Several of you know my story, but in a nutshell: My mother is 84, had a stroke in May 2016, and has been on a slow decline ever since. (Prior to the stroke, she had breast cancer and a fractured vertebra.) In April, she had a UTI that landed her in the ICU with sepsis. In June, another one, which wasn't as serious. Now she clearly has another one. I was ready to take her to the hospital today (which involves a 911 call, so traumatic), but when I arrived, a nurse was there to take blood. Her vitals are all fine, so nurse was unfazed, but she is not eating and not getting out of bed, so I know it's another infection. I am waiting until the morning for blood test results and then taking her to hospital unless she makes a miraculous recovery.

I am an only child and my mother and are very, very (too) close. She and I always fought. She drank a lot. But we also always adored each other and were enmeshed. (My father died when I was 6.) Since the stroke, she has become the sweetest, most vulnerable person. It's shocking, but also wonderful to have a purely loving relationship with her. She is so sweet and vulnerable now - in a wheelchair, in diapers, left hand and leg paralyzed from the stroke - and it is KILLING me.

I cry and worry every day. She will never, ever say she wants to die. I think it might help me if she did accept that and surrender, but she won't. She's scared. I feel stuck in this purgatory between churning with anxiety and being utterly terrified of the grief I will feel when she dies. Which is worse? I've read so many memoirs of women who completely fell apart when their mothers died. It's a whole genre! I know I will be one of them, and I am scared. I have children (16 and 21) and a demanding job. Divorced. How will I function?

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Xina, hugs to you, and hats off for understanding your feelings and articulating them so well.

Your mother doesn't want to Die! I don't think many folks do. I'm not sure what you think wanting to die is a criteria for.

Are you asking if it's time for a hospice Evaluation? If you are your mom's health care proxy, you can request a Hospice evaluation and find out if she qualifies ( her doctor has to recommend this).

We got great clarity from hospice Evals for my mom, both times. They explained very, very thoroughly what they would and wouldn't treat and how they would handle various situations. It was not a one size fits all solution by any stretch.

Your mom can say yay or nay to hospice and it might start a fruitful discussion about the stress these ER situations put on you both.

I'd start calling around to various hospice organizations after you speak to her doc.

The terror of losing your Mom? Xina, you sound like such a strong lady, made so in part by a tough mom. We internalize our mom's, i think, and honor them both in the things we do the way they did, and in the things we've made improvements in.

It must be bittersweet to suddenly have this docile sweet mom to love. (((((Hugs)))).
Helpful Answer (14)

I wish I could offer some advice but I can only offer consolation. You certainly have an emotionally challenging situation to handle. Please know that I sympathize with you and am trying to think of something to write to help you but at this moment I can't think of anything insightful.
I am so sorry for the pain you're experiencing.
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I'm single, never-married, no kids. One brother who wasn't involved with caregiving for my mom or dad. My mom just passed away in May and I was her sole caregiver for 15 years while she lived near me. At the end, she was also a very sweet, gentle woman. Prior to that, I was pretty angry with her because she never stood up to my verbally abusive father when he went after my brother or me when we were kids. I worked through that anger through counseling, so that in her final years, I was taking care of her out of love.

I was blessed because my mom was ready to go and told everyone that. She was 97.5, so had some years on your mom. I felt incredibly responsible for her. But when she passed away, I felt like it was her time. I was at peace and ready to move on to the life that she wanted me to have. I'm sure your mom doesn't want you to fall apart when she passes, just like you wouldn't want your children to be buried in grief when it's your time.

I will say I was very emotional when mom died. Weepy at the drop of a hat. Friends and hospice employees mistook that for abject grief. For me, it wasn't grief, just the emotion of recognizing that a long and decent life that had come to its end.

It's now three months later and I feel very blessed to have spent that time taking care of mom and I feel at peace with my care of her. I feel excited about my future, where I can now make decisions I had put on hold because of mom.

