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Question
Posted by: EDCee | 2012-09-04

Death

Hello Cybershrinky,
I hope you are well.... Please can you help me unravel something that is going on in my mind. My mom, who I was VERY close to passed away in July from cancer, she was 61 and for interest sake I am 28 and lost my dad 2 years ago also from cancer.

My mom''s passing came suddenly as opposed to my dad who was notably ill for a year.
With my mom she had had an ovarian cyst which was huge - it weighted 15kg removed in January, at the same time they did a full hysterectomy. The tests they did revealed the cyst to be begnin and the surrounding tissue cancer-free.
SHe appeared to recover well from the op and went back to work in March, then in April she started battling to get out of bed, she could hardly walk - she was walking with crutches. Standing and sitting for long periods was painful. Doctors kept saying its sciatica, arthritis, degenerative joint disease but NOTHING sinister.
By May she had deteriated to the point where to get out of bed she was shimmying to the edge and pushing herself up first on her legs then on the bed or bedside table whatever was closer.
THen came what I know term " the fateful day"  in MAy, she was pushing herself up off the toilet and her arm just snapped. She then blacked out and my gran found her lying on the floor unable to get up, she phoned me - I rushed down to her and couldnt get her up either so we phoned for an ambulance. My mom lay on the floor between her bedroom and bathroom for 6 hours screaming in pain while we waited for a government ambulance to arrive to pick her up. Eventually she was in the ambulance and en-route to our local tertiary state hospital, when we arrived at the hospital the casualty doctor did some x-rays and called a surgeon, the surgeon requested more x-rays and started using the words " MULTIPLE MYLENOMA"  which thanks to a balckberry and google I quickly learned was primary bone cancer. Apparently the point where her arm had broken had suspicious lesions that looked like this cancer and she had similar lesions in both hips.
They immediately admitted her.
During the first few days in hospital they discovered she also had DVT so they could not pin the arm or do a biopsy to confirm Dr Casualty Surgeon''s initial assumption. All this time I was praying that my mom had her order of events wrong - first black out then break.
On 11 June they pinned her arm and did a biopsy - they also wanted tp get her mobile as soon as possible so on 25 June they pinned her hip to strengthen the joint.
Unbeknown to my my beautiful, brave mother received the news on 20 June that she had advanced stage terminal non-treatable metastatic ovarian cancer, it had spread to her bones, lungs, colon and adrenal glands. She kept this news to her self and forbd the doctors to tell me, my gran or my brother.
On 27 June the doctors went against my mom''s wishes and told me that she had this cancer and that with the clots she had that we had very little time left with her - that these clots could embolise at any stage and we could loose her any day - her body was deterioting and they feared starting to shut down.
The next day they moved her to a private ward and I sat and had a long chat to her, she was optimistic that the doctors had it wrong, she was going to kick the cancer and be fine.
They increased her morphine on a daily basis and she was hallucinating quite a lot.
The monday 2 July was the day things changed rapidly in my mom''s life and mine.
My husband and I went to see my mom, she was complaining that she had headache in the base of her head, she was drifting in and out of consciusness and not talking a lot of sense... I went to phone my brother to tell him that I thought he needed to come. During the time I was gone she snapped out of her daze and held my husbands hand, looked him in the eye and told him to look after her mother and daughter.... he said he would.
I think that night she had a stroke.
The days that followed were the hardest of my life. The tuesday night we took my gran to say her goodbyes, it was heartbreaking. No matter how old a person they should never have to bury a child. My mom could not talk she made stange gurgling noises and her mouth and twisted in....
Each time i saw her I told her how much I loved her and she would squeeze my hand. On Thursday 5 July I saw my mom for the last time - she was a little conscious when i got there, the nurse asked me to leave while they gave her her morphine mymom was distressed by this, I promised I would stay until she fell asleep and I did, she held my hand tightly, I told her it was ok iif she wanted to go, I would be ok (thats a lie, i am not ok, I am crying as I type this) she squeezed my hand, I told her that I loved her a lot and that she was the best mom I could have wished for and asked that if she understood what I was saying and wanted to say she loved me too, if she could blink.... she blinked. I stayed until she was asleep and the grip on my hand loosened.
Every goodbye was torture, like it was to be the last.
The fateful day dawned, my brother went to see mom, he spent hours saying what he needed to say, and an hour after he left she left us, never to return. gone forever.

