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More on My Mother's Passing


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Well! It's been 48 hours since I watched my mother die. For the past two days I have been cleaning the entire house. I'm getting evrything packed up. I'm leaving this place. I've been renting this house for the past twelve years, Now, I can't stand to look at it. Monday, I'm going to bring in someone who does estate sales. When I'm finished, evrything I own will fit in the back of a small U-Haul. I'm going to rent an appartment. A small studio I think.

Thursday, Mom was very restless. She did not want to stay in bed, so I got her to her recliner. She refused to drink any liquids all day Thursday. I did get her to eat some Jello, a cup of chocolate ice cream and half a vanilla milk shake. She even took one of her Tylenol 3 pills in some applesauce, but no liquids. All day Thursday, when I would ask her a question she would just stare at me with a blank look on her face. I had to ask and point. If I was wrong, she would just stare. If I got it right, she would nood her head. Thursday evening she wanted to go back to bed. When I picked her up, she was totaly limp and I nearly dropped her. When I got her into bed and raised the head she was already breathing very fast and very shallow. Usually,when she gets like this I can give her Albuteral in a nebulizer, but not tonight. She could not unclentch her teeth. They gave me two medicines to give to her when she got short of breath, Lorazpan and Morphinedrops. I could not get her mouth open enough to get the Lorazpan under her tongue, soI gave her 1/4 ml of Morphine in a eye droper. Then I sat there holding her hand and watched her. After a while her breathing slowed down, but then she started gasping for breath. She looked like a fish out of water the way she was breathing. Shortly after, she got what I thought was a look of anger on her face. The nurse said it was probably pain. The she quit breathing and her pupils dialated and she was gone.

During the past two days, I've gone from shock to anger. I'm angry at the Rad Onc and his magic radiation machine. Between that and that damned steriod, he turned my mother's mind into Jello. He wanted to use WBR instead of a much more focused radiation. They never even got a chance to treat Mom's lung. Then there's that damned steriod. I'm mad at the case worker who pushed me to call hospice. I'm mad at the hospice people, who urged me to accept the inevitable. I should never have called them, and I should never have called the hospice nurse the night mother died. If I had called 911 when she had this attack they might have been able to stop it, or at least made her last few minutes more comfortable.

The person the I'm most furious with is myself. I should have questioned the doctors more. I should have insisted on a less distructive treatment plan. I should have taken them all to task for insisting on this type of treatment. I shoulda, I shoulda, I shoulda. In the end, I failed. The result of my failure is the fact that my mother is dead! I will have to spend the rest of my life knowing that my actions, or my inaction contributed to my mothers death.

I so wanted the last words I spoke to my mother to be "I love you", but they were not. Now she is gone.

Don

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Don -

It hurts just reading that!

Honey, your mom KNOWS you love her! You cared for her through all of this, and you should have no regrets. You could have made entirely different decisions and they all could have still lead to this same path, some maybe sooner, some maybe later.

Take a little peace in knowing that "anger" is a known phase of grieving that many people must pass thru before coming to peace with all that has happened....

Hugs and prayers,

SandyS

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Wow! Don, I don't know what to say. The obvious first reaction is of course to say that this anger does not sound like healthy anger, and that you did nothing to contribute to, cause or expedite your mother's death. I wrote those words knowing full well that they won't help at all and might even make you more angry, but nevertheless, I have to write them because they speak the truth.

Don, people do not live or die without God's presence. That doesn't mean that people don't make mistakes that contribute to the death of another person - I didn't say that. I know that happens. What it does mean is that God was there, and was always there, and he knows that you went above and beyond what He would have wanted you to do for your mom. God knows that you were a loving, caring son and did everything you knew to do for your mom. There is simply no way that you are in any way responsible for your mother's death.

