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Lost My Mom - I'm All Alone Now - Only Child


frank

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It is so hard for my friends to relate to the pain and loneliness I feel right now. My life has taken such a drastic turn that I am completely lost and a total wreck emotionally.

I have always been used to being the person giving the help. And now that I need something...help, advice, whatever..I cannot find the answer. My mother had cervical cancer in 1985, right after my dad died of stomach and liver cancer that same year. She had surgery and radiation treatments that appeared to have been successful.

I have always lived at home - even at 27 when my dad died. I never had a serious relationship with anyone - and marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. I pretty much was living the good life - coming and going as I pleased. But with the onset of my dad's disease, I realized that I was going to have to look after my mother.

When my dad was dying he asked me to take care of my mom. He told me he was proud of me and that I had been a good son. He died a few hours later - but at least I had a chance to be with him.

And then a few months later, my mom asked me to take her to the doctor as she had some recurring problems. After seeing a gynecologist, he advised us of the cervical cancer and what needed to be done. She accepted it all - even the grueling radiation treatments which left her in such agony.

Nevertheless, she made it through her first year of recovery...then her second. After the 7th year the doctor felt confident that everything was going to be fine.

We lived our lives as normally as we could. She got back into the flow of things and she got back to her gardening, housework, etc. But I still remember one day when we were reflecting back on her illness and how glad I was that she had beat the cancer. She said: "Don't be too sure...it will come back one day. You watch."

However, during this period I slowly began drinking more and more. By now I was in my mid 30's and still, I really hadn't come to grips with my dad's loss. But I know it was making my mom feel more and more concerned. One day after arguing, she asked my why I was acting out and drinking so much. It was then that I told her of the deathbed promise I had made my dad to take care of her. I told her that at the moment he said that, I felt as though a yoke of tremendous weight had been put around my neck. You cannot imagine the pain that she felt hearing that. I knew right away that what I had just said had hurt her very deeply. And to this day - having said that is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Nevertheless we carried on. After a difficult period, I eventually stopped drinking and just carried on with my life, taking care of my mom. During this period, I lost my job and was unemployed for almost two years. I was finally able to land a job in 2000 and was able to provide for us. However, in 2003, the company was sold and I was out of work again. I remained alcohol free during this time - and continue to do so.

Previously, I had noticed that my mom was getting more and more out of breath. The doctors found a blood clot in her lung and she was told she had asthma. The doctors put her on inhalers, but it never seemed to clear up the problem. Finally, in 2005 it got to the point she could not walk more than a few feet without having to rest.

The doctors then diagnosed her with pulmonary hypertension. I read up on the disease and learned that the prognosis for this disease is not good - with a life expectancy of approximately 18 months after diagnosis. I was so scared at that point. I had been out of work since 2003, were both scraping by on her social security check, savings were being depleted, and it looked very grim.

It was at this time that my health began to spiral downhill. My weight ballooned up and it brought on the diabetes. It was at this time that I really prayed to God to help me. I was in such a bad place and time that I was going crazy.

God answered my prayers. In 2006 I was able to form a small business and got ourselves out of the financial hole we were in. I built up my savings and was able to manage my mom's health needs but always with the fear that she would succumb to this disease.

In 2008, I had to hospitalize her for fluid build up in her lungs. They did a thoracentesis and removed a large quantity of fluid. Continued doses of diuretics in the week stay at the hospital caused her to lose over 30 pounds of weight while in hospital.

A biopsy of the fluid revealed no cancer and we were both relieved.

But things began to go downhill for my mom. She seemed to gradually get weaker - the decline getting more and more noticeable. I too began my decline. My diabetes, although more in control, caused me to have neuropathy of the legs. My weight had not lessened and it became so hard to walk, I had to begin using a cane. We were both a pitiful sight when we had to go out. I was hobbling on my cane, holding her left arm with my right.... and she struggled to walk alongside me with her cane. I tried to get her to use a wheelchair, but she was adamant that she was going to walk and leave the wheelchair for the "sick people".

In early November, she was feeling very short of breath and had been complaining of a persistent pain in her back. But she had always had that pain for years - she blamed it on the chair that she always sat in. But she also complained of feeling bloated. Even if she had a sip of water, she felt that her belly was full.

Looking back, I now understand that these were telltale signs that something was seriously wrong. I tried several times to take her to the doctor, but she'd wave me off and say she was feeling a bit better.

A few weeks ago, we went out to eat breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box. As was our routine, we ate our breakfast in a nearby parking lot, watching pigeons. While we were eating, she made a comment about how her skin looked yellow. It was then that I noticed that her eyes were as yellow as lemons.

I took her to the emergency room that morning and everything has become a blur since then.

They did another thoracentesis and took out a large amount of fluid. But now her liver was malfunctioning. One early morning, at about 6:30 AM, I came in and was sitting near a little work station by the elevators. I noticed that her pulmonary specialist was on the phone and typing away. A few minutes later, the elevator opened up and another doctor stepped out. Neither of the doctors noticed me sitting there.

They began talking and I remember the doctor say: "Well she is 83 years old, with a history of pulmonary hypertension. We did a biopsy of the fluid drained and it is stage 4 cancer of the lung that has spread to the liver. It's not good".

