I'm so lost without her...

by Tracy
(New Hampshire)

My Mom was a smoker and had been declining in health for the past 6 years or so. She'd been on oxygen 24/7 for about 5 years. She experienced an exacerbation of her COPD/emphysema October 2, 2013 and was hospitalized. I live 6 hours away and made the drive to be with her and my Dad October 6th after hearing time and time again during daily calls that she was not making any progress toward getting out. About 5 minutes after arriving at the hospital, my Mom motioned for my Dad to 'tell me'. What I heard next devastated me: she had Stage 4 lung cancer that spread to her lymph nodes and liver. Her doctor said she may or may not make it to the end of the year. I was there, 5 days later, on her 67th birthday when she drew her last breath. WHO DIES ON THEIR BIRTHDAY?! She was sedated so as to not feel any pain and I wonder if she knows that I was there -- trying to help her as best I could.

She had a massive CO2 build up that made her very out of it so they had to put these mitten type things on her hands and tie her hands to the side of the bed so she wouldn't rip the IV out or remove the oxygen mask. I couldn't leave her like that all night with no way to call for help if she needed it, so I went to my parents' house, showered and came back to stay the night with her. The next morning when the CO2 level had dropped, she looked me dead in the eye and asked, "Am I going to die?". Can you imagine how hard it was for me, as her daughter, to hear that and then to answer her honestly? I said yes and she asked "When?". I told her we didn't know, that it was up to God. A tear feel from her eye and rolled down her cheek. She passed away the next day.

I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get rid of the image of her crying or how helpless she looked. I miss her terribly and just don't know how to get rid of the intense pain I feel. I just wish I could have another day with her......

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Jan 28, 2014
I'm so lost without her....
by: Doreen UK

Tracy I am sorry for your loss of your mother to lung cancer. I know just how you feel. My husband worked with Asbestos and did not know as a young man in his 20's that Asbestos was a killer of a material he cut on a band saw as a carpenter. The fibres of the asbestos cling to the lining of the lung like claws and takes 40yrs. to develop into lung cancer. An incurable, inoperable terminal tumour. I nursed him for 3yrs. and he thought because he was having Chemotherapy, and Radiotherapy that this would cure him. I had to tell him that it was only going to buy him time. I watched him slowly die in horrible pain. He did not want to die. I saw his tears, and it tore me to pieces. I couldn't accept the fact he was dying. He was our families protector and now I was HIS. I bathed his emaciated body through my tears. I felt so helpless to help him beyond caring for his physical needs. His emotional one's were hard to deal with. He wondered what it felt like to die. I simply told him Death was just like going to sleep only you don't wake up. I will never know what he was thinking or what was in his mind when he was subdued and passively accepting his fate. Can you imagine how someone feels to know they will die soon but now know when. My husband suffered a lot and I am glad he is out of pain. But my Pain will never End. It goes on every day like a cancer killing me. I couldn't function for the first 6 months. I then started picking up. Now I have hit a low spot with memories resurfacing and causing me to lose my motivation to do anything. Life feels so empty and lonely, and it will be this way till I die. Something dies inside of you and you will never feel the same way again even though you will get back to life on a daily basis. It then becomes an EXISTENCE. I put a lot of structure in my day. But I am doing it alone. The best way forward is ONE DAY AT A TIME. This is how I have coped. You will feel very lost and lonely for some time before you start feeling your grief less.

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