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overyonder 28 February 2018 01:26 PM

When mom is dying
My mom has been fighting colon cancer for 6 years (she was given 5 years originally), and after 3 rounds of chemo, things are not going well. She's in constant pain.

She's in Canada (as I am now), and has been contemplating assisted death due to her very frail condition. She can barely get up and use the bathroom/washup. She weighed 135-140 as an adult and is now down to a hair under 100 lbs.

I'm not fighting with the idea of assisted death, as ultimately (and legally), that's her decision.

I'm actually fighting as to what stance I should take in front of her. Should I show support? Should I show opposition? Should I remain neutral?

So far I've taken the neutral approach, not knowing really anything else I could do. I recommended to my brother that he take the same approach.

I'm concerned that if she DID go through with it, that some of my relatives would have a strong resentment.

The nurses that see her as end-of-life care are always supportive of assisted death.



GenYus234 28 February 2018 01:41 PM

Sorry to hear about your mom.

First off, I am very much in favor of assisted suicide for terminally ill people who wish it.

In your case, I would go with passively supportive. By that I mean, whenever she brings it up, tell her that it is her choice and you will abide by whatever decision she makes. If this is what you mean by taking a neutral stance, then keep going with that.

One thing you should begin thinking about is how much emotional and practical support you are comfortable giving if she does decide to go through with it. It would be better if you know that ahead of time so you don't commit to more in a spur of the moment decision.

Karl 28 February 2018 02:26 PM

I'm sorry to hear about your mother, overyonder. My condolences to you and your family.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 28 February 2018 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by overyonder (Post 1973042)
I'm concerned that if she DID go through with it, that some of my relatives would have a strong resentment.

Would they resent you for what your mother decided and did?

I believe you're taking the best approach you can under the circumstances.

I'm very sorry about your impending loss. Whether she chooses this option or not, it seems you will be losing her soon.


thorny locust 28 February 2018 04:20 PM

Oh, this is hard.

My mother did not have an assisted dying choice; but I think she might have taken it if she had. She wasn't in significant pain, but she was in increased dementia that was not going to get better, and was intermittently aware of this.

I think I agree with the neutral stance. Tell her you love her and will very much miss her, but that it's her body and her life and her decision, and you'll support her with whatever she chooses to do.

I'm afraid you may have to deal with some obnoxious people afterwards, relatives or not, and no matter what you do yourself and no matter what your mother decides. (I have a close friend some of whose mother's nurses criticized her for giving her mother a painkiller, which her mother requested and which the mother's doctor had prescribed, on what turned out to be the day of her death.) You might tell them you knew you couldn't please everybody but you did your damndest to please your mother. I don't know whether it'll help.

Esprise Me 28 February 2018 05:12 PM

I'm so sorry, OY. I assume by "neutral" you mean not advocating for one or the other, but just telling her you'll support her either way? I think that's the way to go. It's a very personal choice. Constant pain sounds unbearable, and is unbearable for many, but some people still prefer to hold on to whatever life they have left. I hope the family doesn't take it out on you if they disagree with her decision, but I'm not sure there's anything you can do to stop them.

Plurabelle 28 February 2018 06:20 PM

First, so sorry for your grief and pain. My father died of cancer very happily medicated and at peace with his end, my grandmother died of colon cancer in terrible agony because of her own personal issues and not wanting to be seen as weak, and my mother took care of her; now my mother is enduring potentially end-of-life issues and is trying to resist pain meds and it pains me to see her do that to herself. I have started going to her doctor appts with her and saying "my mother is in pain, how will you rectify that?" and she is so happy when I advocate for her but totally refusing to do it herself, so I only schedule her appts when I'm available.

My answer is I will do anything, everything, and whatever my mother wants, and F* off to anyone who has a differing opinion. I would do whatever you can to show her your support, and maybe, if needed, lie to the relatives. It's really none of their business.

ETA: my father basically committed suicide by morphine overdose, in that he was terminal and his doctor set him up with a button that would allow a lethal dose. I was 18 but I was totally okay with it, he had been suffering for so long. He asked my mom to call me (I was away at school) and we both spent the time telling him how much we loved him and how much he meant to us. My mom eventually cried when he stopped breathing; I didn't, because I grieve on a usual 2-4 week delayed reaction.

overyonder 28 February 2018 10:59 PM

Thanks for your kind words.

My mom is very close to her 3 sisters. One of them, when I talked about how mom mentioned assisted death, reacted with "You're not gonna let her do that are you!", and my answer was "It's her choice. I will neither lead her to it, nor take her away from it. She's in pain. If she decides it's time, it will be her decision only."