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to find out my mom's condition in that fashion. I was crushed. As he was about to get up to leave, the doctor glanced over and saw me sitting there. I called him over and asked him how my mother was. He realized then that I had heard everything. But even still, he did not tell me to my face that she was terminal - or that she had cancer. He just said he didn't know - and that further testing was to be done and her liver specialist would be meeting with us later that day. A feeling of betrayal, mistrust, sorrow, anger...all these different emotions flooded me. But, I still had to put up a brave face and see my mom just down the hall. God, the pain that I felt and the sense of impending loss that I felt was horrible.

But my mom had a sense of what was going to happen. She told me: "No matter what happens, I want you to be brave. Don't feel sad for me. I'm ready to face anything that happens to me. If I am going to die, I want to die in my bed..at home...with you."

That Monday morning the liver specialist told us the ugly news. And it was just as her pulmonary doctor had said. Stage 4 cancer, lung to liver...6 months. We both cried all day. But she was strong. I asked her forgiveness for all of the things I had said or done to hurt her. She gave me her blessing, kissed me on the forehead and told me: "I will always love you and look over you. You have been a good son and I'm proud of you".

She was rapidly weakening...the cells were doubling every 24 hours. We made arrangements for hospice care at home. They tried to get her home in an ambulance, but she refused.

"I rode in the truck with my son, and he'll take me home", she stated. And so it was. I drove her home with one hand on the wheel and the other holding her head up.

I cannot explain the sadness I felt on the drive. The roads that she and I had traveled countless times - to the store...to get something to eat...just laughing and listening to her stories...all that was going to end. This was the last time she was ever going to be at my side. This was to be our last ride together.

Friday night she began to worsen. I was alone, exhausted and without sleep for a week now. I had prayed to God for a week, asking that he he let her live a bit longer. But seeing her in bed...struggling to breathe...each breath coming slower and spaced further apart - I knew it was time to let her go.

I asked the God to please take my mother and ease her suffering. I was hesitant to let go, but I could not bear to see my mom in pain.

At about 1:30 AM Saturday morning in went and sat at her bedside. I held her hand and grasped the little rosewood rosary beads that she always prayed with. With my left hand I rubbed her chest and tried to comfort her.

I saw her breath getting shorter...and I knew the end was here. I grabbed her in my arms...I kissed her and looked into her eyes...I asked her to forgive me for the things I had said and done....

As she let her breath out, I inhaled it into my lungs. I wanted to capture the last bit of her soul and keep it as a breath of life for me. I screamed and cried...at that instant, the full weight of her death stabbed me in the heart.

I do consider myself privileged that I was able to have that closure with my mom. To be at her side, holding her in my arms..that is a moment that not many people get to experience.

I have been pretty much inconsolable since then. My mother and companion of 56 years was gone. I am alone.

Totally alone. No one can really understand what that feeling is like. Only children that have wives or husbands, and kids are truly lucky. They at least have someone to look over them.

My friends try to encourage me to get out. But I have been a semi-shut-in for almost 6 years now. Crowds of people and loud noisy conversation really bother me now. I am considering getting myself a pet. My doggie companion of 15 years also died in May of this year.

This has been a terrible year for me and my friends.

I lost a good friend of mine to prostate cancer in October, then in early November another friend had his 80 yr old grandfather hospitalized for a broken hip. Then the poor man suffered a stroke - in the hospital while recuperating. After a few days, he was allowed to go home and continue his therapy at home.

While walking - he tripped and fell and broke his neck. He was hospitalized again - but there was no damage to the spinal cord. Then he caught pneumonia. Finally he had enough and asked that all medication stop and he be allowed to die at home with his family.

I have another friend in Australia - he lost his dad in late November to inoperable lung cancer. He too made the choice to die at home.

And now, my other friend in Canada is suffering from liver cancer. His prognosis is poor.

My God, how much more pain and suffering do I have to witness? Why has God done this to us?

These are just some of the things that are spinning around in my head like a dark tornado. Why try to move forward - when God will just send another calamity your way? I just want to lie down and never get up. My life has changed completely. I try to eat - but food tastes so bland to me. I try to do things around the house - cleaning, washing, etc. All it does is serve to reinforce the point that I am a wreck physically, mentally and spiritually.

I see all the unfinished things that my mom had - I see her clothes, her shoes ...I see the food she was going to help prepare for Christmas...all of it sitting there stationary...lifeless. She was the spark of energy that could make inanimate things shine with a sort of brilliance. With her around those objects seemed more alive. Now they are just dull reminders of what has been and never will be.

Thank you for following along with me. I just need to speak to someone that can at least somewhat understand what I have gone through.

If anyone would care to contact me to talk, I would greatly appreciate it. Please send me an email. I really need to talk to someone before I go crazy.

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It is so hard for my friends to relate to the pain and loneliness I feel right now. My life has taken such a drastic turn that I am completely lost and a total wreck emotionally.

I have always been used to being the person giving the help. And now that I need something...help, advice, whatever..I cannot find the answer. My mother had cervical cancer in 1985, right after my dad died of stomach and liver cancer that same year. She had surgery and radiation treatments that appeared to have been successful.

I have always lived at home - even at 27 when my dad died. I never had a serious relationship with anyone - and marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. I pretty much was living the good life - coming and going as I pleased. But with the onset of my dad's disease, I realized that I was going to have to look after my mother.

When my dad was dying he asked me to take care of my mom. He told me he was proud of me and that I had been a good son. He died a few hours later - but at least I had a chance to be with him.

And then a few months later, my mom asked me to take her to the doctor as she had some recurring problems. After seeing a gynecologist, he advised us of the cervical cancer and what needed to be done. She accepted it all - even the grueling radiation treatments which left her in such agony.

