I'm having a hard time with the regrets that go with death.  Even though I know I did  the best for Mom, I can't stop thinking "what if?"

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I think about this too even though I know it's not my fault-I think, "What if I had gone home for Father's Day weekend instead of the weekend before, would it have turned out differently?" If another person had been there to help Mom could we have saved Dad? Not a good feeling to have!
I think about this too even though I know it's not my fault-I think, "What if I had gone home for Father's Day weekend instead of the weekend before, would it have turned out differently?" If another person had been there to help Mom could we have saved Dad? Not a good feeling to have!
It's bad enough to have these regrets, but it's worse when people tell me "Oh, I know how you feel"...no you don't. If you did, you wouldn't say such things. Especially if their loved one died a different way from my Mom.  They didn't watch her fight with the effects of the first stroke for 19 years, they didn't see her loose her ability to be independent, they didn't see how everyday tasks were harder and harder. They didn't see that she never complained. They didn't see her, for the first time in a very long time, actually feeling good. They didn't see her go from "healthly and living" one minute to being totally paralyzed, shaking, moaning, and sweating uncontrollably. They didn't see what a massive stroke that affects the brain stem looks like. They didn't have to make that end of life decision, they didn't watch her die wondering if they were making a mistake by not putting the feeding or breathing tube in, they didn't see some improvement(all be it minor, very minor) from the stroke,yet sit there helplessly while she slowly died because they signed the damned paper for Hospice. They weren't there and it's not their Mom. I know it's said with well meaning intentions, but gimme a break.
I had a different but somewhat similar situation where my mom and I had to decide to take the breathing/feeding tube out-the worst decision anyone ever has to make. I know Mom has struggled a lot with it because she felt like she was "taking my dad away" but ultimately my dad's wishes were to not be kept alive artificially. People who haven't been through the loss of a close loved one really don't understand what we have been/going through. It's very frustrating and also difficult to feel so isolated from others who haven't had the same experiences. That's why I'm glad that grief group/grief sites exist!

Linda Torres said:
It's bad enough to have these regrets, but it's worse when people tell me "Oh, I know how you feel"...no you don't. If you did, you wouldn't say such things. Especially if their loved one died a different way from my Mom.  They didn't watch her fight with the effects of the first stroke for 19 years, they didn't see her loose her ability to be independent, they didn't see how everyday tasks were harder and harder. They didn't see that she never complained. They didn't see her, for the first time in a very long time, actually feeling good. They didn't see her go from "healthly and living" one minute to being totally paralyzed, shaking, moaning, and sweating uncontrollably. They didn't see what a massive stroke that affects the brain stem looks like. They didn't have to make that end of life decision, they didn't watch her die wondering if they were making a mistake by not putting the feeding or breathing tube in, they didn't see some improvement(all be it minor, very minor) from the stroke,yet sit there helplessly while she slowly died because they signed the damned paper for Hospice. They weren't there and it's not their Mom. I know it's said with well meaning intentions, but gimme a break.

Dear Linda,

 

I am very sorry for the loss of your mother. From what you were mentioning you sounded like a very good daughter who was by her mother's side until the end.  She was very fortunate to have a daughter like you. No one can control what happens, even the Bible mentions "time and unforseen occurrence befalls us all". (Ecclesiates 9:11)

 

I would like to share with you an ecouraging time to look forward to. It is found in John 5:28,29: "Do not marvel at this but the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out."  You have the opportunity to be reunited with your mother again under different conditions here on earth. No one will have to worry about losing anyone in death or becoming sick. Revelation 21:4 says: And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes and death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry, nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."

 

I hope these thoughts can be of comfort to you.

 

