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End Thread: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

I know over the years topics like this have come up. My 83 yro father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia a week ago. He's too old and weak to tolerate treatments, so we are already at the hospice stage. I lost my first wife to cancer 20+ years ago when my son was 3. Life changing. I'm processing this much differently than my mom who has been married to him for over 60 yrs. He's had 83 good years and has beaten the odds already. I only want him to be comfortable in his last days. My Mom is still in denial. I get it. And I've been there every step of the last week. Yet I feel guilty for feeling "okay" about it. Anyone else lose a very aged parent in a similar way and have similar feelings? My only thing is that he does not suffer and my Mom is surrounded by love. I'm an only child and still employed, so it's been a challenge figuring out the logistics, especially since they live in a BFE town far away from the best hospitals.
Last edited by TooOldToCare on Sat Dec 03, 2022 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by Luminiferous »

I hear you man. Lost my father on August 18th after a 3 month stint in the hospital and finally 4 days in hospice care. My mom seems to be handling things well, I believe the 2-1/2 months she was alone in the house helped prepare her for the eventuality of being alone in that big house. He was 89, they'd been married 66 years and he was still very active but he developed MRSA and it just stopped him in his tracks. He was getting over it and was actually in skilled nursing getting physical rehab, but unfortunately he caught pneumonia and his body just couldn't take anymore. His heart weakened and then other organs began failing so he went into hospice. Our concern was he was as comfortable as possible and not in pain. The hospice took good care of him.
She has my brother and I taking care of her since we have power of attorney for he and she so she doesn't have to worry about finances and any bills being paid..

I'm not sure if it's truly hit me that he's gone. I think about him all the time and our 3 times a week phone calls and I find myself just going into deep periods of just venturing off into my own world.

Hopefully your mom will be okay and eventually come to terms with the inevitable outcome and understand he'll no longer be in pain. Hang in there man.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Sorry, man. I know my post count doesn't show it, but I've been around here for, idk, 12-15 years although I didn't post a lot then. My point is that I "know" a lot of you under my former Sludge life. Tonight, I'm at home, and they are at the cancer hospital. Tomorrow we'll know the hospice options. We'll get to all the Power of Attorney shit in time, but this went from 0-60 in a week, so there are more important tasks at hand. I'm okay with him passing. He's a hometown sports hero and lived a very lovely life in that little burg. Support, friends, family, and all of that is first and foremost right now aside from pain management if necessary. His oncologist said he'll start sleeping a lot (which is what my wife did before her passing), so I hope it will be peaceful. Mom needs that alone time with him before he becomes non-lucid to cry and talk and accept. Fuck cancer and fuck getting old. I've said for the last 25 years that if I could live healthy until 80, fall asleep, and never wake up, that would be a great life. Don't get to choose though.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by Mojo »

I'm sorry you're going through this, OP. It's a really tough road to go down, even if you're ready for it. My condolences to you and your family, and I hope that when he goes, it's as peacefully as it can be.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by HueyRamone »

My father was 81 and an unrepentant alcoholic.

He lived in Libya and had an weekend apartment in Italy. This was in the '60s, fucking americans from lower class upper-peninsula Michagan didnt do that shit. Met my mom in Fiji and invited her to live with him in Hong Kong. He was a fucking badass BITD.

At the end? Just metaphorically driving a car right into a wall. Drinking just so "maybe tomorrow I wont wake up and that's fine", when I knew it would put him into long term nursing care like it did. He got transferred to a hospital so shitty you wouldnt have believe it could exist in such a nice town. They put him in restraints so he wouldnt pull out his tubes and didnt monitor him and he choked out and was brain dead and they still kept him for 7 days till it was time to go.

The fucking hospital was responsible for his death, and while my sis wanted to sue, I was like "They did him a favor, even if it is gross negligence"

Not to make this about myself, but I know the conflicting emotions that go on during and after it happens. I'm still haunted by it, and it's been 3 years. Stay strong and be there for those who remain. You'll be happy you did what you could, while there was still time.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by GreatWhiteSnake »