I won't even begin to talk about the health care providers your mother had or the treatment she received. I wasn't there and don't feel that I have all the facts, but I do feel that they can't ALL be bad. My gut feeling on this is that you are dealing with anger because you have lost your very precious mother that you loved so much. You sound a lot like my son. He is very protective of me, and I'm afraid that if (or when) something happens to me that he might react as you are. My prayer for my very own son is the same that I will pray for you. I pray that God will remove your anger, your feelings of guilt, speak to your heart, hold you and comfort you during this time of grief. I doubt very much that your mom would want you to be angry. She would expect that you would miss her very much, but as hard as it is, I think she would want you to be happy that she is no longer in pain and suffering.

Please stay in touch, Don,

Peggy

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Don I can relate to the things you are saying. I have been there many times in the past 20 months. I know the anger and I know the guilt. I have been through every couda. wouda , shuda that you can imagine. In the end it only leaves me feeling more lost and alone.

I won't tell you not to be angry or not to question your own actions. I know only too well how those things can get a grip on you and not let go. All I can say is that in time the anger and the guilt settle down a little. Use any means that you can to grieve. No one can do it for you and no one can take your pain away. Just know that there are people here who care about you and understand.

Like you I have a lot of anger because of Johnny's treatment or I should say lack of treatment. I want the ones I blame to know what they caused but in my heart I know that they never will. How could they? They didn't know the person who suffered by their actions. They could only know what they did if they knew him. please feel free to PM me if you need to talk. I'm not sure that I can offer you anything but a place to vent and understanding but I will be here if you need that.

Bless you and I hope that you can find some kind of peace. I know only too well how elusive that can be. Lillian

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Don,

It breaks my heart to read your agony. I identify with the sense of futility and helplessness you feel. Anger may well be appropriate right now, but please don't be angry at yourself. Hit a wall, take eggs and throw them at something, go out by yourself and scream til you can't scream anymore. But be good to Don.

This horrible disease is like a monster gobbling up people we love while we try desperately to fight it off. You fight with everything you've got for comfort, pain-free moments, words of love between you, time, time, please God just a little more time. But the monster grabs her and takes off anyway.

Don -- One plea from my heart. Please don't leave this group yet. You have an education now from going through this and others coming after us need what you can offer. Please try to stay connected so that others can build on your knowledge.

God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hands as you grieve your beloved mother.

Pam

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Don,

I felt such real pain and frustration reading our post. My heart hurt for you. Please Don, I know you are angry now at losing your mother, but, in time, when you are calmer, make sure you realize and KNOW that there is NOTHING you could have done. You did so much for your mom, you are a wonderful son .As horrible and tragic as it is, there was nothing that could be done and your mom KNOWS how much you love her and she is watching over you

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Don,

Please don't be so hard on yourself. You loved your mother and made the best decisions you could at the time. Hindsight is alwasy 20/20. I was my mother's primary caregiver, too, and after she passed I was questioning every decision I made. Thank God my husband kept telling me to stop, that I made the best decisions I could at the time. You will get over the anger and realize this in a little while. Your Mom's passing is still too new. Cancer is a HORRIBLE disease and that is what took you mother's life, not you! I don't think a lot of the doctor's monitor their patients well enough and check for complications. The nurses at the Nursing facility where my mother was told me they didn't know which was worse the cancer or the treatment. I think the elderly with health problems need to be treated differently than younger, more healthy people. I think they just treat everyone with the same protocol. If I had to do my mother's treatments over they would be completely different. I also blame the doctors for a lot of my Mom's problems and would never refer anyone I know to them. Just wanted you to know you are not alone in your thinking.

Lyn

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Don,

All I can say is, please do not be mad at yourself. You can't always know in advance what the completely perfect this would have been to do at every turn. You did an AWESOME job taking care of your mom. I agree with what Peggy said, God was always there. And He is taking good care of your mother now, taking over for you.

I think it's a great idea to leave the house and get an apartment. You certainly need a fresh start.

Please stay with us and let us help you heal your wounded heart.

God Bless,

Karen

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After my dad died, I asked myself those same questions.

My grief, it seems, started with anger too. First at myself, then at the medical staff.

Truth be told, everything could have been red-letter-perfect, from treatment to care, and we would STILL be questioning ourselves and we would STILL think of "woulda, shoulda...why didn't I's." Why? Because we loved them so much...and we wanted to save them.

