I am an On-Air Talent & host of Pop Culture Weekly with iHeartRadio and after my Mom passed from pancreatic cancer last year, I spent this last year travelling around the country talking to the foremost experts on death, grief and loss to answer questions that far too many of us aren’t comfortable with asking.

From a death doula to an oncological psychologist; an embalmer to a Medium who can contact the other side, a death ritual historian to a Doctor who studies Near Death Experiences, I’ve covered nearly every facet of dying, death and beyond and collected these interviews in a series called Death, Grief & Other Sh*t We Don’t Discuss

I’ve learned a lot about loss and my goal is to share what I’ve learned for others in this club, that we don’t want to be in, but all of us will end up in.

Proof: Here's my proof!

EDIT: I have an editing session in a few minutes, but I'm happy to answer additional questions when I get back this evening! In the meantime, thank you so m much for all of your questions so far! These have been so great & really thought provoking and I appreciate it. I think some of the conversations we've had here so far can really be a help to others <3


Comments: 356 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

melWud307 karma

Hi! I feel a little embarrassed asking this, but has your show ever discussed dealing with the grief of losing a pet companion? I’m currently in the throes of having lost my best friend, and I’m in a really dark place. Lost her suddenly and without a warning. I don’t feel like I get as much support from friends and family because folks rule out pet deaths as not-as-important. I feel alone in this process 😞Animal companions can sometimes get closer to you than other humans. It’s been the most painful thing I’ve experienced

KyleMcMahon246 karma

OMG don't feel embarrassed at all!

I totally understand that there are some people who kind of belittle grief over a pet. My advice is to find people that DONT do that. There are awesome grief groups for pet loss on Facebook as well as a subreddit right here at r/Petloss of people just like you & I that love our pets as we would our own children.

There is NO SHAME whatsoever in grieving a pet. My dog Blue, who I talk about in the series, has been a lifeline for me through my Grief Journey. He has been able to tell when I'm about to sob and immediately comes over & starts licking my face. It's truly incredible.

Grief, in my opinion, is grief, whether it's over a loved one with two legs or a loved one with four legs. Same rules apply <3

Edit: fixed the subreddit typo

melWud62 karma

Thank you so much. I didn't know about those resources. I've been reading through the posts and I'm not feeling as lonely anymore.

I'll check out your podcast for sure :)

KyleMcMahon28 karma

Whoo hooo! I’m so glad you were able to check out that subreddit. I’ve been lurking over there lately & it’s really a great, supportive community. I hope you’re able to jump into conversations there. They are your (& my) type of people 💜

& thank you, please lmk what you think!

Internetmomo95 karma

How do you feel about MAiD (medical assistance in dying)?

KyleMcMahon204 karma

I personally feel that it's not our choice to tell someone else how they need to go. If someone is suffering with a chronic illness or is in a pain that has no way of getting better, is it not the compassionate thing to do if they have decided - in sound mind - that they want relief via MAiD? Hopefully, we as a society can get there.

Im not sure the specifics, but I do think that person should maybe be evaluated by a professional first, to make sure this isn't a temporary want or something that couldn't be more easily treated. The reason I say that is so someone who may have just gotten a chronic diagnosis or something like that, doesn't make a rash decision that they would have regretted later. Hope that makes sense.

saedeart68 karma

I am in Canada where MAiD is available. The bar for accessing it is quite high. I am definitely glad that it's something that is available here and the conversation about it continues to improve it.

is it not the compassionate thing to do

This is exactly my point of view on this question. It also allows for preparation, saying goodbye and hopefully, the grieving process would be less painful this way. Have you had the opportunity to talk to someone who knows someone who passed away from MAiD?

Thank you!

KyleMcMahon33 karma

I have not had the opportunity, but I love this idea & think it would be a very informative conversation for next season.

Thank you so much for the idea!

bokurai53 karma

In Canada, MAID does require two medical professionals to sign off on the decision, and the patient to be made aware of all other options available to them (such as palliative and hospice care).

A patient who has registered for MAID and gone as far as to schedule a date can also change their mind about undergoing the process at anytime, even right before the injection is administered.

Shadowmant28 karma

The down side, as far as I understand it, is that even if you were to go as far as having the date scheduled if you were to fall into a situation where you could no longer consent (like brain death or unconsciousness) it has to be cancelled until such time as you can consent.

KyleMcMahon4 karma

Ugh, yeah that's a tough one.

KyleMcMahon3 karma

Wow! That seems like a really great program where they've thought through all of it.

MesWantooth18 karma

I had an interesting discussion with a Palliative care doctor about MAID. Her somewhat controversial take was that it may not be the best option for some terminal people - obviously no one should be forced to suffer but in her view, terminal patients who experience the stages of death usually come to terms with the inevitable and make peace with it whereas she sense fear and hesitation in the people who opt for MAID right up until the end. In my own experience, my wife survived in palliative care with terminal cancer for 3 months and then she wanted to move on from this world.

KyleMcMahon4 karma

Wow that’s very interesting.

It’s truly a thought provoking discussion.

courtlane90 karma

What are ways that people who haven’t experienced such a loss can support those who have? I fortunately haven’t lost anyone I’m extremely close with, and I find it hard to come up with the right things to say when comforting someone who has.

KyleMcMahon144 karma

Hey Courtney! Thanks so much for asking this.

Look, there's no doubt about it, it can be very awkward when we contact or see someone who has lost someone they love, as we don't really know what to say. What I've learned is that, there is no rule book. Tell them you're sorry and you love and support them and ask what you can do.

Often times, at least for me, especially in the first few months, they may not say they need anything. If that's the case, find something you’re good at that they may need and do it. Make amazing sandwiches? Make a few days worth for them & drop it off. Going to the grocery store? Pick up some grocery staples you know they'd need and drop them off. You don't even have to go in. Shoot them a text, “hey I'm dropping off XYZ at your house, you don't have to come out, but just wanted you to know they're there.”

Literally anything like this is a huge help & it gives them the option to not have to physically engage if they don't feel up to it at that moment. <3

cmmosher54 karma

Hey. Sorry to hear about your mom, I lost my dad when i was in my teens and its some hard stuff to deal with.

Does your show touch on dealing with grief as a non religious person? I know when my dad passed i got a lot of people telling me religious things to comfort me.