Nevertheless, she made it through her first year of recovery...then her second. After the 7th year the doctor felt confident that everything was going to be fine.

We lived our lives as normally as we could. She got back into the flow of things and she got back to her gardening, housework, etc. But I still remember one day when we were reflecting back on her illness and how glad I was that she had beat the cancer. She said: "Don't be too sure...it will come back one day. You watch."

However, during this period I slowly began drinking more and more. By now I was in my mid 30's and still, I really hadn't come to grips with my dad's loss. But I know it was making my mom feel more and more concerned. One day after arguing, she asked my why I was acting out and drinking so much. It was then that I told her of the deathbed promise I had made my dad to take care of her. I told her that at the moment he said that, I felt as though a yoke of tremendous weight had been put around my neck. You cannot imagine the pain that she felt hearing that. I knew right away that what I had just said had hurt her very deeply. And to this day - having said that is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Nevertheless we carried on. After a difficult period, I eventually stopped drinking and just carried on with my life, taking care of my mom. During this period, I lost my job and was unemployed for almost two years. I was finally able to land a job in 2000 and was able to provide for us. However, in 2003, the company was sold and I was out of work again. I remained alcohol free during this time - and continue to do so.

Previously, I had noticed that my mom was getting more and more out of breath. The doctors found a blood clot in her lung and she was told she had asthma. The doctors put her on inhalers, but it never seemed to clear up the problem. Finally, in 2005 it got to the point she could not walk more than a few feet without having to rest.

The doctors then diagnosed her with pulmonary hypertension. I read up on the disease and learned that the prognosis for this disease is not good - with a life expectancy of approximately 18 months after diagnosis. I was so scared at that point. I had been out of work since 2003, were both scraping by on her social security check, savings were being depleted, and it looked very grim.

It was at this time that my health began to spiral downhill. My weight ballooned up and it brought on the diabetes. It was at this time that I really prayed to God to help me. I was in such a bad place and time that I was going crazy.

God answered my prayers. In 2006 I was able to form a small business and got ourselves out of the financial hole we were in. I built up my savings and was able to manage my mom's health needs but always with the fear that she would succumb to this disease.

In 2008, I had to hospitalize her for fluid build up in her lungs. They did a thoracentesis and removed a large quantity of fluid. Continued doses of diuretics in the week stay at the hospital caused her to lose over 30 pounds of weight while in hospital.

A biopsy of the fluid revealed no cancer and we were both relieved.

But things began to go downhill for my mom. She seemed to gradually get weaker - the decline getting more and more noticeable. I too began my decline. My diabetes, although more in control, caused me to have neuropathy of the legs. My weight had not lessened and it became so hard to walk, I had to begin using a cane. We were both a pitiful sight when we had to go out. I was hobbling on my cane, holding her left arm with my right.... and she struggled to walk alongside me with her cane. I tried to get her to use a wheelchair, but she was adamant that she was going to walk and leave the wheelchair for the "sick people".

In early November, she was feeling very short of breath and had been complaining of a persistent pain in her back. But she had always had that pain for years - she blamed it on the chair that she always sat in. But she also complained of feeling bloated. Even if she had a sip of water, she felt that her belly was full.

Looking back, I now understand that these were telltale signs that something was seriously wrong. I tried several times to take her to the doctor, but she'd wave me off and say she was feeling a bit better.

A few weeks ago, we went out to eat breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box. As was our routine, we ate our breakfast in a nearby parking lot, watching pigeons. While we were eating, she made a comment about how her skin looked yellow. It was then that I noticed that her eyes were as yellow as lemons.

I took her to the emergency room that morning and everything has become a blur since then.

They did another thoracentesis and took out a large amount of fluid. But now her liver was malfunctioning. One early morning, at about 6:30 AM, I came in and was sitting near a little work station by the elevators. I noticed that her pulmonary specialist was on the phone and typing away. A few minutes later, the elevator opened up and another doctor stepped out. Neither of the doctors noticed me sitting there.

They began talking and I remember the doctor say: "Well she is 83 years old, with a history of pulmonary hypertension. We did a biopsy of the fluid drained and it is stage 4 cancer of the lung that has spread to the liver. It's not good".

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to find out my mom's condition in that fashion. I was crushed. As he was about to get up to leave, the doctor glanced over and saw me sitting there. I called him over and asked him how my mother was. He realized then that I had heard everything. But even still, he did not tell me to my face that she was terminal - or that she had cancer. He just said he didn't know - and that further testing was to be done and her liver specialist would be meeting with us later that day. A feeling of betrayal, mistrust, sorrow, anger...all these different emotions flooded me. But, I still had to put up a brave face and see my mom just down the hall. God, the pain that I felt and the sense of impending loss that I felt was horrible.

But my mom had a sense of what was going to happen. She told me: "No matter what happens, I want you to be brave. Don't feel sad for me. I'm ready to face anything that happens to me. If I am going to die, I want to die in my bed..at home...with you."

That Monday morning the liver specialist told us the ugly news. And it was just as her pulmonary doctor had said. Stage 4 cancer, lung to liver...6 months. We both cried all day. But she was strong. I asked her forgiveness for all of the things I had said or done to hurt her. She gave me her blessing, kissed me on the forehead and told me: "I will always love you and look over you. You have been a good son and I'm proud of you".

She was rapidly weakening...the cells were doubling every 24 hours. We made arrangements for hospice care at home. They tried to get her home in an ambulance, but she refused.

