Please help me TODAY - Mum/DS's nanny is probably going to die this weekend.

(146 Posts)
StoicButStressed Fri 01-Feb-13 11:53:17

I can't believe I'm actually writing this. Or that need very urgent advice/guidance/experience that might help my three beautiful boys, all of whom love their nanny very much. My mum is about to die.

I had to take my Mama into hospital on August 13th last year as she was in >pain and had >nausea. We got there at about 10am. 2 hours later I was (unfortunately) WITH the radiologist as the grim digital image popped up showing a vast tumour in one lung and white snowspots (I.E. Mets/spread) throughout the other. I knew immediately that she had Lung Cancer, that was almost certainly stage 4, that she was going to die. That was confirmed not long after. She also developed bone cancer and cancer in her head (not brain, but head). She was still very 'alive' initially but went downhill quickly, losing most of her voice due to pressure on vocal cords, and obviously more 'out of it' as Morphine doses rose.

She deteriorated to point where 3 weeks ago had to be moved to a nursing home as Palliative Care at home just could not manage the painsad.

I & DS's could not see her for that first week in home as we had contagious icky bug, then the snow meant we literally could not get there for most of second week. When I first saw her there, was just agonising in how much had worsened. Frail, tiny, barely able to speak, drifting in and out of sleep. Last few days worsened yet more, with (literally) only a couple of minutes at most of lucidity before drifts to sleep/unconsciousness. But I genuinely thought we were still looking at few weeks minimum, or maybe even a couple of months. But today was told is now very opposite.

She is now really struggling to swallow tablets at all (which vital as her pain is so very horrific), so nurses told me this morning that she does now need a syringe driver put in, and that after that it would probably be 'quite quick'.

I asked them to please PLEASE just be very direct & honest with me, which they were and I do not doubt them as these are people with 40 years palliative type care experience each (so please please do not post telling me to hope for more etc, as if it is more that's amazing, but I can't really hope for that and HAVE to focus on realities RIGHT NOW). The 2 huge and SO sudden things are that once the syringe driver is in with the increased level of morphine she needs and the sedative that will also be in it, that they have been very clear she will not speak again - as it is even now, is literally just the odd period of lucidity and talking very quietly in tiny voice, or nod, but after this will be nothing and I don't doubt them. The second is that they believe she will go into a coma and pass this weekend, mid-next week at very latest in their opinion/experience. I honestly thought it would be at least a few more weeks yet so whilst me & DS's do know she is dying, this is very very sudden. And is worse given THEY too couldn't see her for the first 2 weeks of past 3 since in the nursing home.

I have asked them to hold off on the syringe driver until tonight so DS's (11, 18, 21) can see her and her speak to them as that will be the last time they do ever hear their nanny/can talk to her (though do know we can all carry on talking TO her as hearing is apparently very last to go). And - thank god - she has now managed to swallow her ton of meds this morning so they will last until 8pm. But literally - and I can't even believe I'm writing this - tonight is the last time my Mum will ever speak to me.

All I can think of is the boys and what/how to tell them - & also how the f*ck I am going to urgently get DS1 home (no, can already be certain he won't have the money for a train as is student and always runs out of cash and haven't even yet rung him as am absorbing news and trying sort all out very quickly) but he is in college in bloody Brighton and we are on outskirts Surrey/London border - but I have be here to get the other 2 from school soon and obv cannot then leave them, though cannot begin to think about how they will react (ESP 11yr old). And that's what I'm terrified of/need help with please?

So if you have ANY advice or experience etc for me about that, about how I can help them, how to phrase it - ANYTHING AT ALL that will help in this horrific and beyond time-critical situation, please please PLEASE help me as soon as soon as you can possibly can xxxxx

I really can't believe that my Mum is never going to speak to me again after tonight, or that they think my mum is going to die this weekend. Think am in total shock, but if you have ANYTHING that can help me help my boys, please please help me. xxxxxxxxthanks

cheesecheeseplease Fri 01-Feb-13 11:55:46

I have no advice I'm sorry bit sod not want to read and run one very big hug from me xxxxthanks

I am so sorry.........my mum too had lung cancer and we lost her in August 2010.

My DS was 8 when my mum died and he knew that she was very poorly and he knew she was going to die, not that I ever told him that.

The last time he saw her he just said goodbye to her as usual (she was very poorly and bedbound by this point) and he didn't treat her any differently than he did when she was well which I actually thought was quite nice.

When I told him she had died he had a cry and then picked himself up and carried on as normal....kids are more resilliant then we give them credit for. Just talk about your mum and let them talk about her and let them know it is ok to be upset. Dont dress it up, just be honest and frank about it.

