Mom died and I'm having such a hard time

deb---09May 2, 2009

Hello. I can relate to SO much on here. My Mom passed away almost 1 month ago. She was just 6 days short of 72. My sister and I are having such a hard time dealing with it. My Mom was in and out of the hospital for 4 plus months with aspiration pneumonia, congestive heart failure, COPD, high blood sugar, etc. It seemed like every step forward she made, she took two steps back. But she did get better. That is one of the things that is so upsetting. It wasn't one of the things listed above that took her, it was a bedsore that led to MRSA, that led to C-Diff infection. The care she received at the hospital and nursing home was horrible. The hospital overmedicated her, then did a swallow test, which of course she failed. She then had a feeding tube put in. Physical therapy consisted of lifting her up and putting her in a recliner next to her bed, which I am sure led to the bedsore. My sister is thinking we should file a lawsuit. At one point the nursing home put her too close to the edge of the bed and she fell out and broke her nose. The thought of never seeing her again is overwhelming to me. There has not been one day go by that I haven't cried. She was also having a problem with dementia and had withdrawn so much. Her short term memory was pretty much gone. My sister and I cared for her like she was a child, brushing her teeth, picking out her clothes, etc. I have never really been a religous person, but am SO hoping there is an afterlife. I talk to my Mom everyday and have begged her to visit me at least once, just so I will know she is okay. We weren't with her when she passed either. We had been with her most of the night, and she kept opening her eyes, agitated and whispering "Help me". The nurse came in to clean her up because the C-diff infection caused her to have diarreah. They told us that her vitals were all good. We went back in the room and she was sleeping peacefully. We decided to go home and get a good nights sleep and come back the next day. She passed away the next morning. My sister and I both realized that we didn't think she was going to die. We shoud have, but she had come back so many times during this. I just wish I had a chance to do so many things over. My Mom lived alone and didn't drive. She enjoyed bingo, euchre, sitting outside with friends. I wish I had visited her more, but I was always "so busy". Now I am wondering what I was so busy doing. Since she has been gone I feel like I have nothing but time on my hands and I hate it. I feel restless, raw and exposed. Mother's Day is coming and it makes me so sad. I don't think we even made a big deal out of it last year. Oh, I'm sure I called her and said Happy Mother's Day, but that was probably it. Why? I guess I just thought she would be here forever. I used to lecture her when she would complain, telling her "it could always be worse" and "you need to take better care of yourself". I am 45, I should be dealing with this better. I feel like a little girl that has lost her Mommy. I tell her everyday now how much I love her, how proud I am of her and how I wish I had been a bettr daughter. I just hope she hears me. Sorry this is so long. I am sure many people quit reading a long time ago, if you finished, thanks for listening.

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Sorry you are feeling so badly about your Mother's death. This will also be my first Mother's Day without a mother. Mine died in August at age 91 after 50 years of having MS.

You cannot and should not 'beat yourself up' about coulda, shoulda. You might want to check for a 'grief therapy' group - I have found it helpful.

Write all the facts down as you and your sister can recall them with a time line, if possible; then contact a lawyer and have them read your notes and let the lawyer determine whether or not you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Carolyn (whose husgand died 2/13/09 of esophageal cancer)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 5:02PM
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First let me give my condolences, my mother also passed away exactly one month ago today and i have written a post here.
She was 61 and died in her sleep at home peacefully. Even though she was young i am greatly thankful that she did not suffer of anything.

Your mother lived a full life and by the sounds of things she was suffering at the end, you should actually be happy for her, shes free and with no pain right now. Why should she suffer with tubes and medication and pain? What kind of life is that?
It was her time and nothing would have changed that.
I would forget about blaming anyone and just get on with your life and remember your mum during happy times, thats what i do.
You will see her in the next life and during that time she is watching over you.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 12:47PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

My own personal free advice is to put up your thickest skin when you read or hear things with a "scolding" tone, & ignore the "advice".

Although it might have been "her time", I'd be doing the same as you are, wondering if the poor care & mishandling contributed to it, & beating myself up for having gone home.

I've heard too many instances where people who have spent days at the hospital/nursing home/hospice will go home to shower & sleep, & their loved one dies while they are away.

I have an inkling that our presence may somehow tie our loved ones here, that they cannot leave until we are out of the room.

My aunt's husband told her, "Please go home, Honey. Take a nap & come back later. I've *got* to get some rest, & I can't rest with you here."

She went home & took a shower & was napping when the hospital called her to tell her he was gone.

& I bet your mom did the same thing.