"I rode in the truck with my son, and he'll take me home", she stated. And so it was. I drove her home with one hand on the wheel and the other holding her head up.

I cannot explain the sadness I felt on the drive. The roads that she and I had traveled countless times - to the store...to get something to eat...just laughing and listening to her stories...all that was going to end. This was the last time she was ever going to be at my side. This was to be our last ride together.

Friday night she began to worsen. I was alone, exhausted and without sleep for a week now. I had prayed to God for a week, asking that he he let her live a bit longer. But seeing her in bed...struggling to breathe...each breath coming slower and spaced further apart - I knew it was time to let her go.

I asked the God to please take my mother and ease her suffering. I was hesitant to let go, but I could not bear to see my mom in pain.

At about 1:30 AM Saturday morning in went and sat at her bedside. I held her hand and grasped the little rosewood rosary beads that she always prayed with. With my left hand I rubbed her chest and tried to comfort her.

I saw her breath getting shorter...and I knew the end was here. I grabbed her in my arms...I kissed her and looked into her eyes...I asked her to forgive me for the things I had said and done....

As she let her breath out, I inhaled it into my lungs. I wanted to capture the last bit of her soul and keep it as a breath of life for me. I screamed and cried...at that instant, the full weight of her death stabbed me in the heart.

I do consider myself privileged that I was able to have that closure with my mom. To be at her side, holding her in my arms..that is a moment that not many people get to experience.

I have been pretty much inconsolable since then. My mother and companion of 56 years was gone. I am alone.

Totally alone. No one can really understand what that feeling is like. Only children that have wives or husbands, and kids are truly lucky. They at least have someone to look over them.

My friends try to encourage me to get out. But I have been a semi-shut-in for almost 6 years now. Crowds of people and loud noisy conversation really bother me now. I am considering getting myself a pet. My doggie companion of 15 years also died in May of this year.

This has been a terrible year for me and my friends.

I lost a good friend of mine to prostate cancer in October, then in early November another friend had his 80 yr old grandfather hospitalized for a broken hip. Then the poor man suffered a stroke - in the hospital while recuperating. After a few days, he was allowed to go home and continue his therapy at home.

While walking - he tripped and fell and broke his neck. He was hospitalized again - but there was no damage to the spinal cord. Then he caught pneumonia. Finally he had enough and asked that all medication stop and he be allowed to die at home with his family.

I have another friend in Australia - he lost his dad in late November to inoperable lung cancer. He too made the choice to die at home.

And now, my other friend in Canada is suffering from liver cancer. His prognosis is poor.

My God, how much more pain and suffering do I have to witness? Why has God done this to us?

These are just some of the things that are spinning around in my head like a dark tornado. Why try to move forward - when God will just send another calamity your way? I just want to lie down and never get up. My life has changed completely. I try to eat - but food tastes so bland to me. I try to do things around the house - cleaning, washing, etc. All it does is serve to reinforce the point that I am a wreck physically, mentally and spiritually.

I see all the unfinished things that my mom had - I see her clothes, her shoes ...I see the food she was going to help prepare for Christmas...all of it sitting there stationary...lifeless. She was the spark of energy that could make inanimate things shine with a sort of brilliance. With her around those objects seemed more alive. Now they are just dull reminders of what has been and never will be.

Thank you for following along with me. I just need to speak to someone that can at least somewhat understand what I have gone through.

If anyone would care to contact me to talk, I would greatly appreciate it. Please send me an email. I really need to talk to someone before I go crazy.

People: It is so discouraging to me to see others replying and helping some of the other posters on the forum - and then no one can even say a word of encouragement to me? Am I that bad of a person? Am I supposed to be completely shut off from people during this time of pain and loneliness? This is utterly depressing. I wish I could could be with my mom and dad.

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stillfighting431

Hi Frank,

I'm so sorry for your loss.Your mother sounds like an amazing,courageous woman,so was mine..never complained,never shed a tear for herself,so selfless.It was just the 4 of us in our family,my parents,elder sister & I.Mom was the heart & soul of our home,always optimistic,pushing others to do their best,never giving up.Without her our home is just a empty shell without a soul.I feel your pain...she was the center of your world too.I don't want to bore others by repeating my story,so just go to my profile & read my posts you'll know about my loss.You were such a good son to her.She was blessed to have you in her life just like you were blessed to have her as your mom.My heart goes out to you...I know how it feels to see all the unfinished projects that she had started.I know the magical power only a mom has to bring inanimate objects to life.Everywhere I look in this house I see her..her clothes,her reading glasses,her diary,her meds,her prayer book..I just can't stop crying...

You did all you could for your mom despite your own health issues.I can't see how anyone could've anything more.I wish I could tell you the pain will lessen with time,it won't,you'll just get used to living with it.You'll always miss your best friend & confidante,I have accepted that fact.I'll cry for her till I die.Frank at least you were able to say good bye.We didn't even get that.She's at peace now,her misery is over.Try to think of what she'd want for you & try to go on as best as you can.Keep writing in,it'll help a lot.

