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Today I awoke remembering my mom, who passed at 94 from end stage kidney failure. But I was remembering nightmarish images of her with dementia and begging for water, cold, etc. The body was obviously dying. And I guess there is no easy way to pass on, except for an immediate death of some type. But I feel so sad remembering her declining rapidly and just wish there was something I could have done to help her when she was having such a tough time. I prayed telling her how sorry I am that there was nothing I could do for her. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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It's difficult to make medical conditions for our loved ones because, frankly, we want more time - no we want endless time (an oxymoron, I know) - with them without really understanding how their body is or isn't responding to medical treatment. I don't pass judgement on people who are wanting to do whatever to "save" their loved ones life. It's a hard decision to treat or not treat. Also, as caregivers we don't really talk/want to talk/or even think about quality of life of our loved ones until we actually see their suffering - though they have been suffering internally for a long time. We all have an expiration date. Everyday our body, our cells, are dying so to speak because we can only live for so long. Yes, we do things to keep us going (like healthy eating, exercise, getting enough hours of sleep) but these lifestyle habits only buy us only so much time on this planet. We all end up dying from something. My mother's quality of life never recovered from her hospice stint and it was only then when I really saw her decline for the first time and realized she was declining (mobility issues, incontinence issues, speech issues, etc...small changes but nonetheless changes in quality of her life) - for years - before the hospice event. I love her so much but it's simply not fair to her to just keep her alive because I'm afraid to let go and move on with my life. She's my last family member left and then I'm on my own. I'm an only child and my parents immigrated from overseas, from a big family on both sides actually. Her future? Cancer, kidney stones, gall stones, pneumonia...the sky's the limit on what she'll suffer from next. I'm just waiting for her to develop a fever so I can put her on hospice and let nature take it's course. I'm not jumping up with joy this decision. I know I can "buy more time" if I treat the fever but, again, she'll return to no quality of life. I just can't bear to do this to her again. I believe things happen for a reason. Her recovery from hospice was for me to really see what her future will be and it's a poor quality of life which is why I made the decision enough's enough - for her. I'm just waiting for that fever to come so I end her misery. Her labs look fantastic. But her quantitative numbers don't correlate with her qualitative numbers, so to speak.
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Yes, I guess I didn't think my mother would die and hoped she'd live to 100. But I've come to realize that the body doesn't last and in reading all the posts and reviewing what happened to my mom, I see that her body had been declining for a few years. And when the body shuts down, medicine can't keep it alive. We don't think about death and we think we can live forever. But it ain't so. And that realization has hit home for me. I wish I could see my mom again and talk and get another hug. But that is no longer possible. I do believe in a continual existence so I look forward to seeing her again.
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My mother died last week in the Memory Care side of an excellent Assisted Living facility where she lived for 4.5 years. Hospice was engaged in the last two months to care for her in addition to the support that the facility provided. In her 94th year, Mom's body changed from robustness to clear and rapid aging toward death, and four months ago her interest in food declined. About three months ago, she wanted to be left alone to sleep, and was annoyed when anybody disturbed her sleep. It was clear that she was comfortable. We all did our best to encourage her to eat and drink, making adjustments in her food and beverages and the way that we tried to assist her to eat and drink. It all was gentle. Mom was lucky that she had no need for invasive procedures, no need for pain medication. Mom's body weight declined, and she slipped away. If Mom had any needs they would have been met with appropriate non-invasive measures.
Mom's sister died five years before of a recurring cancer. She also received Hospice services in her Memory Care unit such that she remained comfortable throughout, and was attended by her family. A gentle death is possible.
Emotional support is available through Hospice. Throughout the process, I was and will continue to be contacted by a Hospice to ensure that I have support through the grieving process for the next six months. You can call Hospice to help you through your loss and grief. I dealt with it in my way, which was to plan her wake, funeral, and repast as a celebration of Mom's life. I knew that my Mom's family needed that kind of an event to deal with the passing of the last of her generation. (The Poles are given to deep mourning, but my Irish-side dictates another approach.) They helped me celebrate, too.
Our intentions matter. Love matters. Carry the intangible gifts that your Mother bequeathed to you into the future and teach them to others as you move through your own life. I am doing that for all of my Mother's brothers and sisters, and her own parents for I have learned so much from them.
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Dear careisgiving,

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's condition. I know its not easy.

Dear Bloom,

I know how much you loved your mom. I don't think any of us want to see our parents suffering in anyway. My father passed in hospital. The nurse told me my father went very quickly. Honestly, I don't find any comfort in this information. In my heart, I guess I just wanted my dad to live longer. I even questioned why he had a DNR on file. I asked the nurse why didn't they save him? I know accepting our parents passing brings up a lot of questions and sometimes I feel there are really comforting or acceptable answers.

All your questions remind me so much of me after my dad's passing almost 6 months ago.
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My doctor said yes to your question and stated this is a peaceful way to pass away; you just close your eyes and go to sleep. But I think it's difficult to assess what pain a loved can be experiencing so you just hope they're not suffering and your company provides some relief.  My mother experienced renal complications while on hospice and the thought was she was going to pass away. She recovered but with no quality of life and is/has been suffering in other ways which is why she's been homebound since her hospice recovery. When she does actually go, I hope it's very quick because I can't take her suffering anymore. She's a DNR and I won't approve dialysis or any other medical treatment that will extend her life. I'm just waiting for her "time to come" because it's too excruicatingly heartwrenching for me to watch her in her current state. Pets can be euthanized when they're suffering, yet our State doesn't have Death With Dignity??...!!!
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My mother died of renal failure. And I've read it is a gentle death. Is that true?
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There's no way for us to know if there is pain in dying because our loved ones take that information with them when they go.

I work in hospice and I've seen people who are actively dying whose muscles are contracted and who are yelling out in what can only be described as pain but I think the dying experience is different for everyone. It's as unique as the individual. I had another patient a few years ago who went quietly with no signs or symptoms of pain or distress.

I think yes, there can be pain when the body begins to shut down because I've seen it but I don't think it's experienced by everyone and luckily there are medications we can administer to our loved ones to ease their pain and suffering.
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