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Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 11:21

I have posted my story before. Mum had a very  bad back for 4 months. Then got a bad chest infection xrays all clear. She collapsed with fluid on lungs. 4 days later diagnosed with metastasised lung cancer. Primary source unknown as too ill for further tests, she died a week after being admitted to hospital.  We held her until her last breath.  I just feel so guilty. When they told us on the Friday night mum had cancer with a few weeks left if she fought the pneumonia,  but it would be unlikely so only likely to last 72 hours. We were floored. When consultant told mum. She asked me and dad “how long”. We said. They don’t know as it’s down to wether you can fight this pneumonia.  So we were urging her to fight the pneumonia so we could take her home which is what she wanted.  We wanted to give her a slither of hope. But she never asked us any more questions. And I didn’t know what she wanted to know so I just held her and told her I wasn’t leaving her. I brushed her hair and washed her. I helped keep her calm when she was panicking. But we never spoke about the cancer. In the end I asked a lovely McMillan nurse to talk to her which they did and they asked mum all the questions they though she might have and they answered them. Mum couldn’t really speak because of her respiratory failure and on a mask. . She must have had so many unanswered questions.  And I didn’t ask her. 

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 12:29 in response to Beach45

Hi Beach45,

I am so very sorry for your loss, losing our mums is devastating and we are coming up to the 1 year anniversary since my mum died and I find myself looking for wise words/understanding on this forum.

Regrets are difficult, if I could follow my own advice, I wouldn't beat myself up about the 'what-if's' and why I didn't do or say certain things. At the time, you and I would have done the best we possibly could whilst trying to deal with the sadness of watching someone you love so dearly deteriorate, how does anybody even think straight in those circumstances? You cared for your mum, you were there and I believe that would have been the greatest comfort for your mum. The Macmillan nurse I am sure knew the questions and answers that would have been right.

I'm crying because I know how hard it is and how much I too have regrets. My mums sister who lives the other side of the world called on whatsapp, my mum saw her and tried to speak but couldn't, that breaks me.

Sorry, I'm not much help today but please don't think about the regrets, you did all that you could have done.



Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 12:43 in response to Linda63

Thank you Linda your words have comforted me.  Mums sister called from Cyprus.  She couldn’t get back in time. Mum couldn’t answer either just had eyes wide open and nodding. A small smile. But she looked so desperately sad and frightened. I asked for the nurses to give her some lozepram to keep her calm as she was so frightened god knows what was going through her poor mind.  Thinking of you too. 

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 13:19 in response to Beach45

I just had to reply. Loosing my mum is one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. It all happened so quickly, within a week of goi g into hospital......

She knew she didn't have long, I cared for her the best way I knew how, of you I now look back and wish I'd done things differently, I wish I had talked to her about dying, I knew she was was I......but at the time I have to keep reminding myself I did what I thought best.....

I did however keep telling her I loved her and that comforts me.....hindsight is a wonderful thing but it's not realistic. You sound like you did everything you could and were able to do at that sad sad unthinkable time. Take comfort in the fact that your mum was fully aware of your presence and the care you gave her, sometimes these actions speak louder than words....... ❤️ 

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 13:30 in response to Marlyn

Thank you so much.  I told her I loved her too.  I told her she was the best mother in the world. Best nanny in the world. I talked about old happy times.  Anything to take her mind off the hideousness of the situation. I’m sorry you are going through this too.  It’s great to talk though thank you. 

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 16:42 in response to Beach45

Lost my mum on Wednesday 11th Sept suddenly.  2 1/2 year battle with Ovarian Cancer and she was doing ok. been out to dinner saturday, dead from cardiac arrest (either sepsis or low blood sugar) by Wednesday.  How the hell!  we were supposed to have more time. We talked loosely about her being terminal and she got her affairs in order. I told her I loved her often, but really I was holding the really tough conversations for nearer the end. I had been preparing myself for a weeks or months long ending where I would be nursing her round the clock and we would spend time talking about old times and she and I would have reached a point where we both knew the end was near so we would have the conversations that you need to have.  How thankful you are that they are your mother. what a great daughter, thank you for being so amazing when we were kids. I love you so much. I’ll miss you. I’ll look after dad, don’t worry about a thing. I’ll be fine, say hello to Poppy and I bet Rachel’s mums their waiting for you.

