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My Mum

TeresasGirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2012

My mum passed away aged 63 from NSCLC Stage 3 B but progressed to Stage 4 on September 14th 2012 at 3:30am. I'm coping ok. She was my only family as my dad passed away in 2007 (after years of hard drinking and basically being so violent he had to, by court order, stay away from us) and I have no brothers or sisters. She was my world, my best friend, my support - my mum.

She was taken into hospital on 3rd September 2012 with breathing difficulties and after 1 week they had identified that the cancer had spread once more and that her palliative cancer care drug Tarceva should be stopped. I was told she would have weeks and not months left. by that point my once feisty, positive, strong mother was so ill she could barely speak and was on 94% oxygen 24/7.

Battling to get her home was the next step but I managed it and on September 13th she was discharged from Hospital into my care amidst warnings that she could pass away in the ambulance, bags of drugs being thrust into my hands and what felt like garbled instructions on what to do when the inevitable happened.

I had set her bed up in the livingroom and when she got placed into her bed she couldn't speak but managed to write down with her frail and tender hand that "I love you" and "Home". She loved her home - always so warm and filled with love and laughter and I knew then that she was truly happy to be out of that sterile hospital and to be back in the room where only a few weeks prior we had sat and laugher and spoke in that way that is now such a precious memory to me.

I had the priest visit - he came twice and my mum being a devout Catholic took great solace from this even managing to bless herself at all the appropriate points. It was a (coincidently) a stormy wet night that seemed to have been orchestrated specifically for the situation my mum was in. Looking at her I can remember thinking how porcelain like she was - how beautiful...

And now here is my biggest regret - something from which I will never forgive myself for. After many hours of holding her hand, wetting her lips and thanking her for being the greatest person in my world. Thanking her for teaching me how to be a strong woman and letting her know that if I could be half the person/mum that she was then I would be very lucky indeed.

I had pulled the chair over to her bed so i could hold her hand and through the sound of the wind and rain outside I drifted off to sleep at 2:30am. I awoke at 3:30am to my mum kneeling beside me. She was dead. How she managed to get the energy to slip out of bed, how I never heard her is something I will never be able to understand or forgive myself for. She died alone and I was right there!! The only thing I ever wanted out of this inevitable nightmare was to at least be able to held her had, look into her eyes and tell her it’s ok mum, I'll be ok, you need to go - its ok to go mum. I wanted to sooth her passage into the next world and I will forever hate myself for not being able to do that.

My mum had such a hard life (lost her mum when she was 24, married an alcoholic who was extremely violent, worked hard to pass her Diploma at age 52 and strived so hard for everything she ever gained in life) and I feel that I made her exit from this world has hard as any day she endured any hardship.

So I suppose I've used this space here to document what was the most heartbreaking and horrific thing in my life so far.

Letter to my mum:

Dear Sweet Mum,
I love you mum. I'm so very very sorry for not being there for you at the very end. I'm so lonely without you. But I'll try to be strong for my daughter the way you were always so strong with me.

I wish I could believe that I'll see you again one day but though all this I have no idea what to believe in anymore. Life has lost its rose coloured lens and everything is just too hard looking - the warmth has gone out of the sun and without you I'm lost at sea.

I'll love you forever and more.

xxx

Lisa13Q's picture
Lisa13Q
Posts: 683
Joined: Jul 2009

I am sooo sorry for your loss.....but no regrets.....my mother died one year and 5 months ago from Ovarian cancer...it was a painful death but my sister and I were there with her the whole way until the end as well.....Mom as home and couldn't speak either.....we had her wink once for "yes" and twice for "no".....we were by her side until the night she passed.....we went to bed.....1/2 hour later the nurse came to let us know.....Your Mom had you right to the end.....she knew you were there and she was not alone.....trust me....she knew...that's why she came to you.....sooooo no regrets.....please.......grief is hard enough and it is clear to me you and your Mom were "clean" she loved you and knew you loved her. and you will see her again......she would not want you to have any regrets........you were hers ans she knew it....Love, Lisa

Noellesmom
Posts: 1277
Joined: Aug 2010

As a mother, I can only hope I have the strength and presence of mind in my final moments to do what your mom did, Teresa. What a beautiful testimony to the relationship you had with your mother. I am in awe.

