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My mom died 5-17-02

texmarcus
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2002

My mom, 68 yrs old, died last friday after a long 2 year battle with cervical cancer. From day one, I have done everything I knew i could do. I left a well paying job to be with her through all her surgeries, 6 months of chemo, Dr visits, consultations. At the first available moment, I moved back into her house to take care of her. She had previous medical issues such as short term memory loss. Had it since I was 18 (I am now 47). The adjustment of living together was a little difficult. I come from a family that doesnt talk about feelings, wants, fears. Then came last January when we went for a 1 year followup visit, the cancer had returned and was diagnosed terminal. I was the only caregiver, but we also had home hospice nurse visit once or twice a week. When she couldn't remember to take her meds, I made sure she did. I made sure the nurse knew how she was doing, I did the shopping, cleaning, cooking, shed some tears and smiles of joy with her.
Now, 3 days after she passed I am having overwhelming bouts of guilt, crying, anxiety. I feel like I didn't do enough and didn't do it well. I feel guilty about the times when one of us was irritated or frustrated with the other. It's hard enough losing a mom I loved dearly, it's even harder with these feelings. I can't sleep or eat. I guess I am just functioning on auto right now.
Anyone else have these feelings?

marys56mom
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2002

yes i have all those same feelings thats you have right now, my mom passed 2/15/02. she never told any one she was sick. i wasnt in great contact with my mom for a long time. but last year i had a very bad dream that she was sick, so i called her to tell her and she said she was fine. this was back before the summer of 2001. in the month of sept she turned 56, i sent her a birthday card, and called her birthday is 9-11, thats when it all started where she wasnt feeling good, i tried to get her to go to the doctors, when she finally went they said a bladder infection. well she felt better and went back to work, and boom she was back home not feeling good, that was not like my mom she was very independent, my brother took her to a hospital, and he made them run tests, thats when it was found my mother had colon cancer, im the oldest daughter with 2 children, i tried my hardest to do everything i could for my mother, my mother died at home thats what she wanted, i was the last person to feed her take her to the bathroom, three days before she died we all had a chance to tell her we loved her, i sat with my mom to tell her goodnite, i told my mom i loved her and for the first time in the 35 years of my life my mother said i love you too. i know its only been 3 months for me but everything is still the same i dont eat right i dont sleep im haveing a really hard time with everything. hospice helps a little. they stay with you for 13 months after. just call them they have people out there for us. if you wouls like to talk please feel free.

dvs1229
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2002

Please don't have those negative feelings. You did so much for her. You were there to take care of her and to comfort her. Sometimes the ones we are closest to, are the ones we take our frustrations out on. My Mom was very mean to my Dad before she became a total invalid. My brother has the same feelings you do because he thought he could cure her. Your sleep habits and appetite will stay disturbed for a while. It's all part of grieving. Try to comfort yourself in knowing you were there till the end and you helped ease the transition for your Mom to go to a place where she is beautiful, healthy and happy. My Mom passed away on April 26, 2002. It seems so long ago and yet like it was yesterday. Remember, you are not alone. There are many of us here to help.

crtsang
Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

Many of us feel guilty for not taking good enough care of people, after they die. My therapist said that fundamentally, I was feeling guilty that I couldn't save her. My mother died in September last year--we buried her on September 8th. It took me months to accept that I had done everything I could and had done my best. You were wonderful to your mother, even if there were times of friction--they're inevitable.
It seems to me that what you're experiencing now is all grief. Keep reminding yourself that you did everything you could think of as well as you could. While my mother was dying, I kept feeling awkward, like an amateur trying to be an RN. (I guess I was.) But my mother chose to be cared for my amateurs--by her family--and I think she was happier for it.
Please have compassion for yourself.

heatherl
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

I have a very similar situation to yours. My mom had lung cancer that spread to her brain then to her liver, and she died April 24, 2001. My brothers and I all live in different states than my mom, but I took a leave of absence from my job and sold my car so I would have money to move up with her. Of course, I still had all the expenses of my house and bills in my state. My brothers didn't contribute in any way to her care, although they are both married and have more financial stability than I do, not to mention other people to take care of things at home for them.

I took her to doctor appointments, went to chemo and radiation, ran errands, did shopping, cooked, got up with her on average of 4-5 times per night, etc. My brothers came to visit twice during the year and a half after she was diagnosed. I was so exhausted and my immune system was zero.

I also come from a family that doesn't talk or share feelings openly. So, I would always try to be strong in front of her then I would go cry by myself.

Although it has been a year, I still feel like I didn't do enough and that I should have done more. I feel like I didn't talk to her enough, hug her enough, and do enough for her. While I was taking care of her, she would tell me that I didn't care about her, or that food I made wasn't good, or that I looked terrible. Then other times she would be nice again. It really hurt. I still randomly cry and have dreams that she is sick and that I can't take care of her well enough. I am glad to hear that other people feel the same way. I guess it must be "normal."

Thanks for letting me vent and feel free to email me if you want to talk more.

jaunty
Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2002

Its only a natural part of the grieving process. Accept the fact that you did all you could. I'm sure it was a great solice to her to have you there to care for her.
Are there any support groups in your area that you can join, or greif groups? After all the care and effort you put in, it is such a let down afterward. I hope others will reply to your message. It is helpful to know you are not alone.

texmarcus
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2002

Its been a long and tough year since I first wrote to this group. I have had some relatively good days, mixed in with a lot of bad days. Tonight I feel like I am melting down, emotionally. Now that all my family is gone and the majority of my friends are going about their everyday lives, I guess I should be too. But, when the nights come and I cant sleep, I just wish the pain would go away so I could maybe rest a bit. But, my memory of my moms last couple of years are still so vivid.

I am a believer in counseling, but feel unless the counselor has been through what I went through, they really couldnt understand. What are the feelings of others out there who might be in the same boat as I am?

ritaude
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2003

I am a psychotherapist and I lost my father yesterday to leukemia after taking care of him for 8 months. Because your feelings are still so strong and you are having difficulties sleeping, I recommend that you go for counseling. Any good psychotherapist will be able help you through these difficulties, whether or not they have had the same experience. Counseling will be aimed at your thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and coping techniques. Mental health can be adversely affected by stress, particularly prolonged stress like caregiving. Many times in the form of depression. I wish you success on your road to recovery.

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