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Beloved mother died suddenly a week ago

(30 Posts)
cantfindthewords Sun 17-Jul-11 06:19:34

I'm not a frequent internet chatter but my mother died very suddenly a week ago while on holiday with me and I am not doing very well. We were in a foreign country when it happened and have spent much of the last week trying to repatriate her. Finally arriving home this morning to the house she held together like glue is heartbreaking and my poor father (who is not in 100% health, despite being only 61) is obviously distraught. I had hoped we were resilient and were showing great strength of character in surviving the endless bureaucracy in order to bring mum home, but I now realise we were just numb and in shock. We are a small family anyway and this will mean that dad will now live on his own.

Has anyone ever been in this position where they are mourning for one parent and desperately concerned for the health and well being of the other?

There are also medical issues in relation to mum's death which make me question whether we made all the right decisions for her. Would it be better to have her here, albeit in a condition that she likely wouldn't have wanted to be in, or let her die as we did?

Many of my friends have not yet suffered the loss of a parent (I am 33) and I am absolutely lost and heartbroken beyond words. At this stage I can't see how to move forwards.

2shoes Sun 17-Jul-11 07:41:21

so very sorry for your loss xx

Bonsoir Sun 17-Jul-11 07:45:31

I'm very sorry to read about your mother. How old was she? Did she fall ill or have an accident?

frantic51 Sun 17-Jul-11 07:48:51

can'tfindthewords so very, very sorry for you and your father. I lost my own mother in December though, in my case, it was expected (long illness) and didn't leave another ill and grieving, elderly parent. I know how I felt, and still feel today. I marvel at your bravery in organising to bring her home. You seem such a close knit, loving family that I am sure you made the right decisions, medically, for her at the time. My heart goes out to you and, as your name says, just can't find the words, truly.

Very unMN ((((hugs))))

cantfindthewords Sun 17-Jul-11 08:23:39

She was 64, had a massive stroke while I was at work. I had seen her that morning as I was off to work (she had come to visit me in foreign place where I had just moved the week before she visited and we had spent the previous 5 days together exploring-i see her only once a year). She was healthy, reading and we had a chat before organising to meet for dinner that evening. I was informed she had been taken to hospital partially conscious at about 12pm. She recognised me when she saw me and, although she appeared scared (she couldn't speak), was a bit spacey and then deteriorated. Following surgery for a complete blockage to main artery to brain, she suffered a bleed and we were advised by head of neurology not to operate again, which I agreed with. My father was en route by that stage and I had to make that decision alone. She died the next day very soon after my father arrived from overseas to say good bye.

I know others experience this, but i feel like I don't know how to cope or process the decisions I made.

Condolences to those who have had similar experiences.

newpup Sun 17-Jul-11 09:26:57

Hello. I am sorry for your loss. My Dad died last week so I am in that strange limbo place too. I am not in the right place yet to offer helpful words but wanted to say I am sorry sad.

Northernlurker Sun 17-Jul-11 09:37:17

Your poor thing. sad I think it will take you a while to come to terms with the decisions you took. Not because you made 'wrong' choices. I think you did exactly the right thing and if you were my daughter that's what I would want you to choose. I work in a hospital, I've seen just how far life can be pushed and living at all costs is not an enviable state. So I think you made the best choice BUT it was still a massive choice to make alone and you are grieving. You are also worried about your father. So be kind to yourself. Just take one day at a time.
Earlier this year we lost my bil. I woke up for a few weeks after with this big lump just sitting in my chest. I thought it would never go but it has. Grief is a process. You will always love and miss your mum but you will also be able to carry on with your life. That's just how it is.
So sorry for your loss.

cantfindthewords Sun 17-Jul-11 09:41:12

you too, newpup. i actually read your post last week and understood about wrinkles from so much crying.

apparently it doesn't hurt like this forever. we must remember that.

passmethebucket Sun 17-Jul-11 10:09:18

First of all, I'm so sorry you lost your wonderful mother.

But, FWIW, I think you did absolutely the right thing. My grandfather had a massive stroke, and survived somehow, and spent a year afterwards, in a nursing home, not particularly happy and with, frankly, no quality of life. He couldn't understand how to use buttons for turning on his own TV or radio anymore, and he was in a wheelchair, and he couldn't read because the stroke had damaged his eyesight, so apart from when we visited (which was every day - at least one of us) I know he just used to put himself to bed, because he couldn't do much else. When he finally died, the grief we all felt was, I think, made worse by how utterly horrible his last year had been.

So - please don't beat yourself up about the decision you made - someone had to make it, and I truly, honestly, think it was the right one.


