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pre bereavement

(97 Posts)
Joolsverne1 Sun 28-Jul-19 16:15:32

I have just joined this forum having never done anything like this before.
I am really struggling to come to terms with my mothers death - and she hasn't yet died. Sounds odd, however 7 weeks ago my 82 YO mum told me she wanted to die, she had nothing else she wanted to do and she wanted just to slip' peacefully away'.
She has no real life threatening health conditions and following a short period of nausea, decided that she may as well stop eating. My dad passed away 5 years ago.
This was nearly 7 weeks ago and after a short spell in hospital, is now at home with carers in and progressing to end of life.
I am finding this really difficult to accept whats she is doing. Not so much from the religious point of view, but from knowing what she has (in my mind) to live for. She has a lot of family quite close by, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has her own home and no money worries.
Has anyone had any experience of this? I really need to find some peace of mind and acceptance of how she is deciding to end her life. Thanks x

Framilode Sun 28-Jul-19 16:29:27

I have no direct experience but feel from what you have said that your Mum has decided that her life is now complete and she wants it to end.

I know that this must be amazingly hard for you and your family but I don't think her decision in any way reflects on her love for you all. She has just decided that she has had enough and wants to bring things to an end. I think that all you can do is be there for her and offer her comfort during this very difficult time. Maybe knowing that she made her own choice will eventually bring you peace of mind. I hope so.

Whitewavemark2 Sun 28-Jul-19 16:34:27

My mum is 101 and has heart failure. Really she has been so good up to about 3 weeks ago and is now more or less bed ridden. She eats very little , and thinks that she has lived for too long now, although she isn’t actively pursuing her death, but she wishes herself gone.

Yes it is upsetting and miserable watching their struggle, but in your mums case she has taken control, which if you think about it is just as it should be. Nothing to feel guilty about. But you are feeling grief just as I am and it is perfectly natural.

Death is one if the most profound things we will ever have to face in our loved ones but it is part of life and absolutely inevitable. Just love her as you always have done.

I’m doing what I can, like picking garden flowers, taking her favourite magazine, trying to think of stuff she likes, although their world gets smaller and smaller doesn’t it?

Do keep in contact if you feel that is appropriate. You will get good support on here if you need it.

chicken Sun 28-Jul-19 16:44:01

I've no personal experience of this, although my own mother wanted her life to end for many years before her actual death. However, a neighbour did precisely what the OP describes. She always wanted to reach her 100th birthday and receive the card from the Queen, and as soon as this had been achieved, she turned her face to the wall and refused to eat or drink, dying a few days later.

craftyone Sun 28-Jul-19 16:54:24

your mum is tired Jools, she wants to be with her soulmate, to quietly slip away, to not be afflicted with one of those awful illness that can come with very old age. She has seen you all grown up and be happy and settled, she feels that her work is done. It is her time now, let her be. Wanting her to stay is your choice, for you, not for her

Daddima Sun 28-Jul-19 17:03:18

It’s like when you were a child you never wanted to go to bed, nor could you imagine ever really wanting to go to bed. Then, when you grow up, you can’t imagine anybody wanting to die, but there comes a time when we’re more than ready.

Nannarose Sun 28-Jul-19 17:03:53

Yes I do. I didn't find it as difficult to accept as you do. I was sad, but was able to celebrate a life well lived and a wonderful legacy. Are you able to think about your mum's life and death in that way?
Some lovely advice above.
We are not, as a family, religious, but a strong part of our culture (we are from a rural area) was the rhythms of life, and we all found the Psalm 'To Everything There is A Season' suited us very well - whether read from the Bible, sung simply by Pete Seeger or the Byrds' version.
I write this simply to offer something you may find useful - we are all different.
I hope that you and mother can find something to share so that the last of your time together on this earth celebrates your relationship.

Gonegirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:07:48

For an 82 year old, that is horrible! That lady needs the care of a doctor to treat her depression. Sorry, but I don't think you can just accept that. You must help her fight it.

Gonegirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:10:09

For God's sake, take her out, visit with the grandchildren, buy her flowers, do her garden up with loads of flowers. Tell her how much you, and the children, love her.


Calendargirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:20:46

Sorry Gonegirl, but I agree with other posters. She is ready to die and should be allowed to go in peace.

Gonegirl Sun 28-Jul-19 17:25:33

Doesn't bother me what you feel Calendargirl.

At 82 the poor lady shouldn't be feeling like that.

Lisagran Sun 28-Jul-19 17:54:17

Was your mum hospitalised as a result of the nausea? Was anything diagnosed? Is she on any medication as a result? Has she suffered from depression earlier in her life? The doctor presumably know of her intention? Sorry, that was a lot of questions! I do feel for you.

ginny Sun 28-Jul-19 18:59:35

Goodness , she is only 82 with no real health problems
There must be some other underlying reason. Maybe depression ? I would be encouraging her to speak to a doctor or at least questioning her myself as to why she feels this way.

