How Do I Let Go When She Is Ready and I Am Not

Updated on November 18, 2009
J.T. asks from Trinidad, CO
25 answers

Hello all other moms,

A year ago I made the move from San Diego to freezing Colorado to take care of my mother, who was diganosied with colon cancer which spread to her liver. It has been quite a year for my family and we were all looking forward to this year's holiday fun. However last Thursday my mothers oncologist gave the news that the liver tumor was indeed growing and there was nothing more he could do, giving her advice for hospice and a span of 2 maybe 3 months longer, Noting that she was a fighter. Well here I am on Monday and the cheerful optimistic woman a weekago has quit eating and taking her meds, and done a complete 180. She says she is tired and is ready to go. I myself find that I amvery selfish right now and cant let go. How can I let go. she is my mom and I need her. I have this incredible fear of child birth and am currently 25 weeks along with my third. She was there with the first two holding my hand everystep. I along with my father are her caregivers she chose not to do hospice at this time. and my older brother who lives 20 min away doesnt even come by to see her let alone help. She is my rock and I just cant bring myself to let go and tell her it is ok. I dont know how.
What am I supposed to do. Sorry so long . thank you for all your help.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

well I would like to thank everyone for everyones kind words. We brought hospice in Thursday morning to set things up. There analyasis was she probably wouldnt make thru the night and that another nurse would be by around noon to bring her some meds. Then we would have another nurse come by Friday. Well another nurse came at 2pm and stayed until 430pm, explaining that she was close and we probably wouldnt have her after sunset. That was at 344pm at 445, my mom passed with my dad holding one hand, me holding the other, and the brother who wasnt around rubbing her leg.

Now I dont know what to do. But at least she is in a better place.

Thanks to all again

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.G.

answers from Denver on

J.,

I truly understand what you are going through and how difficult this is. I am not going to tell you anything that you do not know, but right now your heart, not your head is ruling your thoughts and actions, so here goes...

You said your mom is a fighter and she has been fighting, but it appears her time has come to move on. You also said sshe has always been there for you (holding your hand throught child birth) and she will always be there for you and with you - even 'holding your hand' when you give birth to your next child.

I know you are feeling selfish and anticipating the pain of not having your mom physically with you, but she understands this is her time. The most loving thing you can do is to sit quietly with her, tell her all the reasons you love her, and let her know that it is OK for her to go - you will always love her and carry her with you. You and your children are a precious part of her legacy.

With 'love and tears'

E.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.P.

answers from Boise on

I agree with the first response. I am a Caregiver/Res. Assistant at an assisted living facility, and I see what you describe often. Your mom is ready to go, so let her. I understand wanting to be selfish, it's normal, she's your mommy, but she's tired. Imagine yourself in her "shoes" and your daughter sitting by your bedside. How you handle this now will show your children how to handle it if/when the time comes for you. I think it's wonderful that she has been your rock, but she is ready to pass that torch on and be at peace. It is very painful physically to stop taking fluids, food and meds. Just focus on keeping her as comfortable as possible, and hold her hand often. You have to make yourself be ok with letting her go so she can be ok with it. Cry on your husband's shoulder and let him be your rock through this. It will be ok.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.C.

answers from Colorado Springs on

I'm so sad for your family! I can imagine not wanting to let her go, I'd not want to let my mom go either. I think the only thing you can do is tell her the truth: you don't want her to go because you want her around, but you know that she's in pain & waiting for your blessing to go. Give her that blessing. And then you sit back, cry your tears, & know that even if she's not there in body, she'll be there in spirit when your baby girl is born. Take a picture of her with you to the delivery room, introduce your baby to her Grandma. Maybe you could name baby girl one of mom's names.
You're in my prayers!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.Q.

answers from Great Falls on

Oh does my heart go out to you! My Mom is the best friend I've ever had. And I can not begin to tell you how I dread the time of her passing. She has been my rock, also.

But, while she has been your rock in the past, your Mom needs you to be a rock for her right now. I understand that this role reversal will be hard and oh my gosh will it hurt. But your mother is in pain - and unfortunately, you not letting her go makes that pain last longer.

I understand you want to be selfish and keep her here with you. But think about your Mom - what would she do in your position? You have to be strong for her now.

