Overcoming trauma of caring for mum at the end of her life

I’m new to all of this. I lost my mum 4 weeks ago, 2 weeks after her cancer diagnosis. I was caring for mum at the end of her life as she wanted to die at home. I feel like everything has just hit me. I’ve never lost anyone close to me and never cared for anyone at the end of their life. Watching mum decline was traumatic. Keeping my strong face on whilst trying to instill confidence in mum (and my dad and brother) that i had everything under control. I was with my mum when she passed away and then had to tell my dad and brother that she had passed away.
After the funeral this week, i feel broken. Like everything has caught up with me. My mum was my person and I’m so lost without her.
Everyone tells me that this feeling will dull. I really hope so. I’m on a 9 week waiting list for counselling. I probably need to access some kind of therapy before that xx

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Hello @Lulu36

I’m sorry for the loss of you mum. It sounds traumatic. Sending strength and a virtual hug :people_hugging:. You’re not alone.

I’m a little further on my grief journey but can empathise. I lost my dear mum in Nov 23. She had untreatable cancer and was gone in 12 weeks. I helped dad to care for her, and watching her decline was just awful. It was a privilege to care for her though as she wanted to die at home and she got her wish.

That was 14 weeks ago. The rawness dulls but I’ve not started healing yet to be honest as my dear father died 5 weeks ago and knocked us all of course. That was sudden and traumatic.

You’ll move into different phases of grief I’m told. You’ll never ‘get over it’ but learn to live with a piece missing.

They don’t really like you getting counselling until at least 6 weeks after (if not longer) so that the shock can wear off a bit.

Do you have an employee assistance program? If so, you may get counselling quicker. And there are lots of books.

I’ve now listened to the ‘Maddness of Grief’ 3 times. Its not a self help book but written by Rev Richard Coles (celebrity praise - also was on strictly and a musician). He talks about losing his husband. It helped me to understand that what I was feeling was normal.

Message me is you want to chat as we’ve had simular experiances. Watching someone you die is traumatic.

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Hi @Lulu36
My mom died of brain tumors during COVID, we cared for her at home, so I understand how traumatic it can be, not just watching her deteriorate, but there are some things you can’t un-see :pensive:. You are not alone. Sending hugs of support.

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Thank you so much for your message. It sounds like we have been through something similar in terms of the caregiving and watching a loved one decline :cry: I don’t think anything will ever prepare you for it.

My heart breaks for you that you lost your dad recently too. I’m so, so sorry.

Thank you so much for the book recommendation… I will definitely give it a listen.

Like you said, I feel that caring for my mum was definitely a privilege. I was honoured that she trusted me to take care of her and make sure she passed just as she wished. :two_hearts:

Sending so much love and strength xx

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Thank you so much for your message. I’m so sorry you went through this with your mum too. There are definitely experiences that you can’t forget (no matter how hard you try) and watching the deterioration is purely heart breaking. Something I will never forget. :broken_heart:
Sending hugs xxx

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Hi @Lulu36
My situation is similar, I lost my Mum 8 weeks ago after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer shortly before.
I cared for her too and I loved every minute I got to spend with her, she was my life :heart:

I don’t really know what I feel at the moment since the shock began to wear off - mostly panic and anxiety I think.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Cariad Lloyd but she has a podcast and a book. She’s very easy to listen to and has helped me feel less alone at times xx

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Hey @stardust2023

Thank you so much for your reply. I’m so, so sorry you went through the same as me. I loved the time I spent with mum too. We forget those bits sometimes amongst all the grief so thank you for the reminder. We had such a laugh, even in the dark times. She would boss me about and I would tell her she was bossy and then she would tell me that’s where I got my bossiness from! I definitely got it from Mum!!

I’m not sure what I feel either. Very lost and very sad.

Thank you so, so much for the recommendation… I’m definitely going to have a listen. It looks like it’s more light hearted which will definitely work for me!

Thank you again :two_hearts: I’m hoping this horrible feeling will turn into something less intense for us both soon xx

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Hello Lulu, I have had to say goodbye to my mum, she had dementia for four years, I cared for her at home, the last 6 months were hell and she died in my arms on the 5th January last year, she drowned in her own fluids, dementia is a particularly cruel death for all concerned and I had to virtually manage her palliative care my self at the end, NO ONE should have to do that, and I understand your loss.

Timxx

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@lula36I am so sorry for your loss, I lost my mum on the 15th Jan , she was . sent home from hospital on palliative care and only made it two days , I had looked after her for 15 years and we done every thing together. I can’t bear being without her the pain is excruciating, people say it will get better but I don’t think it will for me . I don’t even want to get out of bed and struggle to functioning know exactly how you feel

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Hi Blue12, I know how you feel, my mum passed in my arm on the 5th of January last year and life has not been the same since.
I just wanted to stay in my sleeping bag in a freezing cold house and pass away, and I would have done had I not been found.
For some 4 years I cared for her with her dementia, the last day she left the house alive was Saterday the 4th September 2021 to have her hair done and I drove her the short distance knowing already that my twin had just passed at 11.50 in the morning as we left the house (I am slightly clarevoyant) at half past 12 I got a call from his tearful wife while in the hairdressers to tell me what I already knew.

