My mum is end of life

It’s day 15 in ICU. My amazing, strong mum, Beryl, was admitted with pneumonia. It came out of the blue.

She has fought hard but 36 hours ago treatment was stopped and the ventilator removed.

My mum is now comfortable and we are waiting with her to say our final goodbye and watch her pass.

Why am I writing this? Because I feel like my oxygen has been removed too. I feel like my life is ending. I cannot comprehend life without my mum. I am uncontrollably upset when I think about her. With my dad. With my kids. With me. Every memory is painfully, painfully happy.

I have never been so scared in my life. How can I live with this pain. How can I cope. How can I not speak to her on the phone every day. See her weekly with the kids. She absolutely adored them; and they adored her too.

3.5 years I lost my brother to cancer. I found that hard, but this is on a different scale.


I am so so sorry you’re going through this. My mum was in ICU for 3 days but it was already too late and we had to remove the ventilator. It was sudden also. Like completely out of the blue. I remember feeling exactly like you are right now when I knew the ventilator was coming off. It was ‘how do I live without my mum when I’ve never had to before?’ I fell apart. I kept calm at the hospital but fell apart at home and everything was a daze. The hardest part is there is nothing we can do to change whatever is happening. The loss of control feeling is horrible. For now, be with your mum. It’s not easy. I’m 10 weeks into losing my mum. It’s not been easy. It’s minute by minute, then hour by hour then day by day.
Here if you want to talk or anything at all. I won’t tell you to stay strong cos you don’t have to. You just need to do and feel what’s right for you.
Always here,

Nic xx

Thank you Nic, I’m so pleased you have responded.

It’s hard watching mum on her end of life journey. It’s so difficult to get my head around given all I can see in my head is her living her best life with my dad and my kids.

I’m in bits at the hospital. My dad is too. I’m trying to take give myself some breaks by using my phone. I went home yesterday for an hour or so and I just had constant killing pain inside.

It took me around 18 months to feel ‘better’ when my brother passed. But i genuinely cannot see a way out of this with my mum.

How were you going back to your mums house? How do you feel about returning more frequently?

My parents have lived their for over 40 years, but my mum was the heartbeat of the home and it will be unbelievably hard not seeing her there again.

My mum and dad were divorced. I was driving to mums that night, my sister was there and my dad called me and was not very nice to be honest and I’ve not heard from him since.

Mum was in a council house. Going back to it being empty, her not being there was hard. We were given 4 weeks to clear the house out. Which was our home also once. I’m hoping the fact your dad is still there may somehow take the edge off for you. But I did hate going back there. Seeing her car outside. All as it was left. It was horrible but we had to do it. Someone else will be living there soon I’d imagine. I hate the thought of that. In my head even now I see her sat at the table or on the sofa.

Nothing I say will make this easier for you. We all deal with things differently. But you are not alone. Like you I have children. There have been days when I’ve thought I don’t want to be here anymore then I hear my mums voice telling me to get a grip and be strong for the kids. They will get you through.

Nic xx

Thanks Nic for sharing some of your experiences.

My dad has said he can’t go back to live in our family home as they’re are too many (happy) memories. So I’ve said he can come and live with me temporarily until we find him a bungalow close by to where we live. Of course, if he changes his mind at any time, then that’s absolutely fine.

When mum was on the ventilator with a small chance of pulling through, me and my dad went back to their home. Mums bedroom was the same as what it was when she left for the ambulance. I decided to leave it like that in hope that she would return and it would be the same. I got terribly upset though, especially seeing her little shoes in the hallway - just little silly things like that will undoubtedly break me.

I seen my parents typically once or twice per week. But I’d speak to my mum on the phone everyday, just to make sure that they were both ok and to see what they had planned for that day. Knowing I have ‘mum mob’ in my phone but I will never get an answer again absolutely destroys me. I just wondered if you can share any coping mechanisms that have helped you? Thanks.


You have all the same thoughts as me. I can’t look at ‘mum mob’ on my phone still. I can’t look at our messages. I saw mum once or twice a week also and we FaceTimed every evening and messaged through the day. I remember seeing mums shoes where she’d kicked them off the day before it all happened. And yea it upset me a lot.