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Hi Frank,

I'm so sorry for your loss.Your mother sounds like an amazing,courageous woman,so was mine..never complained,never shed a tear for herself,so selfless.It was just the 4 of us in our family,my parents,elder sister & I.Mom was the heart & soul of our home,always optimistic,pushing others to do their best,never giving up.Without her our home is just a empty shell without a soul.I feel your pain...she was the center of your world too.I don't want to bore others by repeating my story,so just go to my profile & read my posts you'll know about my loss.You were such a good son to her.She was blessed to have you in her life just like you were blessed to have her as your mom.My heart goes out to you...I know how it feels to see all the unfinished projects that she had started.I know the magical power only a mom has to bring inanimate objects to life.Everywhere I look in this house I see her..her clothes,her reading glasses,her diary,her meds,her prayer book..I just can't stop crying...

You did all you could for your mom despite your own health issues.I can't see how anyone could've anything more.I wish I could tell you the pain will lessen with time,it won't,you'll just get used to living with it.You'll always miss your best friend & confidante,I have accepted that fact.I'll cry for her till I die.Frank at least you were able to say good bye.We didn't even get that.She's at peace now,her misery is over.Try to think of what she'd want for you & try to go on as best as you can.Keep writing in,it'll help a lot.

Thank you so much for responding, stillfighting 431.

And yes, you are correct - I do feel fortunate that I was able to to be with my mom and hold her til the last moment. So many others don't get that opportunity.

I am trying to move forward and put this terrible burden behind me, but it is so difficult.

Today is Dec 21st - and I will pick up my mom's cremated remains today. I plan on doing this alone and I hope I will be able to get through this without breaking down. I still have to carry out her last wishes and sprinkle her ashes on my grandfather's grave. That will be hard - but I will do it, because that was her final wish.

I feel so lost and abandoned right now - but I know she would have hated to be the cause of any pain in my life. So many times, she would sit and cry because she felt that she was to blame for my physical problems. She told me: "I know that my illness not only affects me - but in some way, I am killing you too. You have to deal with my problems and you have so many of your own".

I regret that she blamed herself for this. It wasn't her fault and I told her that. It was just that I was getting old too. But nevertheless, she still blamed herself.

I know she wanted me to be happy above all else. And in some strange way, I feel obligated to make myself feel some happiness in my life. Perhaps to honor her memory.

Right now, I feel that she has the capability of experiencing my life - and hers - through my thoughts and actions. She is able to see, hear and feel the things I am feeling now - without the pain and illness of her physical body. I guess what I am saying is that I feel she is reborn inside of me and my soul now.

Does that make sense? Can she feel my joy where she is? I know that on when she was on this earth, we had such a strong bond - physically, mentally and spiritually. Although I can't help her anymore in this physical world - perhaps I can help her spirit feel joy. Perhaps our bond will remain as close and and as meaningful as ever.

All I know is that God has given me this test and I don't want to let my mother down. I want my joy to be her joy too.

God, please help me find my way through this misery.

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It is so hard for my friends to relate to the pain and loneliness I feel right now. My life has taken such a drastic turn that I am completely lost and a total wreck emotionally.

I have always been used to being the person giving the help. And now that I need something...help, advice, whatever..I cannot find the answer. My mother had cervical cancer in 1985, right after my dad died of stomach and liver cancer that same year. She had surgery and radiation treatments that appeared to have been successful.

I have always lived at home - even at 27 when my dad died. I never had a serious relationship with anyone - and marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. I pretty much was living the good life - coming and going as I pleased. But with the onset of my dad's disease, I realized that I was going to have to look after my mother.

When my dad was dying he asked me to take care of my mom. He told me he was proud of me and that I had been a good son. He died a few hours later - but at least I had a chance to be with him.

And then a few months later, my mom asked me to take her to the doctor as she had some recurring problems. After seeing a gynecologist, he advised us of the cervical cancer and what needed to be done. She accepted it all - even the grueling radiation treatments which left her in such agony.

Nevertheless, she made it through her first year of recovery...then her second. After the 7th year the doctor felt confident that everything was going to be fine.

We lived our lives as normally as we could. She got back into the flow of things and she got back to her gardening, housework, etc. But I still remember one day when we were reflecting back on her illness and how glad I was that she had beat the cancer. She said: "Don't be too sure...it will come back one day. You watch."

However, during this period I slowly began drinking more and more. By now I was in my mid 30's and still, I really hadn't come to grips with my dad's loss. But I know it was making my mom feel more and more concerned. One day after arguing, she asked my why I was acting out and drinking so much. It was then that I told her of the deathbed promise I had made my dad to take care of her. I told her that at the moment he said that, I felt as though a yoke of tremendous weight had been put around my neck. You cannot imagine the pain that she felt hearing that. I knew right away that what I had just said had hurt her very deeply. And to this day - having said that is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Nevertheless we carried on. After a difficult period, I eventually stopped drinking and just carried on with my life, taking care of my mom. During this period, I lost my job and was unemployed for almost two years. I was finally able to land a job in 2000 and was able to provide for us. However, in 2003, the company was sold and I was out of work again. I remained alcohol free during this time - and continue to do so.

Previously, I had noticed that my mom was getting more and more out of breath. The doctors found a blood clot in her lung and she was told she had asthma. The doctors put her on inhalers, but it never seemed to clear up the problem. Finally, in 2005 it got to the point she could not walk more than a few feet without having to rest.

The doctors then diagnosed her with pulmonary hypertension. I read up on the disease and learned that the prognosis for this disease is not good - with a life expectancy of approximately 18 months after diagnosis. I was so scared at that point. I had been out of work since 2003, were both scraping by on her social security check, savings were being depleted, and it looked very grim.

It was at this time that my health began to spiral downhill. My weight ballooned up and it brought on the diabetes. It was at this time that I really prayed to God to help me. I was in such a bad place and time that I was going crazy.

