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my mom is in ICU and may not live long


Sparkle

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I just need to get this all out. My mom is in the ICU, and will probably die soon unless she has a miraculous improvement. She has cirrhosis of the liver, as a result of long-term heavy alcohol use. The doctor says that her heart could give out at any time. She is many states away from me, and my relatives are encouraging me to fly out and see her, but I don't know if I can do it. I feel frozen in place. If I go, my anxiety will spike so high I don't know what I will do. I feel so selfish for thinking of myself at this time, but there it is. Also, I am mad at her for being an alcoholic, and not a very good mom, and for doing this to herself. I don't know what to think or feel or do.

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This is a really difficult situation, and I understand your hesitation about going. Having an addict for a mother was not a pleasant thing for you, and your mixed feelings are not unusual for the child of an alcoholic.

I will play devil's advocate and say this: over the years, I have known many people who couldn't or wouldn't go see one of their parents near the end of the parent's life. In almost every case, the people regretted the fact that they didn't go. If nothing else, it affords an opportunity to say goodbye.

However, if she was abusive to you and you haven't had a relationship with her in many years, than it's unnecessary to torture yourself about getting there before she dies.

Do you have a close friend or a sympathetic aunt, or someone else you could talk to about this? Maybe discussing it with a person would help you solidify your thoughts so you could make a decision about going. (or not) I'm sorry you have to go through this---it's never easy to lose a mother or father, no matter how lax they were as a parent.

olga

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I am so sorry to hear this. My mother died of liver failure ten years ago from being an alcoholic. I had similar feelings about how her choices had affected me and ended up killing her. However, I am very glad I went to see her before she died, even though she wasn't lucid enough to talk to me much. I was about to give birth, so wasn't able to stay long, but it would have haunted me if I hadn't gone. Even though I did go, I didn't say goodbye to her in person, because my whole family kept insisting she would be fine, don't be morbid, etc. But when I got to the airport, I got a call saying she had taken a turn for the worse, and I had to say goodbye to her in a very crowded airport instead of in person. It was horrible.

If you decide not to go, don't beat yourself up for it. But do think long and hard about it, as it isn't a chance you will get again. Good luck making your decision.

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This is a really difficult situation, and I understand your hesitation about going. Having an addict for a mother was not a pleasant thing for you, and your mixed feelings are not unusual for the child of an alcoholic.

I will play devil's advocate and say this: over the years, I have known many people who couldn't or wouldn't go see one of their parents near the end of the parent's life. In almost every case, the people regretted the fact that they didn't go. If nothing else, it affords an opportunity to say goodbye.

However, if she was abusive to you and you haven't had a relationship with her in many years, than it's unnecessary to torture yourself about getting there before she dies.

Do you have a close friend or a sympathetic aunt, or someone else you could talk to about this? Maybe discussing it with a person would help you solidify your thoughts so you could make a decision about going. (or not) I'm sorry you have to go through this---it's never easy to lose a mother or father, no matter how lax they were as a parent.

olga

I have been in close contact with my aunt, who understands how difficult my mom is. She is the one who gets the most of my mom's wrath in recent months, but she has been coordinating her care.

I feel like I would probably regret not saying goodbye, but I might regret seeing her in the state she's in as well. I don't want that to be my last memory of her.

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I am so sorry to hear this. My mother died of liver failure ten years ago from being an alcoholic. I had similar feelings about how her choices had affected me and ended up killing her. However, I am very glad I went to see her before she died, even though she wasn't lucid enough to talk to me much. I was about to give birth, so wasn't able to stay long, but it would have haunted me if I hadn't gone. Even though I did go, I didn't say goodbye to her in person, because my whole family kept insisting she would be fine, don't be morbid, etc. But when I got to the airport, I got a call saying she had taken a turn for the worse, and I had to say goodbye to her in a very crowded airport instead of in person. It was horrible.

If you decide not to go, don't beat yourself up for it. But do think long and hard about it, as it isn't a chance you will get again. Good luck making your decision.

It's good to hear from someone who has gone through the same thing. Thank you for your perspective.

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I had a difficult relationship with my father. He was a raging mean alcoholic and drug addict until I was 16. I was truly desthly afraid of him, until his alcoholism got so bad he could barely function.

I mended my fences with him (forgave but never forgot) several years after I got married and moved cross country. But after that, conversations with him were stilted and uncomfortable and difficult. I never had the same relationship with him as I did my mother.

Five years ago, he was dxd with terminal lung cancer. I personally decided that I would see him as much as possible. For me, seeing him while he was relatively healthy was much easier than seeing him during the last month he was alive, or talking to him on the day he passed. But while I do sometimes remember him at his sickest, I mostly remember him at his healthiest and most alive and caring. It took some time, though.

I think you need to weigh which will benefit you more. Will you benefit from closure that might be obtained from seeing her one last time, and letting go of those feelings you've had about her for so long? Or will seeing her not make a difference in how you feel? Will you be hurt more by seeing her now, or by the memories you have of her?

No matter what, do what's best for you, not what your relatives think you should do. And don't do it for your mon, do it for yourself.

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Thanks. I have decided not to go. Her condition is the same, and she is pretty out of it/confused most of the time. She is still in ICU, so family members are only allowed to see her for a short visit, and then sent away. I spoke to her for 2 minutes today, and she wasn't really interested in speaking with me. She was very gruff and said she would call me later. I don't think it would be any comfort to her if I was there.

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My dad was a smoker. Smoking can mess up a body.

I was a bit fortunate that I had to live with my parents the year before he died. I know you don't have that kind of time.

Anyway, he ended up admitted into the hospital but this time they were going to do some major surgeries all at the same time, lasting hours, etc. The day before his surgery I went to the hospital to visit him and we laughed a lot. I also made sure, doubly sure that everything was good between us. It was. I was the only family member to do this.

Well, that surgery didn't happen because his body decided to do a whole bunch of other stuff and he ended up in the ICU for a week. I saw some horrible things I won't repeat. He could not talk because he had a breathing tube. The nurses showed us there was a monitor that indicated when his brain was the most working (I know thats not the technical term or explanation - its been 5 years and I'm fuzzy).

When his body parts were indicating certain numbers, we decided to stop treatment. The first was the removal of his breathing tube. The techs told us to leave because it would be messy. I stayed. I held my dad's hand. From the power of that hand grip I knew that he felt and knew what was going on. When the tube came out he tried to talk but couldn't. He lived another 29 hours.

Everyone in my family regrets not making sure their relationships were right before that scheduled surgery. My relationship with my dad was not the one I would have liked. It was just talking with him and being at peace about the now. I'm the only one that did that.

Your mom may not be able to talk on the phone very well. She is literally all tied up in tubes. And yes, she may not be pretty to look at right now. But going to see her while she is alive is more for you than her. Believe me - as i have BTDT. You need to get as much cleared away about your relationship with your mom while she is alive. Even if there is nothing that can be done. Its for your own peace and sanity.

xoxo,

db

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Just wanted to update-my mom passed away on July 30th. Apparently it was peaceful. Thanks for the advice, everyone. I appreciated all of your points of view. I'm feeling pretty ok about not going to be with her. I know that she knows I love her.

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Im very sorry for your loss, not only of your mother but also of how things could have been between the two of you.

I'm glad you are doing well with your decision. Please take time to absorb the loss and to heal.

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