My mother passed away

jtr1962

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As some of you may know, I've been care taking for my mother for about the last decade. Things got more involved when she stopped walking about 6 years ago. I had to bathe her, put her on the toilet, move her from her bed to her recliner, and so forth. I semi-retired in 2018, both to take care of her better, plus my consulting gig at the time ended.

The last ~6 years of being completely sedentary of course took its toll on her body. This May she went to the hospital with septic shock. In truth, I didn't think she would leave the hospital alive but she did. She spent the next 8 months in hospice care at home, and basically made a miraculous recovery. January 10, 2024 was her last day in hospice care. She was being taken off due to the doctors feeling she had more than 6 months to live. Unfortunately, it was not to be. She passed away around 10:20 PM on January 10th.

On January 9th she was a little off but the symptoms were similar to what she went though about four months prior. Back then, she also had discharged some blood overnight. I attributed it to possible dental issues. The nurses who came weekly didn't mention any other possible reasons. I figured she might a little out sorts for a day or two, then recover, as she did the last time. The nurse who checked her on the day she died didn't find anything concerning.

I made her comfortable, put her on oxygen since her breathing was labored, and then let her relax. She had no interest in solid foods, but at least drank Ensure and apple juice. I lied down next to her for a while. I noticed her breathing was quieter. Then I thought it's too quiet. She had stopped breathing. I called 911. Unfortunately they couldn't bring her back. They also said they felt blood in her stomach while giving her CPR. Most likely she had GI bleeding which we might have caught four months ago when similar symptoms appeared had anyone thought to check for it.

We had the funeral on the 17th and burial on the 18th.

She missed what would have been her 85th birthday by only 10 days.

As her caretaker, I had a special bond. I won't be myself for a long time, if ever. Last few weeks I mostly stayed in bed. I don't know if I'll be here regularly any more, even though I wrote a few posts today. I just wanted to post this in case anyone might have wondered why I disappeared for the last month. What makes this even more tragic was she appeared to be on an upward swing. I had no illusions of her living another decade or more given her frail condition, but I was hoping for a few more years at least.
 
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raggie33

*the raggedier*
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Aug 11, 2003
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i never know what to say in these situations but your in my thoughts she was loved buy you she watches over you now as you watched over her. rip
 
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bykfixer

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John 3:16
You should be comended @jtr1962. Bravo!
Well done.

Now go live your life knowing you were there when it really mattered. Life will go on, even though you may feel a bit of lack of purpose for a little while. And DO NOT beat yourself up if you have felt guilty for feeling relief. She's no longer suffering and you hung in there 'til the end.
 

PhotonWrangler

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Oct 19, 2003
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In a handbasket
As some of you may know, I've been care taking for my mother for about the last decade. Things got more involved when she stopped walking about 6 years ago. I had to bathe her, put her on the toilet, move her from her bed to her recliner, and so forth. I semi-retired in 2018, both to take care of her better, plus my consulting gig at the time ended.

The last ~6 years of being completely sedentary of course took its toll on her body. This May she went to the hospital with septic shock. In truth, I didn't think she would leave the hospital alive but she did. She spent the next 8 months in hospice care at home, and basically made a miraculous recovery. January 10, 2024 was her last day in hospice care. She was being taken off due to the doctors feeling she had more than 6 months to live. Unfortunately, it was not to be. She passed away around 10:20 PM on January 10th.

On January 9th she was a little off but the symptoms were similar to what she went though about four months prior. Back then, she also had discharged some blood overnight. I attributed it to possible dental issues. The nurses who came weekly didn't mention any other possible reasons. I figured she might a little out sorts for a day or two, then recover, as she did the last time. The nurse who checked her on the day she died didn't find anything concerning.