Sexonlegs Sun 17-Jul-11 17:50:35

I am so sorry to hear about your Mum sad How truly shocking.

Be kind to yourself. x

piratecat Sun 17-Jul-11 17:54:21

I am so sorry you lost your mum, and i am sure you have done your very best. x

cantfindthewords Mon 18-Jul-11 07:41:29

Is it necessary to attend my mother's cremation? I feel like I said my goodbyes to her at the hospital and am not sure I feel strong enough to attend.

Will I regret not going?

Northernlurker Mon 18-Jul-11 08:01:45

Sorry but yes I think you will regret it if you don't go. If for no other reason than you can support your family by being there. I think it's something that just has to be done.

So sorry cantfindthewords - I lost my mum 11 months ago now, its a terrible time!!

I would attend the cremation if you can find the strength,you may regret it later on in life if you dont.

It sounds like you did the best thing possible for your mum when she had her stroke so please dont feel you should have done anything different. Take heart in the fact that you had those 5 wonderful days with her before hand, something you will always be grateful for xx

cantfindthewords Wed 20-Jul-11 09:40:44

Northernlurker and BettySwollensocksandaCrustyRack, thank you for your thoughts on the cremation. I tend to agree and went along which I am pleased to have done, as thoroughly miserable as it was. For whatever reason, I think it does provide a degree of finality which is probably important.

It really is the most lonely time in life, to be dealing with grief of this magnitude while everyone around you are doing normal things like going to their book club, having dinners with their mothers and it feels like being stuck in a limbo that will never feel normal again.

Cantfind - I read a very helpful book called Motherless Daughters (from amazon) - maybe a while down the line think about reading it??? It made me see how normal I am and not going bonkers! xx

mrsmellow Wed 20-Jul-11 13:14:56

cantfind - my Mum died 2 yrs ago quite suddenly - I also needed to make medical decisions (not completely alone, my Dad was there but incapable and as I'm a medic the family turned to me) - they still haunt me despite knowing logically that medically they were right. I promise you, you will feel better - you'll still have days and things that hit you like a punch in the chest when you feel lost, but you will feel better. And you won't realise how 'not yourself' you are for at least a year when you start to feel normal and realise how much on autodrive you were working. It is bizarre - my two best friends had babies (on the same day despite quite different delivery dates) the day my Mum became unwell and it was so strange to see their lives and other peoples lives change when you feel like it should all be standing still. You're not alone - your Mum will always be with you - and surprisingly many others out there. None of my friends have lost parents - a lot still have grand parents (incl my DH who does not get it!) - I'm 32. You will feel better, just give yourself time.
My Dad lives alone, a man who has now learned how to cook and clean. He's just put their house on the market to downsize and he's getting on with his life - but he was a shell for so long. I'm so proud of him. We now have phone conversations (previously it was hello, I'll get your mother when he answered). His friends were amazing and we got him a dog which was a lifesaver, making him leave the house etc.
I think you were right to go to the cremation - its important for your Dad and others too.
I doubt anything we say will make you feel better, but know that we're all here and you're not alone.

whitecloud Thu 21-Jul-11 13:36:49

Cantfind - am so sorry to hear about you losing your Mum. 3 years ago we lost our Dad very suddenly to a brain haemorrhage - my brother and Mum had to decide on medical advice not to go ahead with an operation which he probably wouldn't have survived. The decision may be right, but it is not easy to make or live with, always. What you are feeling is natural - we also were mourning our Dad and then very worried about our Mum's welfare. It makes you feel so alone when the rest of the world just carries on. You have to try and be kind to yourself and get through each day, accepting that the anxiety and grief are normal and it slowly gets better. It is also normal to feel a bit better and then feel worse again. You will find this thread a great comfort, knowing that others have felt similar things, especially if everyone around you does not share your grief in the same way. Thinking of you.

cantfindthewords Fri 22-Jul-11 10:26:52

Tonight is a terrible evening. It was two weeks ago tonight when I was advised to let mum slowly slip away on her own and was waiting for dad to arrive to see her. Without question, the worst night of my life, arguably even worse than the following evening after she had died.

I accepted an invitation to go to dinner with a couple of friends this evening, however after a car ride with dad being irate and angry about everyone (he "just wants to be left alone" is "sick of people wanting to help"), I became teary, realised I wasn't ready for social outings yet and we promptly turned around to come home again. I just couldn't face sitting at a dinner party.

Is this normal?

mrsmellow and whitecloud, thanks for your stories. After doing some research, it seems that the best decision was probably made, medically. I've discovered that those who survive the magnitude of stroke that she had almost always end up fully dependent on others for the rest of their lives.

