My 41 year old son died last Thursday, Dec. 20th. He has been a heavy drinker for many years. He was homeless by choice. Last Thanksgiving he was diagnosed with Pancreatitis and told to stop drinking. He came home for a month but left to go back to his old life. He has been in and out of the hospital for the last year, On Nov. 3 he was admitted again and had to be frained many times. He spent 38 days in the hospital and i was called on Decc. 10 to tell me he was theere and being dischard with end stage liver failure. I live in another state but we left immediately to go get hi. He was very weak and jaundice when we picked him up. The next day he slept all day, could not stay awake, just kept saying, I am just so tired, Wednesday, day 3, he was more alert and had some soup. Hospice had been called in. Day 4 when I woke up he was very confused, speaking only jibberish, woulld not let me help him hold a coffe cup or let me help him take his meds. This continued till he collapsed in the floor and his dad put him in the bed. He could no longer swallow his meds, he contunueed to get a darker yellow. Hospice nurses told me it was just a matter of time. I stayed by his side and he died on Thursday, 20, 10 days after i brought him home. I don't understand the sudden drastic change and since he was in another state, I cannot get the doctor at the hospital to talk to me. I feelas if I had only done some thing more, he would noy have died, I need help, please, it has been 4 days since he died, he was my baby boy. His death was somewhat peaceful except for about the last 5 hours, did I do right by doing what the hospice nurses told me and only giving him pain meds, my heart says no...
Elaine, sweetheart, he went the route he went by choice. In fact, he made a thousand choices along the way, and they inevitably led to this exact kind of death, and it might have been harsher. You could not change the death that was at the end of the trajectory for him, and you probably eased it for him, like a good mother would.
I am sorry for the loss of your beloved son. Please don't lose track of the fact that he moved away from what you would have wanted for him in little bits for a long time, and your last acts with him were simply the last act of a long, long play in which he went by his own free will the way he went.
Talk to the hospice nurses about a good grief counselor, make an appointment and go. It can help so much, just to tell the story from beginning to end.
Where he is, there is no more pain, no more confusion, no more addiction. It will take you a long time probably to make peace with what his illness did, but he himself is at peace.
I am so sorry you are going through this at Christmas.
It makes me real sad to read your story. I’m just a few days from being 41 years old and I spent most of my life battling alcoholism. In March 2010 I was diagnosed with end stage cirrhosis I didn’t know what to do. I was told I needed to stop drinking immediately since this is what was damaging my liver. I was scared and didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know who I was without it since I had spent more than half my life drinking. I worried if my wife would still like who I was or if I would for that matter. It took all I could do to build the courage to do what was necessary. I still battle with cirrhosis and I spend much of my free time learning all I can how to treat my condition. Fortunately I am one of the lucky ones and things are going okay. I have spent a lot of time in the alcoholism and cirrhosis communities trying to help others in my circumstance or prevent them from getting here.
Along the way I have met people who just can’t find the strength they need to do what is necessary. Good people with good intentions just like me. I actually contemplated whether to quit or not, that’s how strong addiction can be, for some of us rock bottom isn’t even enough. I was warned many times and I knew someday I would get here. If only I would have known how good life can be through sober eyes but it’s nothing anyone can tell you about, nothing that you can be taught, it is an experience that has to be learned. I was perfectly content with my life as an alcoholic because I knew no better, for me it took this disease to find that out.
The liver performs over 500 vital functions each day. Everything ingested is metabolized by the liver. This kills liver cells but that’s okay because the liver has an amazing ability to replace dying cells with new ones. The problem is when we abuse alcohol or drugs massive amounts of liver cells are being destroyed, the liver can’t replace these cells quick enough and scare tissue begins to form, fibrosis at first and then cirrhosis. Most cirrhotic people will not develop symptoms of liver disease until they have reached the final stage of cirrhosis. At this point liver decompensation has already occurred and progression will continue unless the cause (Alcohol) is halted. In many cases it is too late.
The confusion, irritability, tiredness, disorientation and slurred speech are a symptom of cirrhosis we call Hepatic Encephalopathy. This is when the liver has lost the ability to filter toxins. Asking Hospice for their help in making him as comfortable as possible was without any doubt in my mind the best thing a mother could have done.
I am so sorry for the loss of your son may God bless you both.
Hi, I came across your post and am sorry to read of your son's loss, especially this time of the year. My dad passed away many years ago - similar to your post (but from pancreatic cancer) and I just want you to know I understand your thoughts and questions - we went through the same thoughts. Please know you've done all you could ,and you were a super, kind, loving, amazing mom being their for your son. The last few hours were the ones that kept coming back to us, too .. similar situation with meds and hospice, etc. Try to remember all the times except those hours. We're here for you ..
Elaine, it is the most difficult event, the most painful experience, for a Parent to suffer the loss of a Child, no matter what the circumstances.
Many people posted with words of Wisdom and Compassion.
While societal conditioning allows us to forgive others for their actions,
if we don't don't do the same for ourselves, we end up holding the key to our own mental prison.
Are You holding the key, by holding on to the Guilt for NOT having done enough for your beloved Son?
This would be a reasonable feeling as a Parent,who loses a child.
I'm sure you're familiar with the Serenity Prayer.
"God Grant Me The Serenity To Accept The Things I Cannot Change,
Courage To Change The Things I Can".
Reflect on this Prayer and should there be a part of Truth, where you believe that justifies your feelings of Guilt, make amends with the wrongs
you've done, and ask for Forgiveness.
This will help you start the Healing Process, for Yourself and your Son.
When reaching out to God or your Son or anyone else,
the following Prayer might help:
May the Goodness in Me,
acknowledge the Goodness in You.
May the Goodness in You,
acknowledge the Goodness in Me.
No one travels on this Path alone.
If You, like many other Grieving Parents, who have suffered the Loss of a Child, can Realize that your Child has indeed given You a Spiritual Gift,
a Divine Opportunity to return back to the Absolute Truth that You are Love,
You will still experience times of Pain and Deep Sorrow on your Path, however,
your Son's Spirit will Always be Around
to Empower and Encourage You!
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