& given what you wrote of her condition & what she'd been through ("in and out of the hospital for 4 plus months with aspiration pneumonia, congestive heart failure, COPD, high blood sugar, etc. It seemed like every step forward she made, she took two steps back"), "help me" may have meant "please help me get out of here & get some peace".

Take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:59PM
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Oh, Deb, I know exactly how you feel. My mother passed away on Sept. 22, 2008, and I am still in a complete grief -stricken fog. Actually, my father (7 years older than Mom) had been ill, not Mom. He had a series of strokes over the past few years and we had just recently had to go to nursing home care. She was diligent about taking him what he would eat two times a day. My mom was 75, but still had the most beautiful strawberry-blonde hair (how did that happen? I haven't seen my natural color since I was 17!) anyway, she had never been in the hospital except to have the three of us. She did have some lung issues as of late (smoker) and had had MRSA in 2007. I will never, ever believe that the MRSA didn't have a great deal to do with her death. Anyway, I called on that Thursday night and knew immediately that something was wrong...badly wrong. I called for help (I live 2 hrs. away) and jumped in the car to go to her....the dr. called my cell and said to go back, they had to air-lift her to my city. She had zero blood pressure on arrival there, and they didn't think she'd make it here. She was gone by 2:50am on Monday. I watched her suffer horribly. Although they gave me no hope, they did try to save her. Putting her in hospice was the most terrible day. She was only there about 7 hours. She died of sepsis and multi-organ failure. The ER doc finally told me (after waiting 7 hrs in a chair, trying to keep her from going nuts) that she was going to die. I didn't want her to know. I know that's crazy, but I didn't want her to be afraid. Telling my Daddy, the love of her life (56 years), that she was gone was the worst. He died 5 days later. I feel orphaned, too. At age 50! One lady told me that you don't grow up until you lose your mother. Mom's mom lived to 99; she never thought she wouldn't live that long, either. I dream horrible dreams every night...don't sleep at all. Finally I'm under a dr's care and am seeing a counselor (A HUGE HELP). With Mother's Day this Sunday, I just want to hibernate and that's not fair to MY children (I have 5 and 5 grandbabies). I am trying to get to the chore of finishing cleaning their home (the only place they ever lived) and selling it. Oh, my.
Sorry this is so long, Deb, but I completely know what you are going through. I still have notes to write. I cry ALL the time. Poor dh, he's being patient, but I hate it for him. I can't stand helicopters flying over....I lose it every time I hear one. My counselor said to take care of ME. It's hard to do, isn't it? I found this today....I'm sure I'll be back on this forum. God bless everyone here dealing with death. Oh, I found goldmine...I found boxes and boxes of letters from Mom to Dad and from Dad to Mom while she was in college at Stephens in Missouri....they are the most wonderful letters! So precious and loving. No wonder he couldn't live without her! I am so very thankful to have this window into a love story from the early 1950's. These will be treasured forever!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 2:11PM
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Thank everyone so much for your responses! My heart goes out to every one of you. It has been one month and two days since Mom passed away. Some days are better then others. There are times I think I am handling it, then I see a reminder of her and feel like screaming inside. Sometimes I have to go into the bathroom at work just to take a few minutes to cry. I thought today was going to be the first day since she died that I haven't cried, but once I started typing this, the tears came. I had no idea that I would miss her so much. I agree with everyone that I in no way wanted her to suffer and I know she was. I think it is just seeing the death certificate list the cause as: MRSA, Sepsis, C Diff-all things that she got from the result of a bedsore-not the pneumonia, cong. heart failure that she went in with. I know I need to get over the bitterness of it all. It doesn't do any good. I do talk to her a lot and hope she hears me. I also find myself looking for "proof" that she is around me, such as a chair being moved, etc. Silly, I know. Again, thanks for the responses and I am sorry for everyone's losses.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 7:55PM
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Deb, its not silly, i actually did the same. I asked my mum to move something in the room to give me a sign that shes ok but i realized later on that its probably not fair to ask a spirit to do that, perhaps they cant. But they are around you, you just have to feel them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 9:52AM
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...and all the other daughters dreading Mother's Day. It is a symbolic day started by a loving daughter and decreed by the government as official...but from the sound of your letters, everyday was Mother's Day for your moms. You took care of them the best you could and loved them every day, they knew it and so do you.
We all go through the what if's and the why didn't I's you know. My mother was 81 when her mom died at 104 and mother never got over (she died at 89) the thought that she should have spent more time with her mother, even though she saw her every day and cleaned her house and washed her clothes and did all she could to make her happy. I too thought my mother would live on and on, never dreaming she would fall over dead in her wing chair as we were having dinner....what a surprise, and why was that a surprise?? She was 89 and had some health issues but I couldn't picture mother, that ball of energy, always there, being dead. Impossible. We even had a little tiff hours before she died. She had climbed on a stool to fix her Regular clock and of course I got on to her about that, and of all things, eating too much chocolate candy. How silly. Eat all the candy you want mother. I suffered with that stuff for a long time and finally gave it up as just part of life and relationships. You will all gradually find ease and won't feel that overwhelming awful sadness forever you know. Forgive yourselves for acting like human beings and not saints. Take care. It will get better, I promise.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:08AM
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lovely thoughts, mary helen.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 6:30PM
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Thank you, Mary much.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:46PM
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your post is very moving. deb please do not blame yourself for what you should have done differently as regards to your relationship with your mum and I pray that you will be given the grace to forgive those at the nursing home that hurt your mum. as hard as it may be. yes there is an afterlife. email me at (and on the subject put 'afterlife?' so i'll remember who it is) and we can talk more on this.
Love, Joseph.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 5:13AM
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Oh my goodness, can I relate to your story!!!

