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my grandma is dying but i can't cry

(21 Posts)
carmilla Thu 16-Mar-23 00:53:24

I don't really know if I should feel bad about this, but my mom called me and said my grandma was in the hospital and it didn't look good. This would be her third hospitalization in just two weeks, so mom said it was probably going to happen soon.

And yet, I can't feel sad, or even cry.

My grandma has dementia, along with diabetes and other things, and my mom takes care of her, since none of her children want to do it. They love her, I'm sure, but they have never really wanted to take care of her, and I get why. It's hard, it has been even harder the last two years, I have watched my mom deteriorate herself, losing so much weight, all just to take care of my grandma.

We live with her, in her house, it was an exchange done by my aunts and uncles, we get to live in the house, they get to not take care of my grandma anymore. If she dies, we will probably get kicked out as soon as a week after, or even less, because that's how they are.

We would have to rent, and would be very limited money wise for the rest of our lives, or at least until I get a job after finishing college and can help my parents.

And yet, somehow it feels liberating. My mom would have time to rest again, and to take care of my sibilings, and she could go out with her friends like she always says she wants, my sibilings would stop having to worry about taking care of my grandma at their young age.

It feels wrong to write it, to even think about my grandma's death at all, but I can't help it. I feel guilty that I'm not crying or feeling sad because I love my grandma and she may die, but I cannot help but think about my mom, and what this might mean for her.

I don't know what else to do, is it wrong that I feel this way? Am I a bad person?

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Mar-23 00:58:41

Of course you aren’t a bad person.
Everything that you are feeling is completely natural.
You obviously love your family very much. especially your mom.
Please don’t be so hard on yourself.
Take care of yourself, and your loved ones thanks x

rafichagran Thu 16-Mar-23 01:04:17

These feelings are normal, it does not make you a bad person.

faye17 Thu 16-Mar-23 01:49:45

You sound like a very good girl to me Carmilla; take care of yourself, eat,as well as you can and get plenty of sleep.
You need to be at your best to be able to study and build your future which I'm sure will be a bright one.
Sometimes the death of a family member brings more feelings of relief than of loss; for many different reasons.
There is no shame in feeling this way.
Your grandmother has had her life and you want to see your own mother having some fun and carefree times.
That is quite a natural desire.

I believe there really is a time for everything and for you now it is about accepting your mixed feelings and understanding that these are uncertain times for you and your family.
In time you will feel more free to mourn your grandmother but for the moment listen to your own heart and respect your own precious feelings.
I wish you and your family happiness
There are brighter days ahead sunshine

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Mar-23 01:57:06

faye, what a lovely post

absent Thu 16-Mar-23 04:35:21

When your grandmother dies (we all do eventually), it will be especially painful for your mother as she will have to say goodbye to her mother. It is clear from what you have said that you treasure and love your own mother, so make the jump in your head to what she is suffering. It is painful helplessly to watch someone you love die and this is probably intolerably difficult for her.

BlueBelle Thu 16-Mar-23 05:45:35

You have normal feelings and sometimes we just live too long these days
You love your mum very much but you could be in the position your mum is in one day Your mum will be very torn between wanting a normal life to losing her precious mum
It doesn’t sound as if your aunts and uncles are very supportive of your mum or you
I think you should all start looking for alternative accommodation as it sounds as if you could be put out as soon as your gran dies depending on her will if she has one
Don’t beat yourself up your feelings surrounded by sadness are normal

Whiff Thu 16-Mar-23 06:35:42

Carmilla you are not a bad person. I had my mom living with me the last 18 months of her life a dementia made it dangerous for her to live on her own. She also had breast cancer . My mom died long before her body did . I have written about this on other threads so won't go into all the ins and outs. The last 4 months of my mom's life where hell on earth as she turned violent and attacked me daily. Some narrow minded person on another thread said it was abuse. In my experience the violence was out of FEAR. My mom had never laid a hand on my my whole life. Dementia violence comes from FEAR . My mom didn't know who she was ,where she was,who I was or what was happening to her. She had rare lucid times but she thought I was her mom . I told her I was her daughter and she would say I know I love you mom .

My mom would have hated what she became. Every morning I used to hope she had died in her sleep and before anyone slates me for saying that unless you have looked after an person with dementia 24/7 on your own you have no idea what it's like. Yes I could have taken the easy way and put my mom in a home but I couldn't do that to my mom . I am proud of the fact my mom didn't have a sore on her body as many nursing home patients have. I made sure she never had one . When her skin became paper thin with age I cover it with a soft bandage so her skin didn't tear.

