Reality sinking in

I was with mum when she passed away. And I’ve just realised I don’t think I had grasped at the time what was happening. I went through the motions and said my goodbyes. But it was so sudden and quick. I don’t think I grasped that I would never see her again that i. would never see her face or smile or touch her skin again. I remember trying to say
Goodbye and feeling empty and devoid of any words. I can’t really remember what i said. I know I said I love you a lot. But if I had any sense of losing her. I don’t think I would have let her go. I remember feeling so detached of it all. Like I was watching a film. How I wish I had said more. And held her so tight.

I often think this too. I question why I didnt sit by my mums bedside and say goodbye, hold her hand and stroke her hair. I question how I could leave the hospital and go home to rest for a few hours when I knew that upon return mum would have either died or I would be giving permission to turn her life support off.
I think we did everything we could do at that point in time. I think our brains process what they can to help us deal with the trauma we are experiencing. It’s too easy several months down the line to say all this. Of course now we would give anything to have 5 minutes with them. But on the day itself you deal with the news how your mind allows you to. I knew my mum was never coming back and was about to go forever. But at that time you don’t know how life is going to be an hour later letalone 4 or 5 months later.
I just didn’t want memories of mum laying unresponsive with tubes up her nose. I wanted to remember her happy and smiling an hour before her operation.
You stayed with your mum till the end, she had your love and you did what your body could cope with at that awful moment of your life x

Jooles, I can totally relate to that. That moment in time was impossible to process until after the event. When I look back I wonder how the hell I managed to keep breathing let alone have a cup of tea that same day and even get to sleep at the end of it.
I remember saying good bye and stroking my mums face and hair. I also remember saying how sorry I was and that I couldn’t save he whilst dripping tears all over the floor. I really can’t write any more about that moment, it was shocking and I’ve managed most of the time to avoid thinking much about it now, I have to for my own protection. It was too much at the time to process so I guess for many people the shock is too enormous to be able to have complex thoughts. I don’t think I’ve managed to soften the emotions of the day but more like I’ve managed to box them up and avoid them. Now and then I’m reminded that they are still as raw as the day itself. More recently the thoughts of never being able to have a casual chat or a hug have become stronger with the passing of time. Mum’s birthday is this Sunday coming and I’m not looking foward to it. Time can be a healer but it can also be a torture.

Thank you both as always for your supportive words. I didn’t even cry. I only cried when they took her pulse and said “she’s gone”. Then I sat on the floor and sobbed I then ran out of the hospital. Now I wish I had stayed with her. Helped change her spend another hour with her before they took her down. But I remember I couldn’t look at her anymore. She wasn’t my mum anymore.

Your brain does very strange things. Cheryl I think lots of people choose to remember their loved ones like that. My brother didn’t come to the hospital either. My mum never asked for him. She knew why and completely understood my brother and his choice she knew he would be too traumatised to see her like that.

Shaun what happened that morning for you is even more of a trauma to the Mind. I understand why you have to lock that away. The Saturday they told mum she had cancer and was dying is the day I lock away in my mind. That was the most painful day of my life. Seeing the fear in her eyes I’ll never forget it.
Shaun after I ran out of the hospital my husband said “what do you want to do”. I said. Eat. I was all of a sudden starving. To the point I was nearly sick. I then stuffed about twenty chips in my mouth whilst crying. Then went back to my cousins where I was staying drank a whiskey. Which I never drink. Told all the cousins and my children. Who were all waiting up for us. It was now midnight. Then I went to bed slept till 5am.

Ah well. Let’s try and have an ok day. Sorry for rambling. Shaun will be thinking of you on your mums birthday

Morning all, one image that sticks in my mind from that day is from after they put mum back into bed for me to spend some time setting my goodbyes. Her eyes were very slightly open and I remember thinking, this isn’t someone asleep, this is horrible, and she isn’t there anymore, where is she. It was surreal. That’s when I realised that death generally isn’t a nice process. I don’t remember a lot of detail about the rest of the day except we went for a walk in the afternoon and I thought, I’m lucky I’m not stood at the top of a cliff right now. What horrible thoughts I had.
We’ve all got to deal with traumatic memories somehow and one way is simply to find a way of closing them off safely with controlled access. If that’s not possible then talking through them on here I have found to help. I’m going into the office shortly and hoping I have a better drive in than yesterday when I spent most of the motorway journey in tears because I wanted mum sat next to me in the car so that I could chat with her. Yes, let’s have an ok day today. Take care.

