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AIBU for not wanting to visit terminally ill nan today?

(90 Posts)
hannahma Sun 18-Aug-19 16:46:08

Hi Mumsnetters. In a very difficult situation. My nan has fallen ill with late stage liver cancer. Just last week she was driving her own car and now she is in hospice and cannot walk on her own. It's completely heartbreaking to see her like this. We are close. I live about an hour's drive away and we would visit every other week to do lunch. I would look forward to that so much.

Yesterday I visited along with the rest of my family. I have been going once a week now as I work M-F and have the weekends free. We didn't talk much as I just couldn't manage it without bursting into tears and she seems a bit too tired to talk much anyway. We just sort of sat around and had our own conversations and I looked up and shared a few smiles with her. I have a little daughter and nan watched her play on the floor the entire time and smiled. I had to visit the restroom a time or two to let a few tears out. When we left I just touched her arm and told her "Nice place isn't it Nan, they're taking good care of you" "Happy we got to visit today" and gave her a hug. She kissed DD and touched her for a minute. It was all I could do to keep from crying and as soon as we shut the door I just burst into tears on the way to my car. What I really wanted to say was "I love you Nan and you mean everything to me" but I couldn't say it without crying and I didn't want to upset her or cause a scene.

Now I am home and that end of life guilt has set in, I feel like a terrible granddaughter and I'm so confused and exhausted over what to do now. Is it OK now if I visit her once a weekend now do you think and leave the other day of the weekend for myself? Does Nan know I love her, that's really all I care about now. Selfishly I don't know if I want to visit her today as it's just too draining (feels terrible to admit) and I just want to get my mind off it and bake, go for a walk with DD and DH, etc. I am hoping next week we can visit and her condition won't have deteriorated severely. Perhaps that is my grief setting in. All of these emotions are jumbled up in my head and I feel foggy and guilty and horrid.

Sorry, not a very uplifting thing to talk about is it but I'm just wondering if I've been doing everything alright. AIBU on anything? Perhaps you've been in this unfortunate situation before?

At this rate I just don't know what next week will bring but I have other family flying in late next week so I hope I can say some final goodbyes next weekend if it goes that way.

Loopytiles Sun 18-Aug-19 16:48:30

Sorry about your nan.

It sounds like she may not have long to live. If you do want to see her, it would be better to go again (alone) sooner rather than later IMO.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Sun 18-Aug-19 16:50:46

Go. You will feels sorry if you don’t. Take some old photos or something like that to have something to chat about and focus on. Maybe take something you have baked.

It’s tough - I know - but talk about the things she did for you as a child and the things she taught you. Chat about when you were little and ask about your mum/dad when they were a child.

Cry like a loon on the way home - it’s perfectly normal and you are still processing the situation.

Finfintytint Sun 18-Aug-19 16:52:55

Sorry you are going through this. It’s very difficult and draining for all concerned. When my mum was dying over a period of several weeks I still needed time to give myself a break from the stress. I saw her 6 days out of 7 and felt very guilty about “taking a day off” but I really needed it in order to continue supporting her.

Wilma55 Sun 18-Aug-19 16:56:24

I don't think you should worry if you do breakdown in front of her. She knows she is dying and you may be able to comfort her. Say all the things you want to say to her before it's too late. It's hard. When my mum was dying the nurse said if there's anything you want to say to her/tell her, do it now x

BarberaofSeville Sun 18-Aug-19 16:57:00

Sadly we've had a lot of experience of this scenario recently. I'd say what matters is what's best for your Nan. If you think she'd like to see you, then go. Put her feelings above yours if you think she needs you. If you think it will upset her to see you crying, dig your fingernails into yourself, that might help distract you if the feeling comes over you.

Also it seems like things are moving very rapidly. Please do say so the things you want to say, it will be a huge comfort in the future. Don't have any regrets.