Then practical things like, where would you like your ashes scattering... I don’t know! she said she wanted to be on the mantle place at christmas watching over us.  but she was planning Christmas food and presents the day before she died. she was planning on being there! Cry

I’m so sad today.  I’ve cried so many times. I found a form in her bag that she filled in while in hospital.  her handwriting really upset me.  she thanks the hospital staff at the bottom for treating her with dignity and respect. signed off with Thank you.. Lin

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 17:52 in response to Beach45

Hi Beach,

I think we all have regrets I believe it's part of the grieving process. We never told my mother how much the cancer had spread so she never knew. We kept it from her we believed in her knowing she would lose hope and give up.  I don't believe that now she fought as hard as she could for her family. I never spoke to her about dying and always told her I didn't want to talk about it, refusing to believe it would happen.  She would tell me sit down while I was too busy cleaning or sorting silly things out unable to comprehend that she would soon not be here. The person who was always there without fail. 

I can't think about how scared she must have been, being told you have cancer and there is nothing we can do.  Her body failing her day by day abd being totally unable to do anything. I still can't believe it now. 

She spoke about her funeral plans and again I told her I didn't want to talk about it.  I suppose I was in denial and thought she would get better and we have years longer with her that she would be offered treatment and it would work for her.  

I also have regrets for not realising how bloody lucky I was to have her, taking her for granted thinking she would always be here and that she would see my children grow and change. 

I do cherish the moments we had telling each other how much we loved her and being with her when she needed us the most I will never ever regret that.  

Thinking of you all x x x x

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 18:12 in response to Cwtch

Cwtch I feel your pain.  My mum used to start these conversations and try to get deep but I would always avoid the conversation and say “we’ve got loads of time to worry about that” and make a joke.  My dad REFUSED to acknowledge that she was going to die. he thought he could just keep her ticking over with pain meds and that would be enough.

She said “Me and your dad havent talk about it.  I just want to talk to him about it and just cry together...”. that just about broke my heart.  I was just not strong enough. her diagnosis nearly finished me.  I struggled for MONTHS.  but so what?  I wasnt dying, she was.  why couldnt I be strong for her? She was always there for me and I let her down.  

When I got the call at work from dad that she was in cardiac arrest. was I calm? Noooo I fkin freaked out like a teenage drama queen.  I sprinted through 2 offices of people slamming through doors hyperventilating and shaking.  my colleagues were terrified!  It’s so embarassing. Why can’t I just be a grown up!!>:)

Regrets after mum died

15 Sep 2019 18:46 in response to Brokenhearted69

Hi Brokenhearted,

I refused to believe my mother was dying, even when a doctor said she's dying and another nurse told us with no tact she'll go downhill fast. My sister knew from the start things were not good and said this is not going to go away. Me I thought it was just a pulled muscle and things would go back to normal.  I always had hope for a miracle even on the very bad days.

I mean if you didn't say it out loud it wouldn't happen right. I still cannot believe all of what happened last year. 

I was the same when I found my mother having a seizure like a 5 year old child couldn't even speak on the phone to the ambulance despatcher.  Just lost it, even though I'm 38 mother of two I still want my mother and I think we always will. I know my mother miss her mother terribly even 28 years on. 

You didn't let your mother down, you did the best you could and I'm sure she knew this, they knew how much we loved them. 

Thinking of you x x x

Regrets after mum died

16 Sep 2019 00:43 in response to Cwtch

Just heartbreaking , I’m sure your mum knows you did the right thing , thinking of you xxxxxx

Regrets after mum died

16 Sep 2019 13:49 in response to Beach45

Hi Beach. Regrets are hard to deal with. I can relate too. My mum passed away last year from metastasised lung cancer too, and while it wasn't as quick as your mum, for us it felt very quick too. She had been diagnosed in Februrary, but docs had given us a bit of hope that we might be able to prolong her life with drugs. She wasn't in any pain, and didn't have many symptoms (she had emphesema). I thought we'd be lucky and have another year. I was a bit deluded, obviously.

However, I did not think that six week later she'd have respiratory failure and spend an agonizing week in ICU attached to that awful mask.

She suffered for almost three weeks. I beat myself up about it for a few months after. 

Things like, why didn't I take her to doctors more often to get an earlier diagnosis that maybe could have led to quicker treatment? Or, not paying attention to her her breathing being really bad a few days before being admitted to ICU. The signs were there, I ignored them. 