Death is not a nice process at all I won’t go into graphic details. But my strong husband couldn’t look at my mum, I saw him head down crying whilst I watched her take her last breaths. He couldn’t watch. When her heart stopped beating I knew immediately that she was no longer there. Her spirit her essence. Everything that made her who she was was gone. I think that’s why I run out. I didn’t see any point in being there I didn’t want to see her that way any more my heart had had enough. Now I do wish I stayed and held her a bit longer. But as we have said before. The mind acts in strange ways under trauma.

At the risk of sounding pragmatic everything everyone has described is normal IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. The brain can take so much pain, then we go into denial. It’s to prevent overload that can cause harm. It’s like a road accident which can also be a trauma that lasts a long time. The victim can remember what led up to the accident but not the accident itself, This is a symptom of PTSD. The terrible pain and shock in bereavement leaves us with such painful memories that we go round in circles trying to make sense of it all. But we can’t at the time. Sometimes we may never make sense of it and memories can hurt so much.
The last moments of anyone’s life will leave an indelible mark on the mind. Memories do fade but take so much time, and it’s the time that’s so painful. A day may seem like a year, or a year seem like a day. Time seems to have little relevance.
Shaun. Your remark about controlled access to memory is really true. Memories, like most things in life can be good or bad. They may come when least expected, but it’s our reaction to them that makes them good or bad. I am not suggesting we desperately try and get rid of painful memories, that won’t work, but let them come and see them as a reaction to the pain. We may find memories comforting. Some do and that’s fine. But to allow ourselves to wallow in memories is not good. It increases the pain because it can become a habit. A bit like comfort eating.
Yes, the biggest asset about this site is getting emotions out on paper as it were. Writing about how you feel allows your emotions to flow rather than be bottled up. It’s why people keep journals about their feelings.
So often shyness or embarrassment get in the way of expression. But on here no one should ever feel embarrassed or fail to express themselves fully.
Take care all. Blessings.

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I don’t think we can comprehend the scale of the loss, even if we have witnessed a loss in the past. I can’t remember when the reality of my Dad’s death sunk in 20 years ago. I couldn’t cry about him. My tears where frozen, but I wanted to cry. About 9 months in I had two cans of beer and suddenly the tears came. Perhaps, it was that point where I knew he was not coming back.
I watched my Mum die and there was a feeling of unreality to it all. She didn’t have the classic breathing rattle, as she was hooked up to oxygen.
My relationship with my Mum was considerably deeper.
My Mum hated to be alone. In fact it made her extremely anxious and ill. I stayed with Mum an hour after she died in a room by herself. Then I walked away leaving her in the room by herself. The imagery of it hits me hard and brings me to tears. Of course, it was just her physical body, but there is something so sad about it.

I remember looking into my Mum’s eye after she’d had her heart attack. After they brought her back. She was breathing but wasn’t there.

Daffy that’s why I now feel
Guilty that I didn’t stay with her longer. We left her alone. My dad stayed for about 20 mins. I went back in said “goodnight mummy”. Then ran out. I couldn’t bear it any longer. My mum hated being alone. I try and console myself with this. When the heart stops and the brain shuts down they are no longer here. Now depending on what you believe. It’s lights out goodnight, no longer exist. (That makes me shudder). Or they are in spirit with us always so in that case they would not have been in their body anyway so would not have felt alone.

Thank you Jonathan. It’s good to talk. Get out the pain. I had a fairly good day yesterday after my hours session with my counsellor. It’s good to know it’s all normal. Well normal in grief anyway

Jooles45, I strongly believe that their spirit lives on. That does not mean that they are around us every second, but I believe they are often close by, especially when we think of them or are distressed.
Our parents are also in our dna. If we look at our hand we can see our parent hands. Likewise, if we look at our face. They are a part of us and I believe often close by in spirit.
I’m full of the remorse over my Mum’s last week and the argument we had. I hope in time I let go of the things that went wrong and focus on happy times and the love.
It feels like a nightmare. Magnified by Christmas.

This is certainly an interesting conversation and so pleased we are able now to ‘talk’ about such innermost feelings.
When I look back to Brian passing away at home. It was just me and him and yet I was in total denial, I know now that I had no idea what to expect. All my family had passed away suddenly and I was not with any of them, but with Brian I had known for a long time that this moment could come, I had prayed it wouldn’t but I was with him alone as he breathed his last and I went through the motions of what had to be done. I then washed and changed him, talking to him all the time, sat by him and put his arm around my neck as if he was comforting me. After family had visited and I had asked for Brian to remain with me for a day I then took the dogs for a walk, leaving Brian alone at home, trying hard to keep the day ‘normal’. It’s like a bad dream now. I truly felt that Brian was still with me, watching over me. While I walked the dogs that day I walked into a local shop, no idea why, but as I stood in the doorway feeling lost and confused a song came on. “I’m talking to an Angel”. Brian was with me. It gave me strength for the rest of that day at least.

