My mam died on Sunday from cirrhosis

I didn’t even know she had it. I should have - all the signs were there. I guess maybe it’s because I’ve just had my baby this year, her first grandchild. She was a very private person keeping the pain she was going through to herself. My dad, brother and I watched her die in hospital from Friday night on end of life care. I have no idea if she could hear everything we said, see the photos of her grandson. She was only in her fifties.

I’m eaten up with pain and guilt. I should have tried to help her more with the drinking.

Dear Greensunflower,
Reading your post I can see the pain you are feeling. You obviously loved your mum very much. It is so sad that she lost her life at such a relatively young age. It must have been a great joy for her to have her first grandchild this year. As to your question if she would have heard what you said and saw the photos: when I trained as a nurse I was told that the last thing people lose, even when they are unconscious, is their hearing and that we should always keep that in mind when we talk to them or about them, so she may well have been aware of who was there and what was being said even if she could not respond.
Alcohol can be a huge problem, and people who struggle with it can be very good in keeping it hidden, even from their loved ones, so please do not blame yourself for not knowing about it, or doing more. This weekend my neighbour, a widow in her fifties, died. She struggled with alcohol for many many years. I spoke with her daughter yesterday who is only in her twenties and feels devastated. She and her brother knew their mum had a problem, and they did everything they could to get help for her and make her stop but were unable too. She said to me: my mum was so much more than an alcoholic. She wants to remember all the good things about her mum. I hope that you have many happy memories of your mum that will in time replace the ones you have of her last few days. It is good that you have come to this site. I hope you will find it helpful to read the posts and replies from other people who have lost their loved ones.

Thank you Jo so much for responding. She cut down so much with her drinking over the last few years and we’ve recently learnt that her and my dad found out two years ago it was cirrhosis. There were so many beautiful things about my mam. So many. I was ill a few years back and she used to come over every day and care for me as I got my strength back after coming out of hospital. She was always there for me and selfishly I always wanted so much more of her time. I always feared something like this would happen but her whole family have suffered addiction and they’ve always been given another chance. My mam didn’t get that third chance I think would have made all the difference.

I feel I’m grieving for me and my son, her first grandchild. Because of the pandemic I never allowed her to kiss him and the guilt I have consumes me by the minute. Throughout lockdown she never saw him and then we’d start meeting up for walks where my dad would push her and she was wheelchair bound by the end. How couldn’t I have seen how ill she was? How will she ever forgive me?

I stayed in hospital with her and I told her none of this matters anymore and I love her with all of my heart. I really hope you’re right and that she heard me even though she was unconscious. I miss her more than I could have ever ever imagined.

The things are mums do for us can be so amazing. When I had my son 19 years ago my mum came over from Holland to look after me as I was very poorly after a Csection. I miss her so much. It was only when I became a mother myself that I truly appreciated all that she (and dad) had always done for me. The love you have for your baby will help you to better understand the love your mum had for you. I am convinced that if there was anything to forgive you for, she would willingly and happily have done so.
You followed government guidelines and that was the right thing to do at that time. You did not know what was going to happen and I am sure that she would have understood that you did what you had been told was best for you, your mum and your baby.

I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your mum not long after having a baby. Guilt is a very common part of grief, but it sounds as though she kept her problems with alcohol well-hidden.

I hope that it helps even a tiny bit to have this site as somewhere to share feelings and get support. You are among people who understand here. I just wanted to point you in the direction of this recent conversation, which you might be interested to take a look at: Loosing your only parent at a young age. There you will find posts from @abae and @Bee1, who have both lost their mums to alcohol-related issues, as well as @Fg15 who lost her partner in the same way. Please feel free to post a reply there if you’d like to talk to any of them.

I am so very sorry for you loss it breaks my heart to read another post like this
My partner passed away in June aged 42 i knew he liked a drink but didnt know how bad things were and how much he hid it well and from christmas last year he wasnt right and admitted he had a problem and started getting help but before we knew it he was in hosp he was in 7 wks didnt expect him to live then he came home for 3 month deterioated and ended up back in on fathers day i got called over 6 days later to say they could do no more i was by his side when he passed away i am so hurt and angry and upset to just go that way when we had a daughter who was 11 at the time why didnt he get help sooner i cannot answer that but what i do know is unless they admit the problem themselves you cannot do anything my partner did but was too late
And despite all the anger i miss him so much he wasnt a bad person ive not been coping well lately thought i was doing ok but hit me so hard lately its not easy i am waiting for counselling
Alanon is a good one to contact its for people affected by someone elses drinking they have meetings but i cannot get to them in my area
Take care of yourself and your baby xx

