58 and just lost my Mum. Struggling without her.

This is my first time on here, after reading previous messages and hoping it might help me.
I’m possibly older than most people on here but I’m still struggling.
My Mum passed away last month, 26th Feb, age 96, and I’m so lost without her. She was my best friend, rock, 24 hr companion and we did everything together. In the last 6 years I was also her carer (though never like that word. I was her daughter, not her carer) as she had balance problems and poor eyesight. She was 96 going on 26 - so young for her age, so glamorous…always wearing makeup and taking pride in herself.
I’d lived with my Mum & Dad all my life & when my Dad passed away 7 years ago it’s just been my Mum & I living together and we’ve always been so close and did everything together. My Mum was my reason for getting out of bed every morning and she was my biggest/only supporter.
When my Dad passed away my Mum & I downsized and got a holiday apartment until we found a bungalow/ground floor flat that would be suitable for us. I’m still in this flat, after us living here together for several years, with memories everywhere and I just can’t cope without her. I’m crying constantly and miss her so much. It’s going to be so hard to now look for that bungalow/flat without my Mum being here/there and it breaks my heart that she’ll never get to see it.
I’m grieving over 3 things. Losing my Mum, losing our close relationship and also grieving about how she died & the way she died. She died from a perforated bowel/sepsis, which came out of nowhere. She’d survived Covid last year but in December had a relapse of it…though Doctor’s said it was probably a chest infection - but she was getting better from that.
She’d had tummy pains early hours Sunday morning, called the out of hours GP who said it was constipation & prescribed laxatives. The next night her stomach had swollen, ambulance took us to A&E and within 2 hours was told my beautiful Mum had 24/48 hours to live. I was shocked & heartbroken. This bowel perforation came from out of the blue. My Mum never had any issues with that. Even at 96 the only medication she took was for high blood pressure. She was so fit & well and just had a recent full blood test with everything perfect. So, the shock of this I just can’t get my head round.
So I spent the next few days & nights at the hospital with my Mum, never leaving her side. She was nil by mouth. My sisters were there too. It was so distressing seeing her go through this and I felt helpless. I just wanted to protect her & save her and make her better. I held her hand, told her I loved her and she squeezed it a few times but the rest of the time she was quite out of it on pain medication. It was heartbreaking watching her suffering, listening to the death rattle for 2 days, and the guilt is overwhelming. She was like a small frightened child and my Mum would have hated being like this and for us to see her like this. But she didn’t want to leave us and fought for over 3 days. She wasn’t ready to pass.
I swore to my Mum that she’d never have to go into hospital, that I would always look after her, but the ambulance crew said she has more chance of getting better in hospital.
I really thought my Mum would get better from it, that it was just the relapse from Covid and they’d give her intravenous antibiotics in the hospital and we could bring her home…that’s what the ambulance team said could happen. And that’s what I thought…so it was such a shock to be told she only had 24/48 hours.
We always thought our Mum would live till she was 105 plus and just pass in her sleep. If she had passed this way it would be easier & more reassuring to accept, as she wouldn’t have been in any pain. If she’d passed from a chest infection I could understand it more…but a bowel perforation I just can’t get my head round.
I’m so sorry for writing this long message and I hope, whoever reads it, stays with it and understands.
I’m 58, I’m older than most. I’m single so have no partner or children. It was just my Mum - which may seem strange to most people. But she was everything to me and we were joined at the hip.
I don’t want to socialise with anybody, just shut myself in. But I have to look for our bungalow and it’s unbearable without my Mum. It breaks me that she’ll never get to see it and live in it. At least she would have spent time in it and knowing my Mum had lived in it would have been so lovely and helped me knowing she had been there. I promised her when she was passing I’d get us it and I promised her we’d move in together. I meant it, but I didn’t want her to know she was dying and I wanted her to know she was coming home. When I said shall we go home and have a crumpet and do the crossword she managed to say ‘yes’. It’s so upsetting knowing she so wanted to come home - but at least it makes me think she had no idea how ill she was. I’d hate to think that.
I sit in this small holiday flat and there’s memories everywhere and I’m in bits. The thought of living without her is unbearable. And she’d promised me so many times she wouldn’t leave me. Everywhere I go there’s memories of my Mum & I. It’s breaking my heart.
My Mum was/ is the most beautiful, kind, gentle, caring, lovely Mum that you could ever wish to know and, even at 58, I can’t bear the thought of living without her.
Hope there’s others my age who feel the same…or at least understand.
Apologies again for the rambling and repeating myself.
Thank you.