My mom passed away on June 6th after a month and a half in the hospital. Just like your mom, it was quite a complex hostpital stay. Up until that, I considered her in perfect health. She went in for scleroderma, and a gangrene toe. She was diagnosd with problem after problem and just like you said-for each step forward, she took 2 back.

She recovered from atery surgery (to bypass a block to her foot) and an amputated foot just fine. BUt then, had trouble breathing. She was thought to have pneumonia--then a bunch of other things. Her breathign got worse, so they sedated and intubated her in the surgical ICU.

When they took the sedative off, 2 days later, to get her brathing on her own, she never woke up. An MRI showed a massive, massive stroke that wiped out half her brain, and several mini strokes that had been occuring for many weeks on the other side. Her prognosis was not good-a vegetable at best. Not able to breath on her own, eat on her own, not aware, no memory, deaf and blind). We removed the brathing tube and she breathed for 45 minutes before dying.

A stroke??? None of her many, many illnesses that she had disgnosed with was supposed to kill her. Her death was a shock. I am angry, upset, and in utter disbeleif.

I am finding it harder to go on as the days pass. Why is it getting harder, not easier??

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:16PM
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I am SO sorry for your loss! It has now been about 2 1/2 months since my Mom passed away. Sometimes I feel like I am getting better, sometimes not. For a long time I cried every day. Now it hits me out of nowhere. I literally walked into the bathroom at work yesterday and burst into tears in the stall-no warning, it just happened. I find myself trying to stay busy, busy, busy because I can't stand having alone time to "think". I hope that you have people that you are close to that will help you. I have a sister that feels exactly as I do. My family and friends don't really mention my loss anymore. Sometimes that makes me mad, but I know it is because I don't bring it up. They think I have "moved on", if only they could read my mind and see how sad I still am. I don't know when it will get easier, but I guess in some ways it does. I, too, feel angry and cheated. I try to comfort myself with the fact that her quality of life was poor. I sometimes feel like I could have some sort of PSTD. Only my sister and I know everything that went on for those months and months in the hospital and nursing home. Again, I am sorry for your loss and I didn't mean to turn it back around on me. I know how you feel and you have every right to. I talk to my Mom a lot when I am driving and I have her picture above my visor. Cry when you feel like it and try to stay busy, that's what works for me. I'll be thinking about you. Take care!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 8:33PM
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Dear Deb,

My heart goes out to you as you try to belileve in a life after this one. My faith was stringhtened by being with my Momma when she died.
Not because I was just with her. But because I witnessed something I can not explaine, to myself or to others.
I was sitting on the sofa that day and I noticed that my Mom's breathing was odd. They call it 'fish out of water breathing'. It went on for a while and we could not get her to rouse up or respond in anyway. We knew it was her time to pass and my sister and I sat on either side of her, each holding a hand. Just before she died she opened her eyes, focused on something over our sholders and shook off our hands, and raised her arms, then in weakness her arms fell down, once more before her very last breath she shook off our hands and reached up her arms, like a small child asking to be held, her eyes opened and tears sprung into them, she had a look of complete surprise, then she smiled a small smile and exhaled. That was it, she was gone.
I looked at my sister and said 'did you see that too'?
And my sister said she had. I was stunned. My Momma saw something or someone I could not see. I remember looking back over my sholder to see what she was looking at.
I know she was reaching up to hold someone, she was happy to see them. Was it my Dad who had died a year before, or her parents who had been gone many years? I guess I will not know who came to get her until I see her again... I only know without doubt that my Mom died in front of me and she went from our hands into the arms of someone unseen by us. I believe it was my Dad.
That expierence changed me and gave me a stringth in my faith like nothing else I have expierenced so far in my short 50 years.
So I can tell you without doubt, I know there is another life beyond this life. I hope this can help you. I do not tell this to many people because in the retelling with just mere words, I can not convey the awe, or magnitute of the expierence itself. I pray that you will find comfort soon. For me, grief has been like the sharp edge of a knife that cuts away at my soul, and time has been the only substance that has been able to dull the edge of the knife. I send you love and positive energy for healing.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 7:32PM
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I'm sorry for everyone's losses. I lost my Mom 2 weeks ago. It's all still new to me. It was a sudden death. She had health problems for years but was stable. Now I look back and feel like I was an idiot to think everything was okay.

