For those who haven't witnessed somebody die from cancer, be thankful. 

It's ******* horrific. 

Mum was in hospital, and we knew she was going to die soon. In the week leading up to her death, she was hallucinating heavily (she had a lot of brain tumors), she wasn't breathing properly or swallowing and her limbs swelled up like balloons. 

I had to try to wash her mouth out because gunk was forming. I did a lot in nursing my Mum. I stuck my fingers up her anus when she was constipated, I cleaned up after she crapped or pissed all over the bed. I dressed her revolting breast tumor which was full of pus and blood and bodily fluids I'd never seen or smelt before. But cleaning out my Mum's mouth when she was dying made me gag. I love her to pieces and you don't ever recover from something like this. 

In the minutes before Mum died, Dad and I had ducked outside the ward to talk. My Aunty informed me that Mum was gasping my name. We rushed to her side. Her lips and fingertips had turned blue/purple. She was gurgling deeply (known as the death rattle - the most horrific thing you will ever hear). Dad and I each grabbed a hand and watched as her jaw dropped, saliva drooled down her chin and Dad wept as he frantically wiped her drool with a tissue. Mum's heart beat was pounding through a vein in her neck. I watched as it slowed. She strained to speak just before her body shut down. I'm not sure exactly what she said, but it sounded like: "It will all be over soon". 

At that moment I burst into uncontrollable sobs. My Dad was howling. My Mum was gurgling, gasping and jolting. Her eyes started to roll back into her head and the vein in her neck slowly stopped pulsing. I held her hand tightly and sobbed into my sleeve. I kissed Mum's forehead and told her I loved her one more time but she'd already stopped breathing. 

The doctors assured as that Mum's death was "peaceful" and that the body released a rush of endorphin's in her last moments.  It still doesn't change the fact that it was traumatic and horrific to witness. There's nothing peaceful or glamorous about watching someone you love so deeply, die so horribly. 

The only thing that could have been worse would be witnessing Mum die a violent or torturous death. 

I want my Mum back so badly. I miss her every moment. But there's nothing I can do about it, so I just have to suck it up and learn to live with the crippling grief. 
BettyValentine BettyValentine
22-25, F
5 Responses May 16, 2012

thank you for your story. when I was 27 I held my dad while he had a massive heart attack. then i was thee only one there when he finally left our world. i remember all the tubes attached to him. it is not a way us kids she last remember our parents. it will be 5 years this September that he passed.. not a day goes by when i don't think or see in my mind his last few hours.

I'm sure every day it's hard to predict how much **** your emotions are going to put you through. You're one of the most powerful people I've ever had the pleasure of coming into contact with, I can only hope strongly in your direction that the suffering you probably have been going through will ease up as quickly as it can. It's right and okay to live in the grief on those bad days (which might be every day at the moment), but I'm proud to know someone who is as strong as you are. Take your time and your wounds will hurt less one day. Even though we don't really know each other very well, I'm sending you love.

Thanks dedre, and yes I wish that it will be the first and last time I have to listen to the death rattle, but chances are - i will experience it again. <br />
<br />
My Mum's death is the first close death that I've really had to deal with. An Uncle died a few years ago, which was rough...But I still have all my grandparents and haven't had anyone else close to me die. <br />
<br />
I've always tried to adopt a Carl Saganesque approach to life and death, but it ******* shakes you to your core when it happens to someone you love so much. I mean, we all die...Sometimes knowing that doesn't make losing people any easier, though.

My deepest condolences...The first time you hear that death rattle, you wish you could forget it :(

TS, knowing you give a damn is enough for me :)<br />
Thanks, buddy. It's a pretty horrible thing, but I think I'm slowly getting there (if "getting there" means being able to get up in the morning and go about my day). <br />
<br />
Thankyou. You are a good friend and listener, and I know your condolences are sincere and genuine.