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Please don’t apologise - you’ve been through such a lot and this is a safe space to write down your feelings and be heard.

I lost my Mum as a result of bowel perforation too. It was a side effect of her cancer but her oncologist was saying all along that her cancer was slow growing and her symptoms weren’t because of it.

Her GP said she had a sick bug but we didn’t agree so I took her to A&E (had to leave her at the door because of COVID) and in the evening she called to say the cancer had spread and her bowel had perforated. The drs tried to get her back to health and chemo but it was too late - she lasted another month. All but 1 day of it in hospital and 26 days by herself.

It is horrible going through this, no matter your age. Our Mums are our rocks and they leave an unfillable hole.

I wish I could offer you a magic wand or words of comfort. Just be kind to yourself and take it a step at a time. And come here to chat whenever you think it will help.

I hear how much you wanted to get your Mum home but it sounds given how poorly she was that she could be kept more comfortable there. I made the same choice for my Mum as I didn’t want her to be waiting for district nurses etc to give her medication.

It’s a horrible club to be part of but there are people here who understand how you feel xxx

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MonPetiteFleur
Thank you so much for replying, for understanding and for caring. It means so much.
And I’m so sorry about your Mum too.
I’m in bits.

It’s a horrible club to be part of but on the other hand everyone in here understands so it’s a safe place to feel however you feel.
Sending you love x

Oh I feel your pain and understand exactly where you are coming from. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your Mum sounds like a wonderful lady.

My Mum was 83 when she passed 14 weeks ago, it came very suddenly and I was lucky to be with her. I am convinced she didn’t want to go on and become more ill which she knew would have been terrible for me.

She was my best friend and I miss her so much. I’m 52 and an only child with no children and my Mum and I had an intense, close relationship. She was a single parent all my life and was one of the kindest, most genuine people you could meet. She has left a huge void in my life and many other people have said the same.

I can’t offer you any words of comfort other than you’ve come to the right place as everyone here understands what you’re going through. It is a horrendous experience that is just thrown at you and no one can possibly understand unless they’ve been through it.

There are always people here who will listen and understand.

Xx

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NJL,
Thank you so much for your reply and for caring.
I’m so sorry about your Mum too. It really is horrible isn’t it and I just find myself wanting to be with my Mum now. I really can’t imagine life without her.
And thank you for your kind words about my Mum. She is the most beautiful wonderful person you could ever wish to meet. I expect you feel the same about your Mum too.
Thank you

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So sorry to hear about you mum Anne3.
I totally understand your feelings of shock, loss and devastation.
My mum was 83, with Parkinson’s, when she had a fall in December 2020. She was shuffled between 2 hospitals as they couldn’t decide if she’d broken her hip. In the end they decided she had and she had a hip replacement op. While she was waiting to be transferred to the rehabilitation unit she met a new patient, who then tested positive for COVID-19. My mum then tested positive and within 10 days she was dead. :sob:

Everything I’m reading, and my therapist is saying, is that we all deal with grief our own way. I still keep bursting into tears and sobbing…

I think at least the first year is going to be terrible. Already had first Mothering Sunday, but there’s first Easter, birthday, Christmas etc. I’m just hoping it will get easier for all of us - losing your mum must be one of the hardest things…

Thank you so much for your reply, and I’m so sorry to hear about your Mum. Hospitals are meant to be there to make you better, but in so many cases it’s the opposite.
I’m sitting here in tears. My Mum gave me a reason for getting out of bed every morning. She was so kind, gentle and loving and I don’t know how I’m going to live without her. I just want to be with her.
Thank you for your reply and for caring.

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Hi Anne, so sorry to hear about the loss of your lovely mum.

Your story brought tears to my eyes, i lost my mum 6 months ago to cancer, like you i was her carer, she ended up in a care home on palliative care and the last few times i was allowed to visit her she was just gone from the medication, all i could do was hold her hand and tell her i loved her and give her some water from time to time.
It’s the worst pain i have ever been through, like someone has turned the tap of your emotions on full blast and you just can’t turn it off, you go around in circles, can’t stand up can’t sit down, can’t sleep can’t eat, you just want to curl up in a ball and cry your self to sleep.
I know there’s nothing i can say to make the pain stop, just that it gets easier with time.
my heart goes out to you at this most difficult time.