Maybe it might help you both for now if your dad does stay with you. Do you have a partner? I don’t as my children’s dad left 2 years ago. Even with the kids here I feel alone and would of gratefully accepted some company at the time. Even now I dont like being alone too much.

My way of coping for the time being has been kind of avoiding it. I don’t look at her name on my phone or anything at the moment as I just can’t. I also know my mum would be cussing me for not eating and would tell me to stop being daft. So sometimes that will make me do something. For instance the last time I opened my nail Varnish was the weekend before and I couldn’t touch it. Sounds silly I know. But the other day I used it. Cos she’d of said don’t be so bloody stupid Nicola in exactly that way.

Yes, im married and my wife has been great. Shes stayed at the hospital loads whilst it gives me and my dad a little bit of respite. So today we actually went over to my parents house and we both found it easier than we had originally thought. Don’t get me wrong, if I’d have looked for the things to make me cry, I would have! I seen a few things but I quickly diverted my attention elsewhere. In some ways, we both got a feeling of comfort actually being there - as in, we felt close to mum.

My mum adored my kids, and they adored her. And actually seeing my kids cripples me with pain and upset. But at the same time, I want to be with them so much as they offer me a small dose of normality. It’s difficult and strange.

Similar to your nail varnish, I hate looking at anything prior to the 10th April, which was when she got admitted into ICU. Because each time I see a message, a Facebook post, or an email, Its just a painful reminder of only a short time ago, my mum was fine, and I just want to go back in time to try and do something to help her, even though I’ve been told I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.

I’ve been eating ok. Not great but ok. I’m eating less than I normally would, and eating unhealthy food. But I have no appetite so I tend to just eat what I really enjoy and hope that that’s better than nothing at all. My mum too would say, Simon make sure you get something to eat. I can hear her voice now. It makes me smile and then cry.

That’s brilliant that your wife has been so supportive and you know she’ll be there for you. Which I think will help a lot.

Maybe we build it up a lot going to their houses. I was dreading it. I did have tears and it was sad. I was more sad it went as there was a lot of emotional attachment to it also. I think maybe I’m the same as you and I divert my eyes. I have a picture of her and I just don’t look at it at the moment. It’s literally a case of just taking it one step at a time even if you may not be sure where those steps will take you.

My children have done the same for me. They make me smile when I really don’t want to. It does break my heart mum won’t see them grow up but I like to think somehow somewhere she is watching them.

I am the same. I seem to be before mum / after mum. Everything is a reminder. And I hate seeing things before 14th feb. That’s when mum was admitted. Like you I find it hard to think how was everything all ok then the next moment the world imploded on me. I think it’s a kind of panic about it all. And it is painful. But you have support from your family and on here too. Keep talking.

Yes, I feel exactly the same about my mum not seeing them grow up. I would give anything right now for her to be around when my 9 yr old goes into high school and my 3 year old going into nursery. But I need to also accept that my mum has also seen loads of great things with my kids - and done loads with them.

In terms of the pictures you mention….unfortunately in 2018 we lost my brother to cancer. He was 46 when he passed. I was in bits (but nothing compared to what I’m feeling about losing my mum). And I think by just having my mum around after he passed, massively helped. I always felt safe knowing that my mum had my back - even at 39 years old! I’ve always got on great with my dad, but me and my mum were like ‘that’.

Anyway, getting back to the pics, I couldn’t have any of my brother up around the house. I got so so upset seeing them. In fact, I didn’t really talk much about him. I bottled it up. This didn’t help matters and my temper wasn’t great with my wife or kids. I had 5 rounds of counselling after about 16 mths and this I think helped.

But with my mum, I’m hoping to be different. I want loads of pics up so that my 3 yr old constantly sees his nana. I want him to feel closer to her than when she was physically here. Now, I don’t know how I’ll cope with this, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see.

And in terms of professional help, I think I’ll seek this much sooner with my mum. I’m currently off work and can see me being off for a while, but I need to somehow find a way of feeling up to going back. Which at the min, I can’t even imagine.

I will put some pictures up. I don’t want my 2 year old to forget her. I do talk about her to both children.

I’m sorry you lost your brother also. Bottling it up doesn’t help which is why on here is helpful also as people can understand what you are going through.

I’m 41, have 2 children and my mum used to text me to make sure I was up in the morning still! She knew I liked the snooze button. If I didn’t answer she’d call me. It’s these little things.