God answered my prayers. In 2006 I was able to form a small business and got ourselves out of the financial hole we were in. I built up my savings and was able to manage my mom's health needs but always with the fear that she would succumb to this disease.

In 2008, I had to hospitalize her for fluid build up in her lungs. They did a thoracentesis and removed a large quantity of fluid. Continued doses of diuretics in the week stay at the hospital caused her to lose over 30 pounds of weight while in hospital.

A biopsy of the fluid revealed no cancer and we were both relieved.

But things began to go downhill for my mom. She seemed to gradually get weaker - the decline getting more and more noticeable. I too began my decline. My diabetes, although more in control, caused me to have neuropathy of the legs. My weight had not lessened and it became so hard to walk, I had to begin using a cane. We were both a pitiful sight when we had to go out. I was hobbling on my cane, holding her left arm with my right.... and she struggled to walk alongside me with her cane. I tried to get her to use a wheelchair, but she was adamant that she was going to walk and leave the wheelchair for the "sick people".

In early November, she was feeling very short of breath and had been complaining of a persistent pain in her back. But she had always had that pain for years - she blamed it on the chair that she always sat in. But she also complained of feeling bloated. Even if she had a sip of water, she felt that her belly was full.

Looking back, I now understand that these were telltale signs that something was seriously wrong. I tried several times to take her to the doctor, but she'd wave me off and say she was feeling a bit better.

A few weeks ago, we went out to eat breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box. As was our routine, we ate our breakfast in a nearby parking lot, watching pigeons. While we were eating, she made a comment about how her skin looked yellow. It was then that I noticed that her eyes were as yellow as lemons.

I took her to the emergency room that morning and everything has become a blur since then.

They did another thoracentesis and took out a large amount of fluid. But now her liver was malfunctioning. One early morning, at about 6:30 AM, I came in and was sitting near a little work station by the elevators. I noticed that her pulmonary specialist was on the phone and typing away. A few minutes later, the elevator opened up and another doctor stepped out. Neither of the doctors noticed me sitting there.

They began talking and I remember the doctor say: "Well she is 83 years old, with a history of pulmonary hypertension. We did a biopsy of the fluid drained and it is stage 4 cancer of the lung that has spread to the liver. It's not good".

I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to find out my mom's condition in that fashion. I was crushed. As he was about to get up to leave, the doctor glanced over and saw me sitting there. I called him over and asked him how my mother was. He realized then that I had heard everything. But even still, he did not tell me to my face that she was terminal - or that she had cancer. He just said he didn't know - and that further testing was to be done and her liver specialist would be meeting with us later that day. A feeling of betrayal, mistrust, sorrow, anger...all these different emotions flooded me. But, I still had to put up a brave face and see my mom just down the hall. God, the pain that I felt and the sense of impending loss that I felt was horrible.

But my mom had a sense of what was going to happen. She told me: "No matter what happens, I want you to be brave. Don't feel sad for me. I'm ready to face anything that happens to me. If I am going to die, I want to die in my bed..at home...with you."

That Monday morning the liver specialist told us the ugly news. And it was just as her pulmonary doctor had said. Stage 4 cancer, lung to liver...6 months. We both cried all day. But she was strong. I asked her forgiveness for all of the things I had said or done to hurt her. She gave me her blessing, kissed me on the forehead and told me: "I will always love you and look over you. You have been a good son and I'm proud of you".

She was rapidly weakening...the cells were doubling every 24 hours. We made arrangements for hospice care at home. They tried to get her home in an ambulance, but she refused.

"I rode in the truck with my son, and he'll take me home", she stated. And so it was. I drove her home with one hand on the wheel and the other holding her head up.

I cannot explain the sadness I felt on the drive. The roads that she and I had traveled countless times - to the store...to get something to eat...just laughing and listening to her stories...all that was going to end. This was the last time she was ever going to be at my side. This was to be our last ride together.

Friday night she began to worsen. I was alone, exhausted and without sleep for a week now. I had prayed to God for a week, asking that he he let her live a bit longer. But seeing her in bed...struggling to breathe...each breath coming slower and spaced further apart - I knew it was time to let her go.

I asked the God to please take my mother and ease her suffering. I was hesitant to let go, but I could not bear to see my mom in pain.

At about 1:30 AM Saturday morning in went and sat at her bedside. I held her hand and grasped the little rosewood rosary beads that she always prayed with. With my left hand I rubbed her chest and tried to comfort her.

I saw her breath getting shorter...and I knew the end was here. I grabbed her in my arms...I kissed her and looked into her eyes...I asked her to forgive me for the things I had said and done....

As she let her breath out, I inhaled it into my lungs. I wanted to capture the last bit of her soul and keep it as a breath of life for me. I screamed and cried...at that instant, the full weight of her death stabbed me in the heart.

I do consider myself privileged that I was able to have that closure with my mom. To be at her side, holding her in my arms..that is a moment that not many people get to experience.

I have been pretty much inconsolable since then. My mother and companion of 56 years was gone. I am alone.

Totally alone. No one can really understand what that feeling is like. Only children that have wives or husbands, and kids are truly lucky. They at least have someone to look over them.

My friends try to encourage me to get out. But I have been a semi-shut-in for almost 6 years now. Crowds of people and loud noisy conversation really bother me now. I am considering getting myself a pet. My doggie companion of 15 years also died in May of this year.

This has been a terrible year for me and my friends.