Please get some counseling if you feel you can't handle the emotion of your situation. That's perfectly normal. You may also be experiencing "anticipatory grief", which I had more about my dad, probably 15 years before he died. When he got older and lost some of his "roar", it was hard for me to accept. A counselor helped me work through that. {{{Hugs}}}} you are stronger than you know.
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my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for what you are going thru. I am going thru the same thing with both parents 92 incontinence, bedridden, dementia, alztimers, sepsis for both, mom once, dad three times, and that's not all of it. I grow closer to my parents more each and every day now. was not close to mom growing up she also drank. was always close to my dad. have four sisters who could care less what happens to parents. haven't seen or called parents in years and years. I look at it as its my sisters loss and my gain having them to myself. right now they are in rehab both of them together as they needed eight weeks or so of extra drip antibios that I couldn't do at home. they just celebrated there 73 years of marriage in the nursing home. they will soon be home again and I will move back into their home and my husband will come back and fourth. hubby has Parkinsons Disease. how do I get thru it, well, I cry a lot when I am alone like you. I pray a lot also. at night when I finally get home from the nursing home I think of all of the wonderful memories I left the nursing home with. I think of all of the words of wisdom they both gave me that day. I think of the smiles that I was able to put on their faces that day and I block out all of the painful negative issues that I had to face. my parents brought me into this world and never stopped loving me and I will see them out of this world loving them just as much.
everyday I cry driving to the home to see them but once I see their face light up when they see me walk in I thank god for the memories I am about to receive that day as I don't know if their will be a tomorrow. is it hard? I cant think of any thing in life that is worse that watching a love one die slowly and not being able to do anything to help them. be strong and show your love to your mom every day you see her and the beautiful memories that you are having spending your time with your mom will become priceless when she is gone and will help you get thru it all. that is how I get thru it....good luck
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This thread has brought out beautiful, emotional, touching but also wise and mature insights into the relationship between a caregiver and her parent(s). It's inspirational to read such dedicated yet balanced observations.
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Xinabess, I am one of those daughters who was "enmeshed" with my Mother. First off, let me say, I totally dislike that term. There is nothing wrong with adoring your Mother. If you do, be proud of it, don't apologize for it.

I was like you, I spent my whole life dreading the thought of losing my Mom. I like you, lost my Dad at a very early age. That triggered an attachment to my Mom that never ever ended. I would say the only bad thing with this attachment is I never tried to make friends cause my Mom was my best friend. I let other friendships disappear cause I always had my Mom.

She has been gone now over two years. I've grieved.............still am..........always will. I think, to be honest, I'm still in a state of shock over it. I sat by her bedside almost 24/7 her last week of life. I am traumatized because of it, to be honest. I should have thought of my own well-being as I sat there thinking "What if she regains consciousness and I'm not there" I had this idea that just before she died she would suddenly come to and look at me and smile and say "I love you dear" one last time.
It never happened. In fact, for all the hours I spent there, she ended up dying when I wasn't there.

You may fall apart for a little while after your Mom dies. Or like me, you'll have your heart crushing moments but you will be stronger than you think you are. Trust me, you are reading the comments of a true, dyed in the wool Mommies girl. It's hard, it's desperately hard sometimes but you will get through it. If I can, then anybody can. Have some faith in yourself.
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Dear xinabess,

Sending all my love and hugs. So sorry to hear of everything you have been through with your mom. The current situation is hard but also when our parents pass that too will be hard but in a different way. From everything you are saying you are doing the very best you can for her. If you are able to consider some counselling or a joining a support group. I wish I had before my dad passed. I never realized how hard it would be to care for him at home. He didn't want to go to a nursing home but the last year together was the hardest. Thinking of you! Please know we are here for you.
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I envy the love you have for your moms.  Hope it gets easier
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Agree, GardenArtist.
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Very touching emotions that so few understand

I agree that living in anticipation of the other shoe falling is extremely difficult- my mom is nearly incapacitated from her last UTI and now she's asleep most of the time but she hasn't given me any indication that she's ready to go - in fact, she wants waffles for breakfast

Let us know how the day goes
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