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Mom died because of care-giving mistakes

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I lost my mother 4 days ago because we failed to provide necessary medical assistance. My dad was her primary care-giver because she had a number of ailments and was generally weak over past 2 weeks. She was 69. On the fateful day, my mother had choked while eating breakfast. My dad had helped her spit out the food, and apparently she had used the restroom couple of times. My mom had irritable bowel syndrome and hence had to use the restroom often. She also used to lie down on the bed most of the time. I went to their rooms twice that morning and totally failed to read the situation. Both times, I assumed she was sleeping, as was her wont. After sometime when my dad came out of their room and told me that she seemed to need medical attention, I rushed in and found her unresponsive. Yet again, I failed to give her CPR and instead rushed her to the hospital which is closeby. I did sprinkle water and tried to massage her chest and feet, but I did not have presence of mind to try CPR. I was wailing and trying to take her to the hospital as soon as I can. We do not know how long she was unconscious. At the emergency room, they did not find a pulse to begin with, and pronounced her brought-in-dead after trying for about 40 minutes to revive her.

I now realize that choking caused her death, albeit slowly over an hour or even 2 hours, when we thought she was sleeping. I failed to properly interpret what my dad was saying. He is himself 77 years old.

Now, as the enormity of the mistakes occur to me, I do not know how to console myself, or even how to properly grieve. I don't want to discuss in detail with my dad, and make him more conscious that this was a freak accident, rather than a peaceful passing away in sleep, as it appeared to both of us in the initial hours.

My mother had a number of life-long ailments, but died of choking. I don't know how to find peace now.

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Dear balaji,

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the loss of your mother. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know there are a lot of raw emotions right now. And it is an extremely difficult time.

Please know every one of us has done what are you doing now, which is replay every moment that happened. It is distressing and very emotional. It is the way our bodies are processing the shock of our loss.

Grief hits us hard. And we just want so badly to go back in time and make other choices. Try to support your dad and be kind to yourself. You did what you could in that moment. You never meant any harm to your mother. And so did your dad. Please do not blame yourself.  I know its hard to find comfort in these early days. I can't tell you how many times, I've had to replay the last year of my father's life. Over and over I went but its been 13 months and slowly I am coming around.

Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.


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