Guilt over not being there for my mum at the end

I feel so bad that I didn’t realise my mum would die when I left her. I spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mum and dad and my mum had noticeably deteriorated since I last saw her. I left her on Tuesday, hugged her and told her I loved her and travelled back home via ferry and car, it’s about a 6 hour journey. Two days later my dad called to tell me she had been taken to hospital with an internal bleed and I spent the day trying to find out what was happening. She then got transferred to the mainland. I had a call from the hospital at 4am to tell me that she had a life threatening pulmonary embolism so I drove straight to the hospital. When I got there she was weak but conscious and I spent 4/5 hours just sitting and watching her go in and out of consciousness. I told her I would leave and go to my dad’s who is too frail to travel alone and bring him the next day. I managed to see the dr and he said that there was no embolism but she had a chest infection. I went and got my dad and brought him back in the morning. We were then told that there was Covid in the ward and we should leave after we had been there for a few hours. Back to my dad’s where I spent the night then the next day I met my brother at the hospital and we were allowed to visit my mum. She looked better but her breathing was very laboured. The dr again told us that she had an infection, probably aspiration pneumonia but she was stable and they were treating her. We told her we loved her and would try to organise her getting a transfer to the island so my dad could visit. My brother and I both live a long way away and we both travelled home to our families. We were both pretty exhausted by this time so went to recharge as we thought she was being well looked after and would be fine for a few days until the transfer. I called when I got home and spoke to her but her breathing was so bad I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I spoke to another patient who had befriended my mum and she said mum was ok but clearly quite unwell. This is when I should have gone back but I was so tired and not in a good place in my head I was scared to drive (it was 4 - 5 hours away). I had struggled on the journey home and thought I would give it a day to rest before returning. I called again in the morning, the nurse said she had a bad night but was ok now and I had a chat with my mum again to reassure her that my dad was going to be brought in to see her the next day, At 7 o’clock in the evening a dr called to say my mum was unresponsive. I got in the car and started to drive to the hospital but only got a little way before I got the call to say she had already passed away, I can’t bear the thought of her dying alone, I am sick with guilt that I should have been there that day and realised that she was at the end. I can’t breathe every time I think of it. I’m sorry to write such a long post. I felt I needed to write it all down but it hasn’t made it any better. I just hope my mum knows how much I loved her and forgives me for not seeing her that day,

My dear @JoanneL you have been through a gruelling time there - your story is one of a battle for love for your mum, over huge distances and massive worry. I am so sorry. You did everything you could and it was exhausting beyond measure for you in those hours and days. I know you feel you should have driven back at that moment but you were completely exhausted and if you had, you may have crashed your car. You did all you could. It is little consolation I know, but please believe this… Be gentle on yourself and keep talking to your mum if you can. It seems your family was very close and your mum was loved to the moon and back. A love like this is eternal, my friend. Big hugs from me today.

Dear Vancouver Than you so much for you very kind words. I keep going over and over it in my mind, sometimes I am ok but most of the time I just go back to thinking why didn’t I see she was obviously dying and find a hotel nearby so I could stay. Hopefully the intensity of guilt will fade in time, I have spoke to my brother and he says he was really happy that we got to see her the day before when she was looking well and was lucid. Her breathing was awful though and I should have known it was the end. Unfortunately, the doctors weren’t giving us that impression and said she was stable. Anyway, I won’t keep going over it again now. I really appreciate your kind words and support, I will try to focus on the time I did have with her and how lovely it was.
Big hugs back to you and I hope all is well with you also.

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Hi @JoanneL so sorry to hear of your loss.

The situation you describe sounds really horrible and to me you sound like a very loving daughter. You did what you thought was right and best.

Grief is horrible. Feelings of guilt are common because its human nature to want to control a horrible situation and believe there was more that we could do. We say ‘if only…’ or ‘what if…’ and it gives us the feeling that the death or the circumstances surrounding it was our fault in someway because of something we did or didn’t do.

Be kind and patient with yourself. I don’t know your Mum but it sounds as if she was truly loved by those around her. That love would’ve been felt by her.

Dear @Ryan82 Thank you so much for your kind words, I do appreciate them and I do feel slightly better, I’m trying to stop those thoughts ruin the lovely memories I have of my mum. I hope you are doing ok, you’re obviously on here for your own reasons. Please take take.

You’re welcome @JoanneL.

Grief is horrible. Really is the worse thing in the world.

Be kind to yourself.

You’re right @Ryan82, it really is the worst, I’ve never experienced anything like it. You look after yourself too please.

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