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My mom and I we very close. Sadly I lost her in January 2022. She passed away from complications associated with Covid and congestive heart failure. Mom was also diagnosed with dementia about 2 years before she passed. Her last year of life was especially difficult, as she was hospitalized several times. Each time she was released, the dementia became much worse. I moved her four times in one year. Each time to a different level of senior care. Finally memory care. During the month before she passed, my husband and I both got Covid so I could not visit my mom. Then my mom got Covid which increased the amount of time we were apart. It was during this period I received a call from Hospice she was dying. I went to be with her and the Hospice nurse told me it could be hours or a few days. My mom was not awake when I arrived and never opened her eyes while I was there. I left that evening to go home. Early the next morning I received a call that she had passed away.


The next week I had to move her things from her room. It was then that one of the aides told me that my mom said to her “they'ew not coming back”. Meaning her family was not coming back to see her. I wish I had never heard that. Now I feel so much guilt that she felt abandoned by me. But, with the Covid situation we just couldn’t be together the last few weeks of her life. Regardless, I could have had zoom calls with her or had done something more to communicate. Now I feel so guilty for not doing that. It’s difficult to handle.

RobynsMom, it's a normal reaction to feel that way if one wasn't there when a parent had passed. I hear it is common for a parent to wait until their family leaves before passing on, to save the family from the experience. That's what my Dad did for me.
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My Mother was in a NH. Two weeks before her death Mom would not get out of her bed. She shut her eyes and never opened them again. She was responsive but would not open her eyes. She was on Hospice the last week. I took my nephew to see her. We sat with her for a while and left at 1:30. I got a call sometime after 2 that she had passed. Her death certificate said death was pronounced at 1:50. When we went back for her personal items the Nurse asked me if my nephew was the last one to see her. I said yes. She says she sees it all the time. They can't leave until they know they have said goodbye to everyone. Ur Mom had said her goodbyes and chose to leave this world after u left her.

I am not religious but I do believe that someone we loved comes for us. We don't die alone.
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RobynsMom Aug 7, 2022
Thank you Joann
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Even if she truly said those words (and shame on the aid for repeating it) it's as likely she was referring to her parents, or friends from 50 years ago. My dad passed away the next day after my sister and I had flown back to our home states, and his sister had gone home for the evening. We all understood that he chose to go peacefully alone, which is not uncommon.

Hugs to you. It's a lifetime of love that matters, not the last few minutes of someone's life.
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RobynsMom Aug 7, 2022
Thank you so much.
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You don't know what your mom meant when she said, "they're not coming back" or IF she even said that.

When my mom with dementia was actively dying, an aide told me she'd been up the night before, sitting in her chair, laughing, making jokes, eating snacks and watching tv until the wee hours of the morning. Really? She went from a semi comatose state to actively yucking it up while stuffing snacks in her mouth, all in a matter of hours? When I arrived, mom was in bed, in the exact same position she'd been in the day before when I'd left her, except she'd been turned a bit so she wouldn't get bedsores. What happened, most likely, is the aide confused my mother with someone else and gave me misinformation. Which could have been the case with you as well.

In any event, many people choose to pass when their loved ones are NOT present, on purpose, to spare them that last parting memory. Your mom likely did that very thing for your sake. Please don't feel guilty for something that was out of your control to begin with. If you read the books written by hospice nurses, you'll see them say that souls pass over long before their bodies expire anyway, and watch the happenings going on in their room from up above. Your mom is at perfect peace now and not wanting you to be beating yourself up over her physical body now that she's with God in spirit form. Take comfort from that fact and let yourself off the hook now. You'll see mom again when it's your time to transition, that's my belief.

Wishing you all the best, along with my condolences over your loss.
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BarbBrooklyn Aug 7, 2022
My dear SIL told me the night before my mom died, she was sitting up in bed, singing along with with granddaughter and new great grand baby. When I returned the next day, mom was as non-responsive as she'd been the day before. I was confused.

Later that day, after mom expired, my brother pulled me aside. Now, he's a very loyal husband. But he said to me quietly "you know what R told you about last might? All in her imagination".

I think people's minds get the better of them sometimes. In this situation, I think the aide is imagining something.
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Thank you Barb. I was very upset with the aide as well.
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In can also be very traumatic to be with someone the moment they die. The memory of my father passing was very difficult. I was there with 2 of my 3 adult children. His second wife was there as well as their 2 adult children ( very close in age to mine ). We all wanted to have him see us as we were told the end would be very quick once he was removed from machines. His eyes and the death rattle were so vivid.

Your mother knew you had been there. Often it is stated that people may pass right after family has left. There is no point to make yourself miserable over this. You need to move forward and retain positive memories. I recently read the most amazing statement in a book. A woman had lost both her 2 sons in WW11. She told her daughter if tears and sadness could bring them back she would spend her days doing that but as that could not she had to move on with her life.

I realize that is an incredibly difficult concept to imagine and I don't know that I could manage that but hearing that remark really resonated in a way that made me think hard about death and certainly when a life has been fully lived.
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RobynsMom Aug 7, 2022
Thank you so very much.
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She could well have meant "They're not coming back," because she knew she'd be gone.

I was with my mother at her memory care for the three days before she passed. Every night when I left I told her I'd be back in the morning, but when I returned on the fourth morning, she was gone. She couldn't wait for me to get there, but I know she knew (as did your mom) that I would always be back.

Don't beat yourself up. Anytime we see any of our loved ones could be the last time. None of know when "the time" will be, and that final journey is one taken alone no matter who is there with us.
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RobynsMom Aug 7, 2022
Thank you for your kind words.
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What a miserable thing for an aide to say.

I'm not certain I would believe what she told you if your mother was unresponsive when you were there.

Everyone dies "alone". No one can make that journey with you. It's what is waiting on the other side that counts at that point.

Be at peace. You did the absolute best you could in very trying and unprecedented circumstances.
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funkygrandma59 Aug 7, 2022
I agree that the aide shouldn't have said that Barb, but I have to disagree with your statement that "Everyone dies alone."
As a Christian, I believe that NO ONE dies alone, as we not only have our loved ones that have gone on before us, often with us, and most importantly Jesus/God is with us as well. And who better to take us from this world to the next than Him!
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