Hey Huey, heavy stuff. And yes best wishes to the OP. My dad finally moved in with us three months ago. He's 79, immobile, drinks about 10-12 glasses of wine a day and does nothing but watch MSNBC all day and night. He can't be bothered to pull his shorts up so his ass is always hanging out and never closes the bathroom door. My son won't bring his girlfriend over and I don't blame him. He's going to be moving into his own Senior apartment at the end of the month but I don't think it'll make much difference. He's so severely depressed I don't think it's possible for him to pull out of it at this stage. Just hoping he makes my daughter's wedding next June. He always says if he could just see Trump in jail he could die happy. I think he's hanging on just for that but will end up disappointed. Taking him to Fallbrook in SoCal in October to visit his older brother one last time. Should be a helluva road trip...
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Mojo wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 4:53 pm I'm sorry you're going through this, OP. It's a really tough road to go down, even if you're ready for it. My condolences to you and your family, and I hope that when he goes, it's as peacefully as it can be.
Thanks, Mojo. Thanks, all. Everyone has a story. That's for sure. Tonight, all the step/bio grandkids and their families came up. It was nice to not be there alone after a 10-hour day at the cancer center. Tomorrow we learn of his hospice options. When my first wife was diagnosed as terminal in 2001, her oncologist gave her 3-4 months. She was gone in 3 weeks. She was tired and ready. My dad is stoic. He knew before his diagnosis was official. His doctor said it would be quick. I was in the room when my first wife died. It WAS peaceful. She slept for about 2 days and gone. I wish the same for my dad. He beat the odds at 83 and has been on borrowed time by the laws of averages. I can't say he didn't live life. I only wish one got a little more dignity at the end rather than a tube shoved into your bladder bc you can't get out of bed.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by cowpins »

Good luck getting through this and hope that he remains comfortable.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

cowpins wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 2:27 am Good luck getting through this and hope that he remains comfortable.
Yup. Thanks. He's doing okay. Haven't transferred to hospice yet but coming up. But no pain, he knows he's dying, and I think he wishes it would happen sooner. The toughest part is letting my mom control the very few things she can right now. For instance, she keeps calling her pastor to keep him updated. I'm an atheist, so it's her thing and brings her comfort. She won't call her sisters in Florida (yet), but they would gladly hop a plane and help. IDK why that generation is that way. If I was dying, I wouldn't want to do shit for myself. Let everyone else help.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by cowpins »

Perhaps they don't want to be a burden on anyone. Whenever my mom, or stepdad, has surgery we get a text saying this is what happened and here's the outcome. My mom doesn't want anyone to worry, put up a fuss, etc....
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Yeah, that's definitely a part of it. Over Labor Day weekend, he fell in their home and encountered a nosebleed that would not stop. So it ended in the ER with packing in his sinus causing severe pain. I found out on Tuesday morning when my Mom didn't know what to do as he sat in his house moaning for hours so she finally called me. I live 90 min away. Ultimately, the weakness and fall and his general condition were diagnosed as untreatable leukemia, and here we are at end of life within a week. Prior to that, my mom broke her hip in a fall. They called me after the surgery and she was home. JFC.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by RPB »

TooOldToCare wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 1:24 pm I I lost my first wife to cancer 20+ years ago when my son was 3. Life changing. I'm processing this much differently than my mom who has been married to him for over 60 yrs. He's had 83 good years and has beaten the odds already. I only want him to be comfortable in his last days. My Mom is still in denial. I get it. And I've been there every step of the last week. Yet I feel guilty for feeling "okay" about it. Anyone else lose a very aged parent in a similar way and have similar feelings?
I'm sorry about your dad. I lost my mom a few months ago to dementia. Like you, I experienced losses of kids and loved ones much younger than should be allowed, so when it came to losing my dad a decade ago, I felt awful-but accepting. I hated it and wanted more time.... But he had a pretty good life. We should all be so lucky to be 70-90, enjoy some retirement, then die. For my mom, I just wanted her to not suffer anymore. Dementia is years of suffering and demoralizing.

My condolences go out to you all. (And do more stuff with your mom when he's gone.) I wish nothing but a peaceful and comfortable passing. Hospice workers are angels. Use them as much as you can. We kept my mom home until the last two days. It was 3 years of sadness, stress, repeated goodbyes.

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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

The hospice move tomorrow will be a long day, but in the end, I think it will be relieving for my Mom. He'll have the entire town out visiting, and she is back home.

It's amazing how so many of us on this board, because of being around the same age ranges, are all dealing with a variety of similar things. Misery loves company.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by Nate S Axel »

RPB wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 2:33 pm Hey.... I figured out my password!
Scroll, scroll, scroll, green font, hey it's RPB! I didn't know that about your mother. Sorry to hear that. My father was put into hospice a few months ago as he has frontal lobe dementia. I don't know the prognosis on that sort of thing, but it's hospice.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by eddie lee roth »

One thing I would suggest if you haven’t got anything all ready is have a recording of his voice. I have a old voicemail that he left to my sister.

