Author Topic: Terminally Ill Mother  (Read 3020 times)

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Offline Margo

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Terminally Ill Mother
« on: January 19, 2014, 12:49:54 PM »
Mom been told the hospital treating her advanced breast cancer, has no further treatments to offer her and will now be pallitive from the local Hospice. We were all shocked at this news as she seemed to have recovered well from her mastectomy. We are a large family, spread over 4 countries and we have all reacted a bit differently. Within only a few months the family appear divided into 3 camps, the 'we can't do anything for her now', 'how can we get our hands on some of her money', and the grieving and bewiLdered'. This is a large famiLy, mom married 5 times, has kids from 3 marriages. Is there anyone here can give me any suggestions on how to deal with it all.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 02:10:21 PM by luise.volta »

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 02:20:42 PM »
I think the first thing I would attempt to do is to accept that others are going to be how they are and not get drawn into the drama. We can't change them. Save your energy for your mother...it's pretty clear which camp you are in and she is lucky to have you. I would concentrate on her wishes and needs and let the others go their way...which is what they will do anyhow. I'd contact Hospice and ask for help. They counseled me when my husband was dying and went on Hospice. I don't know what I would have done without them. Hugs...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Margo

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 02:46:25 PM »
Thank u for u reply. I don't live in the UK .She is currently still in her own home, an outpatient at Hospice, with SF no 4 who doesn't like any of us kids, so often we can't speak to her. I've been back 3 times in 7 months but cannot afford it any longer, siblings been back inbetween but  he doesn't want us there. It is her home, solely in her name. When he opens the door he just glares and walks away to another part of the house. Mom pretends it isn't happening. How do we know what she really wants?

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 05:20:42 PM »
I'm sorry about the distance and the inaccessabillity that your mother has established. She may be telling you what she wants, if she has isolated herself and is pretending it isn't happening. It must be very hard to respect her choice in a partner but that may be what she wants, too. There will be others here who offer you a different perspective. Mine would be to let her know that you care and that you honor her choices...and to attend to your own shock and grief. She may think that by shutting you out that she is sparing you. You know better and may need to find a counselor to help you through your vigil. My heart goes out to you.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Margo

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 12:39:57 AM »
Thank u Luisa. That's more or less what my Godmother has advised me but as mom has not spoken to her 6 siblings for years, I am unsure if there's any sincere love between them as they don't trust mom. They do have very valid reasons but some issues happened decades ago and I feel that they have no idea how I feel. I'm very respectful towards them, they r all in their 80s and 90s but wonder if they are too harsh?

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 05:41:48 AM »
Margo I think you should check with your local Hospice.  Most of them offer groups to help people and I would not think that they would care if your mother is far away.   I cannot imagine how to handle knowing my mother was going to die soon and not being able to see her.  Losing a parent is always difficult, no matter how old they or you are.  I am sorry that this time has the added stresses you described.  I hope your family can use this time to forgive past issues and heal old wounds. 

As for your DM's current husband I would suspect that he feels like he is about to get kicked out of his home.  He probably thinks that his wife's children are circling like vultures waiting to take everything.  I know that you are only interested in being with your mother but I am sure that he is feeling very insecure.  Losing a spouse is difficult enough without the added pressure of the home you live in being "entirely in her name".  Maybe some honest discussion would help......or make everything worse.  I do not know what I would do in that regard.

As you move through this troubling time it might help to remember that life is a terminal illness.  Doctors can only predict a probable ETA and nothing they say is etched in stone.  All of the time you spend focusing on the eventual outcome is time you could spend enjoying both your life and hers so tune your focus to now and let the future take care of itself. 

Sending lots of loving thoughts your way.......



Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Margo

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 03:00:56 PM »
Thank u for taking the time to send such a thoughtful reply. I actually do charity work for our local breast cancer unit but am unable to discuss mom with anyone there...this is my problem....no reflection on my co-workers who r lovely. Ditto with our local priest. I do gain comfort from just being part of these groups in a quiet way, don't know if that makes sense??

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 03:26:53 PM »
You make sense and you still l might do well with a counselor where you can condid and share your experience. It's a big load to carry. Please know we are all here for you. Hugs...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Pen

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 08:06:23 PM »
Margo, welcome to the site. My thoughts go out to your and yours during this time. I lost my mom to cancer decades ago. There is so much more than just dealing with the medical issues regarding the illness. Please make sure you take some time for yourself.