I'm still struggling though with the fact that I'd seen her alive that morning and wasn't with her when it happened. If I had been, we could have potentially gotten her to hospital earlier. Rationally, I understand that the circumstances were what they were and I can't turn back time, but I dream every evening about being able to save her or some variation thereof. When does the guilt ease?

Bloodybridget Tue 26-Jul-11 12:54:21

can'tfindthewords, I'm so sorry about your mother's death. My brother and I had to make the decision after our mother had a huge stroke, we knew (because we had talked about it and she had written an Advance Directive) that she would not want to survive it with no speech or movement, so we agreed with the doctor that she should be on an end of life care plan, no antibiotics, no feeding, just hydration, tranquillizers and pain relief. It was a good death for her and just what she would have wanted, but she was 85, much older than your mother, and it is awful for you to have lost yours this early.

Any feelings you have are "normal" for now; guilt, anxiety, anger, social phobia. Hope you have some good rl help and support to see you through. It will be very hard for your father and you may feel he is taking out his grief and shock on you. Sending you warm good wishes.

TimeForCake Wed 27-Jul-11 14:45:53

So sorry for your loss. I lost my mum very suddenly 3 years ago and wasn't able to be with her until too late. I am your age and share very similar feelings.
Yes it is perfectly normal not to feel up to socialising at the moment. It was a while before I could even answer the phone, let alone socialise. I didn't open many of the cards which you will no doubt receive, until later either. I kept them all safe, just unopened as it was too painful to
read them. I found I needed things to do to pass the time initially. I have never experienced time going so slowly as it did in the first few days. I cleaned the kitchen and would re- arrange all the flowers that kept arriving. In fact I remember taking all the vases into the garden
each day to refresh water & compost old flowers. The last thing I wanted was to see fading ones. Sounds silly now, but it helped to keep busy sometimes.
I would try and go to the cremation if you can. Of course it will be very very sad but I found that the wake really helped. I heard lots of lovely stories about my mum from people who loved her. We shared lots of good times and we smiled. An exhausting day and one you
will want over and done but maybe it will help you.
You should try not to feel guilty. Feeling you want to turn back time is a normal reaction. I have re lived my frantic drive to get to my mum so many times and it really doesn't help. I wish I could have held her hand & been there but I wasn't and you do somehow learn to accept your circumstances. It becomes less raw with time & happy memories do start to shine through, I promise. It is hard, but I just felt that I
either put one foot in front of the other & carried on (like she would've wanted) or collapsed in a heap and shut myself away. Don't get me wrong, I did a lot of collapsing in little heaps but I knew that I had to drag myself back up too.
Sending you strength at such a difficult time.

crystalglasses Wed 27-Jul-11 14:54:02

I also lost my mother very suddenly. What I found very eery is that for months I kept thinking I'd seen her - in a car, at the end of a supermarket aisle - everywhere.

TimeForCake Wed 27-Jul-11 14:59:23

Ps I second Bettyswollocks' recommendation about the book 'motherless daughters'. I actually have motherless mothers, as have had a baby since losing my wonderful mum , but am finding the book very helpful. None of my friends has lost a parent and it's one if the hardest things to deal with. Especially as people often try to say things along the lines of 'at least he/she had a good innings'. I always want to shout, Well no, my mum didn't!
The author is Hope Edelman and an amazon search will find it.

Thinking of you.

startail Wed 27-Jul-11 15:32:33

So sorry, there is nothing I can say to comfort you accept to say you did exactly the right thing. My dear MIL had a brain haemorrhage on holiday (on a Scottish island, so not quite as bad as you being abroad, but still a long way from Cornwall.)
Fortunately she died pretty much instantly, for at 77 she still walked miles, rode horses, sang in the choir and kept her house without help or a washing machine.
She never sat still, she would have hated to be dependent and stuck in bed.
Yes it gets easier, but if you love someone you will never forget them. She died 11 years ago next week, DH cried last week,when he found a post card she had written to DD1 and I'm crying now.
Hold on to the happy memories you did the right thing letting her have a peaceful end. Hugs to you and your Father.

lloyd1 Wed 27-Jul-11 22:33:36

So sorry for your loss. I lost my mum 4 months ago whilst she was on holiday too. She had a fall which caused a bleed on the brain. Fortunaterly, she was only on holiday in the UK. Arranging the funeral etc was bad enouth in this situation. Plus it had made it really hard for me to go to the inquest. I can't reallly justify expense and sorting out childcare etc.

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