KyleMcMahon72 karma

Hey I'm so so so sorry about the loss of your Dad.

I do talk throughout the show about my spirituality and religious perspective of it. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic School for 12 years (I joke that I'm in recovery) but I am honest about my feelings on how I don't understand how a loving God can give such an amazing person such a horrendous disease. And if he doesn't "give" it to her, how he could allow her to pass. I talk a lot about it through the series.

Overall, the show is absolutely non religious. None of the narrative segments or the interview segments talk about it, except at one part to say "If Faith is important to you, make sure that is a part of your grief journey in healing."

Does that answer your question?

cmmosher19 karma

Thanks. I am a Lapsed catholic myself. Lol. Ya that answers my question. Looks like an interesting story, looking forward to listening.

KyleMcMahon6 karma

Thank you so much! I really appreciate it

DexterCutie6 karma

My mom was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's in October and is already forgetting people she loves. It's progressing very quickly.

She was raised Catholic, as was I, but Im atheist now. I'm also having a really hard time with the whole "If God truly loves you like you say he does, then why would he allow such terrible things to happen to such a good person?". She's been through a hell of a lot. Many deaths of people she loved, including parents, at a very young age. Many many surgeries and staph infections that almost killed her.

I guess I don't have a question, but wanted to tell you that I agree with your thoughts 😂.

KyleMcMahon3 karma

I totally get it and thank you for sharing your story. That’s so tough and it’s something I struggle with all the time. It brings up so many questions for me and then I get angry and the whole cycle repeats. I’m working on it though, chipping away.

Thank you 💜

whateverphil43 karma

Did any of the experts you spoke with share any experiences of things they "couldn't explain?" Paranormal experiences, etc?

KyleMcMahon106 karma

Hey Phil! YES! The episode titled "The Nearing Death Experience" features Dr. Jan Holden, who has been studying near death experiences and after death communication for nearly 30 years at University of North Texas. I never realized how much science there was behind NDE's or AFC's until I spoke with her. She told me a story of a man she interviewed who had a dream soon after his Dad passed about a gun he had in his house. He even saw where it was in his dream. So he went to his parents house & found it in that exact place. Even his Mom didn't know about it. She also tells the story of a woman who had passed during surgery who was revived, but was able to tell her surgeon what was on the floor above her...The doctor checked and she was spot on!

This was fascinating to me and Dr Holden does an amazing job of being clear on what we have science on thats explainable, what we have science on that isn't explainable and what has a completely rational explanation.

KyleMcMahon51 karma

Here's the particular episode I'm speaking of if anyone is interested. The "After Death Communication" episode comes out in a few weeks.


Intelligent_Pie_381440 karma

Hey! I just want to say that I share you interests. After I had my second child, my son, I fell into a deep PPD that made me question everything. In my own search for meaning, balance and truth I tore through all we have written and recorded in modern society on death, dying and what it means to die. I even started working with the dying and received a grant in order to become a hospice RN. I think what you are doing is wonderful and it's so amazing you have shared so much of your experience with others. Tell me, as someone who hasn't listened to your podcast YET, how do you feel about dying and death now?

KyleMcMahon45 karma

Wow, what an amazing story you have. I love that you took something horrible and made something beautiful with it...helping other people at the most vulnerable place they'll ever be. THANK YOU for that <3

I'd say I'm not afraid of death anymore. I mean of course, I don't want to suffer. But if I die today, I've had a pretty damn good, weird, interesting life full of love. Also, I completely believe in After Death Communication now, which I didn't necessarily believe it before. So I plan on coming back and haunting my loved ones in a loving way lol. They're in the bathroom, I'm going to write "IM WATCHING" on the mirror then put "LOL JK" so they know it's me haha.

lovelyhappyface19 karma

I asked my late ex husband how I would know he was here and he said something would fall. So many things fell the first few weeks after he died.

The weirdest and saddest part for me is not being able to talk to him about our child

KyleMcMahon16 karma

I hope you still do talk to him, even if you don’t hear him respond 💜

lovelyhappyface13 karma

I do in my head but I should start speaking out loud . 💜

KyleMcMahon11 karma

I do sometimes talk to her in my head. But I’ve found - for me - that it helps a bit more to talk to her out loud. Even if it felt weird at first.

Intelligent_Pie_38149 karma

I'm going to show everyone you're podcast now and tell them I actually spoke to you online lololol God bless you ☺️

KyleMcMahon6 karma

Ayyy! Thank you so much I really appreciate that!

bokurai35 karma

I'm watching my dad rapidly decline from terminal pancreatic cancer. Very open-ended questions, but...

1) Any advice for us (patient/family)?
2) Anything you've learned that you wish you had known in retrospect?
3) Anything you'd have done differently?

KyleMcMahon74 karma

Hey Bokurai, I'm so so so so so sorry that you and your family and your Dad are going through this. There is no way around it & I'm not sure if I can curse here but it f*cking sucks. Really really bad.

  1. My advice is to let your Dad have his own journey. If he is of sound mind to make his own medical decisions, let him do so. Of course, offer your feelings and input, but ultimately, don't fight him on what he wants to do. Also, please PLEASE reach out to the incredible folks at https://pancan.org/contact-us/ if you haven't yet. They have INCREDIBLE resources, know all of the clinical trial information, and everything else you'd need. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do that like yesterday. Also, take too many photos! And too many videos! Just your Dad talking about whatever (life, you, your family, his childhood, his friends, all of it). Video all of it & email it to yourself & put it in 10 places. I have tons of photos and videos and voicemails of my Mom, but it's never enough. SO keep on taking them.
  2. Not really as I became kind of over obsessed with googling everything pancreatic cancer related. Like, to a fault. Which brings us to...
  3. I became obsessed with googling everything pancreatic cancer related for the entire time my Mom was on her pan can journey (nearly 3 years). I would search for things and I'd get a temporary relief in my anxiety, until I'd have another thought that came up & the entire cycle would repeat. Get informed on the information and walk away from Google for this. Also, kind of going with #1, I'd have not been so tough on my Mom with some of her medical decisions. I, of course, wanted my Mom to do every single thing there was to survive. But after almost 2 years of various chemo treatments, she certainly earned the right to say what she wanted to put her body through or what she didn't. That was unacceptable to me at the time. I had forgotten how important QUALITY of life is too.
  4. You didnt' give a 4th question but I have a fourth comment for you. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Mentally and physically. This is a really really rough road and your health, both mentally and physically, is vitally important. <3

Seriously, reach out if you ever need an ear

IrisUnicornCorn41 karma

One thing to add is that I would advise you to talk about what’s next. My husband passed away from pancreatic cancer 10 months ago. We had a 3 year old and I had just given birth 5 days prior to his passing (after his doctors told us that I’d need to be induced early for him to see the baby). He was diagnosed three days after my positive pregnancy test and he passed five days after the birth. Our lives have been a shitshow for the last two years.