You have a little time, tell her how much she means to you. Tell her how you love her and how it hurts that she has to go - then tell her you understand.

I can sit here on my sofa at 6:30 in the morning and tell you what I'd do in your shoes (or at least, what I hope I'd do!) But that won't make it any easier for you, and for that I'm sorry. But you need to tell her it's ok to let go of the pain.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.F.

answers from St. Cloud on

J., I don't have any advice for you. Your story touched my heart and if I knew you I would give you a big hug. Blessings on you and your family.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.C.

answers from Provo on

Sorry about all this. I think you know that there is some growing pains in front of you. You want your mom to do for you, to be there for you, and still be a mom. But the roles are reversing, and it's time for you to mother her. Her mom isn't here either, and she wants someone to make it okay for her as well. Someone has to be the big person and find a way to put another first. It looks like she's tired. She wants to be there for you, but she needs someone there for her.
Boys are lame. When they can't fix things, they don't know what to do with themselves. Be a little gentle with him too. Everything will be fine. Ideal? No. But fine, yes. It will be fine. You will be a mom to a little girl, and your mom will be able to watch over you in ways that her body won't let her right now...

Hang in there.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.B.

answers from Denver on

So sorry for you sorrow...it is so hard to let go but look at it this way..you have the time before she goes to let her know how important she has been in your life..what a ROCK she has been. Now it is time for you to be her ROCK..her soft place to fall.Give her the gift of telling her it is ok to go, that you will be alright.Let God take care of her now.(I pray you are a person of faith)Let her be at peace, you are stronger than you think.
I will pray for you and your family.. L. B

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.G.

answers from Cheyenne on

I am so sorry you are going through this! My mom died of breast cancer when I was 25, not even a year after I got married. She never got to meet her grandchildren. What a blessing that your mom got to know 2 of your kids at least...and she may make it to see the 3rd! I know it's hard to think of losing her. I wasn't ready to lose my mom either...honestly, I don't think we are EVER ready for that. I still feel cheated sometimes, like I was too young and I still need her and it's not fair that other people who can't stand their mothers get decades and decades and waste them, and I only got 2 with mine. It's not fair! But your mom is exhausted and she needs to know you will be there holding HER hand now, just as she has for you. She's probably scared, and she doesn't want to leave you either. But she has to do what she needs. My mom called to tell me she was in remission...the next week she called to tell me it was back. a couple of weeks later, the neighbor called to tell me to COME HOME!! She could hardly eat..the only thing she wanted was blueberry pie. My husband scoured our tiny town to find blueberry pie. She ate about 3 bites and said it tasted SO good...but that's all she could manage. The next morning we took her to hospice. I went home intending to stay for a weekend and ended up being there for almost a week because it was apparent she didn't have long and I couldn't bring myself to leave her side. On the night of the 4th of July, at midnight, I started singing patriotic songs...she was completely unresponsive that whole day, but she squeazed my hand when I sang, so I know she was listening. She passed on the 4th. I had about 4 days to get used to the idea that she wasn't going to make it and she was unresponsive for 2 of them. So my advice to you is to use the time you have left. Don't waste a second by saying you won't let her go. In the end, you will remember that time you had and you don't want to have regrets about how you spent it, wishing you had given your blessing, or talked about what you would miss most, etc. Please don't make that mistake...I wish more than anything that I could go back and talk to my mom one more time and tell her all the things I loved about her and also to work through things that hurt me. But it's too late for me. Don't do that to yourself, or to her. It's not something you can change later.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.F.

answers from Colorado Springs on

It is always hard to loose a loved one in the holiday season. I lost my Mom on Christmas Day almost 8 years ago. I know that the hospice that my Mom and Dad chose helped us through the dying process, how to help the living know when it was the dying's time to go. Know that your Mom spirit will always be with you. I didn't have to go through the process while pregnate. Brother may not be able to handle the reality at this time, but please keep him informed. Remember that we really do not know the pain they are in from the cancer. Maybe as a massage therapist you can ask her if a light massage would feel good, you have a special touch and it could help with just being there and being able to talk with her. Your Mom loves you and you love her just talk it through even if it doesn't seem like she is listening her heart will hear.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I can completely relate!