I lost a good friend of mine to prostate cancer in October, then in early November another friend had his 80 yr old grandfather hospitalized for a broken hip. Then the poor man suffered a stroke - in the hospital while recuperating. After a few days, he was allowed to go home and continue his therapy at home.

While walking - he tripped and fell and broke his neck. He was hospitalized again - but there was no damage to the spinal cord. Then he caught pneumonia. Finally he had enough and asked that all medication stop and he be allowed to die at home with his family.

I have another friend in Australia - he lost his dad in late November to inoperable lung cancer. He too made the choice to die at home.

And now, my other friend in Canada is suffering from liver cancer. His prognosis is poor.

My God, how much more pain and suffering do I have to witness? Why has God done this to us?

These are just some of the things that are spinning around in my head like a dark tornado. Why try to move forward - when God will just send another calamity your way? I just want to lie down and never get up. My life has changed completely. I try to eat - but food tastes so bland to me. I try to do things around the house - cleaning, washing, etc. All it does is serve to reinforce the point that I am a wreck physically, mentally and spiritually.

I see all the unfinished things that my mom had - I see her clothes, her shoes ...I see the food she was going to help prepare for Christmas...all of it sitting there stationary...lifeless. She was the spark of energy that could make inanimate things shine with a sort of brilliance. With her around those objects seemed more alive. Now they are just dull reminders of what has been and never will be.

Thank you for following along with me. I just need to speak to someone that can at least somewhat understand what I have gone through.

If anyone would care to contact me to talk, I would greatly appreciate it. Please send me an email. I really need to talk to someone before I go crazy.

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I found these series of YouTube videos of Father Jim Mifsud, S.M. (deceased) speaking about grief, hope, and never giving up. I have watched them and they have helped me a bit to overcome some of my sorrow and helped me see things in a slightly different light.

Pt. 1

Pt. 2

Pt. 3

Pt. 4

Pt. 5

Hope!

Angels

Wake Up!

I hope these words from this fine man can help some of you that are having the same pain as I.

I want to help others and do this in memory of my mother.

Thank you all.

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stillfighting431

Thank you so much for responding, stillfighting 431.

And yes, you are correct - I do feel fortunate that I was able to to be with my mom and hold her til the last moment. So many others don't get that opportunity.

I am trying to move forward and put this terrible burden behind me, but it is so difficult.

Today is Dec 21st - and I will pick up my mom's cremated remains today. I plan on doing this alone and I hope I will be able to get through this without breaking down. I still have to carry out her last wishes and sprinkle her ashes on my grandfather's grave. That will be hard - but I will do it, because that was her final wish.

I feel so lost and abandoned right now - but I know she would have hated to be the cause of any pain in my life. So many times, she would sit and cry because she felt that she was to blame for my physical problems. She told me: "I know that my illness not only affects me - but in some way, I am killing you too. You have to deal with my problems and you have so many of your own".

I regret that she blamed herself for this. It wasn't her fault and I told her that. It was just that I was getting old too. But nevertheless, she still blamed herself.

I know she wanted me to be happy above all else. And in some strange way, I feel obligated to make myself feel some happiness in my life. Perhaps to honor her memory.

Right now, I feel that she has the capability of experiencing my life - and hers - through my thoughts and actions. She is able to see, hear and feel the things I am feeling now - without the pain and illness of her physical body. I guess what I am saying is that I feel she is reborn inside of me and my soul now.

Does that make sense? Can she feel my joy where she is? I know that on when she was on this earth, we had such a strong bond - physically, mentally and spiritually. Although I can't help her anymore in this physical world - perhaps I can help her spirit feel joy. Perhaps our bond will remain as close and and as meaningful as ever.

All I know is that God has given me this test and I don't want to let my mother down. I want my joy to be her joy too.

God, please help me find my way through this misery.

Hi Frank,

At least you knew your mom was going to pass away soon.The doctors at the hospital where where were gave us hope till the end with words like,"she's in a serious condition but is getting the best possible help,she's much better than the day she came in"...And when she died right in front of us struggling to breathe,they said "Well it was the end stage of a lower respiratory tract infection,we tried to prepare you but you weren't ready".....What's that even supposed to mean?

After she passed away my sister & I were complete wrecks,we refused to take part in all the ceremonies to prepare the body for cremation...after 1 1/2 years of total devotion to mom & still not succeeding to save her,we were hysterical & finally at the verge of losing our sanity.We didn't go to the cremation or to the water burial of the cremated remains.....Our dad went with our uncles(his brothers),aunts & cousins.It's so brave of you to do it all by yourself.I don't know any one can get through that without breaking down.There's no shame in crying for her...after all she was your best friend,just like my mom was mine,the person you loved the most in this world & the one who gave the most love in return...

I know how mom's always think of their children not about themselves.My mom too would often cry & say ,"my poor ,helpless baby girls,I'm so sorry you're left to do everything on your own."If you read my posts then you'd know that my dad was down with a nervous breakdown at the same time when mom was sick,so we were practically left do take care of 2 sick parents all by ourselves.We'd always assure us that she'd raised us to be strong & independent individuals ,quite capable of dealing with anything.But still she worried about us as only a mom would.

You're right her spirit does go on inside us.We carry her in our hearts where ever we go,so she isn't truly gone.I feel she's my guardian angel now,still looking out for me.I too feel we are obligated to live our lives to the best of our ability,not doing so would be letting them down.

Hope you feel better.

