My family does not deal well with impending death. When my great aunt was dying of cancer she refused to see family members at all for the last 2 years of her life. When my grandmother was dying of cancer her children decided to not tell her and even convinced the doctor to go along with it and never level with her about how sick she really was. She did radiation treatment but they told her she was getting better and never even gave her the choice to try chemo because she was elderly and her children (my mother included) thought the stress of just hearing the word cancer would kill her more quickly. It was hard watching my grandmother die without ever talking to her about what was happening. It has been hard in the 5 years since her death feeling some regret about going along with my Mom and Aunt's wishes that we not tell her. I think about how I *could have* told her how MUCH I would miss her after she dies. Maybe there could have been something she would have wanted to say to me? But oh well that is in the past and nothing I can do to change it. NOW... I'm pretty sure my Mother is dying. She is only 64 years old but I know there is something really wrong with her and it is probably cancer tho it might be related to silicon poisoning too from ruptured breast implants. The problem is she is NOT telling me that she is sick. Nor has she ever told me about the ruptured breast implants. Her friend told me about the implants. Beyond that my mother HAS told me that if she knew she were really sick she would not want to seek treatment (because she has no health insurance) and she would just want to live her life ignoring the illness rather than focus on it. She also said that if she were REALLY not feeling well she'd rather just overdose on some pills so she wouldn't have to die in a hospital. So altho I highly suspect that she is talking about the near future and an ongoing illness that she is already aware of she hasn't told me or my sister -- so I have not asked her or made her tell me. She doesn't want me to interfere and I'm not sure I want to anyway. I'm MAD at her for choosing to die this way. Today she called me and said she needed my SS # to list me as a beneficiary on some retirement fund in case she were to die.
Would you do something different than I am doing... which is to ignore and pretend this is not really happening? I'm scared I will have regrets or grieve MORE for having allowed her to die this way.
It's difficult to say if how your grandmother's dying was handled was correct and with her best interest at heart. Being told the truth does give you the opportunity to get your affairs in order and to say everything that maybe you haven't. Honestly, I don't know if I would want to know, and have to look at my loved ones knowing I will never see them again...it's a very personal thing. But as you said it's over and you can't change it now so it's best to accept that it was for the best. As for your mom, getting one's affairs in order does not necessarily mean one is ill or dying. We reach an age where we realize that it's time to make sure things are in place should we become ill. If she is ill, she probably feels she is protecting you and your sister by not telling you, not fair to the two of you but it would be about her at that time. I think what I would do is make sure you always let her know how much you love her so you never have any regrets for words left unsaid. I would also sit down and let her know that you really want to always know if she is sick and why. She may think she is doing what is best for you and your sister and by you telling her how you feel she may reconsider and let you know if and when something is wrong. We all say we'd do this and that until we're faced with our mortality and things change, so don't take her words too literally. Many of us have seen so much suffering prolonged with chemo and radiation that many are choosing to not endure all that goes along with this type of treatment and live out what time they have as healthy as possible, it's very common. Let your mother know that it has nothing to do with interfering but about love and wanting to be able to help her in any way possible. Let her know how you would feel if she were dying and never told you. If you find it difficult to talk to her then say it in a letter, but I think you do need to express your concern because it is really affecting you. Communication is imperative between a parent and child at any age and I've had to address my wishes with my children which wasn't an easy thing to do. As a parent we vow at your birth to always protect you and this continues regardless of your age. She loves you both very much and knows you love her, and I feel she thinks she is protecting you...which is what moms do. I know it's a very tough choice for you but it sounds like the three of you have needed to talk about this for a long time. I'm sure you want her to know that it's okay for her to tell you and she needs to hear this. Even if she denies that anything is wrong, at least you won't have the regret of not talking with her about it and she was aware of how you felt. Then regardless, everyday tell her you love her and get her to have lunch or dinner, do some fun things together, just spend more time with her and you will have no regrets. Big hugs to you and take care.
My mother died when I was 17, a few months later I was at a book store looking for a book in the suspense section and someone must have lazily placed this book on the wrong shelf instead of returning it to the proper place, called "motherless daughters" . I'm telling you it is absolutely vital no matter what age of your loss, or how it occurs. I've had several girlfriends read it when they've had their mom or have had there mom taken. All have gotten a comfort that we all agree we couldn't find anywhere else, be it, counseling, bereavement groups, friends , family or other self help books. I seriously recommend getting it, you will find it comforting in any stage of loss
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