Our journey lasted 8 months from diagnosis to passing. I wish we had talked about what to do after he passed but we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. I didn’t know what he wanted for a burial vs. cremation. I didn’t know what kind of service. Oh and his life insurance went half to me and half to our daughter, which has been so difficult with the legal guardianship crap. That’s not what he would have wanted. It cost $4,000 just to claim that money on our daughters behalf and I can’t use it towards expenses for her whatsoever. And our son will have nothing from his father.

Anyway, it’s hard, but ask what your loved one wants just in case just so you know. And make sure there’s a will and that it makes sense. He didn’t have a will and there were a lot of assets and I didn’t know how to do anything with the money or the bills. I had to learn as I sat alongside him for three weeks in the hospital at the end. If you do the hard thing now, they can rest easier that everything will be okay and you’ll know that you’re doing the right thing for them.

KyleMcMahon15 karma

Yes I LOVE THIS. In a later episode I talk with Joanne Eason from FiveWishes which helps advanced planning & breaks it down in a really simple, easy way. It's so vitally important and gives peace of mind now & later.

I also wanted to say I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband. With pancan, Shitshow is the truth! I've learned that I"ll never stop grieving my Mom. I'll just learn to live with her physical absence. In the meantime, there are still somedays I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread, and there's not a day that goes by where I don't talk with her.

I hope you have found moments of some semblance of peace. Please feel free to reach out whenever you need an ear.

sonofabutch25 karma

I’ve always been interested in how professionals behave when it’s their problem as opposed to someone else’s problem. Real estate agents, for example, price a house higher and keep it on the market longer when it’s their house as opposed to a client’s house. I’ve heard that doctors aren’t as aggressive with their own end of life care as they are with their patients… have you noticed that, and do they say why? And what about morticians when they plan funerals for their relatives or hospice workers when it’s their loved one, what do they do differently when it’s personal as opposed to a stranger?

KyleMcMahon26 karma

That's such an interesting question and I love it.

I will say, talking to so many death care workers as I recorded this series was actually a huge relief for me because I learned, with every single one of them, that they are doing this for their love of people. I talked to numerous funeral arrangers, embalmers, morticians, oncologists, even a Death Doula! And EVERY....SINGLE...ONE...had such a love and honor for their profession that they literally treat every patient / person / body as if it were their own. And I truly mean that. I was actually shocked because I truly don't know how they do it. If I was even somehow able to do any of their professions, I would be so depressed and probably burned out by Day 2, that I just wouldn't make it. Every death care worker I spoke with was extremely passionate and made some sort of mention of how they handle it as if it was a loved one of their own or how how they'd want to be handled.
Pretty incredible stuff.

IcanSew83120 karma

My husband died of cancer here at home at age 56 after knowing of the cancer all of 6 weeks. We had only been married 3 1/2 months when he passed. In his final 3 days he seemed very angry with me and didn’t want me around. Have you heard of this and is there any understanding or did he really just hate me when he died?

KyleMcMahon30 karma

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Please forgive him and yourself. You did nothing wrong & of course he didn’t hate you when he passed.

There is a behavior that often happens at the end of life for people with terminal illness called terminal agitation. This is seen more frequently in those who haven’t had much time with their diagnosis, much like your husband. It typically stems from emotions surrounding their reality as they wrestle with their own literal mortality. It can also be caused by physical pain

It is very common, and I guarantee you he didn’t mean to hurt you, no matter how heartbreaking it is for you. Hospice workers are well versed on this and can oftentimes be on the receiving end of that anger. They learn the most important thing first: DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

This obviously applies for everyone at the receiving end. I’m so so sorry you had to go through that on top of everything else, but please, know your husband loves you very much and you did nothing wrong.

IcanSew83113 karma

Thank you for responding, I didn’t think you would. It’s been almost 8 years now and I still struggle with this. The first 3 years after he died I just believed he hated me and since I’ve read some things that have helped and it was much like your advice. It does settle me some and at least I’m not in tears constantly anymore. Before he met me he also lost his partner of 7 years and so I also think my husband knew of what life journey I was about to embark on and he may have felt guilty for putting this burden on me, in his mind. I very much appreciate your time.

KyleMcMahon11 karma

That’s so tough. Everything that you’re saying makes total sense. He was experiencing terminal agitation, and probably from a number of complicated factors.

Please please please be gentle with yourself. He chose to marry you! And that was when he thought he had decades ahead of him. YOU are who he chose to spend that time with. YOU and YOU alone. THOSE are not just his true feelings, but his actions. Always remember that & give yourself permission to let go of those original thoughts because they’re just not true. 💜

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.

Jiweka2111 karma

There's a specific type of loss associated with infertility, a bit of a grief for something you'll never have. It can be isolating. Especially so if there's a pregnancy that miscarries before most people even knew you were expecting. Have you talked to anyone who may have some insight here?

KyleMcMahon15 karma

Wow. You know, I never even considered that. That's a very interesting topic & I'm putting it on my list to explore for next season.

Thank you so much!

KyleMcMahon11 karma

Hey everyone! Looking forward to your questions.

Lizaderp11 karma

I've told my mom that now that she's getting near Medicare age, it's a good time to start end of line planning, but it's just on her to do list. I work in hospice so I've seen first hand the pain of family scrambling to figure shit out as the patient nears end of life. But her own planning is still something she'll get round to when she does. Even me working in the industry can't seem to figure out because there's no one real magic way or special trick to get people to acknowledge that this is important and death doesn't care about your to do list. Any advice?

Second question, did you meet Caitlin Doughty?