Take care.

jaggynettle Sun 18-Aug-19 16:57:14

Sorry about your Nan, it sounds so very upsetting that she has become so unwell so quickly. You will probably still be processing the seriousness of her illness. From experience I'd say that time is precious at this point and you may want to use it as best you can. Why not spend the time sharing happy memories with her? She may be too tired to talk but I'm sure she would appreciate hearing how much she means to you. It could take away the awkwardness about not knowing what to say.

Sending you lots of love and strength thanks

CrotchetyQuaver Sun 18-Aug-19 16:57:24

If she's in the hospice that usually means she's got days rather than weeks left. I wouldn't hang about, I'd arrange to go back ASAP, hopefully you can get some compassionate leave thanks

Knittedfairies Sun 18-Aug-19 16:57:26

Go. You may find it hard to forgive yourself in the future if you don't go. Whoever it was that said grief is the price we pay for love was on the money. It's a horrible situation to be in💐

Prawnofthepatriarchy Sun 18-Aug-19 16:58:22

If she's got late stage liver cancer she won't have much time left. Go as much as you can and bloody tell her how you feel. It's not about you. It's about her. You will regret not making good use of the time you have left with her.

And be warned that it may not be an easy end. Dying of liver failure isn't. DH was very lucky - died of a side effect - but I was bracing myself for far worse. I feel it's better to know what you might have to face. Talk to the staff privately.

AmateurSwami Sun 18-Aug-19 17:00:05

Your nana will know you love her, because you’ve consistently shown it. flowers

YouJustDoYou Sun 18-Aug-19 17:00:40

I did this for several years. No one else would visit my nan, so she only had me to see her but as much as it shattered my heart every single time (especially because she had forgotten my dad had died and kept asking where her son was, and why wasn't he coming to see her, and why had he left her alone?), I tried to make every weekend. No regrets.

Also, Please do say so the things you want to say, it will be a huge comfort in the future. Don't have any regrets << THIS ADVICE all the way. I regret not saying everything that needed to be said, but then I was only a teenager so didn't fully grasp really all the things that I should've done. Don't hesitate to say what you need to say x

CharlieCoCo Sun 18-Aug-19 17:00:54

I lost both my grandparents to cancer last year. I didn’t live near. Every time I visited my grandad I cried when I said goodbye and felt it would be the last time I ever saw him. He lasted much longer than expected. I didn’t see him when he was bedridden (he chose to die at home) but I called on the phone and spoke to him (even when he couldn’t speak back, just to hear my voice, to say I loved him etc. It was very hard) I chose not to see him (like i said he wasn’t local to me) on his death bed because I didn’t want that memory of him and he wasn’t aware of his surroundings by that stage either.
With my nana she didn’t last as long. It was a shock when I first saw her because she declined so quickly and she was sleeping when I came round. I burst into tears and my parents said to calm myself down before she woke up or it will distress her. I didn’t see her as much because she died a lot quicker but again I choice not to see her on her death bed because she wasn’t aware of her surroundings and I didn’t want that image to be my last one. I called her a lot, even when she was past being able
To have a conversation.
There is no right or wrong. Do what is best for you, you have to live with that decision for the rest of your life, no one else will.

stucknoue Sun 18-Aug-19 17:01:47

So sorry. Go with your gut feeling - I last saw my nanna sitting up in bed at home, she wished me a lovely holiday, I knew I would never see her again, she lasted until i landed and the hospital said it was ok to visit at 3am but I knew not to, my last memory was of her talking not on a drip etc. I would suggest going and having a final memory, then if she goes into a coma this week do not feel guilty about not going

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 18-Aug-19 17:04:16

If you won’t have any regrets if you don’t see her again then don’t go and just remember her the way that you want to. When my grandfather died, I didn’t go and see him when he was unconscious as I wanted to remember him the last time I saw him, no regrets at all