VeiledDruid,
Thank you so much for your lovely message.
I’m so sorry about your Mum too.
I’m in bits and i don’t know how I’m going to go on without my Mum. 58 going on 8.
Thank you for replying and for caring.

Please don’t apologise for your post. I’m so sorry to read about your lovely mum. I too am older - 57 - and my mum died unexpectedly last month. I feel so lost without her, even though I have a partner and children. She was sent to a care home after being in hospital, and died 2 days before I was due to see her after she had to isolate for covid regs. She was well, and that morning I had been speaking to a carer at the home about visiting. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call - Just hit the floor really. The shock is indescribable. And I completely get what you say about everything that you have to do now without your mum there with you - it is heartbreaking. I find that I can only take each moment as it comes, try and remember to breathe sometimes, and just cry whenever I need to, which is a lot. I have found it helps to read the posts here, because I realise I am not alone, even though there are times when I feel it. Be kind to yourself - grieving is such hard work. Take care

Thank you so much for your very kind and caring reply NPM. Not many have replied to my message so I am so grateful that you have. Thank you.
I’m also so sorry to hear about your Mum too. It really is horrible isn’t it?
I think the grieving is worse because she had a horrible death due to the perforation and sepsis, and within a week too. She’s never had any problems with this - so for this to just appear and take her away from us is just torturing me. Her heart survived another 4 days nil by mouth - so she wasn’t ready to leave us. She would have lived to over 100 if it hadn’t been for the perforation.
If my mum had just peacefully passed in her sleep then this pain I’m feeling would be a little easier.
Thank you again for your reply.
Anne

Hello Anne,

I wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I am 60 years old and understand what you are feeling. My Mum passed away in July last year, 8 months ago, but today I am really struggling and crying a lot. They say that a loss like this changes you but that you learn to live with it. I guess I am still learning to live with my loss. I’m not there yet. I support you and hope that both you and me can eventually learn to live with and make peace with our losses.

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Hello Danson,
Thank you for your kind and caring message - it means a lot that you have replied.
I’m so sorry for your struggle too. 8 months is still so early when you had 60 years with your Mum and I can understand how the tears flow and your heart is breaking. I totally get it - as my heart has broken too.
If you want to write more please go ahead, or send a private message if you prefer. I would be interested in hearing more.
Thank you again
Anne

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Thank you so much. I have just managed to write my intro post about my loss. That was hard.
You’re right - 60 years with her and we were very close. I miss her so very much. Though Mum was in a care home her last couple of years, I saw her all the time and spoke to her every day. I loved visiting her and we’d sit in her room and chat and recite “The owl and the pussycat” or go out for coffee.
I’m with you on the ‘carer’ word! I looked after Mum at home before she went into the nursing home and was referred to as her ‘carer’. I hated that! Oh that’s so lovely your mum loved her make up and loved to look her best. When I visited Mum we’d love to do her nails.
We’ve so many similarities in our story and we share a common feeling of utter helplessness about the end. I would always make sure nothing bad ever happened to Mum, I was with her for all her appointments etc., made sure she was cared for but due to covid restrictions, when she went to hospital after a fall, I was not allowed to be with her. All control and care with taken away from me. It was absolutely traumatic for Mum and me and my sister.
Your grief is still so very fresh. You’ll smile again soon. But like me I expect you’ll have good days and bad days. Most times I can take extra care on bad days. It didn’t work out too well today but I’m sure tomorrow will be better. I hope that for you every day gets a bit better.
Two things I found helped:
Though I am not religious I found a church where I could light a candle for Mum and sit quietly. I find the church very beautiful and peaceful. I go every Friday for an hour.
Mum and I took photos whenever we went out and made a lovely photo album. There are still blank pages. So sometimes I write her a little letter or write out a poem I know she’d like and I would stick it in the album.
Perhaps you might like to do the same or similar.
It has been lovely to be able to support one another. I, for one, have stopped crying now and feel better. Thank you for inviting me to talk more. I’m grateful.