KyleMcMahon9 karma

Ugh I'm so sorry. Can you sit her down, Child to Mother & tell her why she needs to do this? Not just for her, but for you? Let her know the emotional ramifications of not doing it, how devastated you'll be when she passes and if you have no directives, that will just make everything even worse? Basically, pull the emotional card lol.

Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH for working in Hospice. I have so much respect for Hospice and death care workers in general. I could not do what you all do & I count the stars that you ARE able to do it. <3

payneforpleasure9 karma

Hi Kyle ! Thanks for doing this AMA.

How do you cope with the fact that you will never see/speak with/hug your mum again?

I am an orphan now, I’ve lost both my parents 10 months appart. I don’t really care about my father since I never really liked him. He was not a good person. But for my mother it’s an other story since I was a mama’s little boy.

I’ve lost her last year to an agressive esophagus cancer. She died within 6 weeks after the diagnostic and was a vegetable in the hospital for 2 weeks following a sudden heart attack. I have a really hard time because it went too fast for me. No last hug, love you or some sort of goodbye.

All I have now is two videos of 10 years ago of her laughing hysterically while reading horrible english to french translations. I was secretly recording her at the time telling me that it would be a nice souvenir when she will inevitably pass away. I’ve watched them only once because it still hurt me.

I do feel your pain and wish the best for you brother.

KyleMcMahon12 karma

Wow I’m so sorry for your losses.

It’s hard for me to cope with the fact that I’ll never see or hug her again. I struggle with that all the time. But I take it day by day, moment by moment if needed.

I am “lucky” in the fact that I was able to say everything I wanted to say to my Mom and she to me. That gave me so much peace and it gives me comfort today. I wrote so much of it down so I never would forget it.

Before she passed, she told me “Whenever you’re having a bad day, whenever you need me, just talk to me, I’ll be there”. So I do. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person driving down the highway talking to my Mom who passed last year, but I truly believe she is there with me.

Much like you, I’m a Mommas Boy & I believe with every fiber of my being if there’s any chance for her to be here with me, she is. So I talk to her. I’ve also had numerous signs that she’s around, that there’s no possible explanation for. Like none. That really helped immensely to comfort me.

Have you tried talking to her? Also, can you ask everyone that knows her for a copy of their photos and videos?

Thank you so much for the kind words and support 💜

arrived_on_fire8 karma

How do you feel about organ donation? We’re you able to speak to an expert about that as well? I’d love to hear that one!

KyleMcMahon30 karma

My personal feelings are: WTH do I need them for when I'm gone? lol. So if they can help someone else to have a better quality of life, take them away. I will be cremated (probably via a Water Cremation, which I learned about from doing the series), so I have no use for them. I personally see it as another way to give back. (I just hope nothing crazy weird happens like the recipient now sees my past or something through my eyes lol jk)

In one of the later episodes, the expert did discuss how important it is to donate your organs if you're able to, as there's a whole long list of people waiting for organs and it could truly save their lives.

butterchickenwarrior7 karma

What is a Water Cremation?

KyleMcMahon3 karma

u/Lizaderp said it perfectly. In one of the later episodes we talk about Water Cremation and how it's emission free, great for the environment and can help us solve the space issue we have with traditional burials.

TheRainbowWillow8 karma

Yo! This is really neat! My dad died when I was 15 (cardiac arrest with no clear trigger) and death has fascinated me ever since. I think I’ll give your show a listen!

What’s the most interesting tradition regarding death that you’ve learned about?

KyleMcMahon22 karma

I'm so so sorry for your loss. It's so tough.... a club that we didn't ask to be in.

I think the most interesting death ritual I learned about is how in Tibet when you pass, often they will put your body in the wilderness for animals to eat. The thinking behind it is that you took from the Earth your entire life & now you are giving back.

I was horrified at first, but then thought what a beautiful thing that actually is.

Please let me know what you think of the series. My DM's are always open!

TheRainbowWillow12 karma

I’m sorry for your loss as well. You’ve found quite a cool way to cope with it!

That’s really interesting!! Honestly, I’d love to have that done to my body. I don’t want to be embalmed or buried in a casket because it feels like a separation from nature. I don’t want a wall between me and rot. Death is the great equalizer. In the great words of Hamlet: Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service- two dishes, but to one table. That’s the end.

KyleMcMahon7 karma

LOVE that quote!

And yeah, I went from being totally grossed out by it to realizing how beautiful and full circle it is.

TheRainbowWillow5 karma

We’re taught that death is something to be afraid of, so it’s natural that we try to make bodies look unaffected by it, but that cycle, living, dying, returning to the ground, isn’t so scary. It’s natural. I think a lot of other cultures have a better grasp on that than we do!

KyleMcMahon5 karma

I totally agree. One of the big reasons I wanted to do this series was that I feel like, especially in our culture, death is seen as something dirty we can’t speak about. So many other cultures get it right & I hope that this series can help towards changing that type of thinking here, even if in some tiny way.

I know doing this series has absolutely changed my thoughts on death for sure.

turbodude698 karma

how common is the use of psychedelics to help deal with end of life depression? and in your experience, how often is it really beneficial? have you seen it ever actually make things worse?

KyleMcMahon5 karma

Thanks so much for the question. Tbh I didn’t get into psychedelics In this season, but you’re not the first person to bring it up, so it’s on in my list to explore for Season 2 as there seems to be interest there.

turbodude693 karma

yeah it seems pretty fascinating. i hope it can help bring people peace after receiving such devastating news. thanks for responding.

KyleMcMahon5 karma

Yes I’m now super interested in the research behind it relating to end of life, so it’s on my shortlist for season 2. And thank YOU!

ShortWoman8 karma

When my own mom passed, I was in a psych class with no idea what to do for a term paper. My professor scribbled "Elizabeth Kubler Ross" on a post-it note and sent me to the library. So, what's your opinion on Kubler Ross and the Five Stages of Grief?

KyleMcMahon11 karma

First of all, let me start by saying I am so sorry for your incredible loss. It’s truly a club we don’t ever want to be in.

So a number of the experts in the series talk about this, and it seems almost universally understood today, that the Kubler Ross theory has validity but isn’t necessarily an exact science. It seems pretty well understood today that while KR has the stages of grief down in categories , their order isn’t universally true for us.