The last 6 months of her life was pure hell, she wanted to die at home, and caring for her became a round the clock job and I ended up being responsible for her palliative care and seeing the driven syringe was working (the first unit was faulty, I had it changed) and yes, towards the end when I realised she was in distress I stepped up the dose, it was the only desent thing to do, I ended up under a mental health nurse and still am, and I still ask my self why do I bother?, there is no one else really in my life know , and no one would really miss me if I were not hear, I, and I alone grieved for my mum, and am still greaving, and sometimes it would be easier just to turn out the lights and call it a day, then I think of the sacrifices my mums generation made to beat Hitler,. and that, gives me the resolve to carry on, if they can stick it, then I should, and make a success of my life, what ever I have left at 64 this year,

KBO

Tim

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Hello lovely, I have also recently lost my mum to cancer and I was caring for her throughout her cancer journey, it got very hard towards the end I just remember thinking to myself I wish I could take the pain from her. I’m only 18 and it’s so difficult as my mum was not just my mum she was my best friend and it was just me and her at home. Please feel free to message me as I’m new to this but I think people going through the same thing is so important for the support and makes you realise you are not alone. My mum and your mum are amazing people because it only happens to the best! Keep your chin up lovely, sending big hugs. :heart:xx

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Hello Eleanorose, such a lovely name if I may say so, and a special deep sympathy for you, loosing your mum so young AND caring for her as well must have been particularly hard and I can identify with that, and to have done that at such a young age, I think your mum would be very proud of you, that was, and is, a huge achievement.

You must be very strong mentally, that must have been an incredible strain for you, and such a so very very sad loss and my heart goes out to you.

.
You write very elegantly and intelligently if I may say so, I would have thought you were older, but like my mother when she was young, you must be very ‘switched on’ and probably got top grades at school?

At 14 my mum was a qualified commercial secretary and a personal assistant to a Colonel Woddan who worked for the Duke of Mclue, being the only one in her year to pass book keeping, it was 1941 and things were not so good, she replaced her predecessor who had been called up to join the WRENS to help the war effort.

I would have loved to have met your mum, and I think you would have loved my mum too, and while nothing can replace them, remember they walk in spirit with us every day, and will never leave us.

My mum said I could keep her ashes, so I made them the centre of a wall m emorial to my past primary family, I am only regularly in contact know with my sister-in-law
who lives near by, I am sending you the photograph of the memorial.

The gentleman on the left is my father, the picture in the middle is of my mother, the gentleman on the right with horns growing out of his head is my late twin brother(I do NOT look like him, will send you a photo of my self presently)

May God bless you and uphold you in the days ahead :innocent: :heart: :heart: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Tim xx

Aww thank you!! I was actually bottom of my class in school but I’ve always been a huge fan of English and it’s all about the university of life! What lovely kind words, and your mum will be in peace now.Dementia is awful I work in a dementia care home and it’s heartbreaking seeing beautiful people with dementia, like cancer and any other illnesses I wish there was a cure and it’s heartbreaking. Keep your head up high. Eleanor xx

Hello Eleano, are you a student nurse?.

You say you were bottom of the class?, yet you come over as very bright.
Churchill was NOT brilliant at school, they put him in a class that did nothing for a year other then improve there communication skills in written and spoken English, it served him very well years later as our war time prime minister, less know is the fact he was a very highly respected historian, and did much writing and research on history, he became a self taught man and was skilled in many fields and was into the environment long before it was trendy, he referred to ‘the hedgerows of life’ what you referred to as the ‘university of life’.

You will go far with your outlook in life, you are considerably more switched on then I was at 18, please keep in contact. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Tim xxx

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Hello Eleano, and how are you today?.

The sun is shining hear in the lakes (this is Grange-over-sands) what is it doing in Harrogate?

My twin brother went to school in Harrogate some 50 years ago, Ashfil College, he was a mad radio ham and his transmissions almost got him into trouble with the military, he was interfering with there communications!!.

Do you have weekends off?.

Blessings to you, hope to hear from you soon :innocent:

Tim xx

Hi @tim007

Thankyou for your message. I couldn’t agree more. No one should have to go through that. I’m so sorry you lost your mum to such a cruel illness.
Sending hugs xx

Hey @Blue12
Thank you for your message. My heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry you lost your lovely mum too. 15 years is such a long to care for someone … what amazing strength you have.
I couldn’t have said it better… the pain is excruciating.
The only thing that helps me is keeping busy.
Sending hugs and strength to you xx

Hey @Eleanorose123
Thank you for such a lovely message. You’re so right… it happens to the best :sparkling_heart:
Your Mum sounds so awesome to have made you… caring for your Mum at 18 maust have been incredibly hard and i bet she was so proud. I’m so sorry you went through that, and are still going through this pain.
I will drop you a message xx

Hello Lulu and good evening.
So sorry you lost your mum too, our mums are sacred and irreplaceable, and life will NEVER be the same again for any of us.

It is literally like loosing part of ourselves(and that Is the effect it has on the brain) and the process of grieving is the angrish we go through as the brain comes to terms with the change in our lives, it effects every cell in the mind and body and there are some 16 types of grief, and it kills thousands of old people every year, and I have seen this happen, while younger people will by and large come through it, older people some times have neither the will or the resources and just turn in and give up, and it almost happened to me, with no more carers calling I was suddenly alone in the world, I had I not been found I would have turned out the lights.
The best antidote is desirable company, exercise, sunshine(all 3 boost serotonin levels) and a positive outlook.

My antidepressant is a spell on my rowing machine first thing in the morning followed by a berocca tablet dissolved in cranberry juice with a spoon of ground ginger, and let the sun into the house when it shines or take a walk in it.

Blessings to you :innocent:

Tim xx

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You’re right… Life will never be the same again.

Well I’m so glad that someone found you :pray:

It feels very surreal once the house has been full of people caring for your loved one for so long and then suddenly just silence.

Sunshine and good company are definitely my anti depressants! I do need to do more exercise though.

Take care x