I think guilt and regret are part of loving someone. We all have to lose our parents and we will fight it no matter how it happens. We convince ourselves they will live into their 90's even if there is evidence they won't. My Mom was 72 but I feel that's soooo incredibly young. I feel she had another 20 years at least. Of course, I know people who lost their Mom's at 50 who would think living until 72 is a blessing. So it all depends on your perspective.

My Mom died after going into the hospital and it was very fast. I often wonder if she got the right care. I'm pretty sure she didn't but then I guess that's just part of the 2nd guessing that goes on.

I will miss my Mom so much that I can't even comprehend living in a world without her. And I'm pretty much all alone too. The only thing that keeps me going is that I know how much she loved me and I know she would want me to find some type of happiness in my life. I'm going to try to do that without her but it's not going to be the same. I wish I could have shared any happiness I find with her. I just wish I could have done so much more for my Mom.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 11:29PM
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My heart goes out to you so much. I can relate in many ways. My grandfather was in a nursing home and he had bed sores and loss of memory. I hate nursing homes because they never really give the care they say they will. My father passed suddenly after a fatal car accident on Feb 9th coming home from work to be with my mom. My mom called him and no answer later the hospital called and thats when it all began from there. It is so hard and everyday I think could I have done everything better. Fathers dad will be here soon and its going to be hard to take for sure. I hope you will someday be okay as for myself as well.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 1:39PM
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my mom died at 89.i resent not talking to her about her life and generation.i was to i wonder what i was so busy doing.i was not at my moms bedside at the nursing home when she passed.i had so much guilt that i tried to kill myself.i am 55 years old and wish i had told my mom how much she meant to me.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:03PM
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my mom was 89 and i have so much guilt not being there when she died.i was at my doctors tring to control my anxiety.i was so busy in life that i did not spend the time to just sit and talk about her life and her generation.i miss her so much

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 5:48PM
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This post is a tad late..but I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their stories. I lost my mom almost 8 months ago and thought the grieving had gotten better but have started missing her more and more recently...the stories I've read here have just brought all the memories rushing back. So here I am sitting here with red, puffy eyes but also with deep appreciation for the experiences, reassurances, and kind words everyone has shared. Like everyone, I have strong regrets about the lack of time I spent with my mom. The OP's post 'I wish I had visited her more, but I was always 'so busy'. Now I am wondering what I was so busy doing. Since she has been gone I feel like I have nothing but time on my hands and I hate it. I feel restless, raw and exposed.' rings so true with me and I hate myself for it but I know that helps no one, especially me. The best thing I can do with my regrets is to learn from it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 12:23AM
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My mom just died two weeks ago. We thought she was still tired from the pnuemonia she had two months ago. We took her to the ER because she was weak and retaining fluid. 48 hours later she died....of sepsis. She got a UTI from the cathedar they put in. We got the death certificate today and sepsis was listed as #1. I am so very sad but now I am also angry with the hospital. But why aren't other people angry with the hospitals when their family member dies from sepsis? Everyone just seems to accept that diagnosis. It tore her body apart. I saw my mom every single day and I can't believe she is gone. It really hurts.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:31PM
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I'm so sorry you lost your dear mother.

& get an attorney.

That old saw about doctors "burying their mistakes" should't be relevant in this day & age.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I wish you well for saying exactly what I feel. I just extended my mom's irrigation system so she planted two beautiful flowering plants, but bending down, she got a herniated disk. On top of anemia, emphysema, esophageal stricture, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, hypothyroidism and an incurable vaginitis, she had suffered enough but I CRY EVERY DAY AND WILL NOT EVER STOP UNTIL I KNOW SHE KNOWS I LOVE HER MORE EVERY DAY. Shed died Sunday. She was an artist and loved vistas. I dream she has the best vista ever now and imagine she is waving from on high whenever I look up at the sky

Here is a link that might be useful: Leonore Marie Greenberg

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 4:28PM
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