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It's been one week today. She stopped speaking. She stopped swallowing. We thought it would be another 10 to 15 years because she is so strong. It must have been a stroke. It is what it looked like. She had us sign papers that we wouldn't put in an IV, feeding tube, take her to the doctor or emergency room. We thought "It's 10 years down the road, okay". We signed papers on Dec 12. She had a stroke Dec 14. She died Dec 21. I sang songs. We read scriptures to her. I tried to make it as peaceful as possible for her and my 4 children. My MIL lived and died in my home. It is what she wanted. She wanted to be buried near her mother. The only way to do that was to cremate her and mix her ashes with the dirt in her mothers grave just 6 inches down. So she dies and then after a few hours to let us grieve,she goes to be cremated. I don't know what to do. I tried to do my best for her. Her family neglected her. Now they are angry. They are grieving angry. I am at a loss. Her family neglects her for 20 years and now they say "why didn't you take her to a doctor?" I am asking myself the same question. It was so horrible to watch my sweet MIL waste away because she could no longer swallow. She has progressive supranuclear palsy. She had already been unable to move her arms, legs and her sight was going. We fed, showered, toileted, dressed and massaged her. She had gotten a lot worse this last month but she always gets worse and then she gets better. The hospice worker told us she had 3 or 4 days. My husband couldn't believe her because we had been told that before. Imagine our complete shock when she DID'NT start swallowing again and we had to follow the paper we had just signed to not put in an IV. Her husband flew in, Held her hand for 2 days and then drove out the next morning after she died. He says he can't handle it and we can have her stuff. My husband's father is ill with cancer so my husband drove out this morning to go help him. I am looking at my MIL's room. Her things. I don't want to get rid of any of it. My husband asked me to clean out the room so our kids can start using it again. I am at a loss. I researched the cremation center, I called them up so they would be on standby. I prayed and swabbed her throughout the night so she could live until her husbands plane landed and her sister and sister's family could get there. They get there and they are so angry at me my husband sent me and two kids north to see my mom to get me out of the house. So my sweetie-pie dies when I am not there so that her husband can focus on her and not on how much he is angry at me. There is a sweet note, I was sleeping at my mom's when she died. She came to me all dressed in white with long blonde hair. She leaned over my bed and said "I have died". It felt like a thank you. It felt like love and a kiss. I pop out of bed and look at my phone "is my husband going to call me?" No call, I lay back down. 15 minutes later my husband calls "She died 15 minutes ago". It wasn't a dream it was real. I need to focus on those sweet experiences. I just don't think I am able right now to clear away her life. All her possessions on earth are in that one bedroom. My husband will be home in 4 days and he wants it done. i think it is his way of greiving. Her family grieve angry, he grieves through denial, my kids grieve through crying. Her sister and my oldest son are really happy for her because her life was a life of intense suffering. i agree with them. It is just hard that my husband doesn't even want a funeral and I have a lot of hospital bills and paperwork to do during a time that I just want to grieve by being sad. Every time I went to the grocery store I would look for some new food for her to try because she didn't even want to eat any more toward the end. I tried to buy sushi for her yesterday and then i remembered. My question. How do people do this?

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I'm so sorry about the loss of your mother-in-law.

It's only been a week. I was still numb and in denial a week after each of my parent's died.

You can't force yourself through the grief. It has to come. And then it will lessen. And then it will hit you. And then it will get better little by little. You won't always be in mourning but you might always grieve. My dad died 4 years ago and my heart still aches.

Cleaning out the house my parent's shared for 40 years fell to me and I was so raw and in pain that I made horrible decisions clearing things away. I don't remember how soon it was after my mom died but it was too soon, or maybe I should have had someone with me. My brother now says he can't believe he let me do that alone. But every sentimental little trinket, every letter, every journal was so painful that I tossed it all out just to get through the task. I could just kick myself now. Letters I had written my mom when I was a teenager-gone! Little collections of my mom's throughout her life-gone! I just got rid of it all and it was a huge mistake.

If your husband wants her room cleaned out immediately wait until he gets home and he can help you and you can decide together what to keep and what to toss. It's not a job for one person who's grieving deeply.

To answer your question: how do people do this? Because we have to and because it's a part of life. I used to replay every second of those last days when each of my parent's died. I went over them again and again in my head. Sometimes I still do. What I tell myself, what makes me feel a little better is when I tell myself that everything happened the way it was supposed to. That it's easy to look back and see what we think we could have done differently but hindsight is perfect. Life isn't. You do things or don't do things with the information you have at that moment. The perspective you have now won't be the same perspective you have in, say, a month. Or a year. It will evolve as you mourn and you will heal. What other option do you have?
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Cheerful

I'm so sorry for your loss. This year can't end soon enough.
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Dear Cheerful, My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your beloved mother-on-law. I'm so sorry. I know this is very painful time. And its very hard to cope with the grief. And yet still deal with the expectations of family. You were a kind and loving presence in her life. I know your husband wants you to clean her room, but it sounds like its too soon. Maybe ask him for more time or be allowed to put her possessions in storage till you are stronger. I don't think of any us know how to proceed after the death of a beloved family member. We all try to put one foot in front of the other. Its a struggle we all go through. Are there any friends and family members that can help you? After my dad's passing, I was too distraught. My sister stepped in to arrange the funeral. And other family members helped with us because we did not know all the cultural rituals that had to be done. I too wonder what could have been done. My dad fell out of his wheelchair two months before he passed. I thought he was just confused but he had a heart attack. And then he had another one and another one till he passed. I think I was in denial. I was use to taking care of day in and day out, I never in a million years thought he would pass this year. Never. The pain and sorrow is still present. I think it will take me years to process what has happened. Thinking of you. Sending you lots of love and hugs.
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