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I responded to you and i don't see it. I wrote a big long piece. wow.

Anyway I totally understand where you are coming from. My mom died on Nov 14, I miss her every day. I understand what your going through. I was an only daughter and lived for my mother. I brought her out to Calif one year before she died and then she finally had to go in a nursing home. I miss her alot, cry alot.

I go to the gym, swim workout and try to stay active. Its very hard. I know what you mean about feeling lost and abandoned. Try to focus on something else. Over time you will get better, my first 2 days were horrifying, the next two weeks were awful. Now it 6 weeks still very hard but i am coping, the loneliness can be awful especially where i like you took care of my mother. She is now buried in NJ. I am stuck here now and don't like it.

Find a support group, or even coming here helps. I am available to chat if you need to. I have good days and bad and would love to make new friends where she share a common loss.

God bless you and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Debbie

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Hi and first let me say I am so sorry for your loss. My mom was surprised with a cancer diagnosis and died a few weeks later. I was shocked and also feel very alone. I was not an only child but was left to takevher place as caregiver to her very elderly parents and my disabled brother. We have no other family. I feel helpless sometimes but wanted to let you know I hear you and I believe this forum is a good step toward getting the support you need :)

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Frank you didn't even acknowledge my heart felt reply to you. Debbie You were complaining no one answers.

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Frank you didn't even acknowledge my heart felt reply to you. Debbie You were complaining no one answers.

Debbie - Please don't think I ignored you. I very much appreciate your kind words.

I am just so confused right now trying to find the answers that I may overlook something - but I truly appreciate you reaching out to me.

I'm trying to start my life over again. I have some projects that my mom had always wanted done - so I will try my best to do the things she wanted and hope she would approve of the way I did them.

I am also trying to write a blog - which is what I have been doing over the past couple of days. A friend of mine lost her husband and felt that writing about his death helped empower her. Not all at once - but little by little. So I will try it.

I am still having trouble sleeping. I fall asleep and then wake up at 3 AM and feel the urge to do something. I'll wander around the house and just look at my mom's things....and then fall asleep again.

It's very difficult Debbie - but I am trying.

Thanks again.

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Dear only child...as hard as it all is now you are not alone for you are still Gods child. I realize it isn't what you want to hear but as alone as you feel you must hear that He never leaves or forsakes us! I lost my mama in October this year, like you I was with her, cancer took her also. I was leaning down to her sweet face and I like you felt that last warm breath she took right in my cheek. Never will I forget it. God knew how much it ment to me to be with her when she passed and what a gift he gave me. I have other people but they don't fill the hole left in my heart when mom passed. Only God can and He is waiting for us to let Him in. I can't lie, I am not there yet. There is some fear I will lose her memory, silly huh? But He is there and He is waiting and He loves us very much! Don't you dare give up, our mamas would not want that. You are not alone. Please keep in touch. LKS ( Laurie)

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Dear only child...as hard as it all is now you are not alone for you are still Gods child. I realize it isn't what you want to hear but as alone as you feel you must hear that He never leaves or forsakes us! I lost my mama in October this year, like you I was with her, cancer took her also. I was leaning down to her sweet face and I like you felt that last warm breath she took right in my cheek. Never will I forget it. God knew how much it ment to me to be with her when she passed and what a gift he gave me. I have other people but they don't fill the hole left in my heart when mom passed. Only God can and He is waiting for us to let Him in. I can't lie, I am not there yet. There is some fear I will lose her memory, silly huh? But He is there and He is waiting and He loves us very much! Don't you dare give up, our mamas would not want that. You are not alone. Please keep in touch. LKS ( Laurie)

Laurie: Yes, I do consider myself blessed that I was able to be with both my parents and say goodbye to them when their time came.

However, it was much harder for me when my mom passed away. My dad died when I was in my mid 20's - whereas my mom was with me for 56 years - my entire life. Iahe those same fears, that I will somehow forget the sound of her voice or what she looked like.

I know my mom would be disappointed with me that I was taking this so hard. She only wanted me to be happy and she was always afraid that her illness would cause me to be mad at her - or that I would be inconvenienced, somehow.

I thank God every minute of every day that I had such a wonderful mother.

God help us all.

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Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all. It does not count.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was.

I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity.

What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.

All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott Holland

1847 - 1918

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Hi Frank: How are you coming along? Are you getting better. I know you still miss your mom alot. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Debbie

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Hi Frank: How are you coming along? Are you getting better. I know you still miss your mom alot. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Debbie

I'm trying to learn to cope day by day. It's difficult and there are days that I slip back, but I'm still trying to get on with my life.

I hope you are finding some peace of mind also Debbie. I too will pray for you.

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Frank: What have you been doing everyday? Are you going to church, let us know how your doing...... What state do you live in by the way? Is there anything to do where you live or are you in an isolated area?

Have things gotten better and do you have any support from any other family members? I start my classes tommorrow and am moving today, dreading it, but I have to get my credit back up so things are easier for me. I am moving in with 3 strangers and i am nervous about it. Its 2 miles from where mom was. I will stay in NJ a little while longer perhaps till the semester ends in June then leave. You know I always attended school on campus with the professors etc this is the first time i am doing online and it is very lonely.

I would much more prefer being at the university and interacting with others it is way healthier and helps you heal.

I hope your ok Frank, I know you said you get depressed. Tell me what you have been up to and what your plans are.

Debbie

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Debbie...hope your move went well. Good luck tomorrow with your classes.:)

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