Confused and feeling guilty

conabySeptember 15, 2005

I lost Mum to a series of strokes one month ago today, her heart had stopped working properly. They told us how serious the brain damage was and Dad left the decision to not resuscitate to me. I also had to give permission to remove feeding tubes. I now feel so lost and distant from everyone. I also feel so guilty at having the feeding tubes removed, although mum died within 24 hours of this taking place and everyone tells me it wouldn't have made any difference it still feels like I did something terrible. Up to a week ago I was fairly ok; I was so busy sorting out everything for everyone else. I'm the youngest but I'm also the one most like Mum, the one everyone comes to to sort out problems. Now I'm back sorting out my own life I cry at stupid moments and just feel like my world is incomplete. I have a brilliant partner of 4 years who is making life bearable. We are getting engaged at Christmas and I should be so happy but I'm just so sad that mum isn't here to share my future joy. I'm so confused; it's like being on a rollercoaster ride. I feel really bad at losing a wonderful mum and best friend, it is just so hard to take.

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I think your feelings are very natural. It's normal to look back and try to think what you should have done better. I think if you could have asked your dear mother what she wanted, she would have agreed with what you did. I'm so sorry for your loss. Don't worry about crying. It feels miserable, but is an important part of grieving.

Take care.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 8:54PM
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I responded to you on my thread..


    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 9:08PM
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I'm so sorry about your mum. I know the pain that you are feeling. My mom died a year ago on June 3. I helped take care of her for her last 6 months of life. She had Alzheimer's. I tried so hard to do the right things for her, but I have regrets about a few things and wonder if she would still be here if I had done certain things differently. So, I know how you are feeling.
I try to tell myself that I know Mom loved me and wants me to be happy. I'm sure that our moms wouldn't want us to carry around the burden of guilt and unhappiness because of anything surrounding their deaths. I know it's hard to shake, believe me. We just have to continue to assure ourselves that we did the best that we could at the time and no matter how badly we feel, nothing will change now. We just can't go back. We have to make the best out of what was at the time.
I hope that you will continue to visit with us here.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:31PM
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been 6 weeks and two days, here.

they made mom sign the paperwork, but I freed my father from the tangle of machines with my own hands, in the company of the only man he ever thought was good enough for me, and one of our closest friends.

guilt is not a burden that we should carry for protecting our loved ones from a medical system that will keep an empty husk's heart beating as long as there is a penny to be made, or an illusion of 'life' to be saved.

my great regret is that I let the doctors con us as long as they did in the face of my father's wish to come home from the hospital- they kept telling us 'maybe next week'

and I accepted at the time the probability that my tired mind and sore heart would wrack me with nightmares of my father, alone and afraid in the great darkness for months to come.

but the morning of the funeral, the eulogy finally came to me- and the last paragraph concerned two small dogs, who had won the honour of being the first ones to greet my father when he awoke, tired and worn, but himself again, in a place of great and gentle light.

if you let yourself, let yourself cry, let yourself miss her- not just her physical presence, but the vital woman I'm sure she was before the strokes...

you might get a similar dream some night soon.

poppa says you're not listening, and her voice is still very weak, and that's why you're still confused.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 3:30PM
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We also had the tubes removed when the doctor said that my mom would maybe only get 2% better than the vegetative state she was in. What is really 2% of nothing? I know deep down that she would have preferred this than to living in that state. This was also just after Terry Schaivo died.

I am also the youngest and my family waited for me to fly in for the meeting with the doctor. And since one of my sisters could not say the words to let my mother go, it was up to me (after being there for 5 minutes) to listen to what the doctor had to say about my mom's condition and to be the one to tell him to take out all the tubes.

The only regret I have is that it took my mom 4 1/2 days to finally pass on. The doctors told us that she did not die of starvation. Personally, I think that her pacemaker might have had something to do with it. The worst thing of all this is watching a loved one die and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. After so many days, you were hoping she'd be out of her misery but then again, you didn't want her gone for good.

If there was no chance for a life, I feel okay with the decision to let her go.

I knew I was feeling better when my mom started showing up in my dreams with my late father but that took several months. You will start to feel better about it. It does take time. I'm sure that your mother would want you to be happy and marrying such a great person.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 11:42AM
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Thanks you, reading your experiences makes me think I did the right thing. I'm more settled after talking to people who have had similar experiences.

I hope that I start to have nice dreams about Mum, who was such a lovely lady. I know she loved my partner Steve, so wherever she is she will be glad we are finally going to tie the knot. I have her wedding ring and we are going to use that at our wedding, I know she would have approved.