I am sorry to ramble.

Now that you know the background please help me:

1) I know that she died in hospital - yet in my mind, the space in her room where she was lying that afternoon in May is the place she died, that corner haunts me, I cannot get that afternoon out of my mind. WHY??

2) I feel lost without her- will that feeling leave?

3) I don''t feel guilty, I have no regrets yet people keep making me feel bad because I was not there when she died - should I have been? Did I let her down by not spending every conceivable minute with her at the end?

4) I had tick bite fever a month ago and felt weak because I was moaning about yet, guilty that I was feeling sorry for myself when my mom faught cancer with nothing - I know its wrong of me to compare but what else can I do?

5) and lastly I say I have no regrets, but there is one thing, one thing that I couldn''t change but wish I could - its not really a regret its more of a wish i had.
I have not had children yet and my mom was so looking forward to the day where she would hold my first born.... that is never going to happen, how do I stop myself wishing I had???

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

So Sorry to hear about your losses. The situation you describe was awfully and indeed needlessly distressing for you all, and I'm amazed that the doctors didn't take her difficulties seriously enough to check out whether things were as simple as they assumed. With a very large tumour, its not practical to check every single scrap of it, and though even 95 % of it may be benign, it's possible even a small portion might be malignant. So sinister symptoms coming on fairly rapidly after the operation should have led to doubts. People who think of themselves as experts are often far too reluctant to doubt themselves.
Its a pity we no longer have GPs like in the old days, who could come to the house and at least give some strong painkilling medicine while waiting for the ambulance.
But, from my many years of experience dealing with seriously ill and dying people, I am confident that your mom was aware of your having been with her, of your love and care for her.
You gave her permission to go, when she really, really needed to do so. That was kind of you, and gracious. And it wasn't a lie to tell her you'd be alright. Of course you don't feel OK now, but yopu will be allr0ght, and the rest of your own good life will continue to be a tribute to her.
A famous American writer who was dying of a similar malignant disorder, once wrote that "A time comes when a dying man needs death, like a sleepy man needs sleep".
And while you, and your family, remember her so fondly, that is where, and how, she still lives.
as to your specific questions :
First ofm all, these are still VERY early days it takes time, and lots of hard work, to work through our grief. In time the place where the horrible phase of things started will lose its power, but its very natural that right now it reminds you painfully of all that happened and that followed.
2. Yes, that feeling will leave. You will never forget her or your love for her, but increasingly you will be able to remember her with joy, pride, and happy memories of all she was and all she aded to your life, and without the raw sense of overwhelming loss that right now clouds all those good parts of her memory.
3. ANYBODY who is stupid and ignorant enough to make you feel bad about not being with her at that particular moment ( probably some time after she was last aware of whether you were there or not ) are fools and cruel ones at that, and not worth paying the least attention to.
4. We each face and deal with the rost problems we are aware of. You dealt with your own problem, and your mom dealt with hers. There was no competition, and neither of you neglected the other. and 5. OK, sad, but yes, your mom won't physically be present with you to hold your child or children. But surely n a very real and valuable sense she will be with you, in spirit, in your good memories of her, and the love you share with your children will be in good part the love she invested in you. In that way, she will always be with you and them.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: EDCee | 2012-09-18

thank you for all the messages, it means a lot to read about otehr peoples experiences and i am trying to deal with my issues.... today was another bad day but they are getting further apart

Reply to EDCee
Posted by: Tanya | 2012-09-05

" Grief is the price we pay for love" 

Repeating this saying always comforts me after losing my Mom in April this year. Death of a close one is never easy but is inevitable. One must realise that everything that is born must die. Knowing that all suffering is over is also a great comfort.

Reply to Tanya
Posted by: J. | 2012-09-05

My mother and older sister died within a year from each other, they didnt die in the house, but I couldnt live there after that. I improved immediately after I moved away.

My mother has been dead 10 years, my sister 9. I still think about them daily and I wonder if they see us, the rest that is left. I had my daughter shortly after my mother died, and sometimes when I look at her, I swear she reminds me so much of my mother, who she of course never knew. The pain has subsided, but an intense longing remains. Some days are better than most, and I get through the rough parts by thinking about them smiling down at me, organising stuff from heaven. I am not terribly religious, but from the day they died, I no longer fear death myself. That is weird. I dont believe that there would be a big reunion in the sky, but I do believe that the souls of the dead are still with us in our hearts and in our memories.