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I’m out for a walk from the office just to get some fresh air. I have wandering thoughts again as is common when I go for a walk. The emotions and memories I keep boxed up most of the time I’m struggling to control again. There are memories of that horrible day that I haven’t shared on here not because it’s a secret I want to keep but rather I can’t bear to write about. I’ve remembered once again that when I said my goodbye and kissed her when I was alone with her in her holiday bedroom, that was the last time I touched or saw her. I never saw her again after that. I certainly couldn’t watch as she was carried out as I didn’t want that memory burned into my brain. It sounds like a minor thing but that is suddenly very significant again today. I must get back to work now as my once pleasurable walks in the countryside have become sometimes a torture session. I just remind myself now that I am her as Daffy suggested. I am half her dna and therefore she lives on through me. That’s some small comfort isn’t it?
I hope you are all getting through your days ok.

I have just been to the cinema with two friends to see “last Xmas”. I cried on and off throughout the film as lots of George Michael songs. And he was my mums favourite. I hope she is dancing with him now. And Freddie Mercury. Also we didn’t realise but it was a silver screening for the over 55’s. It was very touching to see lots of people there around my mums age with friends, husbands or part of a club. Wearing Xmas jumpers. And I realised my mum could never do anything like that again. She loved the cinema. I feel sad for me. But I feel heartbroken that her life is over and that she was nowhere near ready.

Sorry very maudlin I know. It’s this bloody Xmas malarkey

Shaun, No, it’s not a minor things, far from it and I know exactly what you mean when you say you couldn’t watch them carry your Mum out, I was exactly the same. I asked the undertaker to leave him with me for a day and to come at night so that the neighbours wouldn’t be moving their curtain to watch. Brian was a very private man so I wanted dignity for him. Might sound silly but it was important to me. I went into another room as I didn’t want to watch either, I didn’t want that memory of him being taken out of his home for the last time. I have never mentioned this to anyone so this is a first and shows the power of this forum to get us to share our innermost and private thoughts.
God bless
Pat xx

Hi Shaun
I know what you mean about writing details down. Its not that I dont want to share information it’s just hard forming the words. Most of the time I’m ok that I chose not to see mum on life support. I wanted to remember seeing mum walk happily into the operating theatre. Unfortunately when mum was being blue lighted to kings college hospital, my partner and I arrived and walked through the doors at the same time as they were racing mum through the doors. Even though they were on blue lights they had spent time outside the hospital awaiting permission to come in. I saw mum laying on the trolley and will never forget the image of her. I knew then that I would never see mum again. I’m very traumatised by those hours and all I had were well meaning friends and family telling me to get by her bed and sit with her as ‘hearing is the last sense to go’.
I didnt want to see mum laying there unresponsive in hanging onto life by a thread. I wanted so desperately to remember her laughing in hospital saying to me, can you bring me in a new pair of slippers tomorrow and I cant wait for our holiday in 8 weeks.
I think it will be a very long time before I am coping with what has happened and I’m several weeks ahead of you x

Cheryl I honestly don’t think you need to question yourself over that. I was adamant I needed to be by mums side as I hadn’t seen her for several weeks. She was also conscious for 5 days and I desperately needed some final time with her. You had spent every day with your dear mum. You didn’t need to see her like that. Just like my brother didn’t he had spent the day with mum before she collapsed so he had his happy memories. I did stuff for her in that final week that I hadn’t been there to do for her previously having lived so far away I felt I owed her. X

Thanks joules. She would have understood. I couldnt stay with her when she had blood tests. I am very bad with needles and hospitals in general and mum knew that. But more than that I just didn’t want the memories. For you I understand you wanting to be there. If mum had been in any way conscious I would have been there for her but she was in a deel coma and I dont believe would have known a thing. Her pupils were fixed from the moment she arrived at kings and I believe she was gone then x

We don’t need to question anything do we really. My guilt is slowly subsiding. I still have moments. But my counsellor is really helping. It’s just so flipping hard. I’ve cried so much today that I feel sick now. Right I’m off to the gym. My mum wouldn’t believe her ears if I told her that. Now I go three times a week to try and combat the stress