My mom in her lucid moments I made her do all the things she could like wash her face and brush her teeth. It was important to me she still did it as she smiled when she did it. I would have to show her what to do and remind her to not swallow the toothpaste if she did she laughed and for a few seconds had my mom back.

Mom insisted on wearing a pad but I always got her to the comode and she never wet or soiled herself. She would have hated that. Yes I had to clean her but that was nothing.

The Wednesday before her death she said can we sit on the bed to cuddle mom I want to sing the songs dad taught me. I will treasure that moment. After a hour she was tired so went to sleep . And woke up and attacked me.

During this time dementia made my mom into someone I didn't know . Mom only said bloody or shit. But the swear words that came out of her mouth I didn't know she knew. My mom adored my late husband and could never understand why he died aged 47 from cancer and she had breast cancer the same time she was 73 . Had to explain it was a different grade to hers but she said she would have given her life for his . Both my parents loved him so much. Mom said the most vile things about my husband but I knew it wasn't my mom but the dementia.

Mom had breast cancer again aged 86. She died aged 90 but it wasn't cancer that killed her but the dementia.

I shed a lot of tears when my mom died but her body lived. And after she died I was happy she was finally at peace . She believed she would be with dad again before dementia destroyed her . I am an atheist but my parents believed in God. Dad had died 10 years before mom . While she was dieing I told her dad was waiting for her it took her 10 hours to die from when she started to fade away. I had stayed with my husband every minute while he was dieing at our home and had to tell him to stop fighting as he couldn't breath on fully oxygen he died few minutes later. But I couldn't sit with my mom but went into her every 10 mins.

Unless you watch someone die you won't understand why I couldn't stay with my mom . After my husband I had watched his mom dieing . She was in hospital and the last 2 days of her life spent 15 hours a day with her. She died within a hour of me leaving the hospital. And I did that for a woman I hated. Mine for her family did. But they appeared once she was dead.

Watching someone die is harrowing as they become skeletal. And again this is my experience. My dad looked the same after her died. He died while mom slept in the same bed and she didn't realise he had died. Until she touch him. But that's another story.

In some ways I wish mom didn't have the second mastectomy and had died at 86. But those extra years gave my mom change to see both my children married, my brother finally married to a woman in my mom's words deserved him and saw and held her first great grandson.

Dementia and Alzheimer's kill the person you love long before their body dies. And a person with these can live for years . It's a living death. The person with it doesn't suffer because they don't know it's happened by the people who love and care for them suffer. I only shed a few years after mom died as there was so much to do and it was a relief finally it was over. But at her funeral it hit me and couldn't stop crying . But for a year after mom died all I could remember was the violence. But no more . Mom died in 2017 . I only remember the mom ,dad and husband I knew when they where fit and healthy and that gives me joy. My grief for my parents ended long ago but the grief for my husband gets worse as the years go by he died in 2004. I grieve for him daily. Others who have lost the other half of themselves will understand that. You are never whole again.

Carmilla the nan you love and knew died long ago . When her body dies the grief will come. Until then be kind to yourself and support your mom. She will need you all the more when her mom dies . Help her when the time comes and make sure she eats and drinks and just listen to her when she talks about her mom. Give her lots of love and cuddles. 🌹

Granmarderby10 Thu 16-Mar-23 07:58:41

They call dementia the long goodbye” for a reason. Thank you *Whiff for being stunningly honest about caring for your Mum.🌹

LRavenscroft Thu 16-Mar-23 08:48:33

In a strange way it sounds as if the worst is behind you and your mum. You will both work on auto pilot until such time when you will look back and say 'it happened'. I've been there and frightened myself at how practical I had to be. There was no one else. All the right memories, emotions, feelings and chats will happen when the time is right. Until then make sure you both get good food, rest, and be very kind to yourselves, ignore the negative comments people may make. This is about you, your mum, and your gran. You are both doing exactly the right thing. We have no map or instructions for this kind of event apart from listening to our hearts and looking after ourselves. Wishing you all a safe, calm, kind journey over the next few weeks.

pascal30 Thu 16-Mar-23 09:57:41

Carmilla.. it sounds as if you areane especially caring and empathetic person. It must be very difficult watching your Mum becoming so exhausted and also being so worried that you may not have a home very soon.. You are young and should be able to study and socialize without these added pressures. I hopethat when the time comes that your Mum will find the energy to legally sort out your housing situation and then have a really good rest and that you can relax. It's a very tough situation and you are certainly not a bad person, you may grieve or you may just feel relieved when your gran dies.. just respond naturally.. no judgement

Shelflife Thu 16-Mar-23 10:12:58

I have been in your Mum's situation and it is not easy. I also had children at home with me , mum lived with us for three years. Please do not feel guilty, you are most certainly not a bad person ! You are there for your Mum and that is very important. You can see your Mum tiring and not able to do the things she wants to. When I was caring for my lovely Mum I put myself on the back burner, looked after Mum and my children - I was exhausted. Your Grandma is coming to the end of her life and your feelings are natural, you are worried about your Mum losing weight and want to protect her, faye17 is correct - the sun will shine again 🌞
Take good care of yourself , and put any feelings of guilt well away from you. All will be well !

