Hi, I'm Bev. My mom passed away on Sept 7/09. It was not an unexpected death as she was sick for sometime. She died of kidney failure due to complications of diabetes. Our father passed away approx 25 years ago. While the memories of his death came flooding back with my Mom's passing, I do not remember experiencing anything like this, then again, I wasn't really that close to my Dad. I am the youngest in the family, having an older brother & 2 older sisters. The 4 of us each had a very close and special relationship with our Mom. My brother, who I admit because of our age difference I feel like I barely know him, lived only 10 minutes from Mom's house and saw her pretty much every day. My sisters are missionaries in Nigeria are gone for about 3 years at a time and come home for 10 months or so before returning. While they are home they would live with Mom. When we were younger I was very close with my sisters, but I think our relationship has dwindled because of them being so far away for such a long time. Quite honestly, I feel that they now consider Nigeria their home rather than Canada. I live approx 1 hour away from my Mom's house. I do consider that Mom and I had a very close relationship, although I must admit that for the last 5 years, we didn't talk or visit as much as we used to...mainly because of work committments on my end. It seemed like I was always at work and never had the time. Boy do I have a lot of regrets and feel so guilty now. In August when it was quite evident that she wasn't going to be with us much longer I took a leave of absence from work in order to be with her. I found it very very hard to see her quite literally fading in front of us on a daily basis.
My Mom was a very strong and determined woman who had a very real faith in God. She knew her time on earth was ending and grown tired of all the meds and doctors. Earlier this year she refused kidney dialysis and refused to have any further medical intervention. I found her decision a very tough thing to deal with. While I do believe in God, I certainly don't have the faith that she and the rest of my family have. All my Mom wanted was to die in peace at home with our family surrounding her.
Because of Mom's health, my sisters returned in early August and were caring for her at home. Once I took my leave of absence I visisted everyday. I never knew the words to say to her nor how to comfort Mom. In order to make a long story short, in the end Mom was admitted to the hospital 8 days prior to her death. Unfortunately, in the end her wish to die peacefully at home didn't happen and she died alone in the hospital. By the time the hospital called us to come she died within minutes. By the time I got to the hospital, her room and belongings were already packed up and I had about 15 or 20 minutes of time in the room with her to say goodbye.
She died on a Monday and her funeral was Friday -- the whole week was just one big blur to me. I had 5 days of bereavement leave from work and then took an additional week off prior to returning to work. That one week at work was a nightmare for me. I just started a new job in May of this year and have no real friends at work yet. I felt so much pressure and was completely overwhelmed at work. What made it worse not everybody knew why I was off and people asked me when I returned "did you have a good vacation". I never went back to work after that week and I've been at home since.
My brother and sisters seem to be handling everything OK. My sisters are returning to Nigeria next weekend. My husband has provided some support to me. My kids although the 3 of them range from 24 to 28 years, they don't understand how I'm feeling. I am usually the "rock" of our family and take care of everybody and everything. But I feel like I'm going crazy and falling apart. I can't think straight. The slightest thing happens and I end up in tears. I feel so alone. And the guilt....I can't even begin to explain the guilt that I'm feeling. I never understood Mom's wanting to die at home and I'm so angry now that she ended up dieing alone in the hospital without any of us there. I wasn't sleeping until I got sleeping pills from my doctor. I have a history of migranes, and boy have I and some bad ones over the last few weeks because of the stress.
I'm supposed to be returning to work tomorrow but I honestly don't want to go, but I'm feeling so much pressure that if I don't go back that I'm going to get fired. I work in a very stressful atmosphere with tight deadlines etc. I just don't feel capable of handling it right now. With my sisters leaving next weekend, I feel not only have I lost my Mom, but that I've lost my entire family. I'm so depressed. The only thing that makes for feel good is being home taking care of my dogs (2 older jack russell terriers, one of which is terminally ill with a brain tumour).
I don't know how to deal with all these mixed up emotions. I don't know how to get through this. My doctor suggested that I see a therapist, and maybe that is what I need to do. But when I see my brother & sisters and see how they are managing, I can't help but think "what's wrong with me and why can't I handle this".