I made her comfortable, put her on oxygen since her breathing was labored, and then let her relax. She had no interest in solid foods, but at least drank Ensure and apple juice. I lied down next to her for a while. I noticed her breathing was quieter. Then I thought it's too quiet. She had stopped breathing. I called 911. Unfortunately they couldn't bring her back. They also said they felt blood in her stomach while giving her CPR. Most likely she had GI bleeding which we might have caught four months ago when similar symptoms appeared had anyone thought to check for it.

We had the funeral on the 17th and burial on the 18th.

She missed what would have been her 85th birthday by only 10 days.

As her caretaker, I had a special bond. I won't be myself for a long time, if ever. Last few weeks I mostly stayed in bed. I don't know if I'll be here regularly any more, even though I wrote a few posts today. I just wanted to post this in case anyone might have wondered why I disappeared for the last month. What makes this even more tragic was she appeared to be on an upward swing. I had no illusions of her living another decade or more given her frail condition, but I was hoping for a few more years at least.
JTR, I am so sorry for your loss and I can understand why you need some space to process this and grieve. You did an admirable job of taking care of her under difficult circumstances. I hope you can find some comfort in knowing this.

I will shine my brightest light towards the heavens for her. :au:
 

Guitar Guy

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West Virginia
@jtr1962 I am so sorry to hear that you lost your Mom. God Bless you for taking care of her so that she could stay at home. That is a long time, and a big sacrifice that you made. Most adults either could not or would not do it. It is a commendable thing that you have done, and I'm sure that you made a HUGE difference in her final years. As @bykfixer said above, try to move on with your life, and do not feel guilty if you feel a sense of relief. Maybe try to start spending time with friends, and getting out as soon as you can, so that you don't end up suffering from depression. It is what she would want you to do. May your Mom rest in peace, and may the Lord be with her, and with you as well.
 

Monocrom

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Aug 27, 2006
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NYC
I'm very sorry for your loss. Not entirely surprised regarding this news as I did notice you took some time off from CPF. Being a Realist, I was afraid that perhaps she had passed. My condolences to you and your siblings. I apologize for not having some words of comfort. I've always been awkward in these types of situations. But please know that at least her suffering is at an end. Try to find some comfort in that fact.
 
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My mother was diagnosed with dementia and was under long term care for eight years before she died. My sister was her primary caregiver. I saw how caring for our mother affected her, and reading your account brought back the painful understanding of how much family caregivers sacrifice. During her life my mom and sister were thick as thieves, and my sister would never consent to anyone else caring for her mother. You have my respect, because I know what you sacrificed was done out of love, but a sacrifice nevertheless. Although my understanding of what you endured in caring for your mother is secondhand, my respect for what you gave her is genuine.
 

Fuzzywuzzies

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Aug 18, 2019
Messages
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Condolences and respects to you and your family, @jtr1962.
It sounds like you are living at least as well as she did. I hope you find strength and encouragement in that, at least.
 

Poppy

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Dec 20, 2012
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Northern New Jersey
@jtr1962 I am sorry to hear that you appear to be more sad than relieved. I have faith in you, and I am sure that your sadness will abate. The mind has the wonderful ability to forget. My mom died of cancer of the head of the pancreas. She went from asymptomatic to dead in ten days. My family was fortunate that she didn't suffer long, but she gave us a little time to adjust. Not enough though. After she passed I was ANGRY for about a year. Sometimes I'd blow up in anger, at something, and later realize that I was abnormally angry.

My wife was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme. It's an aggressive brain cancer. Typical life expectancy is 12 months. She lived 18 months. I was her caregiver. During that time I fell into depression. I was her caregiver, and like you, got essentially no help. When she passed, I was relieved, but still depressed.

Last year we lost my dad at 94. He was functional, and realistic. He was more prepared to leave this world than we were to see him go. That made things easier for us.

So my friend, although taking care of your mom became your meaning for life, it is time for your life to take on a new meaning. Spring is just around the corner. It'll be nearly 60 degrees today.

Go for a walk, sit in a park, smell the flowers, watch the squirrels scurry around and allow yourself to smile.

You deserve to be Happy!
 
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