For instance, maybe one starts grieving with anger over the unfairness of their loved ones passing. Maybe they skipped denial - KR’s 1st stage - altogether.

There is also another theory that incorporates 7 stages of grief that add reconstruction and the upward turn.

In my personal opinion, they are good references, but not universal truths.

GCB784 karma

I've been stuck at anger for four years, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to get out of it. Being part of the Dead Moms Club sucks.

KyleMcMahon3 karma

It really does suck. I’m sorry you’re going through this. We’ll never stop loving and grieving and yearning for our Mom’s.

One thing that helped me was that my Mom told me what she wished for my life beyond her. Are you able to think about what your Mom would want for you?

ShortWoman3 karma

Thank you for your answer.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Thank YOU for the question! 💜

nevernomuffintops6 karma

Did anything you learn from your travels console you specifically in the loss of your mum?

KyleMcMahon26 karma

Thanks for your question!

Yes I actually learned A LOT that helped me. I had a lot of guilt for various reasons, one of them being at one point, I went from doing everything I could to get information on every treatment available to actually thinking "God / Universe / Whatever, please end her suffering".

In the last couple of months of her life, my Mom went from 115 / 120 to 63 pounds. She was a skeleton. She was in pain all the time. And I felt so horribly guilty but I didn't want her to live like this anymore. Dr. Nicole Duffy in Episode 1 really helped me with that by talking me through it and showing me I'm not a monster for thinking that, I'm simply a loving son that doesn’t want his Mother in pain.

There's a whole bunch of great lessons I learned just like that throughout the show. I'm still learning everyday :)

nuwbs16 karma

My mother had ovarian cancer stage 4 and it became a bit a battle of faith. My mother saw herself as a nun (never remarried after my father and her divorced when I was 2), meditated/chanted rosaries for 8ish hours a day and I became a scientist. When she got diagnosed I figured she'd go through the chemo but she figured she'd.. well... go more faith based. She went to India (the religion I was raised in) and tried to cure herself with the help of well.. charlatans or holy men, depending on your angle. The rest is to be expected and ended with an old school wooden raft and fire on the Ganges.

Either way, your story is one I empathize with and it definitely brought me back. I hope you're doing well.

KyleMcMahon7 karma

OMG wow I'm so sorry you had to live through that but I hope you've found some peace.
Thank you so much for your kind words.

MesWantooth4 karma

I’m not sure what type of ovarian cancer your mother had and you may be aware of this but many types of ovarian cancer do not respond to chemo at all. They treat with chemo because “it’s better than doing nothing” and helps about 1% of people. My wife had ovarian cancer, the only real treatment was surgery to remove it. She had multiple surgeries, and did chemo, and tried some experimental drugs.

I will say this - for you and for your mom: my wife became a very active fundraiser for research into new forms of treatment for ovarian cancer. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for research being completed by her oncologist - one of the worlds leading experts in her very rare form of Ovarian. He is very confident that in a few years, some of his discoveries (and his peers around the world) will lead to huge breakthroughs in treatment. Not necessarily a “cure” but allowing people to live many more years than currently.

nuwbs5 karma

I can't say I remember too much by now about the type, 5 years have gone by in a blink. The plan was to do chemo -> surgery -> chemo. I'm also not sure what the chance of success (however defined) was. At the heart of it was a very strange tension of faith vs science and this much I reflect on a lot. While it was clear she didn't want to die I find a bit of solace in knowing she did it in a way that made sense to her (maybe this is weird to read but faith was a very big part of her personality).

Unfortunately maybe I'm a bit too close to science and it's made me fairly... jaded. Part of their job is to sell hope (in whatever form this takes... technological hope, life-saving hope, increased efficiency hope) both to the public and to the grant issuers. I certainly hope nothing but success to your world-renown expert in whatever incremental hope he's... hoping for.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

I totally get what you’re saying. I struggled with a different form of this. I was a bit angry at my Mom that she didn’t want to do this certain type of radiation. Maybe it would have helped, maybe not. But I wanted her to do it. I had lost touch with the fact that this was her journey, not mine.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that she had put her body through so much already & chances were high that the treatment would have made her quality of life shittier then it already was. It was selfish of me to demand she do anything and everything available, because it wasn’t my choice to make. I wouldn’t be the one whose quality of life would plummet & if it hadn’t helped her, she’d have used the time she did have left with that lower quality of life.

My point being, we can be angry with their choices, but ultimately, the choice is theirs. And if that’s how they wanted to live, knowing the pros and cons of both, who are we to tell them otherwise?

It also reminds me of Steve Jobs, who had pancreatic cancer, like my Mom. When he was first diagnosed, he chose to go the alternative health route rather then traditional medical care. It is quite possible he would have had a different outcome since he was caught so early. BUT, he made that choice knowing If it didn’t work, it would almost certainly be too late to switch to traditional medicine.

smilingator5 karma

I just left my mom (she lives 700 miles away), who has stage 4 stomach cancer. She has lost 60 pounds in the past 6 months and I’m pretty sure they are going to stop chemo because she is too frail. I can’t get over how shrunken she is… like literally 4 inches shorter than she was. I’m pretty sure she will die soon… and I want her to. She sleeps all day, can’t eat, and can barely get out of bed to use the bathroom. She used to bounce around the house cleaning and organizing all day. The glow, the light, the life she radiated has dimmed. I feel bad for wanting her suffering to end because it sounds like I’ll be glad she is dead. But I’d rather be without her than for her to continue to go through this. I guess I needed to get all that out. Thank you for doing this. I’m sure it’s helping a lot of us.

KyleMcMahon3 karma

I’m so sorry you’re going through this horrible period. That was EXACTLY me. The person I love the most in this world that I was begging to be healed, I suddenly was begging to be taken. I felt horrendous for that. When I first had that thought I had a full blown panic attack thinking what kind of sick person I must be.

Dr Duffy really put it into perspective that it is Self-LESS to say “of course I want her here, but I will give her up so she no longer has to suffer”.

It’s soooo hard, but so normal. We love them so much. Why would we NOT want them to stop suffering so horribly?