After 10 years, I cope well with my sadness, but there is still one thing that gets me. When I think how much my mother would have spoiled my daughter, I get sad, because both my daughter and my mother was robbed of that oppertunity. It will forever make me sad.

Your mother has been dead only a short time, I am sure sometimes you dont even feel it is real. During that first few years I used to imagine my mother bringing me a cup of coffee all the time. I am equally sure that a part of your mother is in you, and the day you have a child, IF you want a child, that part of her will be there too. My mother loved the ocean, and I love to go walk along the beach in winter, because at those times not alot of people are around. I can talk to her at those times, because sometimes I swear I can feel her close to me.

My message to you would be this. Seek out the things that she loved to do, like walking on a beach, or visiting a relative and relive stories of her. Dont be affraid to talk about what you feel, it took me a long time to admit that I was extremely mad because she left us at the age of 53. I felt cheated, I wanted her here for longer.

PS: You know what is funny? My mother was cremated and her ashes put in a wall at a local church. I dont go that way around the church. I dont go visit there, I feel her ashes are there, I go and meet her at the beach. That is were my memory of her lingers, and because she loved the beach, the memory is always a happy one and I come back refreshed, energised and more importantly loved.

Hope this helps you,
Hugs
J.

Reply to J.
Posted by: EDCee | 2012-09-05

Thank you Phil, your words mean a lot... what you say is logical and hopefully the more I read what you wrote my mind will start to believe it.

Reply to EDCee
Posted by: Phil | 2012-09-05

Sorry  this is so sad. Hugs for you.

I just want to tell you two things. You did ur goodbyes at the right time  and your mom acknoledged that. she had closure with you already. Not being there when she died  does not mean you didn''t say goodbye, beccause you did.

The kids  I know that one. But I alos believe that the dead do see our kids and are happy for us in anycase. I believe this now.

You don''t have to feel bad when you were moaning when you fealt ill  we are all diffirent. That''s normal.

The place where she died  that will never go away. Sell the house is what I would do. It will allways haunt you.

All the best.

Reply to Phil
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-09-05

So Sorry to hear about your losses. The situation you describe was awfully and indeed needlessly distressing for you all, and I'm amazed that the doctors didn't take her difficulties seriously enough to check out whether things were as simple as they assumed. With a very large tumour, its not practical to check every single scrap of it, and though even 95 % of it may be benign, it's possible even a small portion might be malignant. So sinister symptoms coming on fairly rapidly after the operation should have led to doubts. People who think of themselves as experts are often far too reluctant to doubt themselves.
Its a pity we no longer have GPs like in the old days, who could come to the house and at least give some strong painkilling medicine while waiting for the ambulance.
But, from my many years of experience dealing with seriously ill and dying people, I am confident that your mom was aware of your having been with her, of your love and care for her.
You gave her permission to go, when she really, really needed to do so. That was kind of you, and gracious. And it wasn't a lie to tell her you'd be alright. Of course you don't feel OK now, but yopu will be allr0ght, and the rest of your own good life will continue to be a tribute to her.
A famous American writer who was dying of a similar malignant disorder, once wrote that "A time comes when a dying man needs death, like a sleepy man needs sleep".
And while you, and your family, remember her so fondly, that is where, and how, she still lives.
as to your specific questions :
First ofm all, these are still VERY early days it takes time, and lots of hard work, to work through our grief. In time the place where the horrible phase of things started will lose its power, but its very natural that right now it reminds you painfully of all that happened and that followed.
2. Yes, that feeling will leave. You will never forget her or your love for her, but increasingly you will be able to remember her with joy, pride, and happy memories of all she was and all she aded to your life, and without the raw sense of overwhelming loss that right now clouds all those good parts of her memory.
3. ANYBODY who is stupid and ignorant enough to make you feel bad about not being with her at that particular moment ( probably some time after she was last aware of whether you were there or not ) are fools and cruel ones at that, and not worth paying the least attention to.
4. We each face and deal with the rost problems we are aware of. You dealt with your own problem, and your mom dealt with hers. There was no competition, and neither of you neglected the other. and 5. OK, sad, but yes, your mom won't physically be present with you to hold your child or children. But surely n a very real and valuable sense she will be with you, in spirit, in your good memories of her, and the love you share with your children will be in good part the love she invested in you. In that way, she will always be with you and them.

Reply to cybershrink

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