Your mother KNEW you loved her. It showed in your dedication to her and the fact that you were there for her. Be kind to yourself now. You didn't do anything wrong. It was her time to go. As awful as that feels and as much as we hate it and as BAD as it hurts....I still grieve for my dad....my heart hurts so much when I am thinking of him and I miss him so...but It was their time to go.

Take a bit of comfort in knowing that your mom is not in pain any longer, and that she, unlike you and I, she is in a perfect place, without suffering, pain or sadness.

Sending a prayer in hopes that you find some peace and to let you know that you are not alone. We are here, and we understand.

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I'm very new to the forums here, but have read through some of the older threads. When I read some of your threads regarding your caregiving, I was inspired and said a small prayer that I will be able to give my mother the kind of care that you described giving yours.

She KNEW you loved her, you showed her that in every gentle thing you did for her. She knew you loved her when you gave her chocolate ice cream and worried whether or not it was enough.

She was blessed to have you and you to have her.

My thoughts are with you and I do look to your story for inspiration.

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Don,

Grief Counselors say we shouldn't make any major decisions for at least 6 months to a year after a significant loss. (and I can't think of too many other losses that are more signifcant than the loss of your Mother.)

You know, I lost my Mom to Lung Cancer 13 years ago. And I am now the Mother who has Lung Cancer.

I've read your posts, and I have to tell you that I am astounded that you would feel as if you had failed your Mother some how. You have been a wonderful son, and a wonderful caregiver. The things you did do for her should be bringing you consolation, not additional grief. You did an outstanding job as caregiver, and you did it by yourself. I truly believe that your Mom knew what a wonderful human being she had raised.

Please be as kind and as patient with yourself as you were with her, and as you are with others.

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I am with Fay-I too lost my mom 10 yrs ago in July to nsclc, now I am the mom with sclc.

I took care of my mom at home the last 4-5 days and I too thought we could go to the hospital and she could be on IV's and O2 but what would it have given her?? A few more days of laying there not moving, not talking, I and my family decided to keep her at home. I gave her the morphine injections to keep her comfortable. She passed fairly easily. I still recall she went into pulmonary edema which just means the lungs fill with a bloody fluid and it comes out the mouth kind of frothy. I had seen this many times in the hospital but my dad who was also right there panicked. I reassured him it was normal. She did not act like she suffered. Thank God.

You did all you could do for her. Believe that!!!

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Don,

I think you were an excellent caregiver. For a son to do the things you had to do for your mother (personal things, private things) had to be hard on you. But you didn't stop, you did what had to be done because you loved her so much. We never know about the medical decisions we make ahead of time. We have to read as much as we can and trust our doctors. You did all of that. When my mother died I felt the same way. She didn't have lung cancer but she did have stomach cancer. She had a major gastointestinal bleed and lost almost 1/2 of her blood from her body. The doctors only waited 5 days before they put her through major surgery. She was afraid to go home and wait til she was stronger. Afraid that she would start to bleed again. She died because she was so weak. I knew I should have been more forceful with her about her decision but mother was not senile and she made her own decision. I still was angry. Still am for that matter. But I know mother trusted her doctors and made her decision based on their advise. We all went along with it.

I guess my point to all of this is that we are angry no matter how our loved ones die. Its all part of the grief. One day you will begin to think about the good times more than the last few months and you will find some peace in that. You did a marvelous job with your mother and you are to be commended for it. I wish you rest and comfort in the days to come. Take care of yourself and don't sell everything too hastily. You might want some memory joggers a few years from now.

Nina

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Don,

You did not kill your mother - lung cancer killed your mother! You did everything in your power to love her, support her and try to save her. When we were faced with opposite opinions from "the experts," they finally told us that we just had to make a decision and not look back. You made the best decisions you could at the time with the info you had - and who is to say that if you had chosen a different course, the outcome would have been any different.

Please don't turn your hurt and anger inward. Use its power to effect a change in all those issues that failed your mother. This is what she would want for you and the best way to honor her memory and deep love for her son. Take care....