Thank you everyone, I'm starting to see a chink of light in the gloom! :-)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 2:10PM
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I am glad you're feeling better. I have gone through a lot of guilt also, but I know my mother would not want me to be stuck in that. When I really feel alive, I can easily imagine her saying to me, " YES! You ARE alive now. That is the important thing." When I see something pretty I think of her and feel a bit like it is her gift to time on earth.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 8:28PM
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It's been just over 3 months since I had to make the decision to basically unplug my husband's life support. He was sick for just over 3 weeks. No one, not even the doctors realized how sick he was. Apparently his liver hadn't been working at full capacity for 3 years. With the heat this summer he became dehydrated. After 2 weeks of tests I got a call from our doctor when he came in at 7:30 to call 911 and get him to the hospital. He told me that he was so sorry to be dying on me, that he hoped he had left everything okay for me. That was the last conversation we had. He had help from the paramedics walking to the guerney. By the time he was at the hospital he could barely answer questions with one word. They transfeerred him after 2 days to a University Hospital with a liver transplant unit. He went through days of tests and was accepted for a liver, but there weren't any.

I know he always knew when I was there. He was on the transplant list for about 12 hours when his body started giving out and he couldn't have a transplant anymore. We started calling fmily telling them that we would be turning off the machines. Family and friends came to say goodbye, I don't think he ever knew they were there.

There was a break of about 20 minutes while most of them went to get a cup of coffee. We were trying to get hold of his brother in California, to see if he was on the way. I had to tell my soulmate that I was keeping the promise I had made to him. I wasn't going to keep him in limbo like his stepfather was. That we lost the fight and the nurses were going to be giving him medicine to relax him and start turning off the machines. He shut his eyes halfway, the was they stayed until the doctor closed them. He always told me that he could hear my voice even when he seemed to be not there.

I have always been able to tell when he was there, waking out of anathesia when I heard his footsteps, only his voice holding me to consiousness when passing out during chemo, so I know he heard me.

I don't think there can be a harder decision to make, or a harder thing to tell a loved one. All I know is that I promised to always tell him the truth, and never make him hang on when there was no chance of a good life.

One thing that has made it easier at times, is the fact they found lung cancer after he died. If he had lived, or had a transplant, he would have had the death that he feared. He had asthma so he always feared struggling for breath until he died.

I am lucky in that my oldest son was supporting me and being a go between with my in-laws. I don't know if they all thought I did the right thing. They were told we were doing what he wanted. Including no viewing, and I managed that by ordering him cremated immediately after the autopsy. Sometimes I wish I hadn't cremated him, but I didn't want anyone demanding to see him.

I have one brother-in-law and wife that I really like and we as couples thought just alike. I have always accepted the others (including MIL) for what they are, but I know that the decisions I made were not what they wanted.

I decided years ago that he was mine legally and I would decide what he and I wanted. You can't second guess decisions you make. You make them with the knowledge you have.

I am waiting for the good dreams. Recently I have been having nightmares about him having the cancer.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 12:20AM
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We had to make the decision to remove life support from our 13 year old daughter earlier this year. She also had extensive brain damage, having had severe seizures for 2 months(she was in a drug induced coma most of the time and was never fully aware of what had happened to her). These situations are so hard.....but we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time. If your mother passed away within 24 hours of the removal of the feeding tubes, then what people are telling you is correct, that had nothing to do with it. You were a blessing to your mother, making the brave decisions and doing the right things when she couldn't do it for herself.
The feelings you are having are so normal during the grieving process....yes, it's a process that won't just end tomorrow....allow yourself the time to grieve and don't be afraid of the range of emotions you will be feeling. I'm happy you have someone so supportive in your life right now that will be able to help you through this time!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 2:02AM
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I too had to make the decision to take my 4 year old son off life support after nearly drowning. He survived for about a week after so I felt guilty alot. And often wonder if he could have survived if we didn't make that choice. I believe now that everything happens for a reason...As much as we might hate it & it changes our lives.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 2:18AM
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some spirits take wing at the moment of death, overcome at the bliss of being free of the rotting body they had been imprisoned in.

some cower and hide, fearing the flaming sword they think is all they deserve for deserting their family in deed or in death.

some spend days or months just drifting, restoring themselves as if after a long illness.

sometimes, one is met by family. sometimes, it takes wishing for a presence to call them.

some stick around to make sure that everything goes as planned, some spend that first transition drifting from favorite spot to best times, having reunions impossible while enfleshed.

some understand what has just taken place, and some do not. it matters to some more than others.

some miss their life, their body, their people. for some, death is finally escaping everything they have run from.

but, if you light a candle (something that smells like them- cookies, or pine, or spices, or flowers) and let yourself think about them, after a while, you can imagine for yourself where they are, or how they're doing...

there is a moment where one is healed of one's faults and crimes in this life, and the pain is more or less bearable depending on how much you loved in your life, and it goes on as long as it took you to do harm.

but it ends, for everyone.

and after that, infinity is your cradle.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 4:24PM
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