When you get a minute, please read the pink highlighted items under the topic Open Me First on the home page if you haven't already. We ask this of all new members to make sure the site is a good fit all around :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
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Offline Sheen

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 08:42:00 PM »
Hi Margo

Sorry to hear about your Mom .  My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and like you, our family divided into various camps as well. My sister and brothers were either in a denial or in the I can't handle this camp, so it was basically left to me. She was terrified that they would place her in a nursing home with strangers taking care of her, so I ended up moving in with her and cared for her until she passed.
Having gone thru basically the same thing, I can advise you on some things .

First , contact the hospice near her and find out what they can offer as ways to help. They are very special people and I don't know what I would of done without them. Second, her current husband is probably also in his own phase of grieving and wondering how he will care for her as her time gets closer. Perhaps try and speak to him about the choices open to them as far as help goes, because they will need help and support.

My siblings always made those token calls concerning ^" how is Mom doing " but it was not until she passed that they showed up to claim what they felt was theirs. Even if the conversation is difficult, perhaps you could speak to your mom about what her wishes are . It is not an easy conversation but one that will make things easier in the future. If she has named her current husband as her legal power of attorney , then he will dictate everything concerning her care and the aftermath.

After you have squared away the actual details of what she wants in her care and what she wants as far as her home goes, then just center on spending as much time as you can with her.  Even though you may not be able to visit her often, those phone calls every day can open up a line of communciation that you will cherish in the years to come. Some of my best memories are things we talked about during my Mom's last few months. Try and be upbeat as much as you can , maybe remembering special times that will bring a smile etc.

You are on a sad road for the next few months but unfortunately it is a road that most of us must travel. Enjoy the time you have left and  God Bless both of you.

Offline Margo

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 09:12:12 PM »
Hello Pen thank you for your reply. I did read all the pink highlighted items before joining and have just read them again after your comment about them. I'm unsure what specifically you are referring me to? Sorry if I seem vague I'm just extremely tired so my concentration level is low.

Offline Margo

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 09:30:28 PM »
Hello Sheen. Thank you for sharing your own experience. I have spoken to mom directly when I was with her during my last 3 visits and she expressed a wish that I would 'nurse her at the end'. We agreed she would stay in her home until either I couldn't cope or she asked to go to the Hospice. She specifically mentioned who she did and did not want to be allowed in her home, her burial wishes etc. I asked mom if she had made her Will to ensure that SF had a 'life interest in the home' explaining she  could still leave it in her Will to whoever she wanted but this would ensure he had a roof over his head for the remainder of her life. She just listens to me but hasn't told me what she has done. I try to speak directly to SF to explain that as we have 2 homes we are not in need of the home financially and he had no worries about that but he just made comments about my siblings. So I don't know what more I can do in this area? Any suggestions greatly appreciated. On the communication front I ring daily, twice if she sounds down on my first call, I send jokes by email, a nice card every week. I have tried to rally those who she has fallen out with to make some contact although this has mainly failed. Again any suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Pen

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2014, 06:28:46 PM »
Hello Pen thank you for your reply. I did read all the pink highlighted items before joining and have just read them again after your comment about them. I'm unsure what specifically you are referring me to? Sorry if I seem vague I'm just extremely tired so my concentration level is low.

You're fine, Margo!  No problems with any of your posts :)

It's just our standard greeting to new members. As one of the moderators here I have to make sure everyone who joins understands that the site is monitored. When we notice a "newbie" is posting, one of us moderators will post the reminder about reading the site information.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline Pooh

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 05:46:32 AM »
So sorry Margo for your situation with your Mother. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Sheen

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Re: Terminally Ill Mother
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 10:57:27 PM »
Hi Margo

Sounds like you are doing the very best you can . Sometimes as in my mom's case, she had arranged her will and her wishes by having an attorney actually coming to the house.  As far as hospice goes, they were great. They had a nurse come in once or twice a week to stay with Mom while I did grocery shopping etc. They were also good with help trying to make sure I understood the medications . I cared for her up to ten days before she passed. I just was not physically able to lift her and we were fortunate to have a hospice house just a few blocks away. By that time however she was only semi-conscious so I am not sure that she even knew we moved her there.

With my mom, she enjoyed looking at old pictures and going over happier times which we did alot of. She was always an avid cook, so everytime she saw a new cooking show, she would instruct me to make it. I think the biggest part of the whole situation is to make them feel that they are still part of life, and not dwell on the eventual outcome. If you ever shared a craft or something, then maybe try doing something like that next time you visit.

As far as the siblings, that is a situation in itself. We all use to be very close but unfortunately I now realize that my Mom was the glue that held us together. I have not spoken to any of them in over ten years,  (their choice). They were not pleased with the way the estate ended up so that was the end of family.  At any rate, stay strong and take care of yourself.