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Don,

There is no doubt in my mind that you Mother knew exactly how much she was loved wether you got the chance to say it or not. No, you did nothing wrong and everything right. You were there for her when she needed you and I assume you were there for her when she needed you all through her life as she was for you. That is a mutual bond of love.It doesnt need to be spoken. I comend you on the way you took care of your Mother. You were a wonderful son. She is in God's paradise now free from pain and hurt. You will have that time to tell her how much you love her when God calls you home. In fact you will have eternity. Please know that this is a part of grieving and try to understand that this will pass. Life is hard and we do the best we can and I would say you did the very best you could. We are here for you Don so bring your thoughts and troubles here where people who have been through it can help you. You are in my prayers.

God Bless You,

Jane

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Don,

Find a release for the anger, it is a natural reaction, you just don't want it to fester in your soul.... Work through this stage and get on with the next, but don't blame yourself. You were everything your mother needed when she needed someone. Give yourself a break, you paid homage to your mother in your loving actions to her to the very end. She brought you into the world and you eased her out of it. Don't begrudge yourself that, you were there to the very end - and are still here. Take it easy on yourself, you did an excellent job, you answered the call and filled her need. There is no instruction book, you have to follow your heart...now start listening to your heart again and maybe you'll begin to feel her presence in a different way.

Take care, and be nice to yourself. You did well.

xxoo,

Becky

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Don:

From reading your posts, you did everything you could for your Mom. When I found out my dad was dying, I kept playing this scene in my mind that he would be holding my hand and I would be telling him that I loved him when he died. It didn't happen like that. He wasn't able to die at home, instead at the hospital. He didn't speak to us or acknowledge us for a day and a half, but I knew Dad was with us in spirit.

There are things we cannot change, but I truly believe that we can't go back and keep replaying what we could have done. We all do what we can -- we are there for our relatives. I told my dad I loved him every time I saw him and held his hand when he knew I was there. I was with him on good days and bad days and researched until some nights I couldn't see or stay awake anymore, but there was nothing I could do, but love him and support him.

Your mom knew you loved her and I'm sure was thankful she had you to take care of her. I have two young sons and I hope if I'm ever ill someday, that they will take as good care of me as you did your Mom. May God give you comfort during this difficult time as he did me when I lost my father.

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I was lurking when you posted this. ( I was working at the time) My thoughts were enormous, but the words seemed so small, so here goes nothin'.

I wonder if you're confusing yourself w/someone else? I've read your posts. Your words aren't those of someone that failed. There the words of someone that loved their mother tenderly, and provided the best possible care. I only hope I can be a similar caregiver.

I won't claim to understand how you feel, but I hope you won't make any major decisions immediately, and regret them later. I also hope you won't be consumed by your anger.

Kate

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Don,

I think the other's are right, your anger is coming from grief. You talk of blaming yourself, I blame myself too,... for not pushing my husband to the doctor when I noticed him perspiring at night, (not that I didn't beg him to go,) or when I noticed the wheezing. I could go on and on and then start on blaming the doctor and the pulmonary specialist who didn't even detect "anything wrong" with his lungs, even though I told them there was something wrong! I have, however realized that there is no point in blaming anyone. It only causes more grief. Oh, I have times when I want to scream and shout, and sometimes do, but I usually direct those sentiments towards the "Disease" and not to myself or others.

You have been reasured, by all our friends here, that you were a good and loving care giver to your Mom and I am sure she knew that too. Prayers for peace and comfort on their way to you. Paddy

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Don,

My mom passed away July 17th. I have a whole list full of shoulda's. I knew she had this disease, I knew time was of the essence. I look back and think what was wrong with me? We all do. My dad, my sister. Sometimes I am so mad at myself because I feel like I didnt fight with everything I had. I should have spent more time with her asking her about her needs and how she was feeling. Then it was too late because her leg broke and they had to give her so much morphine that it took her personality. I dont know. I just wish I could go back and do it all again. I would never have let her leg break. I would have demanded to know where all this cancer was. I could go on and on. I wont. I am just saying we all feel it. The sad part is there is no perfect way to deal with this monster. You were wonderful to give so much of yourself. Remember that.

Gayle

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