You have to keep in mind that assisted death is fairly new to Canada, and especially "foreign" to my mom's generation. They were taught to never give up, always fight, to the end.

Oddly enough, the same aunt is totally supportive of my mom having indirectly stopped eating, if that's believable. Yesterday, mom's food intake was a piece of toast, today, a small cup of Jello.

I showed up last Monday night (the 20th) and she was still functional, walking about and eating. One week later, she is mostly bedridden. It feels to me that she held out until I arrived and finally decided to let go when I did arrive.

I do very well with her and I'm not particularly emotional around her. But when the occasional family member visits, that's when things get very emotional.


thorny locust 28 February 2018 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by overyonder (Post 1973100)
my mom having indirectly stopped eating, if that's believable. Yesterday, mom's food intake was a piece of toast, today, a small cup of Jello.

That's what my mother did, eventually. She said she wasn't hungry, which may well have been true; apparently dying people often aren't. The doctors, however, had no clear other reason why she was dying just then.

She was vehement and adamant that she wanted no artificial food or fluids; and she'd been very clearly of that opinion, and in writing, for a number of years; which made the whole thing somewhat easier. We didn't have any family arguments, for which I was very grateful.

ETA: I think your mother may well have held out till you could get there. I think my mother held out until she'd had a visit from my sister.

kitap 01 March 2018 12:00 AM

I agree with GenYus. Let your mother know you support her decision. My mother wanted a DNR and we agreed and have never regretted it.

Plurabelle 01 March 2018 02:48 AM

When they stop eating, that's often when they stop caring.

I'd take your mom's cues and go with those. IF (and only if) you think she's well enough to rule on the noise, then ask her about that; otherwise, just dismiss it. Your duty as a son is to make sure she is taken well care of; you owe nada to your aunts and their desires/wishes.

overyonder 01 March 2018 04:20 AM

My dad passed away from cancer on 3/11/1997. My brother, who is incredibly astute to mom, never mind that I just figured out that he's ADD, firmly believes that she intentionally timed her death to match up with dad's.

In any case, mom is happy at home with me, taking whatever meds I push upon her (under her nurse's recommendations) and seems content with life.

We're at peace. She knows I have things under control.


Dasla 01 March 2018 05:54 AM

I am sorry for your impeding lose overyonder. No matter what your age or your Mum's age I don't think you are ever really ready to lose her.

I agree with the others who have said just offer support for any decision she makes and ignore other that disagree. It her life her decision.

Seaboe Muffinchucker 01 March 2018 02:00 PM

Because of what my BFF is going through, I did a little research on the dying and starvation. I found out that people who are dying do not feel hunger.

Which means that even if she's eating so little that the stupid nutritionist comes up to her room because popsicles, jello and clear juices are not nutritionally sufficient, she's not hungry (that happened to my mom, when she was dying).

Good luck, OY.


overyonder 01 March 2018 02:48 PM

Mom took a fall last night, 5 minutes after I checked on her to see if she needed to use the bathroom (so that I could help her). I went back to bed in my room (hers and mine share a wall), and within 10 minutes, I heard a loud thud. She had gotten up to go use the bathroom, and fell. Fortunately, no apparent broken bones. I was able to help her back to bed... at 99 lbs, (and me at 270) she's not exactly difficult to lift except for any pain she may have.

She's going to be seen at home by a doctor, and she is going to hospice care. I think we may be 2 weeks before the end.


Lainie 01 March 2018 02:50 PM

I'm so very sorry, Overyonder. I hope your experience of hospice is as good as my family's was.

Little Pink Pill 01 March 2018 05:10 PM

Overyonder, my heartfelt condolences in this painful time. There is no easy way in this for anyone, but you are loving her, and this is everything.

thorny locust 01 March 2018 06:20 PM

Overyonder, I'm glad she's going to be able to get hospice services.

And good luck for both of you, that things may go as smoothly as possible.

UEL 01 March 2018 07:16 PM

Good golly, overyonder. My complete and unequivocal sympathies.

I don't envy you your situation. My advice is to demonstrate to your Mom your support for her regardless of what her position is, and what your thoughts are. Your Mom is the focus.

As for the rest of the family, if they have issues, over time they will diminish.

Stay strong, my friend. You always have a dozen ears here if you need to say anything.:(

overyonder 01 March 2018 08:09 PM

The doctor came and she had mom moved to a palliative care home, about 15 miles from mom's house. The move was gut wrenching as they actually thought they were going to lose her in the chair that she came out in (the powered stretcher doesn't find in older homes).

Things are calm for now.


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