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Elderly parents

Toxic Mother Death

30 replies

WorriedDaughter12 · 05/08/2023 18:52

My Mother and I have a terrible relationship, the usual toxic mother stuff. She’s just had cancer removed and they’ve now discovered she has much much more cancer to be dealt with. She also has stage 4 vascular dementia. So the issue is that she refuses to talk to me or my father about her illnesses. I have 4 sisters and my mother only talks to 2 about her issues. Those 2 just do not impart any info and it’s like drawing blood from a stone to get any information from them. But the current thing I have is that she has just been diagnosed with even more cancer, and this time perhaps not curable. She’s my mother and I love her, but she won’t let me in. She has hurt my emotionally my whole life. I am asking anyone how they felt when a toxic parent dies. I am worried about how I am going to feel. I strangely feel I will be devastated that she never showed me love before she dies. I feel I need that for closure. But even my most recent phone call (2 days ago) was cut short because she started to turn nasty in the call. I just don’t know what to do to protect my feelings whilst obviously caring for her when she won’t let me. I feel I am in an awful predicament. Any advice from anyone who experienced the death of a toxic parent would be welcome please. Thank you.

OP posts:
mauricemossmylove · 05/08/2023 21:11

I can tell you from my DC perspective that your feelings will be all over the place. My DC had an extremely toxic relationship with their dad, and even during their last phone call, when it was clear he was dying, he refused to discuss how ill he was. The only upside was that DC got a lot of things off their chest and in some way that was cathartic.
There is such a thing as anticipatory grief and complicated grief, both of which you could Google.
The way you expect you might feel at losing a toxic parent may not necessarily be borne out in reality and as with all grief, feelings change constantly in the first few days and weeks and you might find it helpful to talk to a counsellor.

WorriedDaughter12 · 06/08/2023 00:20

Thank you so much for that. I will google both those. It’s a complicated situation x

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DyslexicPoster · 06/08/2023 00:28

I think it's different for everyone. I had councilling a few years before and mum has recently died suddenly and unexpectedly. I didn't need closure, therapy told me I'd never get what I craved which was intense and hard at the time. My mum had many shit hands dalt to her and going over that for her eulogy was breathtakingly painful. But she made her choices freely. Other people are dealt shit hands ( like me) and rise up yo the challenge. Its all free choice. I feel weird now. I feel very aware that there's no one on this earth I will feel obligated to like her ever again. I miss her. I love her. But it's complicated. I should be crushed but whereas most mums are a daughters rock, she wasn't. She wasn't available in that role for me

WorriedDaughter12 · 06/08/2023 04:16

Interesting point that actually I will not get that closure and I need to just work on accepting that before it eats me up. My mother had a great life, wanted for nothing so I will not be looking at her with pity regarding how she treated me.

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SiouxsieSiouxStiletto · 07/08/2023 09:26

WorriedDaughter12 · 06/08/2023 04:16

Interesting point that actually I will not get that closure and I need to just work on accepting that before it eats me up. My mother had a great life, wanted for nothing so I will not be looking at her with pity regarding how she treated me.

My M sounds just like yours but I've made peace with her not being there for me a long time ago. I've had Counselling in the past which was fir something else but quickly turned into taking about the relationship with my M.

I really would think about getting some counselling now, you seem desperate for her to give you what you want but she does seem incapable.

Fraaahnces · 07/08/2023 09:37

I think you need to remind yourself that life is not a Disney movie. I grieved very heavily for the mother I never had, but reminded myself of the mother I am and the mother she could never be. She absolutely missed out. I would recommend grief counselling starting as soon as possible. Be realistic too. She has dementia. She CAN’T be who you need her to be.

WorriedDaughter12 · 07/08/2023 09:40

Yes I think I need to reconcile in myself I will not get what I have wanted all my life. This morning my Father texted to say she was in excruciating pain at 4am. I think the cancer is well advanced. I am currently on holiday. It’s all very perplexing.

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SiouxsieSiouxStiletto · 07/08/2023 09:45

Had your DM got any kind of pain relief? We were given Morphine to administer to DF near the end but DM didn't want to give it to him, God knows why.

Luckily she didn't want to sit with him either so I was giving it to him regularly.

pepino · 07/08/2023 10:00

So the issue is that she refuses to talk to me or my father about her illnesses.

She has vascular dementia. That will mean she will have trouble understanding what is going on, and so the reluctance to tell you may be that she's not actually sure/doesn't believe/hasn't understood the situation she is in. Vascular dementia is basically brain damage - so really you need to either make sure someone is attending appointments with her, does your father not do this?

Fraaahnces · 07/08/2023 12:57

Also, what does your father expect from you?

Cloudsandrainnotsunandsand · 07/08/2023 13:03

Haven seen my dm for 11 years. A short attempt at a relationship but 10 years of nc before that. She created a new persona in which she had no dc. I will show at the funeral if i can. Those people should know the truth. She wasn't nice. They were deceived badly.

WorriedDaughter12 · 07/08/2023 15:00

Thank you. This has been so valuable to hear others on this. You are absolutely right. I guess I need to get real and accept the situation will not suddenly have any big moments from my mother. I need to wake up to this xx

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WorriedDaughter12 · 09/08/2023 06:40

So she won’t talk to me or my father because she has held a long term bitterness and hatred towards us. She discusses her issues with my brother and 2 of my sister no problem. It’s a hate thing against me that she doesn’t speak to me, hence toxic mother! My brother and other sister are keeping track of her appointments and dealing with all of that. But they too are annoyed with me as they are doing this ‘work’ with her as live locally, and I live in a different country so am unable physically to do it. As a result they make it really hard for me (and 2 of my other sisters that live abroad) to get any info. They feel we are not helping. But how can we.

