Nearing my Mum’s end of life

My Mum and I were told yesterday that she had only weeks at most to live. Her breast cancer has spread to her lungs and she is struggling to breathe. Today she told me she felt like she was drowning. It’s devastating to witness. She contracted aggressive leukaemia from her first round of chemo & radiotherapy for the breast cancer three years ago but managed to beat it, but the breast cancer has returned and is unstoppable this time.
She is my whole heart. I am an only child without family or a partner of my own and I’m in my early 30s where a lot of my friends have recently married or had children. I feel very alone. We are inseparable. I am so terrified of the future without her and can’t imagine living happily ever again. I’m also terrified of the immediate no doubt distressing future - but it’s the time after she’s died that scares me the most. I feel without hope.
I’d be so grateful for any advice on how to cope. Thank you. Hannah

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Hi hannah,
This is a scary time for you and there isnt much I can say to make it better. However, what i can do is reassure you that there are many of us on this site who have recently lost our beloved mums and are getting alot of comfort from chatting about our feelings with the online friends we have made here.
I lost my mum in june. I didnt know she was going to die. We found out she had a 95 percent blocked carotid artery on the 7th june which put mum at a massive risk of a stroke. She was told the only option was to operate.
My mum suffered a severe bleed on the brain 25 minutes after the operation and died the following day.
It’s fair to say I have been in shock since that day. But somehow, with the support of this site as well as taking things one step at a time, I am managing to live without my mum.
Its not easy and the next few days, weeks and months are going to be hard.
Others will come along shortly with their words of advice. I honestly dont know where I would be without the sue ryder forum.
Thinking of you.
Cheryl x

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Thank you so much Cheryl. It’s so comforting to know that there are others who understand, though I hate that this pain exists for so many people. I’m trying to get Mum to focus on the blessings she’s had in life so that hopefully she feels more at peace, but I am so devastated for her as she has so much more life she wanted to live.
This is a wonderful site. I’m so sorry for your loss too x

Hannah86,
I am so sorry this is happening to you and your Mum. My mum passed away suddenly 5 months ago of pneumonia and a sudden heart attack. I am an only child, with no close family. I was Mum’s long term carer.
My advice to you is to take it the only way you can. One step at a time. One hour at a time.
Take care. x

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Hannah
Its very sad. I detest sudden death with my dad dying at 53 suddenly and my mum at 74.
However I cant imagine anything worse than them knowing they are going to die. I ciukdnt have handled seeing my mum like that. My mum thought she would be right as rain once she had an hours operation but at least she had hope.
X

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Dear Hannah,
It must be so hard for you to see your mum struggle for breath and to have been told she only has weeks at most left to live. It sounds like you two are very close and have no other close family to turn to. What about friends? Is she at home or in hospital? Are you getting any support from health professionals, like her GP or a specialist nurse? I have been where you are now, although my mum and I were a lot older than you and your mum. My mum got several complications after a fall and a hip operation. When we were told there was nothing more that doctors could do for her I spent as much time with her as I could. My sisters and I felt that we did not want her life to end on a ward. We would have loved to look after her at home, like we did for our dad, but that was not possible. Someone recommended a hospice to us, and that is where my mum spent her last days. I hope that you and your mum can talk about her wishes and that you can make the most of the time you have left together. It is very hard, but when I look back I am thankful that I had those times with both my parents at the end of their lives and that we were able to say our good byes.
I wish you much strength in the coming days and weeks. Please feel free to message me any time. This forum is so helpful as we all have gone through loss and know what it is like.
Jo

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I’m so sorry you are going through this. It is so hard. I lost my mum after she battled a long illness and watched her slip away. It is very hard and I felt traumatised. However, the hospice provided amazing support. While you may not have family around you to support you, your local hospice can offer a lot of support as you go through this - both practical and emotional. I had to fight the hospital to get my mum home for her last few days, so she could see her garden - lots of equipment needed etc, but the hospice really helped and we got to share some nice memories in peaceful surroundings. The little things like painting mum’s nails and seeing the garden where we all grew up and played, was a huge thing for her, and the fact that we got to do it together meant a lot. The small things are really the big things at this time. Wishing you lots of strength. x

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I’m so sorry you are going through this. You are certainly not alone on here. I highly recommend coming on here to talk. You will find lots of lovely people. Who have been through similar and know how you feel. My mums cancer spread to her lungs. She had an infection/pneumonia too. Which is why she first went into hospital we were told it was a chest infection. But it turns out she had metastasised cancer. Unknown primary. She died two days after her diagnosis. She was so frightened. Worst time of our lives. She struggled to breath too. She was on an oxygen mask. But even then she would start to get frightened and shout out “the mask isn’t working” as it clearly felt to her that she couldn’t breath. In the end I was praying for her to go quick. It was just too horrific to watch. I pray that you get through this peacefully and that your lovely mum is comfortable. Just be with her. Hold her. Tell her everything you need her to know. I have mentioned it before to others. But we played music which gave us some comfort.

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Hi Hannah, truly truly sorry for what you and your mum are both going through. I can only back up what others have already said and this site is therapeutic for expressing your feelings with people who really do understand. I lost my mum 7 weeks ago. She had myeloma but was doing ok until she got a urine infection which resulted in a hospital admission and she then caught influenza in hospital which she was just too weak to fight. The doctors pulled me aside and said they were stopping all treatment as it was the kindest thing but it is then the most frightening and painful thing to then ‘wait’ for the inevitable. All I can say is talk to your mum as much as you can, revisit happy and special memories and hold her hand. As long as she is not in pain all you can do is be strong for her and be there. It’s not an easy thing to do but you will do it because you love your mum. Touch base with this site it somehow makes you feel less alone and the understanding is heart felt. X

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Thank you so much to you all. I am reading your comments after a fractured sleep in the hospital beside Mum and being able to talk to people who have recently experienced the same thing is honestly a lifeline for me, and some light in the darkness. Please know how much it means to me! And I hope that sharing has also somehow comforted you, or been cathartic in some way.
My wee Mum is such a gentle soul and so dignified, so it is beyond heartbreaking to see her this way. But I am getting some comfort from being able to show how much I love her by helping to nurse her.
Thank you so much again for all the advice, I think you’re all angels.
Love Hannah

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Hi Hannah, I’m pleased that the responses offer you some comfort at this difficult time. How are you doing? X

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