Didn’t think about it till afterwards and she found that. I still listen to it from to time. I remember clearly when she said she found it. I was so happy to hear his voice.

And talk to him and say everything you think you want to say. I thought I did that but shit still comes up to where I think I should of said more but you can’t really. And that’s the bitch of it all.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Good ideas. He is sleeping a lot but will wake up and seem very much like himself, then sleep more. I went through all of this exactly with my first wife though different cancer. My son, who is now 25 doesn't member her at all being 3 when she died, but I have videos on DVD of the first 3 yrs of his life. I will do this tomorrow. And I just realized today that I have spent more time with both Mom and Dad in the last 9 days than I have since summer break from college in 1987 (the last time I lived at home). So we have been talking, remembering, laughing, and just enjoying "being" like we haven't for decades.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by Bair Hand »

TooOldToCare wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 1:24 pm I know over the years topics like this have come up. My 83 yro father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia a week ago. He's too old and weak to tolerate treatments, so we are already at the hospice stage. I lost my first wife to cancer 20+ years ago when my son was 3. Life changing. I'm processing this much differently than my mom who has been married to him for over 60 yrs. He's had 83 good years and has beaten the odds already. I only want him to be comfortable in his last days. My Mom is still in denial. I get it. And I've been there every step of the last week. Yet I feel guilty for feeling "okay" about it. Anyone else lose a very aged parent in a similar way and have similar feelings? My only thing is that he does not suffer and my Mom is surrounded by love. I'm an only child and still employed, so it's been a challenge figuring out the logistics, especially since they live in a BFE town far away from the best hospitals.
Stay strong, brother.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by Blumpkin King »

GreatWhiteSnake wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 6:24 pm My dad finally moved in with us three months ago. He's 79, immobile, drinks about 10-12 glasses of wine a day and does nothing but watch MSNBC all day and night.
At least he is not watching Fox News.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Spent the day at the skilled nursing facility where he is receiving hospice care. JFC what a depressing place. We have some beautiful facilities in Columbus, but it isn't where they want to be, so he is back in his hometown which feels like a cross of The Hills Have Eyes and Deliverance. If cancer doesn't kill him first, that will.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by mrsnikkisixx »

I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. I have lost all of my family members from various ailments, but it never got any easier to watch someone you love struggle and suffer the last remaining moments they had. Yes, it is a relief when they are in pain and have no quality of life left, but it still hurts terribly, and I wish you and your family peace and love as you navigate this difficult time.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

mrsnikkisixx wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 6:29 pm I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. I have lost all of my family members from various ailments, but it never got any easier to watch someone you love struggle and suffer the last remaining moments they had. Yes, it is a relief when they are in pain and have no quality of life left, but it still hurts terribly, and I wish you and your family peace and love as you navigate this difficult time.
Thanks. Watching my wife dwindle away at age 34 some 22 years ago, I'm wishing for a quick exit at this point. Being "acute myeloid leukemia" it is aggressive, and it's clear he is deteriorating each day. In the last 4 days, it isn't like it is even him though he'll occasionally say something that IS him. So in that regard, we've said our goodbyes and I love yous. I don't feel sadness for his dying but I do for his "living circumstances". I feel a bit guilty for having this odd perspective. After almost 3 yrs with my first wife, it was a strange relief when she passed, plus I had my young son to focus on. My mom is also 83, and I know she lives for him. It's that generation where she doted on him constantly. When he is gone, she will feel like there is nothing left to live for. I am already anticipating "broken heart syndrome". Maybe that's a blessing in some way.

Anyway, thanks for everyone's words, similar stories, etc. I'm checking out of this thread and will update after he passes. I didn't start it for sympathy. Just some validation that what I feel isn't that weird. There are no rules for grief of losing any loved one, so I've come to realize there is no right or wrong answer.

EDIT: The best part of the day was when he said, give me that oxygen thing. I'm going to put it up my butt and fly away. He then proceeded to rip the loudest fart I've heard from him in my 55 yrs. Somewhere in there, there is still a part the old him.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by gruentransfer »

TooOldToCare wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 7:01 pm
EDIT: The best part of the day was when he said, give me that oxygen thing. I'm going to put it up my butt and fly away. He then proceeded to rip the loudest fart I've heard from him in my 55 yrs. Somewhere in there, there is still a part the old him.
This made me laugh. I knew my grandpa had enough and was ready to go when he thanked me for my support, love and help when he was sick. Last coherent words he said.