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WorriedDaughter12 · 09/08/2023 06:44

My father is in the dark as much as me. He is 86 with severe diabetes and mobility issues and home alone with her. Her nastiness towards him is awful. She is so cruel and disgusting to him. He tells me it’s killing him. She is an awful person. Her dementia is making her more angry and bitter than ever before, and her new cancer scare is adding to that. We all need some peace.

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stayathomer · 09/08/2023 06:52

I think you need to separate the illness from your ideas though, she’s dealing with the worst thing and her going to your sisters is just how she needs to deal with it, I don’t think you need to assume it’s another way of hurting you, in particular if she has any form of dementia it’s just what her mind decided to do. So it’s not you iykwim? I also think you should be ready to not find the closure you’re looking for, as someone said above, the odds are stacked against her being able to give it. Talk to someone irl about it. What do your sisters think?

PermanentTemporary · 09/08/2023 06:52

It sounds as if the relationships between all if you are strained and that's very hard. It does make things worse when some are at hand doing the caring and some are elsewhere but if relationships are good then people manage.

I'd think carefully. Could you visit now? Would you visit if you knew for sure she was dying? What would you hope to achieve by doing that?

If you think either that your mum would like to see you, you would like to see her, or you would like to see your father or siblings, definitely go. But I'd keep your expectations at floor level. Stay somewhere neutral if you can afford to and set a couple of goals - a chat with your dad and listen to how he is, that kind of thing.

EdithStourton · 09/08/2023 06:59

This sounds like a horrible situation all round, terribly stressful, and you and your siblings set against each other.

But you don't have to love her just because she is your mother. She drove you away by the sound of it. You need to grieve what you didn't get, but you don't need to feel guilty if you realise that you don't love her.

Ozziedream · 09/08/2023 07:02

From my experience there was no lovely reconciliation or closure. But there was a sense of relief. I had had a lot of counselling so I had already grieved for the mother I wished I had.

Kweeky · 09/08/2023 07:15

DF died, he'd been an alcoholic - like a heavy, grey cloud lifting from my shoulders. Took me by surprise as I was 'old' then myself.

Cloudflare · 09/08/2023 07:16

My dad was a very difficult man and in his last year he was pretty much intolerable.

In the last few days of his life, and for a while after his death I did grieve for him, my grief surprised me, but I was grieving for the relationship we never had and now would never have. It was a deep grief Some nights were very bad. But it really didn’t last that long and I got on with things.

Now, although I remember him as being a very difficult and damaged man, there are times when something happens that I knew my dad would have found humorous (he could be very funny at times - people are complex) and I have a moment when I miss him.

Your siblings are not being fair to you - but if you can, try not to hold too much against them. It’s an enormous thing caring for a dying person. they are also dealing with a difficult & punitive &confused mother and, and probably do feel very burdened and a bit resentful. We can feel, and act, resentful even when we know it is unfair to do so as we can hold two conflicting emotions at the same time, in my experience.

Gumbo · 09/08/2023 07:18

Like pp, I had no reconciliation or dramatic closure, just a vague sense of relief when mine died...and an empty sort of - nothingness. It's been 2 years, I never grieved (I think I didn't need to as I'd done my grieving while she was living when I accepted how awful she was and would never change). I mainly feel a deep sort of sadness when I think about her, that I wasn't the sort of daughter she wanted.

But in all honesty, I found her death a whole lot easier than I'd feared, which was a relief. Don't be afraid to feel whatever you need to feel - none of those feelings are 'wrong' and you don't need to feel guilty for them.

PermanentTemporary · 09/08/2023 07:21

Yes just to add i haven't grieved my dad really. Just a sense of relief both that I never again have to feel the stress of wondering what he will do next, plus the unexpected good moments when I experience something he would have enjoyed.

WorriedDaughter12 · 10/08/2023 08:33

Yes expectations are low now. I’ve seen on this thread that sadly this is where I need to keep my feelings x

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Roste · 11/08/2023 00:05

I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom and that I could finally start living my life.
Went to the funeral and have visited the grave twice since, tidying it up etc. Look after yourself if you do this, I thought I had made my peace and was ok with it but my last visit triggered lots of unpleasant feelings and I don’t see myself returning for quite a while.

SarahR71 · 18/09/2023 01:52

I’m shocked by how not upset I am. I was always worried I would feel regret after she’d died and ran myself ragged looking after her when she was ill even though she had been a completely negligent and often cruel mother. I had a feeling she would do something nasty right at the end (once she thought she had no more use for me) and was surprised/relieved when she didn’t but I found out a few days after she died that she had indeed done something - I was shocked, my husband even more so…
I confided with a senior nurse at the hospital before she died (an occupational therapist wanted me to move in with my mother so she could be discharged but had no idea about the sort of mother she had been and was being very judgy). This nurse told me she had had a terrible mother and that I wouldn’t grieve because I had been grieving all my life for what I’d never had. It’s sad but it turned out she was right.
I don’t know what your mother is like so it might be different for you but for me as time goes on I just feel anger.

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