Again, I’m so sorry what you’re going through. It f*cking sucks & I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Please promise me to try and call her and record the call. If she’s up to it, Ask her questions about her life and about your childhood and record it. You’ll love having that forever. 💜

My DM’s are open if you need an ear.

banjokazooie232 karma

Damn. I'm sorry you (and your mom) had to go through that. I lost my dad to cancer recently too, but luckily the time he spent "in decline" was very short- only about 5 days. He was in a lot of pain longer than that but was still--for the most part--himself.

At least neither of them are suffering anymore, right?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I’m sorry you and your Dad and his loved ones had to go through that.

I truly do take comfort in knowing she’s not suffering anymore. That really is a bigger deal then many of us may realize In those moments. It had gotten to the point where I would just start sobbing when her pains would hit and she’d start crying in pain. I’d have to leave, because I couldn’t bear seeing and hearing her cry in pain and not being able to do anything about it. My Dad would be with her, obviously, I would have never left her alone like that. I just couldn’t emotionally do it and my Dad was able to 💜

oldmannew6 karma

If I’ve made someone mad by saying something trite (but earnest) regarding their parents death, what can I do to rectify the situation?

KyleMcMahon11 karma

First of all, don't beat yourself up about it. We all walk on egg shells when talking to someone who has had a loved one pass. There is no wrong or right way to do it.

I think would I would say is to give them a call or see them in person and explain what you truly meant. I'm sure you didn't mean to hurt their feelings or cause them distress. Let them know that. And then ASK THEM what you can do to help them through this time and show up for whatever it is they've asked for. Whether it's bringing over a meal, or running an errand, any little thing is a HUGE thing when dealing with grief like that.

But please, promise me you won't beat yourself up over it.

luvadoodle4 karma

Not to be a contrarian but many years ago my son was tragically killed. At the funeral an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in years greeted me with “(name) How the Hell are you?” I just looked at her blankly and greeted the next person in the condolence line. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since. I have no plans to change that.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Wowwwwwww. I can’t believe someone had the balls to say that. Good on you for ignoring it. What was even their point?

uncoolcentral6 karma

Did you talk worh anybody from Death with Dignity National Center? End of life options are important!


KyleMcMahon5 karma

Hey thanks so much for bringing this up!

I did not talk with anyone from Death With Dignity however I did interview Joanne Eason, the head of Five Wishes. Five Wishes is very similar to DwD. They help with advanced planning for End of Life issues, broken down in 5 categories. It makes it so easy for both the person and their loved ones to know and be able to execute their end of line plans. Since it's done beforehand, it makes the entire process so much easier at a time where people aren't in the best frames of mind.

You are 100000% right...End of Life options are EXTREMELY important.

uncoolcentral3 karma

Right on. I encourage you to try to talk with Death with Dignity at some point. They are the leading organization in the field, responsible for the original legislation in Oregon and behind almost every other state’s recent legislation regarding end of life options. Without them, nobody in the US would have the right to die with dignity. Unfortunately there are still dozens of states that don’t allow terminally ill people to make end-of-life decisions.

Keep up the good work.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the tip! I will put that on my list for next season.

zksimp5 karma

Does your show talk about suicide?

KyleMcMahon4 karma

It does touch on it a bit in a later episode.

I tried to cover all of the bases, but more importantly, I felt that in general, we all grieve, no matter how that comes out individually for us. So it was really important for me to make sure everyone could get something out of it, no matter how the grief was triggered, or where they are on their grief journey.

There's a blog post that will publish with one of the later episodes that specifically deals with grief from suicide with actionable advice from a grief counselor as well.

Zer0Summoner4 karma

As someone else named McMahon, I'm curious if you keep track of which famous McMahon people ask you if you're related to once they learn our last name. Since 2000 or so it's been nothing but Vince, but before that I used to get about 50% Vince, 45% Ed, 5% Jim. Do you have similar data?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Haha I love this! I wonder if we’re related. My family is from New York City.

So I’d say 90% Vince, 10% Ed and I’ve never been asked about Jim. I just looked him up though so now I know he exists haha.

If you have a family reunion, I’ll come 😂

aqqalachia3 karma

I lost my mom to cancer, in my arms in hospice. I just wanted to ask how you're dealing with grief? over two years out and I'm still finding new ways I'm impacted by it.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you were given a beautiful gift that she was able to pass in your arms.

You know, a big way I’ve been dealing with grief was doing this show over the last year. I started almost immediately after my Mom passed. I had all that emotional energy and I could see I was starting to go down a spiral I’m not sure I would have come back from. So I kind of put all of my energy into doing this series, which took a lot of my energy as well as allowed me to honor her AND hopefully help others on their own grief journey WHILE talking to some of the best experts in the country.

Like you, I’m always finding something new that impacts me by it. I bought my first house a few months ago and that was really really hard. My Mom would have been there everyday helping to guide me through it all, helping to decorate, organize etc. then even little things like something happened that day I would have called her about & then I pick up the phone and I remember…. So I talk to her anyway. It may sound crazy, but I believe she’s there listening 💜

Having said that, I’ve learned that grieving will never end when you are so close with someone. We learn how to live with their absence, but we never stop grieving their death.

aqqalachia2 karma

You really seem to have your head on right about the topic of death. Thank you for doing this AMA and making me feel a little less alone. Thank you.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

You are NEVER alone 💜 thank YOU for sharing your story with me

OffTheBeatenPath1233 karma

Oh, really looking forward to listening to this!

My questions: 1) Do you believe in God? 2)Did you find that people who were dying changed their belief about a God, whether positively or negatively? 3) Do you believe in an afterlife? If so, what do you believe regarding an afterlife?

KyleMcMahon5 karma

Tysm! Please let me know what you think, when you do listen!

Your questions are super interesting & I love them. Thank you for asking them.

  1. I struggle with this tbh. Today, I believe in some sort of higher power. I don’t think it matters whether you call it God, Allah, Fate, the universe, karma, etc. I’m a science based person, But I do often feel that there may be something bigger then us. Ask me again tomorrow i may have a different answer lol.

