefull look on his face when it was over! I did have to read a couple of books "closer to the light" is one of them that helped me get through his illness and passing. I hope you get a chance to read it..God Bless You...April
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to aprilann
Report

I've only read the beginning and the end of this thread so I might be repeating something someone else has said.
As a nurse, I've watched more people die than othets in the general public. Each one is different but they all result in the end of life of the body.

I believe that all people have a soul, making each person uniquely different. I also believe that the soul is immortal and lives forever. The body is designed to last only so long but the soul lives on in a spiritual realm. This comforts me, knowing that the special part of my loved one continues on. The hard part is that there is no connection between the physical world and the spiritual world. That part is done on faith. As hard as it is to loose your loved one, they live on in a realm where we will be going when it's our turn.

Counseling will help make sense of this confusing time.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to SueC1957
Report

See All Answers