Hi Danson
Thank you for replying and writing about your grief and circumstances. It’s always good to hear from someone my own age who is going through similar circumstances.
Today I can’t stop thinking about the way she died, how sudden it was and how much she suffered. She was 96 but didn’t die of old age. She died suddenly within a week and it was so painful holding her hand in hospital for 4 days & nights and not being able to help her and make her better.
Today I keep thinking to myself I hope she didn’t know she was dying. I kept saying to her we’d go home later and have some toast and do the crossword and she said ‘yes’ - so I’m just so hoping she never for one moment thought she was dying. But then as she was nil by mouth did she ever wonder at all why nobody was giving her anything to eat or drink? And then my siblings were there too so did she wonder why we were there all the time? I’m hoping she had no idea. My sister says she was too out of it and wouldn’t be aware she was that ill or never thought of anything too much. But we never know do we? And then I wonder if she heard me and my sisters whispering around her bed? I think how rude it was of us to whisper when my mum was lying there dying - we wouldn’t have done that if she’d been alive and well.
So I’ve got all these negative horrible thought this morning and my heart is aching. I wish I could play it all different and spoken to her more in hospital rather than just holding her hand and kissing her. But then if I’d spoken about all the great times we had she might have known, if she didn’t already, that she was dying. This is just too awful.
Yesterday it was crying all day - today it is this.
This is just too awful.
Talk anytime Danson
Anne

Hi Anne,

I feel your pain and anguish- the guilt and overthinking is such a cruel cruel part of grief. As if we’re not already hurting enough.

I struggled massively with the last days of my Mum’s life so can relate to how you’re feeling. What you have to keep reminding yourself is that you were doing the absolute best that you could in horrible circumstances. No one can prepare you for being with a loved one when they die, there’s no rule book of what to do and not do. It is however clear from your posts how much you love your Mum so please try to take comfort in the fact that that love would have been guiding your decisions in this final days.

I hope you get some peace from feeling like this
Xx

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Good morning Anne, I understand how you feel with all your questions around your Mum’s last moments. But there’s no way we can know exactly the right thing to do or say at that time. I remember reading something that was very helpful to me. It was that death is not like it is in the movies. Instead it can be very untidy - confusing and horrible and scary. My Mum had a stroke and lost all means of communication in the days before she died. But she was able to look at me with pure love and that mattered a great deal. From what you said, during your Mum’s life you shared an amazing bond and love. That is beautiful. I too wondered if I should have said more to my Mum but she was sleeping and I didn’t want to distress her. Like you I didn’t know for sure that Mum knew she was dying so I didn’t want to make any ‘final last words’. And in any case we’d expressed love every day so we had no doubt about that. She passed very peacefully and I am so glad of that, You held your Mum’s hand and kissed her - I think that’s perfect. Honestly.
Another thing I read which comforted me when I had similar questions to you was to remember that you cannot ever have been prepared for it and you yourself would have been in shock and distress. I think that you were there with her in life and you were there at the end. You can’t ask for more than that.
Yesterday I was in floods of tears and unable to do a thing. Today, tears are threatening but they’ve manageable and I’m moving about and doing stuff. So one day at a time.
x

My mum died suddenly last November. She caught Covid and went into hospital, was discharged but then was taken back in and died not long after. In her last week, her doctor had told her that she was on the maximum treatment and if she got any worse, they couldn’t do anything to save her. My mum called us, hysterical and crying, scared, and thinking she was dying. We were allowed in to see her, and then I was allowed in every day that week until she did die.

That last week, she was up and down. Her breathing was fairly stable and on her last night, she was on morphine for pain (what turned out to be a blood clot) and it helped so much that she was sitting up in bed chatting, and I helped her call her friends and my dad and brother.

But the next day we got a call to say we had to go to the hospital. That morning she had been getting less and less responsive until she fell unconscious and would never wake up. She was already unconscious by the time we got there.

We knew she was going to die and we sat with her, holding her hand and talking to her. We had friends and relatives call in to speak to her on speakerphone. Now I wonder if that distressed her, if she could hear it. How awful it must be to know that you’re dying and can’t do anything to stop it, or speak to your loved ones.

I was just trying to do everything we could to make sure she knew howled she was and how many people were with her in her last hours.

It all just feels so unfair. I’m only 36 and I don’t know how to go through the whole rest of my life without her; I don’t want to have to miss her for longer than I had her.

I feel that my grief is getting worse as time goes on, not better, and I don’t know how to carry on any more.

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Thank you MonPetiteFleur for your kind words.
I’m sorry you went through such a horrible time. I know you don’t want to go back and re-live everything about your mum, but if you ever want to chat then please go ahead.
Kind wishes
Anne

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