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Old 04-19-2009, 10:21 PM   #1
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my mother is dying and I don't know how to feel...:-(

My mother lives 3000 miles from me. I moved from my homes state in 1989 with my 2 young children and have lived here ever since. She came once to see me and I went back 4 -5 times since 89, the last time 2 years ago. She has always been in poor health and now after 50 years of smoking, emphezema is taking her quickly. We are leaving to go to her and I am already falling apart. She has always been so strong and still insists everything is fine. She is well aware that is it not. She has been in a nursing home for the past few months and back and forth to the ER pretty often with breathing problems.

This last time a few days ago, the ER Doc diagnosed her with Double Pneumonia, loaded her up with antibiotics and sent her back to the nursing home saying that there was nothing more that they could do for her and that my sister (who was there at the time) should begin deciding on whether they should put her on life support or let her go the next time because basically, they are just continuing to save her life when she has a 100% terminal illness and will not be around much longer.
Oh did I mention that the Doc actually asked this in front of my mother who was very alert and heard everything he said but he never even glanced at her or acknowledged that she was in the room?

I have always known that my mother would not last much longer but when it's this close I'm not sure what to do. I feel like I am ready to have a meltdown however, I cannot do that because I have to be strong for my own family. My husband and my 4 teen & adult children. I'm crying my heart out one second and fine the next...like none of this is really happening...

As I said, we leave tomorrow...my husband, myself & my 5 year old daughter. It's a 2-3 day drive and I'm barely holding on... If I am this messed up right now, how am I could to be when it happens. I'm afraid I won't be able to recover but I have to for everyone else. How the hell am I going to manage this?

I knew it would happen eventually and thought I would be okay but I have never lost a family member and am in the possession of the knowledge that I am going to be losing my mother in a matter of days? or possibly weeks?

Sombody...please help...my emotions are all over the place right now and I HAVE to hold it together!

 
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:59 AM   #2
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Re: my mother is dying and I don't know how to feel...:-(

I know, I know, this is very hard, but one day, sooner or later, you'd have to go through it anyway. You don't have to be and act like a rock if you feel like melting down. On the other hand, melting down doesn't really help much. Try to be realistic. Be there for your mother, talk to her, remember the good times (don't mention the bad ones) you had with her. Don't mention death, unless she brings it up. In that case, ask her what she wants to be done. You can feel broken inside, but you will certainly find the necessary strength to do what is necessary, what is being asked. Allow your emotions to come, but remain active nevertheless.

You say you never lost a family member, and then I thought about your father. Where is he now?

Have a good journey.

 
Old 04-20-2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Re: my mother is dying and I don't know how to feel...:-(

Pixie,
It's really tough, I know. I lost my mom 12 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. I had a meltdown in the car, on the way there. It was just me and my husband. All my kids are grown. Since then, I lost my Dad, 8 years ago, and them my husband 2 1/2 years ago. Be glad you can see her before she leaves. As the other poster said, keep things positive and tell her you love her. Things will never be the same but you will learn to cope and even be happy again. Your mom will always be in your thoughts but you'll cry a little less as time goes by. Enjoy and embrace those around you that are living. Life goes on until it's our turn. I wish you peace and contentment. God bless

 
Old 04-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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Re: my mother is dying and I don't know how to feel...:-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by rudiraven View Post
... Life goes on until it's our turn. ...
This is the truth. It's really useless to revolt against death. Try to look at it as if death is simply giving back what you have borrowed during your lifetime, what actually doesn't belong to you: life. Be glad that your mother is being given the chance of dying - hopefully - around beloved ones. This is very important.

 
Old 05-11-2009, 10:34 AM   #5
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Update

First I want to thank all of you for responding to my post. It's amazing that people who do not even know me can help me feel better and put things into perspective.

We just returned from our visit. We could only stay for a week as we are foster parents and only have a short time period for respite care. I saw my mother and as horrible as she felt, she was just as beautiful as always to me. She is still hanging on but was taken to the ER a few days ago for an unstable & erratic heartbeat. She is going downhill fast and we actually did not think she was going to make it through yesterday.

Fortunately, she was able to tell my aunt and my father what her wishes are when she passes away which lifts the burden from us. Asking her questions like that would have been impossible for me due to that invisible comfort zone.

She and my father have been divorced for over 20 years and he has been remarried for 20 years to a wonderfully understanding woman. My parents have always loved one another and they have always been there for each other despite the divorce. Thankfully we all now know what to do when the day comes and our father will be right there helping us.

Due to the lack of oxygen, she forgets alot of things and as bad as it sounds we are grateful for that. She knows what is happening to her for the most part and knows that it could be any minute or any day and I think she accepts that. Other times, she looks like a frightened little girl.

On our last night there, I began to cry in front of her which I did not want to do and she grabbed my face between her hands and told me that she loved me and not to cry. I told her that I was only crying because I had to leave but she knew where the tears were coming from. We both knew that this was the last time I would ever see her again alive. I also told her that she is the BEST mother in the world and how much I love her. We talked only about fond memories and nothing negative and she even smiled a few times. It was so wonderful to be with her.

She recently told my sister (who lives close to her and has done everything imaginable for her) that her heart was just tired and it is. It's working overtime at this point. She now has diabetes which is out of control even with insulin, congestive heart failure, COPD, emphysema, multiple organ failure, pneumonia, pleurisy, and is going blind. She can no longer walk or stand and is on oxygen.

I hate seeing her like this and knowing that she is suffering and the minute that one symptom stops, another bigger one hits her. It was a very long drive home with alot of tears. I am still randomly bursting into tears out of the blue but I am no longer trying to be strong for everyone. I feel okay getting it out. Both of my sisters and I call each other every day and cry together but I know that when the time comes, we have each other to lean on.

I know that life is a cycle and that we all have to go through it. It's not easy and it's only just begun. I can't even imagine not being able to pick up the phone and just call her. I can still do that but she cannot talk for long periods and after a couple of minutes I can hear her becoming tired and then she has to hang up. At least I still have that for now.

Anyway, thank you all for the things you said...all of it has helped.

 
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