I hope your mum gets the peace she needs, sending you hugs x

suburbophobe Fri 01-Feb-13 12:08:19

I'm sorry I have no advice on how to tell your DCs (but have read good advice on other threads in Bereavement).

But I am here to hold your hand because I am going through the exact same thing sad (I was amazed to see your title).

My DM had a stroke on Tuesday night and is dying. She is having palliative care and is no longer "there".

It's been a long hard road. She's a month away from her 92nd birthday and has had Alzheimers for about the last 7 years.....I understand that they call it "The long goodbye".
My dad died of cancer in 2010.

I also have DS at university and he is coming back today. He was very close to her.

There are more comforting reads in this section, one on the after-life.
I know my mum is going to a better place.

Wishing you much strength.

FayeKorgasm Fri 01-Feb-13 12:11:44

I'm so sorry for you and your family. I'm no expert, but in my limited experience children cope with death with surprising strength. Saying goodbye sounds like a very good idea as I'm sure your DM will be as comfortable as possible and they will be reassured by this.

In the days and weeks that follow, encourage them to talk about how they feel and explain what you feel too. Talk about your DM and how you remember her over the years. I would imagine there might be some anxiety in their minds about your own mortality. I would be reassuring, explaining how you DM is older than you, you are fit and healthy etc.

Take care

PeriPathetic Fri 01-Feb-13 12:38:29

I'm so, so sorry for you and your boys. My best wishes for this evening and the coming days.

Tell the boys with straightforward, honest words. Hug each other lots, and then some more.

Now, practicalities. Contact your eldest. Or contact someone at the college as they may be able to help in this emergency. If he has indeed run out of money, can he borrow some from a friend / college for the journey?
If not, this may help - you can book online for collection at a station BUT you will have to call them first www.mytrainticket.co.uk/self-service-ticket-machines-at-stations.php as he obviously won't have the debit/credit card.

I hope he gets back for you and your mum.

melrose Fri 01-Feb-13 13:39:30

I am so sorry for your sadness.

Do you have a friend or realtive who could drive to get DS from uni? Or a friend of his at uni who could drive him home (and you could give money for petrol)?

StoicButStressed Fri 01-Feb-13 13:40:40

Thank you allthanks thanks thanks, and hugs to all who have lost someone before and even bigger hugs to surburbophobesad xxx

Have just told DS1 and miraculously he does have cash (gallows humour but made me smile as was so bloody unlikely that he had spent it all!), so he is leaving college now and going back to his partner and then ringing me with his next steps/plan.

I know about the resilience stuff etc, it's much more though about this very very VERY sudden news - IE this morning they, like me, thought yep, nanny very poorly and we're seeing her this evening but she's not going now. And now suddenly it's that very black and white fact of "boys, after tonight nanny cannot/will never speak to you again" (IF I do tell them that??? ESP 11 yr old? But can't tell 18yr old without telling 11 yr old, and can't NOT tell 18yr old - and think I SHOULD tell 11yr old so he knows and has a proper chance to say goodbye and hear her back - OMG I am now crying and crying and crying.)

And it's the "she is going to die this weekend/mid next week VERY latest" bit, as SO out of blue. Suspect will phrase (esp with bubba) it as "Nanny's nearing the end now, and it really won't be very long". But AGAIN, any more advice much appreciated. Did just ring their Dad (my Ex-H) to tell him (given IS their Dad and clearly they ARE going to be affected even though it's only really youngest who sees him properly now) and he was a complete and utter c*nt (sorry for using the worst word, but only way describe it).

I just can't believe this is happening.

LottieJenkins Fri 01-Feb-13 13:48:41

Sending you love and hugs Stoic Winstons Wish are very good at helping children understand bereavement. They helped me with my ds when his Dad and Grandad died. sad
I hope your eldest ds gets home to you soon. I will remember you all in my prayers............

Lostonthemoors Fri 01-Feb-13 13:50:32

Dearest Stoic, your three boys will be very sad about what is happening to their nanny, but they are lucky enough to have had a most wonderful nanny, the lovely mother you sound to be and they have each other. So glad you have them too.

Please try to forget about your of an ex. What a horrible man sad don't give him head space at the moment.

These were the things that helped me when I was your DS 2's age and my granny was in ICU:

Knowing that she would understand if I told her I loved her and that I was very important to her so I couldn't say/do anything 'wrong' at that moment

Knowing that dying would let her be free of pain

Knowing that she had been made so happy by her son and by having all of us

Someone lives while they are in your heart. She is with me forever and I think of her almost every day.