My Uncle was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma. He passed away last Thursday. I am due December 9th. My uncle was more like father to me than any man I've ever known, and he was such a good and amazing person.

He was there when my oldest was born, and my youngest son. He missed this one being born, and she could be here any time now. :'(

I was there with him holding his hand when he died. I felt selfish too. "Can't you just wait until you get to see your grand-niece? Please?"

But I didn't say that. Instead I said "Lily will be here soon, I hope you'll be there."

But I didn't let him go, and he passed on anyways. Just let her know that you love her and it's okay. Otherwise you might never get the chance.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.C.

answers from Boise on

Well I am sorry you are going through this. It is so hard to let them go when you feel you need them. When my dad got sick we had to make the disicion wheather to keep him on machines or let him go. We let him go, but it was the hardest thing that we ever went through. I dont know if you are religous or not but I prayed alot. And I talked to my preacher. In the end I had to do what was best for him, not for me. When they are that sick they hurt and they are in need of so much care, that they just want to be at peace. In the end all we can give them is that peace that they so desire. Your mom needs you to be strong and tell her its ok to go and as hard as thet is, exspecially with the baby on the way, you need to think of her pain and suffering,you wouldnt let your cherished pet suffer, dont hang on and make her. once again I am so sorry and you will be in my prayers. if you need to talk you can e-mail me at [email protected]____.com, feel free I will help the best i can.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.B.

answers from Denver on

I just lost my Dad a little over a month ago to liver cancer. It is still hard for me. Please just try and spend as much time as you can with your Mom. My father went pretty quick after his diagnosis this July (we only had 3 months and didn't know it). Cherish every moment you have with her. A Hospice may not help at this point. She just needs to be comfortable and have love around her. Remember she is probably in a lot of pain. It is hard to let go, but this may be the peace she needs. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Stay strong for your kids and her grandkids and enjoy every moment. Good luck. R.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.P.

answers from Boise on

I cried reading your request, so forgive me for not reading all the responses - I am at work. :)

I haven't gone through this with my own mother, but with my grandmother. My mom was an only child and her father had already passed away, so I understood her desire to hold on. My grandma was also a fighter, through colon cancer that metastasized to here liver and eventually her lungs. When the end came, it came quickly, and I know that she was in pain.

Do your mom the favor of telling her how you feel. Make sure that you say your goodbyes so that you don't have any regrets, but there is nothing wrong with telling her that she is your rock and that you wanted her there for the birth of you daughter.

My grandma seemed to wait for me to arrive. I got to say goodbye while she was alert, and then again when she wasn't. I also told her I was pregnant, but I'm not sure she understood by then. She passed the day after I had to go back home.

It was similar with my grandfather, we had to tell him that it was okay to go. We didn't want him to, but knew that it was time. Do this one last thing for your mother...let her go.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.S.

answers from Boise on

My cousin has colon cancer (she is 30) that spread to her ovaries, lungs, and liver. She is fighting every day. Her oncologist told her he didn't know what else to do and suggested Cancer centers of America. Have you tried them? When the oncologists say they don't know what else to do, or say there is no hope. These centers can sometimes save lives. There was a lady who was given 3 months and she went to this cancer center and is in remission. Before giving up try this center.

Sometimes there is no more fight in us, we get so tired. Just keep loving your mom and helping her and know that if she doesn't make it through to the end of your pregnancy she will still be there holding your hand.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Denver on

I would encourage you to pray for peace. We can not change other peoples' decisions but only learn to graciously accept them.
I know for me, whenever I was looking to one person and thought that without them I could not face what was in front of me, God has shown me that He provides in amazing and surprising ways. I encourage you to watch for what He will send you if you are willing to trust Him. As I look back on my life the sweet surprises of people He has brought into my life to meet my needs has been overwhelming and beyond my wildest imagination.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.S.

