Dealing with circumstances of a mum dying at home

My mum died 6 weeks ago at home. 3 months previous to that she was apparently told she had suspected lung cancer with no treatment. Hoewever over years she was told he may have this or that added to her collection of illnesses so no one was very worried other that more ill. My dad and i were told she may or may not have it and if she did then a year maybe. But this lead to lots of shes ok shes not ok and constant us to decide things even down to everything with constant changing care and her passing. This has left me in a state of should i have made her aware that she was actually dying or taken decisions earlier i just feel so robbed of the time with her. And even though i was up virtually 24/7 you feel on this side if was never going to be enough. Now my dad is trying to sort a new life but im stuck in this loop of the last 3 months. And when my brain has a breather i think oh i will give mum a call about the thing…


Dear @CHIP21

I apologise for not replying sooner and I am sorry for the loss of your mum.

With your mum being so unwell she may have sensed that she was dying. It is awful after a loved passes as you keep going over what you said and did. I would be very gentle with yourself as the decisions you made were right for that time and situation.

You need time to grieve, and you are in the early stages of grief, it will be a horrible rollercoaster of emotions from day to day. Sue Ryder have a Grief Guide here which will help you understand and cope with your bereavement and grief.

Losing a parent is an incredibly painful experience, Sue Ryder have information on Losing a Parent which will be of help and support to you. You can also get support here by connecting with members by typing in the search bar Loss of a Parent, who have been in a similar situation as yourself.

If you have not done so already, I would speak to your Doctor to let them know how you are feeling and see what support they can give you.

Please continue to reach out, you are not alone.

Take care.


Dear @CHIP21 I’m so sorry for the loss of your mum. It really sounds as though you did all that you possibly could in the uncertain circumstances at the time. We can only make decisions on the basis of what we are told and I suppose, even when a loved one is very unwell, there is always the hope that there will be a little more quality time. So I think that unless doctors are very sure that death is imminent, the tendency is to be rather vague and err on the side of there being more time. My mum died at home too, during lockdown, and neither my sister nor I could be with her, as we both live on the other side of the country. Arranging first 2 care visits a day, then 3, then 24 hour care over the space of two weeks felt like firefighting. Yet one of the doctors told me that her failing kidney function could wobble around for months and months, and I clung onto that in the hope lockdown would end in time for us to get to her. It didn’t though and mum died just before it ended. Afterward, I realised that I’d not talked to mum about the possibility she was dying. I’ve worried about things I never got to talk to her about and ask her, and that still bothers me. I understand what you mean about feeling robbed.

I suppose many of us will feel if only we’d done this, said that, had more time…. I’m having some bereavement counselling now, and the counsellor says to feel like this is normal, and we have to remember that we made the best decisions and actions that we could at the time, with the knowledge that we had then and the circumstances then in place. I know this does make sense. It doesn’t really make me feel better at the moment, but I suppose I do see that I ought not to blame myself for things I would have done differently if I’d known better. My counsellor also talks about acceptance, I can see that is necessary, I just don’t see how I can accept, not at the moment anyway. It feels that I’ll never be able to accept.

Its good to hear though that your dad is trying to move forward, that must surely be a testament to the support you gave him, and how right the decisions and arrangements you made for him and your mum were. I think it’s only normal you’re a bit stuck now though, after all, in everything we do in life, we’re always told these days to review and think how we can improve. But we can’t do that for everything, and death is one of those things I guess where we can’t and maybe shouldn’t. All we can do is what we think is right, and respond to changing circumstances best as we can. I do hope you can escape from your loop as I hope I can from mine. I feel for you when you say you think you’ll just talk to your mum about it, because not a day goes by when I don’t think the same thing.

Big hugs, take care, xx

Thank you for the responses. Even as you say firefighting hour by hour me and my dad would repeat the same sentence we can only do what we can do with the information we have and play it day by day or hour by hour. We and all the carers were treating her like normal right up to it. And i went out to get more meds and came back and she must have passed away as i pulled up to house. I suppose everyone no matter what situation will always have a if only i knew sentences. All my brother and dad can say is shes not in any pain now and maybe that keeps them comforted but i dont. I just feel 24/7 was not enough because but thats something im working on. I just struggle with seeing elderly people thinking why are you ok and mine dead.

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Yes it’s really hard isn’t it. Never enough time.

I left to get medication and when i came back she had passed about half hour before my dad was in kitchen and i had to inform him. Im filled with guilt that dispite looking after her at home 24hrs a day for weeks no one was sitting there when it mattered. And when people say they where there in hospital and told they only had hours etc we was not given any time frame so could not preplan anything. I feel it was impossable to be everything but i still feel it wasnt enough.

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Please - You were there all those hours days and weeks when your mum really needed your care and support, that really mattered so much to her. it was so important and you were there for her through that long difficult time. . It is said sometimes the dying wait until they are alone to let go because it’s too hard for them when loved ones are with them. Maybe you actually gave your mum the space she needed to let go and slip away. Please don’t feel guilty. I think those of us left behind always look for something to beat ourselves up over , because we imagined how it would perfectly be, having the right amount of time, being in the right place, saying the right things. Then when it works out differently we blame ourselves. Even if it works out like that, there will be something to criticise, maybe we cried too much, or not enough, maybe we didn’t say goodbye I love you often enough. But we oughtnt to. We did all that we could, when our loved ones lived and struggled, and it was enough. Really. Even if it doesn’t help us to feel better, hope it makes some kind of sense. Maybe we need to accept our mums’ slipping away was their final act of independence and value that they had that xx

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