Love, xxx and strength to you for these days

Lostonthemoors Fri 01-Feb-13 13:55:19

Ps I would be totally honest with them that she is likely to be gone this weekend - that will help then come to terms with it and let them say goodbye properly. I would also explain honestly that it's very unlikely she will speak again after tonight. Then they are prepared for that.

xxx

I dont have personal experience but it strikes me that it would probably be best to prepare the younger ones for the possibility of it being the last time they see her, without being definitive. If they KNOW this is the last time they speak to her it may make them clam up under the pressure of getting it 'right'. I think you'd probably get the best response from them by telling them that nanny has got worse and you just dont know how long she has.

I'll think of you all. I hope it goes as well as possible.

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 01-Feb-13 13:57:54

OP, it's a horrible horrible shock to see your own mother looking so frail and vulnerable and close to death. I know, I saw my mother in a similar state two years ago.

I would say, don't worry about telling them she will never speak to them again, just that, as you said, she won't be with you much longer than a few more days, so this is their chance to say goodbye to her.

Don't get too worked up about your sons, you need to take care of yourself. You're the one losing your mother. It's such a deep deep loss, of course you're in shock.

You'll get through this. Just tell her you love her and it's OK for her to let go now.

sending you love and support

melrose Fri 01-Feb-13 14:01:35

I would agree wth Lula, I think you should say she has got worse and that she will slip away in the next few days, tell them that she will probably not be able to speak to them after tonight but can still hear them. I would also reassure them that they do not need to say anything special, as she will know they are there and that they love her. If not they may feel pressurised to "say the right thing" and clam up.

Lots of love nad prayers to you xxx

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 01-Feb-13 14:10:12

Ok, I was once exactly where you are now - although my DS was only 2 but, and its a big but, I had only just turned 20 myself and my DB was just 13.

So, we were similar ages to your DCs. My mum had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and died just 6wks later. Although we knew for all of those 6wks that she was desperately ill the end came within literally 2 or 3 days, and it was after she'd had a syringe driver put in.

You and your DCs need time with your mum, alone if they're comfortable with that or with maybe just you or a nurse. Encourage them to tell her all the things they would like to say, even if she doesn't respond they will draw comfort from it in days/years to come. It is also vital that you get some time alone with her too, I understand your concern for your children but you need to think of yourself too.

My mums last 24hrs were spent drifting in and out of consciousness, mostly asleep and unable to speak but her eyes would open sometimes when we spoke. I am certain she knew we were there and we actually did a 48hr vigil at the hospital up until she died. Her breathing was very laboured and noisy due to the morphine, you will need to prepare your DCs for this as it was quite distressing.

Her actual passing was peaceful, each breath she took became gradually further and further apart until there were no more. I have to admit I went to pieces, I was exhausted and looking back just so young sad. Will your DCs be there at the end? I'm glad I was but it took me a long time to deal with the memories if I'm honest and my 13yo brother wasn't there thankfully.

I have a lump in my throat typing all that, it happened almost 15yrs ago now but not a day goes past where I don't think of my mum. My heart breaks for you all, knowing what you're going through.

Please, please feel free to pm me today, tomorrow, any time in the coming weeks if you need to talk. I will be thinking of you all.

Becp Fri 01-Feb-13 14:12:19

My mil died at the end of last year, it was expected but nevertheless, heartbreaking to see her get so frail & in so much pain. I took our children to see her shortly before she passed away but I didn't tell them it would be the last time. I thought, as others have said, that would just be too much for them. After I told them as simply as I could that she wouldn't get better. Be prepared for lots of questions that might be difficult to answer, and don't be worried about them seeing you are upset. Take care & I'm thinking of you all x

Ohthisis my heart goes out to you. It was bad enough sitting with my mum during her final hours at 39, cannot imagine how you felt at 20.

My mums last days were the same, she was basically asleep and she just wound down really.....and second the comment about her breathing. Mums breathing was very loud and raspy as well due to fluid on her lungs although the nurse who was there did give her an injection to stop this. I am glad DS was not there though as I think that would have been distressing for him.

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 01-Feb-13 14:27:57

It was awful but losing your mum is painful whatever age it happens to you. My great aunt died just before Christmas at the grand age of 97 and her 64yo daughter was very upset, I'd have been grateful to have had my mum for half that long but it doesn't make her grief any less than mine was.

OP you will get through this and you'll look back and not know how you did it, but you will. Take comfort from being able to say goodbye to your darling mum and knowing that she will be at peace.

There is nothing more you can do except be there for her, and she will draw comfort from having you there.

We told my mum it was time for her to go, to stop fighting and rest. I like to think she felt secure knowing we were all prepared for the end.