answers from Denver on

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. My mother passed away 3.5 years ago after a long, tough battle with cancer. I know how difficult it is to say goodbye someone who had the biggest influence on my life. I had 2-year-old triplets at the time which made it even harder. Still, the greatest gift you can give her right now is to talk, talk, talk to her. She can hear you. She may need to hear you say that it is okay for her to go (as difficult as that may be for you). If she says she is tired, you have to respect that she knows what is best for her. She may be waiting for you to say it's alright for her to rest now. Her body is shutting down, it sounds as if it is just a matter of time. It's not selfish of you to want her to pull through this, in fact, it is normal. Just do/say what is in you heart. Blessings to you and your family.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Oh, sweetie. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers. You may find the hospice people helpful right now for YOU, whether your mother is interested in talking to them or not. One of my friends took care of her mother through her final days, and found them very helpful and compassionate, and wished they had contacted them sooner. Hospice is not just for patients who go to one of their facilities to spend their last days. It is also for those who are planning to spend their final days at home.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.T.

answers from Fort Collins on

As a fellow mother and a nursing home worker I sympathize with you in every way. Sit down with your mom and explain to her that you aren't ready to let go and if she is then that is fine,but that for you, you haven't reached that place in your heart or your mind and you may never reach it. Spend the remaining time loving an dholding each other and givign each minute you can to each other, perhaps having her make a recording of saying somethihng sweet to you and your children can be played in the birthing room so you feel as though she is with you right there. As for your brother he may just not be able to accept this at all. He may not for some time, but give him time although it doesn't feel like you have much of it left. Hospice is an organization that comes to you,it is free and offers what ever you need from full time nurses to simply a pastor to call on to a CNA to come help out durin the night. GIve them a call and see how they can help you, I have worked with them alot in the past and they are a wonderful support system to utilize and they give you the privacy you need.
I must tell you that i felt compelled to write to you and then I looked at your name, J. T. That was my grandmothers name, I saw that and knew that I needed to write to youa nd hopefully help you in some way. I will be thinking and wishing the best for you and your family on this long and difficult journey you are enduring. My best thoughts to you and your family.
Nicole T

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.N.

answers from Grand Junction on

it's hard. start by not letting go, but keep her in your heart. and tell her your proud of her for the fight she's fought, and remember that she wants your ok to let go as much as you want her to hang on. i'm sorry i'm not more helpful. God Bless

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

First of all I am so sorry to hear about your mom. We went through the battle of cancer in May of this year when it took my grandma. I too was in NO way ready for her to go as she was my rock and I needed her through my divorce. It was not my choice though. She was doing so good and we all thought we had more time then she did a 180 and in 2 weeks was gone. Hospice is a wonderful thing. They were so helpful and so caring in our time of need. It is scary to think of the one you love so much is going to no longer be with you, but it will be ok. Spend time with her and get all things said so there will be no regrets later. I spend about 20 min just me and grandma, even though she was "sleeping" I know she heard me and I had a lot to tell her before she left me. I still miss and talk to grandma but I know that she needed to go and no long be in pain. She is now watching over me and my kids in a better way than what she was able to do here. Your mom loves you and you love her. No one said that saying goodbye is easy. I was so angry when hospice came in but after they talked to the family I was so glad that we had them as they knew what to expect and how to help us prepare for all the next steps. I don't have much advice but I know you will make it through this with the love of your mom.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.H.

answers from Great Falls on

J.,

First of all, my heart and prayers go out to you, your mom, and your family. This is never easy for anyone. 5 years ago this December we watched my Grandmother do the same thing, although it was not cancer. She went from being upright, walking, talking, laughing to just basically giving up over night. At first it seemed incredibly selfish on her part but then the family started to see the real meaning behind it. She was 'going' on her own terms. She had the life she wanted and was tired and ready to move on. Throughout the week and a half we had her, she shared stories and said her goodbyes the way she wanted to. I don't know if you believe in those who have passed before coming back to greet you, but that is exactly what happened with my Grandma. A few times she actually made us get up out of a chair because her mother was there and needed to sit. Her mother died in 1956!

I know this is going to be very hard on you, the one who has been her caretaker. My advice is to spend the time you can now being as cheerful as possible. Take in every moment, ask questions, just make your mom comfortable. It will be hard to watch her go, but you have to believe she will be out of pain and suffering. I know she will always be with you in spirit, even through the holidays.

Best wishes to all of you. Take care of yourself and that baby growing inside. Hang in there! Prayers are coming your way.