  2. In episode 3, “The Nearing Death Experience” I saw and heard countless stories of people who passed away and came back. So many of them described the same thing, regardless of religious beliefs, or even regardless of whether they believed in a God or not. That leads me to think there MUST be something if all of these credible people are all giving similar testimonies regarding what’s on the other side. Super interesting stuff. Link here: Episode 3 - The Nearing Death Experience

  3. I do believe in an afterlife. My personal feeling today, is that we move on to a place we can’t even fathom now. Call it “Heaven”, the beyond, whatever you name it is irrelevant. But based on the NDEs, they all seem to say the same thing regarding the other side, so in my opinion there’s SOMETHING to that. If I have a choice, I’d be with my Mom and Mom-Mom and other grandparents & visit here to check on my loved ones here…& probably Mess with them a little bit too lol.

CRNPandACHPN3 karma

Kyle, Thanks for making this post and bring attention to the things we often struggle to address. In many ways end of life care and the dying process are taboo topics in our society. I work in a palliative medicine consult service and we spend a great deal of time helping patients and families pull together complex health information and make some sense of it. Folks are better able to navigate tough decision when they understand things and feel free to bring their values to the surface.

Was palliative care part of your mom's cancer care team? (This is different than hospice)

If you are interested, I wrote a book about my journey into palliative care as a way to inform others and share skills in navigating tough conversations. I do it through story telling with honesty and a mix of pragmatic humor. The book is "Speaking Human: A Journey in Palliative Medicine"

KyleMcMahon3 karma

Hey, thank YOU for your comment!

Palliative was a part of my Mom's cancer team. At first, I freaked out hearing that because at the time I thought it was a fancy word for hospice. I did learn the difference & had a wonderful and insightful conversation with Dr. John Goodill who started the Palliative Care & Hospice Program at ChristianaCare in Delaware. He was very frank & open & honest with his answers to everything I asked...and I asked a lot lol. That episode comes out Tuesday.

Thanks for the link to the book. I will absolutely check it out! And thank you for being in death care. We absolutely need people like you to help people like my Mom since people like ME don't have it in us.

CRNPandACHPN3 karma

Holy crap! I worked at Christiana for 11 years. Great hospital. It has been a long time since I worked there. I started at a crap hospital in Maryland and then went north to Christiana. I give that hospital credit for saving my early career. I remember the name Dr. Goodill and recognize him when I look him up. I worked critical care and then ER research before the palliative team was created there. I worked with him in the ICU.
Really small world.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Wow! The 302! It truly is a small world. Thank you for what you do!

tutah3 karma

Hi! Did your work involve any contact with individuals in hospice/palliative care, or those with terminal illnesses? Wondering what, if anything, could bring one to some kind of acceptance/peace around passing. Thanks!

KyleMcMahon4 karma

I spoke with Dr. John Goodill who started the Palliative Care & Hospice center at ChristianaCare in Delaware. He broke down what the difference was between hospice and palliative care and was very frank with me, as I told him I immediately had a panic attack when I found out Palliative Care was coming in for my Mom. It was the Hospice program that was coming, but that was confusing to me. We talked for about 30 minutes on the episode coming out this Tuesday on what palliative care is versus hospice, how one can get palliative (or hospice), how to find programs that work for you and so much more. It was super educational for me and also interesting.

I also spoke with Dr. Kenneth Doka, who is the author of numerous books on grief as well as the Vice President for Grief Programs at Hospice Association of America. He too had immense insights into hospice both for the person and their loved ones.

ItsTheTenthDoctor3 karma

Hey man I’ve been making my own podcast for the past 2 years. I have top of the line guests and I put all the effort into editing and making trailers I can but the shows just not growing. Do you have any recommendations?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Hey thanks for asking!

1. Freakin awesome! You should be proud of yourself. That’s a huge feat

2. I guess it’s subjective in what is a “success” depending on numerous factors like your niche and frequency. If you do a show on African Butterflies and release it once a month, that may be a different metric to gauge yourself on then if you had a daily show covering 5 “things you should know about todays stock market” or something.

3. Id definitely join the r/podcasting & r/podcasts subreddits to keep up on all of the latest best practices. Also, post looking for honest critiques on your show. There may be something you’re missing or whatever that is easily fixable.

4. Finally, DONT GIVE UP. Even with the most successful publisher of podcasts behind me, my weekly show Pop Culture Weekly didn’t explode out of the gate. It took over a year of shows before it really exploded, but when it did, it really did.

5. Okay, one more finally. Know what your (reasonable) goals are and focus solely on them once you’ve gotten your show critiqued - and focus on those goals. If you want to increase listens 20% in the next 365 days, read up on everything you can on HOW to do that - then get out and do it.

Respectfully, I’d probably spend less time putting SO much focus on trailers if you aren’t seeing growth from them just yet.

You got this 💪🏽

aolins3 karma

I have two questions:

1) is there a recommended process to reduce trauma in case of parents/grandparents that died from Alzheimer? It is a very depressing situation when the death lates too much and the person go through all a decaying phases until the complete loss of the conscience.

2) how to deal with the death of a baby? Some friends and family had some sad situation of miscarriage.

I am sorry for the loss of your mom. Congratulations for the initiative of your show, a very interesting topic.

KyleMcMahon3 karma

Thank you so much for your thoughtful questions.

1. We didn’t get into Alzheimer’s specifically, at least in this season, but from some of the conversations I’ve had regarding the series, you really are grieving twice in many ways. Having to grieve the loss of the person you know and ultimately having to grieve their physical being when they pass. What a horrible situation. The Alzheimer’s Association has a great piece on this very thing.

2. Tbh, that was one topic I could not emotionally cover. This last year I’ve been in such grief myself, and that topic was just too emotionally charged for me to tackle. I was afraid it would put me over the edge. I’m hoping to cover it in Season 2 if I’m in an emotional state where I can handle it.

Thank you so much for the kind words and support 💜

aolins2 karma

Thank you for the answer! I imagine that your emotional was heavily impacted during the production of the show.

I will check the link about Alzheimer. My grandmother went to all the stages of the desease during five years and it was very hard to watch. After that event my mother and aunts were not the same, all of them developed depression. My mother also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after that and suffer since then.

I believe it is a interesting topic for season 02. Keep up the good work. Cheers.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through that - and still are. Spend time with your Mom. Take pics, take videos, ask her questions and video tape the answers. Give her too many hugs. 💜

Thank you my friend.

KyleMcMahon1 karma

Omg why do some of my answers show up with huge bold text? Sorry, guys

steggo3 karma

If you were given a large chunk of someone else's money and were told to improve end of life issues, what would you fund?