I’m really sorry to hear about your husband. It’s too young for someone to die and it feels so cruel and heartless when they’ve adapted their ways, or tried to in some way, but it’s been too late. How is your daughter coping?
Like you, I feel I need some kind of counselling through this. My mam wasn’t a bad person either - she wasn’t your typical alcoholic that conjures up in some people’s mind. She worked incredibly hard all of her life, give me and my brother everything we needed but she had this one weakness and sometimes it ruined things but that’s not the person she was; that was the alcohol.
I’ve spent a long time being upset about all of this even prior to her dying. I never knew how bad things were or stupidly didn’t want to admit it. I feel like I’ve let her down but like she’s let me down too - that probably sounds awful but I really needed her since my little boy was born and she has been so ill this year, even ending up in a wheelchair.
I can’t believe I’ll never see her again. My faith is in complete tatters at the minute.

Thank you for this. I will definitely have a read through.

Its so hard isnt it my partner wasnt a bad person kust drank and the drink took hold of him
I feel like he let me down like how could he possible do this to us but wasnt him was the drink our daughter is doing ok despite her knowing alot more than me and her holding it all in at such a young age
Im hurting so much and this time of year isnt helping and knowing he isnt coming back i feel so lost and empty not easy xx

My partner could hardly walk and he had to have a wheelchair when he was home for the last 3 months he was do thin

How long do you need to wait for counselling?

I feel like I’m not being told everything at the moment and it’s eating me up. I have this horrible feeling like she knew she was ill and dying but kept it from me and now I’ve missed out on precious time together. I’ve never been understanding about the alcohol, never. I grew impatient and feel like she’s been gone for a long time. I feel like I’ve been missing her for almost a year but it’s only been almost two weeks.

I understand the feelings of anger and I’m not sure about you but sometimes I feel betrayed. Your poor daughter must be incredibly strong and must have had to deal with a lot. My mam drank when I was little and I noticed early on - it’s hard not to. We used to walk along the shop for two bottles of wine most days.

I actually got a call from counselling today after waiting 3 weeks but I was leaving for work so they will ring me back hopefully tomorow
My partner started going downhill from christmas last year he last worked christmas eve never returned due to beeing ill he was just laying around not moving his leg was painful and could hardly walk i called dr he came out put him in hosp with liver failure and he got worse while in there.
When he came home in march he was stable but had lost loads of weight and again his appetite went after he passed away in June i went to see his consultant and went through everything i asked her if he was ever td how long she said no but were werent talking years i said i know that i could see how ill he was he couldnt have a transplant as was too ill he wouldnt have survives but he kept saying when im better but he was never going to get better and to sit with him for the last 2 nights of his life was awful to see they took him off the ventilator and there was nothing more could be done.
I know he didnt mean it but he has done it he has drank himself to death sadly and i feel why me what have i done to deserve this and to move to the other end of the country for this i get scared for the future i get scared of dying i constantly get headaches and am also on medication and i lost my dad 4 years ago to mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) and its hard very hard x

I’m so sad for you - it’s just utterly heartbreaking especially because you’re a young family. I’m really glad you got that counselling call - I’m really hoping you’ll benefit from having someone to talk to about everything that’s going on in your head at the moment.
Your husband’s decline sounds very similar to my mam’s. Two years ago she was in hospital but her and my dad told us she only had an infection in her liver and they both swore to me it was nothing to do with alcohol. She kept drinking, albeit not as much but still did, maybe she was in denial?! The pain in her leg kept getting worse and I was told it was her arthritis. I was too naive and stupid to see what was going on in front of me. I’m feeling really angry about things today. Furious about everything. I think sometimes I get like this because being angry is easier for me than being heartbroken.
I haven’t lived with my parents for many years now, leaving after a particularly bad episode about twelve years ago. Everyone around her drinks heavily. Except me and my brother, we don’t drink anything. I never will.
I feel I’m just rambling but I didn’t want to not write back when it’s so clear how much you’re hurting. Try and get a good nights sleep x

Thank you
I didnt sleep to good last night but thats nothing new ar the monent
Since my partner died ive only had a couple drinks im not interested anymore but thats all the impact its had on me.
Take care x

Hi @Greensunflower,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your amazing mother. I lost my father in August of 2019 and our wonderful son was born a month later. One thing you have to know at your core is that your mother loved you so much and wouldn’t want you to live in pain and guilt. She would want you to be joyful and celebrate her life with your family, while enjoying the incredible experience of raising your own beautiful child.

I wish you the best. x