H.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.W.

answers from Pocatello on

I am that close with my Dad, not my Mom, and he has cancer. He has had it since I was 11. I have gone through exactly the same thing 1/2 a dozen times where they tell me there is nothing else they can do and he seems to pull through somehow, in-fact he has actually been resuscitated 3 times. I can empathize with the feelings that you go through when you hear that they don't have long. It truly breaks your heart. I haven't had to let him go yet but I know the time is not far off. I just keep thinking to myself that he will be in a better place. I have also done some things to start preparing myself for the inevitable. I know I will be a mess so I have found a grief support group nearby that I will be able to attend and a counsellor to help me through the grieving process so that I can keep it together for my husband and 4 kids. I have also read some books on what to expect I will go through with the grieving process and also some uplifting books to keep my spirits up. I suffer depression anyway, so I know that I will have to be in contact with my doctor after he passes to adjust my meds to get me through that time. Do everything you can to prepare yourself for that day, you probably don't have much time left if she has stopped eating and taking meds. Get hospice help they will be a great service to you and your family! Don't forget your father in all of this, he is going through, pardon my term, hell.
It is not selfish for you to feel that way. She is your mother and has been with you since before you were born. You have an umbilical attachment to her, so to speak... It will never go away, even when she is gone you will still have her, just not in person, you will still have her example and her memory. If you don't know what to do, you can really figure it out because she has set the example for you in all the years she was here with you and all you have to do is recall the memories. Its amazing the power our memories have and how strong the presence of our loved ones are after they are no longer with us.
I never want to lose my Dad, like you, he is my rock. I know its going to happen as I sit here bawling...but I know it will be for his benefit for him to go and I know that I will be okay after he does because he has prepared me to be a strong, lovely person. You can do this. You will need support but you can do it. Call your brother, you are going to need him.

S.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.

answers from Denver on

If you haven't started hospice yet, do it right away. They can help you with this. If you have started hospice, call your nurse privately and talk to her about it. She can get you the help you need. You and your father will still be your mother's caregivers, hospice will provide resources and information to help you. At least talk to them and find out what hospice is and isn't. Most people don't understand how many options they have when they have hospice care. Good hospice care won't intrude. It will support you and your dad.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Fort Collins on

J., I am so sorry your family is going through this. I lost my mom / best friend to colon cancer when I was 26. After a two year battle with the disease, we were told she wasn't going to make it in the beginning of December and she died 12 days before Christmas. I understand your desire to hold onto your mom and your inability to let her go. I felt the same way. And yet, ultimately, I was the one that told my mom it was time for her to go. And, as soon as I said that, she did. Watching my mom suffer and struggle to hang on for her loved ones was horrible, and we got to the point that it was clear we needed to give her permission to go for her sake(it was the only humane thing to do, cancer is a horrible and insidious disease). I pray that your mom does not have to deteriorate to that point in front of you. I hope you are all spared that pain. I hope that you are able to take advantage of any time you have left with her while she is alert, present, and the mom you know and love. As others have mentioned, talk with her- let her know how you feel about her. Say everything you want to say. As you mentioned- things can change quickly. As for hospice, my mom wanted to stay at home so we waited to call them until her condition was so bad that we had to call them. We should have called them sooner. They were kind, compassionate, and respected her wish to be at home. They helped make her as comfortable as she could be under the circumstances, and lent support to my Dad throughout the process, which he greatly needed. No one can tell you what to do here or how to handle this- it is such a deeply painful and deeply personal process. I just hope that by sharing my experience and viewpoint (with the benefit of hindsight) it is helpful to you and your family in some way. And, I know that you will find the strength to make it through this.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I am sooo sorry. I-just like you could not imagine life without my mom. We just moved to Utah away from her and it has been hard not to have her close.

My grandmother passed away 9 years ago on Christmas Eve. My mom was not ready to let her go either. I don't think I was either-she was one of my best friends-my oldest is named after her. They were removing her breathing tube and we all had to go say good bye-it was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. My mom said she would pray A LOT and she finally felt at peace with it and that day my nana took her last breath.

We have missed her, but know we will get to see her again!! I still wish she was here, but I know she is close. I will keep you in my prayers. I am honestly really sorry-I prayer for your mother to not have to much pain.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions