Mom passed, but I couldn't bear to be there at the end.

Discussion in 'Life After Caregiving' started by moonfx, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. moonfx

    moonfx New Member

    I lost my mother to cancer about a month ago. They believed she had pneumonia, which turned out to be the cancer spreading into her lungs. She became ventilator-dependant, and asked me to end her life support if she did not improve. We waited a while, worked with her doctor and a family member who is a doctor to do all we could before making that decision. I was able to visit her and be with her in person as they removed the life support. I'm orphaned at 27.

    I know it shouldn't feel this way, but I have so much guilt over not staying in the room with her until she passed. I was with her a long time while she was on the ventilator and for a while after it was removed, and that was when it got very hard. I held my composure for a long time, but the way she was was so painful for me to endure. I didn't want to be a sobbing, panicking mess in there when I intended to be supportive and guiding, so I stepped out for a break. I immediately broke down and rushed out of the hospital to my family (in COVID time, they only allowed one of us up at a time. everyone waited outside of the hospital). Her brother replaced me and stayed with her until she passed. I kept going back and forth on my choice to leave the room until I no longer had the opportunity to go back up. Even though I've cared for her for so long, I feel like I "failed" at this.

    For her safety I had to ask that people stop visiting and limit her person-to-person contact in mid-March. Our home health aide and myself became the primary caretakers.
    I have a full-time job and did not live at home with her; she didn't decline in health much until recently, so the plan was to finish out my current lease and then move back in.

    My parents and I cared for my grandmother through a painful and protracted course of dementia for nearly 10 years when I was younger. I saw the toll it took on them, and knew how much it had hurt me to be in that proximity. I thought I had found a good medium for myself in taking care of mom. Be there with her in person on the weekends to do full 24/7 caretaking, facetime, phone calls, and texting all the time otherwise. And yet I still feel so robbed of time with her, and angry at myself for not having the stamina to do everything or the money to quit my job and be with her more.

    I don't know what I'm hoping to gain by sharing all this. I know I did the best I could, and I desperately try to believe her friends and siblings when they say that I was good to her.
  2. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom. I feel your pain, and agony in your writing. And I know how that feels, it’s devastating and overwhelming. Your story makes me cry. I’ve lost both my parents, when my dad passed I was 36, and thought I couldn’t live a day without. More recently I lost my husband suddenly to a massive heart attack that took him in 2 hours. I went into shock, this was so unexpected. My daughter was 34 and my son 31. They’ve both had a difficult time losing their dad.
    You’re putting guilt on yourself, and I understand that, we all tend to do that to ourselves. But we shouldn’t. You were great support to your Mom. My Mom had heart surgery and I was one of the first to go in and see her after surgery. There were so many tubes and iv’s and monitors etc, all over her, I wasn’t able to stay with long, I stepped out of her room to compose myself, but like you I lost it. I leaned against the wall and sobbed and slowly slid down to the floor. All kinds of nurses and medical people ran to me. So I understand how it feels to see someone you love so much in so much pain. It’s so hard to watch. Because of covid you couldn’t have multiple people in her room together, so it all fell on you. With multiple people everyone would support each other and your Mom. But sadly that couldn’t happen. It’s so understandable to feel like it’s too much. You did the right thing for you at the time, and your Mom wasn’t alone, she had her brother by her side. Watching our loved ones pass is so very difficult. I know I won’t say anything to help you with the guilt you’re feeling, but you were and are a loving carding daughter to her. And she knew that. She felt your love. You honored her request and stayed by her side. Your loss is so recent, and we tend to over think and rethink and question and what if. We put ourselves through torture, and shouldn’t.
    Your Mom is still with you, she’s a part of you. She’s in your heart to stay, that’s not going anywhere. And eventually all the wonderful memories will bring a smile to your face. Be good to yourself and try to get past the guilt. Your Mom loved you and wants you to be ok.
    You did the right thing by writing your story, it’s cathartic. Keep visiting this site often, and continue reading and sharing stories. Everyone here knows the pain and understands how you feel.
    Sending you hugs!
  3. HankersKing6

    HankersKing6 Active Member

    My heart goes out to you as I read your story. Your family even said you were a good person who did all you could for your mother. Don't be so hard on yourself. She knew you were there. I lost my mom to cancer two months ago. My siblings and I worked a schedule so she would never be alone. I prayed that when she did pass I would be there and I was. Thank God. But I also feel at times I should have sat with her longer. Taken more time to sing with her. Payed more attention the day she died and stayed in her room. I don't know. When you have done all you can with gratefulness that's all you can do. Cherish the memories and smile because if your love. Blessings! Be encouraged!