SueDonim Sun 28-Jul-19 19:06:10

I agree with Gonegirl, I think this situation needs to be assessed by a professional before accepting what the OP's mother says she wants.

NanKate Sun 28-Jul-19 19:15:47

Jools I have experience of what you are going through. My mother wanted to die in her own home after having a short spell in hospital. She was going downhill health wise but she wanted to speed things on. I decided to let her do what she wanted. I was criticised, but my mother’s happiness was my prime concern. She want to go and be with dad and who was I to stop her.

She fell into a coma and just ebbed away.

Do what you and your Mum want.

Sending you hugs.

mcem Sun 28-Jul-19 19:49:36

You need to have her health assessed objectively.
In the end it isn't your decision but looking at treatment for depression is vital.
In this day and age 82 really isn't a big deal!

OTOH I could foresee a time (not at 82!) when I could accept that, job done and family settled,
I'd prefer to shuffle off my mortal coil if I'd lost interest.
I 'd rather 'see' them benefit from their (limited) inheritance than waste it on paying for care for me when I no longer care to be kept going!

Joolsverne1 Sun 28-Jul-19 19:49:53

Thank you for all your lovely input; yes my mum has had low level depression I guess most of her life. I remember when I was very young her being admitted to a 'clinic' for a while.
She's not been on any meds and whilst in hospital was assessed by the psychiatric team as having mental capacity so legally could so what she wants. She was also described as nihilistic (yes I had to look it up).
Whereas I believe she should be able to 'slip away' and join my father, in relaity it hasn't worked out like this. She left hospital weighing 4 stone 12 lbs - and that was 4 weeks ago. I honestly don't know how she's kept going. This is not the death she had anticipated.
On the one hand I wish her a sppedy release and on the other I am angry with her, and this is the isssue that i am really struggling with.
I constantly study other older ladies that I see out and about and wonder how they can find joy and purpose that my mother can't find.

Joolsverne1 Sun 28-Jul-19 19:57:42

Me and my 2 sisters have done all this. Visited with the grandchildren - great grandchildren. She has enjoyed these visits then quite cuttingly dismisses us.
Her GP knows her wishes and as I said we waited for over a week to get her a mental health assessment before being told she has full mental capacity and was discharged home.

Sara65 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:02:51

I haven’t experienced this directly, but apparently my great grandmother said one day, she’d had enough, took to her bed. and that was that.

Probably a lot more going on there than I was ever told, but sadly sometimes people just have had enough

Bordersgirl57 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:07:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllanVannin Sun 28-Jul-19 20:19:36

Because I'm only 3 years younger than the OP's mother there's no way that I would wish or even imagine going just yet, even with having a few medical problems to contend with.

If you'd seen the size of my dinner that I ate and enjoyed you'd understand why I wish to stay as long as I'm able.

Things could/would be very different if I was suffering in any way and wasn't able to eat or manage my life as I do. I remember telling my GP years ago that I'd take a pill as that would be my wish.

My D's late MiL just wanted to fade away so didn't eat or drink and she was someone who'd loved life and travelled extensively but was never the same after she lost her husband. Both had lived in Australia and both came home to die. So vey sad watching her reduce in size and no longer enjoying being alive. I remember it affecting me at the time.
With that in mind I can only send my heartfelt wishes to you and for you to remain strong when the time comes.

fizzers Sun 28-Jul-19 20:22:28

oh I do feel for you and your family, have been through this situation myself, my mother ( who had COPD, some dementia plus other ailments) decided it was her time to go , she refused to eat and drink, did not cooperate with her medications, and just wasted away over a matter of weeks, she was in hospital , then care home, and because she was deemed capable, there was nothing that the medical profession could do. It was a sad and horrible to thing to watch a person slip away like this

Hetty58 Sun 28-Jul-19 20:30:45

Joolsvernel, I feel that your mother has a perfect right to decide that she'd like to die soon. Of course you struggle with her decision as it feels like a rejection of you and the family, not just life itself. It's natural to feel angry about it.

You are grieving in advance and it's a painful experience. Find out about the stages of grieving as, although it's an individual thing, being aware of common stages can help you understand your strong feelings.

We live in a society where there's a majority Western world set of values and way of thinking. We tend to have
problem-solving, logical thoughts, actions and skills. Therefore we are almost programmed to think we should be doing something, solving, improving, changing things.

In the East, people generally view life very differently. There, traditional thoughts and beliefs see life as a great experience, a journey to be travelled. They do what they can when it's needed but accept the difficult and inevitable much better by thinking that way.

You cannot decide if her life is worth living, only she can.
She's made her choice and just needs your company.

SueDonim Sun 28-Jul-19 21:13:32

With your extra information, Joolsverne1, that does put a somewhat different spin on it. To weigh as little as she does, she must have been going downhill for some time. She sounds determined to forge her own path and given what her health professionals have said, all you can do is be at her side. flowers

Bordersgirl57 Sun 28-Jul-19 22:15:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.