My beloved mother, aged 86 years and 6 months, passed away in Dec '17 after living with me at home for 15 years. I am her second son, fifth and last child. After my Dad passed away in 1987, my only (elder) brother harassed her, even threatening her with physical violence, to part with her property. From that day Mom got paranoid about him and begged me to "rescue" her and so we sold the house in our home country and I brought her to live with me in a Middle Eastern country starting in 2002. She was 71 years old when she joined me.
I am single, never married and loved my Mom with all my heart and made sure she had no unmet wishes and showered her with all the love I could...took her out for daily walks with her clutching my hand (she refused to use a walking cane for a long time), gave oil massage for her legs, spent as much quality time as I could every day and helped her out in the kitchen, took her out for dinner, brought home all the varieties food dishes she wanted etc. Through her 70s I did a wonderful job of her getting cataract surgery done in both her eyes and the smoothest ever uterus removal surgery when she was 75. Health was never a topic of concern through her 70s and she was delighted to live her "second youth" with me . During this time, I made sure she had medical check-ups once every 2 months and addressed changes in medication and any new health issues. All through these years, she completely severed contact with my siblings, the larger community back home and chose to spend her time only with me.
When I had to switch jobs from one country to another in 2009, it became clear she was maladjusted to living with anyone else other than me because she was responsible for so many issues and friction created in my dear friend's house where I had kept her for a few months while I was getting her visa etc. ready. In the new country, I made shuttle flight trips with her every 6 months to meet her visa requirements.
Then in 2014 she was forced to stay under the care of my friend in my home country where I had rented a flat exclusively for her with all facilities, a maid to cook, a caregiver and doctor doing home visits. After about 6 months she started complaining of "poor quality care" and her energy levels were coming down due to reduced appetite. So I brought her back to the country where I worked but now she was getting gradually weaker and started requiring more and more assistance for daily activities. When she was around 85 she started having to sit in bed for 15 minutes after waking up before she could rise up. Eventually this started getting longer and meanwhile she had trouble walking even a few steps in the flat. By now I had employed a daytime nurse and caregiver to make sure she is assisted when I am away at work. She never complained of any pain or display an specific symptoms except becoming more and more frail gradually. In November '17 she complained of severe headache, but refused to come to hospital fearing the strain given she was immobile. So I arranged for a doctor to visit her home, we did all the tests and could not detect any specific problem except a known issue of hyper para thryoidism. She started complaining of low appetite again and we were trying to figure it out. Meanwhile, within a space of one week, I was shocked to see her neck muscles become totally useless and her chin falling on her chest.
I got her a neck collar and along with the nurse carried her to hospital where the ER doctors said they suspect she has a cardiac problem. About 4 hours after admitting her to the ward, and after I fed her dinner and wished her good night, she became unconscious for the first time in her life !!!! I was DEVASTATED. Now, the doctors got ready for CPR and were gettng ready to get her to the ICU. I don't know why I said it, what subconscious reasoning made me say it, maybe because I just couldn't bear to see the malnutriotined, frail, unconscious body of my beloved mother, I told the CPR team and docs to keep away from her and not do anything invasive that will make her suffer more. They warned me this is life threatening and she should be intubated. I asked them what will be the quality of her life even if she survives , and are they sure needs an angioplasty as they were suggesting, and how confident were they she could survive the ICU procedures given that 2 surgeons refused to operate on her just 3 days before citing frailty and advanced age as a huger risk. The docs gave evasive answers.
In that moment, it seemed another force had entered me, and I clearly told them NOT TO TAKE HER TO THE ICU and DNR.
Next day she took her last breath with me by her side all through the night, holding both her hands.
It's been a month and now I am being hit by a storm of GUILT. Did I do the right thing ? Could I have forced her to go to hospital much earlier? I feel if I don't feel guilty then I'm not loving her. I feel responsible for her death now. I wish I could get closure,