Struggling big time

Hello, I’ve joined this forum after reading a really helpful article on the website.
I’ll apologise now for the inevitable waffling but I was hoping to maybe get some advice from people, talk to people and hopefully be able to make some sense of what is going on for me personally.
I’m 23 and have always had an incredibly close relationship with my nan, even from a very early age (I’m blessed I know).
In the past year she has dramatically gone downhill whereby she was in a care home for those with dementia and was in and out of hospital for a variety of infections. Before then she was still driving me to the fish and chip shop for us to get lunch! There’s the brief background…
She’s 90 and 5 weeks ago she had a hip operation after fracturing it. She was also found to have scabies, pneumonia and her kidneys are failing. She hasn’t walked since that operation and has deteriorated for the past 4 weeks. She has a catheter and tubes to feed her etc and her veins are collapsing because of the amount of needles the hospital are having to put in her to try and help her. The last time I went to visit I got very upset, this was about 4 weeks ago. I got so upset because the lady looking back at me didn’t know who I was and certainly wouldn’t want to be being looked after and in the state she is in (she is such an independent and strong lady) and just did not look like my nan.
Today my Dad and Auntie went to the hospital as per the doctor’s request to make ‘life changing decisions’ (they have lasting power of attorney)… I don’t know the ins and outs of the conversation but I have the opportunity as it were on Saturday to go to the hospital to go and say goodbye.

I was wondering if anyone could please help me come to terms with what I’ve been told today and if there is any advice about saying goodbye? I definitely want to go as I think it’s the least I could do for all the times she’s helped me, supported me and been there for me.
I’m really struggling and feel heartbroken and don’t know what to say to her given it will be my last chance.
I hope all of this makes sense and thank you very much for taking the time to read what I’ve written when there are so many different stories on here with everybody’s individual pain. I am so so lost.
Thank you

Hi Han,

I’m so very sorry to hear of your situation. I’m sure many people here can relate to that painful feeling of wishing things could just go back to normal. It sounds as if this all happened very quickly, and must have been a massive shock for you?

Saying goodbye is extremely tough. It sounds like you’d like to get across those things about your nan you mention your post - how much you care about her and are grateful for her support and help. It might help to plan the key things you’d like to get across, to make you feel a little more prepared, especially if you have specific things you’d like to say?

If you’re finding it hard to express how you feel in words, remember that just your presence is enough. You can show how you feel by what you do - those comforting gestures - holding her hand, stroking her shoulder etc.

I noticed on your profile that you live with your parents and younger brother at home, and you mention your auntie in your post. Will they be going to the hospital with you?

Take care,


Hi Kate,

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply- it means more than you can imagine it really does.
I guess yes and no for the speed of things, every time she has gone into hospital previously the doctors have been worried and then she’s rallied and been back to ‘normal’ give or take a few things. This time it’s totally different and I’m in a situation I have never been in before and don’t know what to do. I couldn’t sleep last night and ended up crying solidly until half 3- I got a pen and paper out to write down things I wanted to say to her but I just broke down. I don’t want to scare her by getting upset but because it’s not my nan I will see it will break my heart and I will get upset…
Thank you for your advice, I will do that, I think she’d prefer me to hold her hand!
I will be going with my Mum, my brother isn’t aware of the ‘development’ as such as he is away in Devon but back tomorrow. I think he will come too. My auntie may be there visiting but it will definitely be my mum and I that go.
I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to reply and I hope that you are okay yourself. Thank you Kate.
Hannah x

Hi Hannah,

Even though your nan has been in hospital many times, the fact that this time is different must have been a huge shock, as it wasn’t what you were expecting.

Thoughts can be so overwhelming, especially at night time like you say, when things are quiet and there’s not much else to focus on. I know other community members have mentioned distracting themselves with the TV, a book, just having a practical plan of things they can do when it all gets too much, has helped.

It’s totally understandable that writing things down and preparing to say goodbye is painful. If you think your nan would prefer you to hold her hand, then why not think about the gestures you’ll do instead? Just sitting by her and squeezing her hand shows her how much you care about her and love her. Non-verbal communication is powerful, so focussing on this instead of words might help?

I can imagine the thought of seeing your nan, and her not being herself, is a very scary thought. If you’re going with your mum, you both could support each other perhaps? In time, the memories you have of your nan will be the good times - the times you went to the fish and chip shop for lunch(!), the helpful chats of support, the funny times. These memories are incredibly valuable.

Thinking of you,


Hi Kate,

Again. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
It’s certainly nothing any of us were expecting. I have been reading other entries on the forum but I guess it’s the comfort of someone talking to you about your own sadness that is incredibly comforting? I’ve slept with the light on and my partner stayed with me last night and I slept much better.

I am going to the hospital tomorrow morning and I won’t let go of her hand the whole time! I’m hoping she will know I’m there and deep down she’ll know it’s me and it will provide some comfort to her.
My mum said yesterday to me ‘you are and were the closest person to your nan’ and it made me almost happy. We had a laugh together about all the funny times and I am thinking about those- I just wish there were more to make :frowning:

Thank you for your support and kind thoughts- I’m much better at writing than talking to express so this really has helped.