With deepest sympathy,

Claire

I so understand the feelings of regret.  My sister's mother-in-law lived three years on a feeding tube not knowing night from day.  She had zero quality of life.  She didn't respond or acknowledge anyone's presence.  The only thing I can think of that would make the situation worse, is that she may have heard and known her condition but unable to do or say anything.  So frightening.  My mother saw her condition and asked us to never do that to her.  She was four weeks from her 96th birthday in December of 2010 when her Parkinson's and dementia finally robbed her of the ability to swallow.  She was already completely dependent on me for everything.  She couldn't even turn over in bed.  I had to set my alarm clock and get up every two-three hours to turn her.  When she aspirated, we (my sister and I) exercised Mama's wishes when she signed her living will, an with help from hospice, we withheld nutrition and water until she passed away ten days later.  It is the most difficult thing I've ever done and to this day, I live with the regrets of feeling like I killed her.  I always thought I would go to her bedside and find she had quietly passed in her sleep but that was not to be.  My sister and I say there was nothing about Mama's care and final days that were easy for us and even her end of life decisions were difficult.  I feel we engineered her death and I suppose I'll always feel that way.  I have gone on with my life but it is a bit darker and more retrospective.  I have to learn how to protect myself from this grief and it is somewhat better now but I'll never be fully who I was before this event.  We all are who we are and who we become through life by the things we see, do and experience. 
I so understand the feelings of regret.  My sister's mother-in-law lived three years on a feeding tube not knowing night from day.  She had zero quality of life.  She didn't respond or acknowledge anyone's presence.  The only thing I can think of that would make the situation worse, is that she may have heard and known her condition but unable to do or say anything.  So frightening.  My mother saw her condition and asked us to never do that to her.  She was four weeks from her 96th birthday in December of 2010 when her Parkinson's and dementia finally robbed her of the ability to swallow.  She was already completely dependent on me for everything.  She couldn't even turn over in bed.  I had to set my alarm clock and get up every two-three hours to turn her.  When she aspirated, we (my sister and I) exercised Mama's wishes when she signed her living will, an with help from hospice, we withheld nutrition and water until she passed away ten days later.  It is the most difficult thing I've ever done and to this day, I live with the regrets of feeling like I killed her.  I always thought I would go to her bedside and find she had quietly passed in her sleep but that was not to be.  My sister and I say there was nothing about Mama's care and final days that were easy for us and even her end of life decisions were difficult.  I feel we engineered her death and I suppose I'll always feel that way.  I have gone on with my life but it is a bit darker and more retrospective.  I have to learn how to protect myself from this grief and it is somewhat better now but I'll never be fully who I was before this event.  We all are who we are and who we become through life by the things we see, do and experience. 
When Daddy died in 1992 of lung cancer, he was alert; well as much as he could be on a ton of morphine and passed away without us having to exercise his decision not to be put on machines. And we had time to come to grips with his death long before he got really sick. But Mom never "came around" after this stroke and we're not sure if she knew what happened and what the outcome was going to be. I feel like I was the one that killed Mom, not the stroke.  When Daddy was suffering, I often wished I could have done something to make it stop.  I KNEW he was hurting, there was no doubt. We weren't so sure with Mom, even though the doctors were almost 100% positive she wasn't in pain. Then came the time to take out IVs and wait.  Wait for 12 horrible days, waiting and wondering if I did the right thing...wishing Mom would wake up and tell me it was alright.  The never being able to know is the hardest part.

Death is an ever-present issue in this world but it makes it no less personal to each and every individual. Even before my father passed away in December of 2007, I couldn't seem to do or spend enough to show him how much I loved him or appreciated the sacrifices he and mom made while I was growing up.  I often went to bed feeling somewhat depressed wondering what else could I do.  Finally realizing that my expectations were beyond reach brought about some peace, but only some. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him and how empty my life still is without his loving presence but I know the one thing we left each other with was love and that is eternal. Hope you find the peace that you desire and need. 

On November 18th, it will be five long months since I lost my Mom.  The guilt and regrets are still there; however, I can tell you that it is not as bad. I live in another state from my Mom and getting back after she died was not an easy task. But I managed to go a few weeks back, and it really did me good.  I was able to go the cemetery and have a good talk with her, and my Dad.  I felt as though she could hear me and understand; and somehow made me feel better. I did the same things we did when I would visit, and as crazy as it sounds, I felt as though she was in the car with me.

Sleep is still difficult, but I don't cry every night. I miss her terribly, but the knot in my stomach is not as big. I still have a hard time being around older people, but I don't run out of the grocery store anymore. I think about her alot, but not every single minute.

Even though I know her spirit is in Heaven with my Dad and the rest of the family, sitting down at the tomb and talking to her really helped me out tremendously. I think I'll be alright now and am beginning to get on with my life

 

Thank you for this site. I don't feel so alone with what I am going through. I thought I was going crazy but now know I'm not and that this grief is normal. My mom passed in May. I am the one that said enough is enough. I miss my mom.

Linda,   I felt and exactly the same way.  My Mom got sick one night and they found a cancerous tumor.   They said it was early stage and they could operate and take it out.   We were relieved that they could do something.   Well she did well with her surgery and then 4 days later ,   they found a leak or something and had to go in again.   After that it went downhill.   She was in the hospital a total of 1 month and passed away.  We (my sister and I ) had to put her on hospice in the hospital after all her systems were failing and they couldn't keep her out of pain.   So hospice made her comfortable and she passed 36 hrs. later at peace.   Afterwards,  my sister and I thought:  "What just happened?"   We back tracked and tried to figure every detail out.   Should we have gotten another opinion about the surgery (even though we felt we had the top drs.)   ,     Could they have done something other than surgery?   Why didn't she heal?   And the list goes on and on.   Finally  I couldn't do it anymore.   I knew we had great drs.  and we thought surgery would be the best option.  The surgeon actually got all the cancer and it never spread.  But she really died from complications because she couldn't heal.   It's hard on the ones that are left to feel they could've done something different.   But you really have to know in your heart that you did everything you could do out of love and with the information you had presented to you by Dr.  at the time.   It took me til 2 weeks ago (from Sept.) to accept that I shouldn't feel regrets or feel guilty.   I hope you can too.  The nurse from hospice said guilt implies intent and in no way if you love your parent,  would you intentionally choose the wrong thing for them.  I hope this helps!     And I also know that the what if's are a part of grieving.  It's normal.                                 Deb

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