I wish you could see what a gift you gave your mother: the motivation to reach out and physically touch the person who was there for her.

I believe she was glad you were sleeping, Teresa, and she slipped away with the very unnecessary good-byes for one who will always be with you.

Hugs, Teresa. You must have done very well by your mom.

Noellesmom
Posts: 1277
Joined: Aug 2010

double post deleted

fullyloved
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2012

My heart aches for you...May the love of God grant you peace and freedom from regrets...May He hold you close in His arms.

TeresasGirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2012

Dear Noellsmom, Fullyloved & Lisa13Q

Thank you all for your very kind words. You've been so supportive and I know we are all on this forum for one reason - we've all been touched by Cancer (never an easy touch to bear!!) and so for you to take the time to try and soothe another person who is hurting is amazing.

I'm finding things harder as time goes by but that's normal I believe - to loose a person who was so close to me and who I loved so much. Well thats the trade off isn't it...the dearer soemone is to you the harder it hits. But in time I know I'll be better at managing these feelings.I HOPE Ill get better I mean.

Thank you all for your kindness ((((hugs))) and I wish you all the very best of luck, love and happiness in your all lifes. xxx

sharpy102's picture
sharpy102
Posts: 334
Joined: Apr 2009

Oh Teresa....my memories came back as I was reading your post. My Mom was 32 when she passed away...I was 12. And as you wrote, exactly the same way I was with her moment to moment. I also did not have my dad by that time (car crash back from a family tour when I was 10. My dad and my brother passed away). And Mom was also in the living room, and I would sit there, and just as you wrote, wet her mouth ocassionally, talking to her, holding her hand, pet her in the head....she was my world as well. And honestly, I understand your regret. I would feel horrible as well. My biggest fear was actually exactly that. I was so exhausted and tired, and I would sit next to her and in the middle of the night, if she took a deeper breath, or moved slightly, I would jump up, light the candle and see if she needs anything. I was always afraid that I would fall asleep deep and would let her die alone. So, I totally understand you feeling so bad about this. I would too! But! If you really love your Mom, please don't feel bad about this. She would not want you to see feeling bad about this, or being sad too long. I know, easier said than done, I would probably be the same way as you, and would not forgive to myself, but....for our Mom's sake, we have to. We have to forgive ourselves....we have to forgive the world! And it is not going to be easy to continue your life, I cannot say that, I would lie. The first two years I went in a spiral downhill. I even kicked myself out of school. And one day, as a big slap on my face, I realized, "Wait! I am hugely disappointing my Mom! And I am hugely making her feel bad about leaving!" And you know what??! She came to my dream...and in my dream I made her to come back. And I still remember very vividly how I was all happy and updating her what have been going on since she left, how is the children's home, and all of a sudden I looked at her, and she was sitting in the bed and looking at me, but was not happy. I had no idea why. I was surprised. I asked her what's wrong. And you know what she said, "If you really love me, you don't want me to come back". I woke up! I was so angry and disappointed, and bitter at this dream. I had a very hard time falling back asleep. But the next morning, I recalled this dream and realized, that she is right. If she had to come back she would come back in the SAME STATE! Do I want her to be back so she can suffer? I cannot be that selfish! And I learned from that dream that I have to live in a way that my Mom doesn't feel bad, or sad for leaving me behind. And I know it is easy to say, "so don't be sad", and you can be sad, but remember, she doesn't want you to be sad! It would break her heart! You don't want that! Look for the beautiful things in life, the beatiful flowers. Indeed, it's been 4 years my Mom left, but I still ocassionally pick her favorite flower, so she can smile up there that "oh wow! You found my favorite flowers!". I am still very connected with her, she is my guardian angel now, and I know she is helping me find my path, and grow up and do good things. It is still a long journey, but I learned, on this Earth, I cannot be sad, and my responsibility is to make her happy!!! I will wish and cross my fingers for you that soon enough you'll hear your Mom too. You will. It is a while, as you see, it took 2 years for me. But you will. And it will be such a good comfort to be able to connect with her again. Trust me, you'll be happy!

Hugs to you!

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