Thank you again,

Hannah x

Hi Hannah - how are you after Saturday morning?

It can definitely help to get things off your chest. Sometimes it can be easier to write things down and give yourself time to process your thoughts. I’m so glad this community is helping a little bit.

Please keep on talking here if it helps.


Hello Kate,

My nan passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning :’( :’( :’( I went to visit her Saturday and had a chat with her and said my goodbyes.
One thing I will hold onto and not forget is although she was clearly so so poorly and weak, I held her hand the whole time. I got some tissues and came sat down next to her again and asked if she’d like me to hold her hand again- she lifted her arm up for me to do so. I know she knew I was there. I know she waited for me.
Writing things down is the best way for me so I will do, thank you. Your replies are so lovely and have and are helping most certainly. I showed my mum what I’d written on here and she said how kind it was for you to respsond; so again thank you.
I’m feeling very lost without my rock, and so very sad and lonely.

I hope your weekend was good.

Hannah x

Hi Hannah,

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Yes, your nan clearly knew you were with her. It’s lovely that you held hands and showed each other your love for one and other. You’re absolutely right in saying that you should hold onto that moment.

It’s understandable that you’re feeling very lost right now. I hope you’re looking after yourself - it’s really important at times like this to make sure we’re giving our bodies and minds everything they need. I hope your mum is coping ok, please do let her know the community is here for her too.

Sending you a huge hug.


Hi hannah

I am new to this i had a message for me to look at your post due to us being a similer age … i recently lost my grandad on 1st September and he was buried on 21st September last week. I am struggling aswell not so sure how to cope as i was always a grandads girl…i know exactaly how your feeling if you ever want to chat please message me. EmmaJane

Hello Kate,
Everything has been really up in the air so to speak and I haven’t been able to bring myself to read this thread… Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m struggling every day, feeling so very lost. I’m trying with the happy memories of course. I went round to her house yesterday and did some gardening of the front for her- I kept hoping I’d look up at the the kitchen window and she’d be there like always. Thank you so much again, you have helped more than you would know- it’s certainly helped.

I hope you are keeping well too and everything is okay xx

Hi EmmaJane24,

I’ve sent you a private message xx

Hello Hannah, I recently lost my husband to cancer. We have 2 beautiful daughters aged 30 and 25. They were very close to their dad and miss him greatly. They were both worried about what they would see and what would they say. But like you they wrote things down and held his hand . He waited for us to be with him and my youngest was holding his hand when he died. He knew we were there. Your nan knew how much she was loved and waited for you. I tell my girls to think of the fun things. Memories you shared. Silly thing they did to make you smile. We are all so lucky that we have wonderful times to think back on. My husband would have been so proud of his daughters and I’m sure your nan was very proud of you. Stay strong love Shelly x

Hello Shelly,
Thank you so much for your kind words and I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I’m here if ever you want to talk. I really am sorry.

What your daughters have done is so very special and I hope they are as okay as they can be.
I keep thinking of the good times of course, all the smiles and the laughs I just wish I could continue with them. I really really do. My nan was my rock and so very very special to me. Thank you so much Shelly. Lots of love xx

Hello Hannah,

I was recently sent to this thread because I’m struggling to cope with the loss of my nan who I was extremely close to as well. I lived with her until I went to uni, she was like a second mum to me so her not being around anymore has left the biggest hole in my life.

My nan passed away almost two years ago in hospital the day before Christmas Eve. I was with her and holding her hand. She had pneumonia and her passing was a complete shock. I was due to move back to Blackpool mid Dec to be closer to her and my family after working in London for years. Two weeks before I was due to move back she was rushed into hospital and I got the very next train I could that day to be with her. She never came out of hospital and I can’t forgive myself for not moving back home to her sooner.

Two years down the line I still struggle cope. I’ve tried counselling but it was not for me. I saw this community advertised in my GP surgery so thought I’d give it a go. I don’t know how much use I will be on here, but just wanted to try writing to people who had gone through something similar as talking about it is so damn hard, especially with people who don’t know how it feels to lose someone so close to them.

How are you doing? Im sending the biggest hug to you xx

Hello NannasTween,

Please accept my most sincere apologies for not replying. Amongst everything else, I haven’t had the courage to log back in.

I completely understand how you feel. Although my beloved Nan left me last year, I’m thinking about her every day but I’m really struggling- I don’t know what to do. I talk to her but I just break down when I think about her. I cannot explain how I feel.

I have recently got into the Police (I have one more hoop to jump through!) And I know she would be so, so, so proud of achieving what I have always wanted to do. She has been there every step of the way for me too but it’s not enough, I want to hear her tell me well done, see her smile and give her a massive hug.
I told her before she left me that I would make her proud- I’m doing everything I can to do that but I’m suffering. I am finally considering councilling- may I ask why it didn’t work for you?

How are you?
Please, again, accept my apology.

A big hug and a thank you back.
Hannah x