How can I help mom or how do I talk to mom about her impending death?

My Mom has been sick for 3 1/2 years. She has PAD & it is killing her. She is about 60 lbs & in bed all the time. We have hospice care for her at home. It feels like this will never end. We are watching her decline and it is horrifying. It is hard to find things to talk about because everything brings tears for me. I feel like I don't know what to do to help her or how to talk to her about her impending death.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Expert Answer
3932 helpful answers
I'm so sorry. This is a terribly hard time.

Hospice provides family counseling. So much depends on acceptance of the situation. Acceptance doesn't mean that you like it but you know it can't be changed. From there you can learn to deal with it.

Your mom may be doing okay with dying but you are, understandably, having a difficult time. Please take advantage of the hospice counseling and perhaps talk with their chaplain, as well. The more you accept the better company you can provide for your mom.
Sing to her! If she is religious, sing hymns. If not, sing whatever she knows and you know -- patriotic hymns. If you are a Christian talk to her about Jesus, remind her who he is and why he came. Remind her who she will meet in heaven. Love her like crazy. Kiss her, hold her hand, etc. Tell her she can stay here as long as she wants; that you love her and enjoy being with her. Tell her she has been a wonderful mother. Tell her that God will decide when it is time for her to go to him but she can tell him she is ready.
Have a chat with the nurse who visits. Hospice does provide grief counseling. Don't be afraid to call your own MD and ask for anti-anxiety meds. It does make a big difference.
You have one of the most valuable resources...Hospice.
Talk to the Nurse, the Social Worker and ask them the best way to begin the discussion.
I am sure that your Mom is well aware of the fact that she is dying.
Very good possibility that she wants to know how to talk to you about it as well.
Sort of like the discussion that you and she may have had back when you were 11 or 12....No WANTS to have "the talk" but discussing what arrangements she wants can relieve a lot of stress for you and the rest of the family.
I wish my husband had talked about his wishes. I never knew that he wanted to be buried until his sister told me. Now I sit here trying to make decisions that should have been made by the two of us.
Getting back to Hospice...talk to the Nurse, Social Worker, Chaplain and ask them to help you talk to your Mom.
Good luck
DesMoines, I wrote my Mom (while she was dying and on Hospice) a really long letter, telling her how much I loved her and appreciated everything she had done for me and our family, what she meant to me, and how she had impacted my life. I included many memories, and when I did go to give itto her, she asked that I read it out loud to her, as the Morphine impaired her thinking. It was difficult, and we both cried. She asked that the card and letter be buried with her, and I cried even more. It did help me to get it all out, but I'm not sure how much of it she was able to retain, she already knew all this stuff, it was just words. But it was a release, and nice to put it down in writing for her.

I actually just found my first draft of this letter to her and read it again, it was pretty gushy, Lol, but it is nice to have and to remember her by.

Our Moms have a way of knowing our feelings, is my thought, so maybe just give her bits and pieces as time goes on, of how much you love and appreciate her, how much you will miss her, and that its OK to let go in her own time.

I'm so sorry you are losing your Mom, it's the hardest thing ever! Good luck going forward!
I am so sorry DesMoines50312 for what You are trying to bear, as reading Your post is Heart Breaking. As the other Caregivers stated Hospice is a great source of help now for Your Mom. Talk to a Nurse and tell Her how You feel so She can assist You. I found Prayer very comforting for My Mother and for Me. Kneel by Your Mom's bed and take Her by the hand and Pray, even if Your dear Mom does not partake in the Prayers, She will get the greatest comfort and Love You more.
i've been caring for my mother for the last 7 years. she had dementia and was bedridden for the last 14mo. yes, the grief of watching them diminish so badly! all kinds of changes happen to their little bodies in the process. it was horrifying to me too! she never discussed wishes for death...and i never discussed with her that she was dying...i'm sure she knew that. i told her all the time how much i loved her...and reminded her that she was in her home with her family and everyone was taking care of her. i knew in my heart she would die in a few days...and told her that i loved her and i would be with her in heaven. that's the extent of our conversation with death...she died 2 weeks ago. the relief and the sadness was overwhelming...and of course...it will take a while to feel better. hang in there...this too shall pass...even when it feels like the pain and stress will never end! feel for you!!!!!
oh...if she never discussed her wishes regarding the funeral...she probably knows that you will take care of everything! i did what was best for the immediate family! i started looking for funeral houses and mortuary months before she died. i got all the information that i needed because i knew when she died...i would be very tired. when she died the funeral home came and got her...went there and picked out her casket...went to mortuary...got everything ready for her burial 2 days later...had a priest there for a few prayers for our family at the site and she was buried! no big hoooopla for us...esp me...i was exhausted. it was loving and fast!! she's resting in peace now in a beautiful mausoleum and im in bed sleeping!
I found the book, "Losing a Parent" by Fiona Marshall to be an excellent resource.
I really like avidkayaker's comments. When my mom was dying, I searched a hymnal for something she might like and could't find anything quickly enough. Later, I remembered the hymn that starts "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me..." That would have been perfect. Instead I told her not to worry about Dad, that we would take care of him since she was his biggest behind-the-scenes-supporter. That seemed to ease her and she died the next morning before we could get back to the hospital one more time. It was Sunday and Mother's Day and so every Mother's Day now has an even more special significance. Her minister came after the Sunday services and we had our own gathering around her bedside. I still regret not thinking of that hymn at the right time. It came to me in a dream many years later.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support