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About alaskaerin

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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
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  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Erin Whalen
  1. That's amazing, Kay. It sounds like she was very strong. Can I ask, did she ever get to the point where she didn't believe she had little time left? My mom keeps insisting she doesn't have long. She keeps forecasting her death and then outliving her forecasts. But it doesn't seem to make her feel more hopeful, probably because she is also declining in health all the while. I made her a doctor's appointment for Tuesday to get a referral to hospice, but I haven't told her about it yet. I told her hospice is probably the best way to ensure that she doesn't have to go to the hospital, which is the last thing she wants. She said she'd think about it. Every day things are changing so much, her mood and her health. If on Monday I tell her about the appointment and she doesn't want to go, we're back to square one. If she agrees, I just hope they can make it quick and easy for her. I no longer feel numb about all this--back to feeling horrible again. What is most awful is that I want her to be as happy as possible at every moment, so if something goes even a little wrong it kills me. Every moment she has is precious. Weeks ago she offered her sky miles to my brother to bring him up for Christmas, if she was still here. I asked her for her card last night so I could see how many miles she has. She perked up right away because she knew it meant my brother might visit. That reaction gutted me, because I'm pretty sure he won't be able to visit for a number of reasons, and because even if he came tomorrow it might be too late. I had to sit in the car and cry a while.
  2. Thank you, Marty. Our Hospice service cannot help us without a referral from a local doctor, which brings me right back to not wanting to make my mom see a doctor. My mother had such a referral in her home state from when she was initially diagnosed, but I was told a referral from another state is not sufficient. In any case, my mother turned the Hospice representative away at the door in her home state and I suspect she probably would try do the same now. I would still appreciate their help for myself, if I could get it, but I at least have access to counseling. For the time being, she is capable of eating, walking, sitting down and standing up, dressing herself, operating the TV (sort of) and stepping outside to smoke. If any of that changes, my hope is that she will then be willing to see a doctor (or suffer a home visit) so that we can get help from Hospice.
  3. Thank you for answering me and for sharing, Kay. I am sorry for all that you've been through. You must be incredibly strong to have survived it, and to still be helping others get through similar challenges. Did your mother in law seek treatment? Is that why what the doctors said would be three weeks turned into nearly three years? Was there a point at which you all felt the treatment became more harmful than helpful? My mom doesn't want any treatment whatsoever. Based on what little we know about her cancer, that may be the most rational choice because treatment might at best prolong a difficult situation. But I'm not sure what I think, so I'm not sure how hard I should push her to seek more help. She would hate to be in a hospital for any length of time; hate for people to treat her like a patient; hate for bills to rack up; hate for all this to happen, and detract from just enjoying her final days, if it would all be in vain. But I'm worried years from now I will wonder why I didn't push harder. It's hard to get perspective.
  4. Has this happened to anyone? That anticipatory grief fades into the background as you settle into a routine and a new grim reality? I think it is happening to me, and I feel somewhat guilty about it. At the same time, I feel like the reaction must be protecting me from burnout, etc. that is such a part of long lasting anticipatory grief. I have only known that my mother is terminally ill with a tumor in her lung and brain for about a month (which was also when she found out), though warning signs were there even earlier. It was horrifying and terrible every day, all day for about three weeks. Now that I've moved her in with my husband and I and we have her settled into a kind of routine and I've returned to work for a few days, all of this is starting to feel horrifyingly normal. I can no longer feel the sharpness and desperation of the situation. I can even talk about it without crying very much. Am I a sociopath? How can I have come to accept my mother's death so soon? She is only 62. She is one of my best friends. Am I forgetting that, and thinking of it only as losing the sick, diminished person by my side today? One possibility is that as soon as she experiences a precipitous decline I am going to feel it sharply again. I kind of hope that I can get the feeling back. I worry that I will regret not showing her my pain, lest she think she is unloved. She has always been very insecure about how much my brother and I truly love her. All this is complicated by the fact that she has expressive aphasia caused by the brain tumor, so can not communicate much verbally. The brain tumor is also affecting her concentration, I suspect her emotions (which are unusually muted), and who knows what else. When I try to bring up remotely serious topics she just says "Come on, Erin." As in, "why are you bothering me with this? I just want to watch mindless, harmless reality TV." As I write this, I am tearing up a little bit. I can't indulge the feeling because I'm at work. Maybe I've just been shoving the feeling down so completely that it seems like it's not there, but it will come roaring back. As I said, I kind of hope that it does. My mom deserves for people to rage at the fact of her untimely death. I would love to hear whether others have experienced the same emotional fade and conflicting thoughts about it.