I lost my narcissistic mother 3 weeks ago.

Discussion in 'Loss of a Parent' started by LostAndAlone2021, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. LostAndAlone2021

    LostAndAlone2021 New Member

    Hi all, first time posting here and not even sure that I wanted to, but its obvious to others that I'm struggling with the loss of my mom.

    A little backstory...my mom and I never had the best relationship. She had substance abuse issues and was an alcoholic as I was growing up. She cared mostly about herself and I took care of her a lot when she came home intoxicated. I went through some sexual abuse for about 10 years as a child and when I needed her most she just wasn't there for me. There was a lot of resentment, but I still stood by her, took care of her, and tried my best most of the time. In my later years, nothing improved and after I had my first daughter I still gave my mom the opportunity to be a mother and a grandmother, but she just wasn't suitable or safe around my daughter. I made the decision to go no-contact. I kept to it for the most part. I had my 2nd daughter and my mom didn't meet her until I was 6 months pregnant with my 3rd baby girl. My mom didn't change. She tried to guilt me into spending holidays with her, letting her keep my kids overnight, etc. She wasn't in a place mentally or health wise to keep the kids. She had a host of health issues including heart disease, COPD, and kidney disease. So I again made the choice to go no-contact.

    June 28th I was contacted and told by my uncle that she was in the hospital, badly ill, they didn't think she would make it. My uncle had medical power of attorney, but the lawyer lost the paperwork and there wasn't documentation on file at the hospital, so next in line for medical decisions was me and he told me to expect a call from the hospital asking what I wanted to do. According to my uncle, my mother had been in a coma in the hospital from January until late March. She was released when she came to and ended up back in the hospital. She would be home maybe a week and end up back in due to various issues.

    I wasn't aware the situation was as bad as it was. He basically made it seem like I was just going to have to sign a DNR and that'd be it since the attorney lost that as well. I got a call around I think 11am from a social worker at the hospital, she was in the room with my mom, nurses, and a doctor. They were performing CPR/chest compressions on her. They asked if they should continue and I just said "STOP." So she asked me again "You said stop, do you want us to stop chest compressions and life saving measures knowing that your mother will die?" and I said "yes, stop chest compressions." The social worker said the doctor would call me back in a few minutes once she had passed to explain what happened.

    The call I got...it wasn't him stating that she had passed. Her heart started beating on its own and she was back. They intubated her I guess while I was speaking with the doctor. Maybe she was already intubated, I'm not sure. I think she must have been? Anyway, he was explaining the situation to me. She had developed a blood clot in her main artery in her stomach and it was blocking blood flow. She was on dialysis 3x per week, and they couldn't do the dialysis because when they'd try her heart would stop. They'd done chest compressions so much that the doctor was afraid that he was going to break her ribs if they continued which could of course puncture organs. He asked me if I wanted him to continue trying to get her well enough for surgery to remove the clot. He said that he didn't know he could, that even if he did he didn't know if surgery would be successful and she could die on the table. Knowing the pain she was dealing with, had dealt with, I didn't want to risk it. so I asked her to be put on hospice, have the tube removed and for a DNR form. All of the hospice paperwork and DNR was sent to me via email, I signed and returned it and they gave me the option to talk to her over video.

    She obviously couldn't talk to me because at that point they still had her kind of mildly sedated and intubated. They were waiting for the paperwork to be filed with hospice before removing anything and starting comfort care. I just told her that I loved her, I forgave her, and I hope that she forgives me too for things I've said and done. I told her that its okay to stop fighting because shes fought hard her whole life. I think she heard me. Whenever I said the word "Mom" she would briefly open her eyes and move her head and try to adjust her position. When I was quiet it was like she was just sleeping. The nurse came back into the room, told me they got the paperwork filed, were going to remove the tube and get her comfortable and then call me back and let me see her on video again.

    45 minutes passed. I felt like they should have had her stable by then. I just had a bad feeling. I got a call at 6:30pm from the nurse telling me that my mom had passed. I asked her when and she said 6pm. She wasn't alone. My grandmother was there as was my uncle, but I wasn't. I know my mom and I had problems. A lot more than I've mentioned here, but I feel absolutely horrible about having to make that decision and not being able to be there. I live 3.5 hours away from where she lived.

    I did attend her funeral. It was harder than I thought. I thought after years of her abusive behavior I'd feel a sense of closure, but I feel lost, alone, guilty about ending life support, and guilt about no-contact. She never even met her 3rd granddaughter. I struggle daily. It has been only 3 weeks, but it still feels like it ust happened today. I go between realizing shes dead to not accepting it. And I didn't prepare to feel this way at all. I'm lost.
    Daniele likes this.
  2. Daniele

    Daniele Member

    Good morning and thanks for sharing your story. The members of this site have been so supportive during my time here (recently lost my father, last month). It is extremely hard to not feel guilty for relationships with parents not going "right," yet sometimes parents do not step up and primarily "parent." It sounds like this was the case with your mother, and you tried repeatedly to give her chances to know you and your children. I feel for you as you handle this loss and all of the confusing, conflicting feelings that you're sitting with now. I'll share a bit of my story hopefully to express that you're not alone in your situation... that there are many other shared stories of lifelong difficulty followed by true grief in the end.

    Similarly, my father was an alcoholic (and chain smoker) most of my teen years and into college, and I decided to move far, far away and separate myself from the abuse. Later, when my son was born, my family wanted to come around... and I reluctantly let them (even though it took me years to feel stable and sure of myself and to grow up). Very slowly, we re-established a relationship... but it was NEVER like it was when I was a child and close to my father. I came around only on my terms, as that trust was never assured. Nine years ago, I returned to my home state and live 2h from my family (as close as I was willing). During the past 3 years, dad became ill... in and out of hospitals, rehab, on oxygen, COPD/CHF, intubated, ICUs, etc. Since I am the only medical provider in the family, decisions always came down to me (and my sister and brother unable to make decisions at all, just frozen). He had agreed during last hospitalization to enlist hospice services, but there was a delay in getting that started. He went from rehab suddenly back to ER, but there was DNR (and DN-intubate) in place this time... and he tanked very quickly. He went from totally coherent and joking with people 2 days before (thinking he would be going home again) to becoming totally unresponsive and gasping for the last 24h of his life. I directed the hospice nurses to keep up with the morphine to relieve the gasping, and he died peacefully surrounded by family (me, my sister, sister in law, and niece). Despite the chaos that he brought to my life, personally, I recalled my deep love for him from my youth... and I truly did the best I could to help him find peace in the end, but every minute of it... every trip to his city to the hospitals, rehab, hospice unit brought up deep and conflicting feelings within me. I must even acknowledge feeling repeatedly resentful for taking care of him... since he did not take care of or protect me as a vulnerable teen. I helped anyhow, but it has really worn me down and made me feel totally unsettled.

    Like you mentioned in your story, the funeral was very hard. I sit with guilt, too, about not knowing if I handled things the right way... and even for not being around for nearly 20 years to protect myself with distance. I continue to struggle... some days I see something I want to text my father, as he was always up for a good laugh (or picture of the kids doing some activity)... I have to remind myself that I can no longer reach him. Co-workers and friends ask all the time, "how's your dad doing?"... they've known he has been ill, I've missed a lot of work traveling... but I really separated myself from people with remote work and the pandemic. Unfortunately, I get questions almost daily... it disrupts my workday (which is already a struggle to focus) and I end up in tears. I'm sure in time this will get better, just not sure how long it takes. I'm hear for you if you need someone to listen. Be patient with yourself and please take care.