I am starting grief counselling next week and I’m also currently off work still as couldn’t face going back in yet. I know one day I’ll have to and that it might also be helpful to do it when the time is right.

Just keep talking don’t bottle it up.

@Hopleys I have just read through your post, so sorry to hear what you are going through. I lost my wonderful Mum at the end of march and its been the hardest 4 weeks of my life. She was only given 6 months to live in November and lasted 5. The thought of living my life without her fills me with complete dread, I have 3 children 2 of which are starting high school in sept and oh how she would have loved to see that day…that honestly breaks my heart. We think so much of how much they will miss out on. I try keep myself as busy as possible during the day with the kids and they do bring me the lift I need each day. I have to admit night times are a struggle, I dread that lying down because then I think and when I think I cry.

This group is so so helpful and some very kind and caring people who can offer support. Love to you and your family at this very sad time.

@Katie1987 I’m so sorry to hear that but thank you for sharing. When my brother passed, I genuinely felt really alone (even though I live in, what my mum would describe, a madhouse!) so I decided to join this forum. This is my first contribution and so far so good :blush:

Yes, night times are awful for me too. I’m lucky in that I have my wife just to snuggle up to when my body is in the deepest of pain, but it doesn’t make it go away - just acts as a nice comfort blanket. I’ve been staying in the hospital the last 2 nights and had some nightmares - I woke up to genuinely believe my mum is fine. And to then realise she isn’t was absolutely crucifying. I’m scared if this happening in the future too; where I’m having an ok bit of time in the day and then bang, out of nowhere it will hit me that my mum has passed - it will just knock me for 6. And it will take me ages to recover from that one single episode.

All the best with your journey and please continue to keep in touch.

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@Hopleys yes I have a wonderful husband and I feel lucky to have him, he is there for me so much. Yes I think I have days where I feel OK then bam driving in car and thus surge of sadness hits me. What I am finding comforting is I still talk to her say good morning tell her about the kids and how they are doing. It pains me but it strangely helps.

Yes, I’ve been thinking of what mum would say when I’m in certain situations and then I say the phrase out loudly (my mum would use so many repeated phrases, it was so funny). After I’ve said what she would say, I respond back - I am probably going bananas but like you say, it has helped me cope in that moment.

It’s very early days for me, but I want to try and remain in control as much as I can. And if I start to lose control, I want to be able to let my closest family help me. That’s sone thing I didn’t do very well when my brother passed.

I’ve had a hard day today - my mum is still on her end of life journey and the Consultant asked if we wanted mum to return home. My dad jumped at the chance. So I have been back to the family home of 40 years to sort the room for mum to be brought home to pass. It was the hardest thing so far. I cried, broke down and just felt generally horrendous. I’d normally be sorting the house ready for my parents to come home to live. Not to pass away. We’re going home with mum at 10pm tonight and I am absolutely dreading being at home. It’s so confusing for me. But, it’s what my dad wants and I truly believe it would be what my mums wants. And I think I’d prefer my mum to be home when she passes, but I just feel broken; as if my life and world as I know it has fallen apart.

I’m so sorry today has been like this for you. So sorry.

You know what your mum would of wanted.

We are here for you. All the way.

Thank you @nicnic.

I just pray that what is going to happen at my parents home doesn’t get in the way of the fantastic, happy memories that I hold there. I don’t think it will.

Not looking forward to sleeping tonight, which isn’t a good start. I tend to think if your mindset prior to going to bed is one of ‘tonight’s going to be awful’ it tends to be that way. But I am struggling to imagine it being any other way. It’s bloody awful.

It won’t. My mum technically went in her bed. We said she’d already gone after that. As she had really. And that’s where she’d of wanted to be when she went. She’d of not liked the hospital stuff after and officially went at the hospital. She’d of hated that. But she was already gone.

However, we no longer have the house. But in my memories I still hold happy ones of the times we spent there. Not the bad ones. Just the happy ones. One day I’ll go through my pictures and find all the ones I took there. And smile. All I see in my mind is mums house. I saw it empty. I saw it as she left it. But I just see the happy times in my head. You will too one day. I just can’t begin to imagine. I kind of can but this is different. We are here. Keep talking.

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