Granny23 Thu 16-Mar-23 12:07:30

My own parents both died suddenly in old age, which was a shock but also a blessing as neither had suffered a long illness nor needed extensive care from me, just an occasional helping hand with something they could not manage themselves.

It was the first Christmas after they had both died before I broke down and the tears flowed. It was hard to adjust to Christmas and New Year Celebrations with only four of us and finally realise that they were gone forever.

I also lost my 'love of my life' DH to Dementia, after a drawn out, almost unbearable downward journey where he left me mentally, bit by bit, day by day, but ultimately, slipped away peacefully as soon as I had left his bedside to go home for some sleep. I have not cried since (except at weepy movies). I had already become a 'widow' but with huge worries and caring responsibilities, panicking every time the phone rang, hardly ever having a full nights sleep, latterly, struggling to afford care home fees and being treated for Anxiety and Depression.

When he died my main feeling was relief - for him that his struggles were at an end and for me that all my worries and dreads had happened, I had fulfilled my responsibilities (In sickness till Death us do part) and he will remain in my fond memories, and in our Children and Grandchildren. I feel his presence near me and am thankful for all that we had rather than dwelling on the suffering of the last years.

faye17 Thu 16-Mar-23 13:50:13

Thankyou Fanny cupcake

NanaDana Thu 16-Mar-23 14:16:55

Of course you aren't a bad person, and your feelings are entirely normal. In some ways, we grieve the loss of a loved one with Alzheimer's/Dementia long before the physical body finally passes. As for your Mother, she is a Saint to have shown such devotion to your Grandma for so long, despite the fact that it has obviously cost her dearly both emotionally and physically. Be ready to focus care and attention on your Mum when your Gran has passed. She will certainly need you.

amazonia Thu 16-Mar-23 14:17:38

This is so hard for you all. You are absolutely not a bad person.
My mum died at the age of 85 but MND left her with nothing but her eyes to move. She had a fall during lock down and I went home to help my elderly father look after her. Lack of access to a doctor meant that my mother had no proper diagnosis for months. We struggled desperately with her rapid physical decline. She lost speech and then all movement in a matter of weeks. In her final few weeks we all wanted her to go. To know that her brain was still there and she was totally trapped was excrutiating for us all. It broke my father.
I miss her so much.

Barmeyoldbat Thu 16-Mar-23 14:54:58

Do not be so hard on yourself, you sound a very caring person, caring so much about your mum. My own daughter died this time last year age just 49, she had many medical problems but it was a simple one that killed her and all I could feel was pure relief that had suffering had ended mixed with sadness. Tears came later every now and again when I least expected it but it wasn’t floods of them, just a quiet little weep at night. Maybe this will happen to you, maybe not we are all different and there is no correct way to grieve. Give it time and take care of yourself.

Ali23 Thu 16-Mar-23 16:38:11


You have normal feelings and sometimes we just live too long these days

I agree with this completely.
OP you are not being awful, just honest.
My mum lived for too long too, and it put me under quite an emotional strain. I felt a mixture of relief, sadness at our lost opportunities, and grief. These have fluctuated as the 18 months since she died have passed. I’m sure you’ll have your own ups and downs too, as will your mum.
My gran lived with us for five years until she died, and I remember being soooo angry when all the ‘useless’ relatives turned up for the funeral.

Look after yourself . Be kind to yourself. Let time pass. It heals all sorts.

VioletSky Thu 16-Mar-23 16:58:17

You have a logical mind, for you the positives outweigh the negatives at this present moment

The grief may hit you at another time or not at all.

Everyone is different

If you were a bad person how you feel would not concern you at all.

Just take it one day at a time and let yourself feel the way you need to feel in the moment because it is all normal and ok

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Mar-23 17:23:37

Whiff thanksthanksflowers

Dinahmo Thu 16-Mar-23 17:36:32

My Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers when she was 56. She lived in her own home for about 2 years and then went into a nursing home. She died about 6 years later. Most of my grieving was in the early stages. My sister and I spent her last week with her in the home. She had developed pneumonia. On the morning we left the home I felt as though a big weight had been lifted from me. It was strange because I hadn't been thinking about her dying beforehand.

It seems to me that the OP and her family are doing their best and NanaDana is right about the OP looking after her mum.