It was awful but losing your mum is painful whatever age it happens to you. My great aunt died just before Christmas at the grand age of 97 and her 64yo daughter was very upset, I'd have been grateful to have had my mum for half that long but it doesn't make her grief any less than mine was

That is so true but it took me a long while to realise this. I felt cheated because my mum died before I was 40. I remember one of the ladies who used to come to my aerobic class cuddled me and told me she knew how I felt as she had just lost her mum. I remember thinking but you are 66 and I am 39 so it's worse for me. Of course, it wasn't and I know that now. I used to get annoyed if anyone got upset because say their nan had died. I would think, it was your nan, worse for me because it was my mum!!

Took me about a year maybe longer to stop being so irrational!

Grief does strange things, sort of turned me into a person I am not so keen on.

Yeah, I told my mum to go to sleep.....and she did.

Hugs to us all xx

DowntonTrout Fri 01-Feb-13 14:50:59

I'm so sorry you are going through this today.

I wanted to urge you to be very honest with your DSs. They are old enough to deal with this, even the youngest. You have time to say everything you want to your dear Mum, and importantly, they do too.

We didn't have a goodbye with my dad. We left the hospice at 6pm with him sitting up in his chair, thinking we may have days or weeks left and he died at 10pm with none of us there.

Our goodbyes were said after he died and I was amazed at DD, 9 at the time. She came in to see him, after I had. This sounds grim, I'm sorry, but he was still warm and soft and she lay down with him and stroked his hair.

I wish so much, and was really angry at the time, that we had had no warning and he died whilst we weren't there. Maybe the not realising made it easier, on him and us, I don't know. Your sons may well be upset and it's normal. It's normal to feel all sorts of things, don't beat yourself up over ANY emotion you feel. And don't hide from them how you feel either. In the future you will all feel better if you have told them the truth, harsh as it seems.

You will need a lot of strength over the coming weeks and I hope that knowing people are thinking of you helps a little bit.

DowntonTrout Fri 01-Feb-13 15:14:14

That should say I wish so much that we had had some warning and that he hadn't died whilst we weren't there.

sad

StoicButStressed Fri 01-Feb-13 20:43:59

sad sad sad

my heart goes out to you . three months ago i was in the same position with my own mum sad its so hard and i wish you strength . my ds is five so diff situation but me brother an sis are all earky to mid twenties. be as honest as you can with your boys and give them the time they need. watchin mum take her last breath will always be the most difficult thing i will ever do but im so grateful we spent the time there wittering away about nothing much and holding her hands even if she did or didnt know.send u lots of strength and am only a pm away if u need a chat.

JoyceDivision Fri 01-Feb-13 21:01:25

StoicButStressed I'm so so so sorry about your mum.

Dh's mum / my MIL passed away suddenly 23 Dec this Christmas just gone. She had a chest infection, DH took her to hospital, packed her weekend bag, dropped it off, said he'd bob up and see her in the morning... an hour after getting home the hospital rang and said he needed to return urgently.

That was a Friday night, she slipped away peacefully on the Sunday morning. It was awful having to tell the dc, ours are 4 and 6. The younger dc just knows Grandma is far away in heaven on a cloud. The elder dc was very upset. I explained Grandma had gone into hospital, she was very poorly and her heart was very poorly. She was starting to be in pain and very tired, so while she ws asleep in hospital, some angels came downn to see her and said they had been watching her, and knew she was in pain and very tired, and did she think it was time to go? Grandma said yes, she would like to go to with the angels to heaven as she was hurting and very tired, and she would be sad to leave everyone behind, but she wanted to be comfortable on a big fluffy cloud and see grandad. We spent a while picking the cloud dcs thought she would be on and giving her a wave.

Your poor dcs will be upset and maybe stuck for what to say, I can't offer much advice, just reassure them its ok to be upset, if they can't think of what to say just hold your mums hand and tell her they love her?

Like other posters have mentioned, We told my own grandma and MIL that if she wanted to go, it was ok to go, and said everybodys name, taht everybody was ok and they would be ok after MIL had gone, so when they were ready, they could go (sounds a bit odd, I'm not expressing it very well, but its along the lines of if someone seems to be 'hanging on' for fear of leaving loved ones behind its to tell them its ok to go?)

I'm so soprry for you, just say what you want your mum to know, it will be of great comfort when your mum passes that you've told her anything you wanted and had chance to say, rather than 'I wish I'd told her...'

My mum died suddenly of a massive brain haemorrhage almost 5 years ago, because of the speed of it she was brain dead almost immediately but I was there when her breathing stopped. I never got a chance to say how much I loved her, or what a fantastic mum she had been and I really wished that I had a few moments to tell her that.

These next few days are going to be with you for a long time and the best use of them is to be there with her telling her how much she means to you and your family.

I just wanted to say Stoic that you also need to make sure that you look after yourself. It was hard to lose my beloved grandmother but it was nothing like as difficult as losing my mum. Take care.

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