Wondering what to tell Mother in hospital with no time left??

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by mayflyer, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. mayflyer

    mayflyer Registered User

    Apr 7, 2015
    Connecticut, US
    My Mother has end stage dementia, recurrent aspiration pneumonia infections due to inability to swallow. She's now on a morphine drip and only comfort care. The doctors thought she would die 2 days ago, but she's hanging on. She sleeps most of the time but recognizes my voice and tries to communicate with me, will open her eyes when I ask her to and squeezes my hand and blinks when I ask her to as a means of communication. I get the feeling she is resisting letting herself die and that she doesn't understand that she is dying and I'm not sure how much I should say to her. I know she hears me for short periods, but she doesn't seem to be seeing me when she looks at me and doesn't understand for very long. I don't want to scare her by telling her she's dying--she seems somewhat scared and quite confused already. Does anyone have any advice for me?

    2 days ago when it looked like the end was imminent, I reassured her everybody was okay, "the kids were in bed" , her husband was home, and that she could just relax, and she did! That seemed to be what she wanted, but I don't know what to do now.
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi Mayflyer, welcome to TP at this sad time
    I have been in the position you are with my mum and I think you're doing the right thing telling her the kids are in bed, the cats been put out and all is right with the world and let her slip out of it believing her job is done and she can go to her rest in peace knowing all is well.
    It is a very difficult time and I understand you just want it to end, after days and nights in a hard hospital chair between chrismas and new year with everyone else too committed to do anything more than a flying visit I wanted it to end too, I'm not proud to say that but I did.
    I had the consolation of knowing that fifty odd years earlier my mother spend 36 hours in labour and 2 blood transfusions giving birth to me and it only seemed fair for me to take some pain on her way out.
  3. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    East Kent
    Hi Mayflier.
    All you can do hard though it is, is to keep reassuring your mum that she can rest easy as all will be well.
    I believe giving permission to go, is one of the kindest things we can do for someone.
  4. mayflyer

    mayflyer Registered User

    Apr 7, 2015
    Connecticut, US
    Thanks for your kind reassurance. I'm so sorry about your mother; I don't think you had any reason to feel bad about wanting her end to come more quickly--it sounds like you provided much more for her than anyone else, but we can only do so much when the end is inevitable. It's compassion that makes us wish for an end to a loved one's suffering, not selfishness.

    I just want to do all I can to ease any fear or anxiety my mother might have, as she doesn't appear to understand what's going on at this point. I think you're right, that I can just continue to tell her everyone is okay without needing to explain what she can't comprehend.
  5. mayflyer

    mayflyer Registered User

    Apr 7, 2015
    Connecticut, US
    Hi lin1,
    I agree that permission to go is the kindest course of action. I'm comforted that you feel the same way. You're right, it is so hard, especially when I'm the only one trying to think of her feelings when other family members just criticize and make things difficult instead of doing anything to help.

    I just joined this site today; what a relief it is to talk to other kind, compassionate people who understand!
  6. virg

    virg Registered User

    Jan 13, 2010
    For a not very tactile family, we went rather tactile when Mum was dying, stroking her head and face, holding her hand along with the verbal reassurances as you are doing. Maybe it was for us rather than her (as she wasn't conscious) but we hoped that some of it was getting through. We also talked about happy times in the hope that she was having the memories as well. It was a hard and sad time, but I look back at it as a very precious time when we could be together.

    It sounds as if you're doing as much as you can to help her. I'm thinking of you as I know how hard it is.

    The carers at Mum's home told us that quite often people hold on while their loved ones are there and it's when they leave the room that they let themselves go.
  7. clareglen

    clareglen Registered User

    Jul 9, 2013
    I've been in same situation for 5 weeks now. I've given her 'permission' to go. She's quite peaceful but not hurrying anywhere.
  8. clareglen

    clareglen Registered User

    Jul 9, 2013
    My mum on end of life care now.
  9. WIFE

    WIFE Registered User

    May 23, 2014
    I too gave my husband "permission to go" in the kindest possible way but knowing that only he and his poor failing body and mind could make the final decision. It is such a sad time - I wanted his suffering to end but dreaded losing him after so many years of togetherness. Be kind to yourselves as well as your loved ones - what will be will be when the time is right. Loving thoughts WIFE
  10. Perdita

    Perdita Registered User

    Jun 22, 2009
    Suffolk, Uk
    So sorry Clareglen, really hope she is comfortable throughout. Look after yourself xx
  11. count2ten

    count2ten Registered User

    Dec 13, 2013
    30 years ago I told me dad it was ok, I would look after everyone and he could go - he was in the hospice for a week's break - he'd suffered for several years with cancer, he'd also had numerous strokes which had left him a shadow of the strong man he had been. I was the last one to see him, my mother was in denial all through his illness but we had no idea he was going to go so quickly. I called into the hospice to see him on my way home from work and he asked how everyone was, he seemed really worried about everyone and I just found myself saying to him it's okay, you can go now if you want, I'll look after everyone. I've no idea why I said it to him, and strangely enough he had never really listened to anything I ever had to say but for some reason he must have needed to hand the baton over to someone else - We got a phone call in the early hours of the morning to say he'd passed away very peacefully about midnight. I was so glad I'd called in to see him that day, but maybe he would have waited for me to visit in any event. Who knows? My thoughts are with you and your family.

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