Crochetymum Sun 18-Aug-19 17:04:30

Go and see her and tell her how much you love her, doesn't matter if you cry or write it out and read it to her, when my nan was in hospital I nipped in one day to see her, then said see you later because I was going again, then said to my mum oh I might not go because I've already been today,(we were not expecting her to die so soon) but didn't want to let her down so I did go back, and I'm glad I did because that was her last night. Me and my nan were really close, she'd seen it all been there, never judged me but we were not hug/kiss type but I so regret not just giving her a kiss and a love that last time. You can't go back so just see her if you can, you don't want any regrets xx
So sorry she is poorly, nans are the best

PulpHorn Sun 18-Aug-19 17:05:48

Go and say all the things you want to

It's going to be so hard but you won't regret it. I just lost my dad suddenly and I would give so much to tell him how much he meant to me

Lots of love

formerbabe Sun 18-Aug-19 17:07:05

I think you should go. I know it's draining and exhausting but time is not on your side right now flowers

LadyMacbethWasMisunderstood Sun 18-Aug-19 17:11:25

The quick decline that you have described and her place in the hospice suggests she has very little time left indeed. I would visit today. It will be hard, sadly, there is no easy route through the terminal illness and last days of those we love. But you won’t get these chances back and however hard it is it will be even harder later on if you didn’t take advantage of all your opportunities to visit. Maybe go without your daughter if you can. Do the baking and the walking with DH and DD when she has passed away as a helpful distraction once she no longer needs you. I hope the next few days pass peacefully for you.

BrokenWing Sun 18-Aug-19 17:11:55

As you are very close I'd try to get some one to one time as soon as you possibly can so you aren't having conversations amongst yourself, even if it means taking a day of annual leave to go when no one else is there. Take some tissues, hold her hand and have a good chat, say what you need to say. Nothing wrong with tears.

TillyTheTiger Sun 18-Aug-19 17:12:00

If there's anything you've left unsaid then go back as soon as possible and say it. When my Nan was gravely ill we had the most wonderful conversation about all my favourite childhood memories with her, and I told her how grateful I was for everything she'd done for me and for everything she'd taught me - especially her resilience as she's the person I've thought of when life has got tough and I've needed to dig deep. I am so glad I had that chat and could tell her exactly what she meant to me, even though it was very emotional at the time.
I'm so sorry you're going through this, look after yourself flowers

Alsohuman Sun 18-Aug-19 17:17:35

Please go and see her and tell her you love her. Hard though it is, it will be harder if you don’t and it’s too late. I really feel for you, it’s an awful time. 💐

sonjadog Sun 18-Aug-19 17:18:57

Go and see her. I have known a number of people in similar circumstances and you may well be talking about days rather than weeks left.

YobaOljazUwaque Sun 18-Aug-19 17:21:38

Its really tough being with the dying.

Go as much as you feel able to but forgive yourself if that isn't as much as would be practically possible.

My last visit to my dying grandma, she wasn't able to communicate (had had a stroke) and was mostly dozing but was awake/aware and held my hand some of the time. It's a very precious memory to me.

You don't need to talk, just being there will be precious to her. Would she enjoy you reading aloud to her?

When in a few decades time you come to the point that you know you are dying, and you know your DC and DGC are overcome with grief at their imminent bereavement, what would you want them to do? I think I would want to say "I'm not dead yet so let's not start the funeral early. Let's just try to enjoy one another's company a bit?" - but maybe I would hold off saying that out loud out of compassion for these dear ones who, although adults, I remember as babies I held in my arms. So I guess I would understand if I did get left alone in some of my dying hours if those I love didn't feel up to waiting with me. But I would treasure and appreciate every moment they did feel able to stay with me.

CocoLoco87 Sun 18-Aug-19 17:21:49

Definitely go. You won't regret going, but you might regret not going. Been in that situation with a grandparent too and it sucks. To be fair I was only 20/25 mins from the hosp but I went every evening when DH got home to have the kids. He only lived a week once he went in to hospital so I'm glad i took every chance

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