Not spending more time with her at the hospital. Some people are angels, and can basicaly live at the hospital holding their loved ones hand until the end. I couldn't do that. My mum had been in and out of hospitals for three years, so I was quite used to the regular visits where I would stay a while then go home. 

It's hard to know what a dying person needs to know, or what to say to them. I really wanted my mum to go into a palliative care facility where she could get kind visitors, music, nice food, sunny rooms etc. But the hospital wouldn't move her. She had lost hope too, which was the hardest. The docs told her she was dying. I think in part, that alone killed her. Which also fills me with regret.

But as other posters have commented, honestly, we can't beat ourselves up. Our mums absolutely knew that we were there for them, and would have done anything and everything we could to help them. In our own minds, it's never enough, but in reality there's probably very little we could have done that would change the outcome, and possibly we'd still have regrets.

I hope you will be able to forgive yourself soon, and know that your mum knew how much you cared for her and would hate to think you were questioning whether you did the right thing, or did enough. Just remember the love and kindness you gave her. That's what mattered the most. 

Regrets after mum died

16 Sep 2019 23:03 in response to Serapine8

Cwtch my lovely, I know what you mean. I turned 50 this year and have 2 daughters grown up.  I’m just not good in a crisis. I have a calm husband and he usually pulls me through, or my mum who was also calm in a crisis.  

I just couldnt imagine what the end would be.  I didnt expect her to just ... die... immediately with no warning like a heart attack or other sudden illness.  It was a blessing in the end but I am now torturing myself with “what if’s”. What if we had taken her to the hospital the day before. What if we had phoned the ambulance earlier.

yet immediately after her death I said to my husband and brother. I have no regrets. I did my best and supported her all the way.  I visited every day she was in hospital more or less and saw her every week and rang all the time.  Not too much or she would have thought she was on deaths door and no one told her, so had to keep it as normal as possible,

now 5 days later I am going over and over everything and torturing myself.... uggghhh


Regrets after mum died

16 Sep 2019 23:28 in response to Brokenhearted69

Hi so sorry . Its like that goes round and round in you head if i had rung ambulance she would be here now if i had done this or that i was just the same so dont worry it does stop but it stops quicker if everytime those thoughts start just think and tell yourself out loud one great thing you did do you will find those black self punishing thoughts will dwindle quicker .its grief would it have made any diffrence your poor mum would have gone anyway but at least she was with you and she will have known that and not in a strange bed with strangers putting canulas and drugs in and being confused and scared and maybe live a few hours longer so you did the right thing so think that next time that guilt slips into your head its a diffrent way of looking at the same thing i dont think just because our body dies that all that energy thought feelings of love cant just blink out of existence .i think our loved ones stay around for a while but i think we are in such pain and loss we dont feel it .i lost my partner liz just over a year ago and for a long time after i felt something call it sixth sence in my case it took the lonelyness away not the feeling of loss that will always be there .so everytime the dark thoughts come try and think good ones try a bit of counciling that can realy help but you have to stick at it as it hurts at first .best wishs to you and your family .paul

Regrets after mum died

17 Sep 2019 08:06 in response to Paulus

I also visited my mum every day staying all day until the evening.  Or sometimes I would do morninh/afternoon. Dad would then take over. My brother barely visited as he couldn’t handle it.  My little ones visited with me too.  When they told her on the Saturday she was terminally ill. I stayed til 9pm. Then went home. I felt she needed some time alone to digest everything as it looked like she was trying to hold it all together in front of us.  The nurse said for me to go get my rest as we will need it over the next few days.  So Saturday and Sunday I went home in the evening and tried to sleep. However Monday I said to myself I was going to start staying over at the hospital.  But I arrived on Monday and the consultant said she is deteriorating and less than 12 hours to go. And she died Monday night at 9pm. So I never did get to stay a night with her and that hurts beyond belief I left her those last two nights. Even though the nurses were wonderful and one said she sat with Mum during The night and held her hand. That should have been me. 

Regrets after mum died

17 Sep 2019 08:43 in response to Beach45

My mum died with them pumping on her chest in an ambulance alone.. I just never thought she'd go that way with none of her family there. It really upsets me

I woke up crying this morning and feel terrible. The funeral is not until 3rd October. I think we spent far too much money on it. Mum didn't even want a funera . I ordered a wicker casket. It's one of the only things mum asked for. It doesn't look like a coffin so I like it. But she'd be horrified dad spent over 4 grand. I don't even know if he can afford it Cry