One Year Since My Mom Passed Away

Today marks exactly one year since my mom passed away. I wanted to dedicate another post to this, to try and sort my thoughts. But it’s difficult, so I will be updating this post in the coming days to weeks as more things come to mind. My apologies for this post being a bit of a mess.

In the last weeks leading up to her death, my mom struggled more with the people around her than with her disease. I’m talking about her very own doctor and the medical staff from the hospital, as well as her group of day time carers. Their lack of care, their unwillingness to listen to what mom and I had to say, led to a lot of problems.

A lot went wrong from the moment she had her diagnosis. So I’ve seen my mom suffer a lot.

Having dad pass away just three weeks after her diagnosis wasn’t exactly easy, either. It hurt so much to lose him, but for my mom, it was even harder. I had to stay strong in her presence. She needed so much support with dad being gone and her knowing she was going to die sooner than expected.

Things That Hurt Me The Most

The diagnosis reveal

I still remember how my mom came home with my older brother from the hospital, while I took care of dad. When she told us she was diagnosed with cancer, dad – sitting in his wheelchair – burst into tears. They held hands while mom comforted him. That scene shattered my heart.

Removing her right to care

In February of 2023, mom was given 3 months to live by her oncologist. Because of this, she now had the right to enable so-called night care. This means she would have a night shift nurse come over from 11 PM to 7 AM every single day to relieve me and my boyfriend from the burden and stress of everything that goes on during the day, allowing us to sleep well at night knowing someone is there to take care of her.

The problem was that she was also receiving day care (mom was bed bound and could not even sit up). And her day care was starting to whine about a certain “budget of hours” to come by and help her.

And so, it was ‘decided’ together with mom’s doctor that mom was ‘doing so good’ she ‘didn’t need night care’. Mom did NOT want to give up on night care, but she was pressured to give up on it by being told she may not have access to night care “once the three months would be up” and it would therefore be better to stop it for now. The doctor promised her it would be started up again within one day if mom wanted it back.

Every night, mom would get depressed and burst out into tears about being alone at night. This hurt so much to witness. It hurt so much to leave her alone at night and go to sleep, but I had no choice.
And yes, she still needed care at night. That was for me and my boyfriend to figure out. So yeah, we had a few broken nights.

Eventually, her night care was given back (initially the doctor said “well well let’s not make any rash decisions” when she called him) but her situation worsened so much, she passed away soon after.

I started looking into our legal rights to daytime and nighttime care and realized too late that we had the legal right to have 24 hour care for mom.

I Wish I Could Do Something…

As for the law, I don’t know if there is anything I can do. I tried talking with a lawyer before, but she showed absolutely no interest in what happened. Yes, my story is a mess. It’s hard to get to the point, because so much happened. But she didn’t even try to understand anything. She asked no questions to try and help make sense out of it. All she had to say was “it’s a good thing we can’t sue for everything here (in The Netherlands) the way they do in America (The United States).”

So there’s that. It’s been a very busy one year since my mom passed away, and only now things in my life are finally starting to calm down a little bit. But a year has passed nonetheless, and I don’t know if there is any legal action I can still take for how my mother was treated.

Too much has gone wrong. Too many people let her down. I would say this is a scandal. My mom has not been treated well from the moment she was diagnosed with cancer, and even worse toward the end of her life.

My mom deserved better

I know it’s cliché to say this, but my mom deserved better. She spent the last 10 years of her life completely dedicated to taking care of her sick and disabled husband, whom she’d been with since she was 15 years old.

She watched him become sicker and sicker, suffering from diabetes type 2 and two strokes. She watched him turn from her happy, strong husband who was able to do everything by himself – hand crafts, wood works, doing odd jobs around the house, walking, driving, biking – to a miserable, depressed man in a wheel chair. She got up early every morning to get him out of bed, bathe him, make his breakfast, care for his wounds, fix up his dinner, hand him his tablet, a magazine, call a doctor, pick up his medication, give him a cup of coffee, a tooth brush, a snack, brush his hair, give him a haircut, take off his clothes and put him back into bed.

And then she watched him die from cardiac arrest three weeks after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and stood at his grave crying a couple of days later.

Little did we know at that time, that the row where he was buried would not even fill up completely before she would pass away herself.

I’ve Been Very Depressed

My mom chose to get euthanized because her doctor was unwilling to listen to her or me. And in the last two weeks leading up to that decision, he took away her night care, devastating her situation.

In fact, a DAY before she chose to be put to sleep, he talked her into increasing her pain medication (fentanyl) which she said “no” to several times, until she gave in to his pressure.

I was there all the time. I watched it all happen. Time after time.

Yes, I tried to stop it. No, he wouldn’t listen.

Everything that happened has taken a GREAT toll on my emotional well-being. In fact, on several occasions have I considered going back to The Netherlands and apply for social well-fare because I could barely get myself to get up in the mornings, continue my online freelancing work or even make dinner.

But I do not want to rely on others for help. I will get up again and again on my own two feet and I will take care of myself.

One year since my mom passed away. She deserved better by the people around her.

Thank you for reading.

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