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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by tym »

I was lucky. When I lost my dad, I knew it was coming. I got the chance to say my goodbyes, have some conversations with him I am grateful I was able to have.

Its hard, and when we loose someone, its just not easy. You have the unexpected loss, and never got the chance to say goodbye, and you have the expected loss, and while you get to say goodbye, its hard watching someone you love slow trip to the end.

I have always tried to look at it as the glass is half full. It sucks there gone, but there Rat Race is over, there problems are done. Its a trip we all have to take. I think mostly, its the loss that we feel when someone is gone that is the worst. That something is missing and the changes are permanent.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Making the drive again this morning to his hospice. I was last there Thursday and didn't think he'd make it through the weekend. Tuesday will be 3 weeks since this all went downhill, and a little over 1 week in hospice. Since I live a couple of hours away, have dogs, a family, a job, etc., I've been going up every other day except the Thur to Sun jump of 2 days. When I go, I spend the day, mostly sitting; sometimes talking, and getting stressed out. Mom has that affect on me.

I really want to tell him we are all going to be okay, his job is done and he did great, and he can let go. But I cannot do that with Mom in the room. She has always and forever been an avoider and deflector. I cannot say those things in front of her. But I have this gut feeling he is "holding on". Nature will take its course regardless, but I feel like giving him that assurance is like giving him the "permission" to let go.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Making the drive again this morning to his hospice. I was last there Thursday and didn't think he'd make it through the weekend. Tuesday will be 3 weeks since this all went downhill, and a little over 1 week in hospice. Since I live a couple of hours away, have dogs, a family, a job, etc., I've been going up every other day except the Thur to Sun jump of 2 days. When I go, I spend the day, mostly sitting; sometimes talking, and getting stressed out. Mom has that affect on me.

I really want to tell him we are all going to be okay, his job is done and he did great, and he can let go. But I cannot do that with Mom in the room. She has always and forever been an avoider and deflector. I cannot say those things in front of her. But I have this gut feeling he is "holding on". Nature will take its course regardless, but I feel like giving him that assurance is like giving him the "permission" to let go.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by cowpins »

It is not ok to ask your mom to leave the room for a few minutes so that you can be alone? Or share with the staff? You'd think that they know how to handle such request and can have her step outside. Thinking about you.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Weird day. When I saw him last Thursday, I really didn’t think he’d make it through the weekend. Today, he was almost revived, completely lucid, energy. I don’t know if he was just having a good day or it was that phenomenon called terminal lucidity. They say that can last hours to days. Time will tell. He also ate all his lunch and dinner. Last Thursday, he barely ate.

When my first wife got to hospice stage, she was a day from death so there was no surge. Planning to return Tuesday so we’ll see. It was a good day together anyway and different than I was expecting.
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Re: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

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cowpins wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 7:02 am It is not ok to ask your mom to leave the room for a few minutes so that you can be alone? Or share with the staff? You'd think that they know how to handle such request and can have her step outside. Thinking about you.
Not really. Not with my Mom. Love her but she is strange to talk to at 83 and when it concerns life and death especially.
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Update: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by TooOldToCare »

Update: It has now been 2 months since entering skilled nursing/hospice, and he's holding steady. Before he left the hospital, his oncologist said days, maybe a week or two. There are ups and downs with all of that. He has stopped all testing and treatments, so no more poking and jabbing. He has also eaten pretty well meaning he's regained some strength enough to get up on his own to use the restroom or even shuffle the halls with his walker. The downside is the place is not inexpensive, and Medicare does not pay for skilled nursing except in certain circumstances. I've been driving about 300 miles a week to visit him and try to work remotely while there as able. It's been a tough couple of months. And it seems after the first couple of weeks of thoughts and prayers from coworkers, short-term memory issues kick in for them, and I'm getting shit for being less responsive on days I make that drive and work from a corner of the room with horrible furniture not made for comfort. I was up 2 days ago, and he seemed different. Maybe a little decline, a little depression. So it's anyone's guess. The life expectancy window was already off by a couple of months, and he's been better of late than when he entered the facility. Maybe it is possible to go home for his remaining days. We'll be trying to figure that out after Thanksgiving.
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Re: Update: Aging parents and terminal illness (feelings)

Post by VinnieVincentsVag »

Positive vibes your way TOTC

My father passed at 46 (I was 17), from a brain aneurysm.
No warning.
Just there in the morning and dead by the time I got home from school.
I would not have wanted him to suffer, but it was just over.
No last words, or conversations to let him know that I thought he was a great dad.

I’m not sure which is worse.
They both suck.
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