KyleMcMahon5 karma

Wow what a really great question. Thank you for that.

I would use that large chunk of money to fund death education. That would incorporate advanced planning / end of life planning, education on resources for end of life such as hospice, as well as education on the mental health aspects of it for both the person and the survivors.

I know for me, before this series, I would avoid conversations about death and loss at all costs. It was too uncomfortable, too sad. But now I’ve learned that having these uncomfortable conversations now, leads to far less pain later.

My Mom and Dad both had advanced planning, so when Mom passed we didn’t have to think about any of the things that HAD to get done or struggle with what she would have wanted. We already knew due to their advanced planning. And that was a huge gift to myself, my Dad and our loved ones.

In this “death education” curriculum, I would also want to see practical, actionable things to do now that would be priceless later. For instance, taking way too many photos and videos. Recording your loved one answering questions about their life & legacy. Pointers on how to ask your loved one to tell you what they want for you when they’re gone, etc.

I truly believe funding “Death Education” could help all of us prepare for something that many of us don’t want to even think about - but will happen to all of us.

landkwindy3 karma

How do you feel about the current emphasis on "staying young" and living the longest life possible? I personally feel that it is irresponsible and a waste of resources. I'm 68, so it's not a matter of a young person wanting to get rid of the oldsters. Everyone has to die of something and I think we push way too hard to avoid any mention of death or dying. What are your thoughts?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

I love this question! Thank you for posting such a thoughtful and unique one.

I think our cultural obsession with looks, now made even bigger with social media, is ultimately harmful. And don’t get me wrong, I’m just as much guilty as the next person. And I’m in an industry (entertainment) where it seems it’s a constant obsession in order to feel like you can get the next gig, or more followers, or whatever.

I wish we truly had more respect for our elders as a culture. There’s so much to learn that can only be learned through age via life experience and that could easily be transferred to “the youngsters” if only we valued them enough to listen.

And ultimately, in my opinion, that is probably one of the reasons why we as a culture are often too afraid to talk about death and dying. Like aging, we fear it because it reminds us of our mortality as human beings. And that brings with it it’s own host of baggage and thoughts of “shoulda, woulda, couldas” and we certainly don’t want to deal with that /s

It’s exactly why I wanted to do this show. Too many of us can’t “go there” when talking about death and dying and loss. This is my little part in hopefully changing the direction and opening the door of acceptance a little more 💜

TLDR: we need better mental health resources to learn how to deal with life AND death & to cherish our elders.

landkwindy2 karma

Thank you so much. Grateful for your work.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Thank YOU! I appreciate you

ScaryHands2 karma

Have you ever been on any psychedelics? Were you able to talk to anyone that passed away?

KyleMcMahon5 karma

Haha, Reddit, you always bring the goods lol.
I have never done any psychedelics. I have enough anxiety as it is lol.

But in one episode, we a few different things to try & contact my Mom. That episode comes out in a few weeks. I will tell you, I was pretty surprised at the outcome.

Additionally, I went up to Lilydale New York (which is an incredible and incredibly interesting place made up all of Spiritualists & Mediums) and spoke to a few of the amazing people there, including Angela Abt. The stuff she was able to tell me, nobody would have known. There's just no way she could have known.

seven_seven3 karma

I would encourage anyone interested in the topic to read up on what Johns Hopkins has been doing the last few years.


KyleMcMahon6 karma


Holy crap just checked out their website & I had zero idea that research was being done so thoroughly. Thanks for the link!

flapjacknickelsacks2 karma

I’m late to the party, but thank you for doing this - my mom is stage IV pan can (18 months so far) and I know I’ll be in your shoes soon enough. Do you have any thoughts on the delicate balance of caretaking and psychological self-care?

This is happening 20-30 years ahead of “schedule”, so I’m struggling a lot with being an effective caretaker and also staying emotionally open. My therapist has reiterated the “put on your oxygen mask first” idea numerous times, but man I feel guilty for prioritizing myself. I don’t want to be filled with regret after she’s gone…but I don’t want to be a crappy caretaker and cause her further distress, either. As someone who is a few steps ahead of me (which sucks), any advice?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Ugh im so so so sorry you’re going through this. It’s horrific.

What I’ve learned is that your therapist is right on the money. How can you truly be there for your Mom if you can’t function physically or emotionally yourself?

Imagine how much more you can give to your Mom when your own cup is full.

Are you able to come up with a list of family and friends that can offer even an hour a week of help? So you can get a shower, or see a movie or get an extra nap in. If so, ask them for help and don’t be ashamed about it. Even if they sit with your Mom While you get in the shower or take a nap at the house. Whatever it is that will help you - write a list of what you need and write another list of who can give an hour or two a week and match them up.

If you have literally zero people, or not enough people, look into palliative care programs that can assist you. They are amazing. Death doulas too! Exactly like a birth doula but for end of life care. They can help with any of the above.

Most of all, let your Mom know how much you love her. How much she means to you. Take pictures. Take videos. Record her voice. ASK HER how she wants you to proceed when she’s gone. ASK HER her life advice. Her wisdom. You’ll have it and cherish those recordings forever.

Finally, be gentle with yourself. This is a horrendous situation. Take it day by day. Minute by minute if you have to. You are going to be okay, I promise you. This isn’t an easy road, but you will be okay. 💜

seriouswill2 karma

I read deathcore and was like right on man, so much positivity in heavy slam, hope it brought you some peace.

Sorry for your loss. Do you listen to deathcore? Who is your go to vocalist? I miss Trevor Strnad man.

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Haha that’s hilarious.

While I love & listen to almost all genres regularly, I’ve never gotten into Deathcore. The “hardest” I listen to ocassionslly is like Metallica or Prong?

log12342 karma

Why you need to travel instead of zoom? Do you really travel

KyleMcMahon2 karma

For most of them, yes, I travelled. Logistically, especially for a series like this, I’d prefer to be in person both due to the content as well as being able to control the audio so we knew we’d have high quality audio for broadcast.

AsparagusNo29552 karma

What's your favourite dinosaur?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Haha yessss! 🦖

Probably the brachiosaurus because I feel like they were gentle giants that ate a lot. And I can totally relate to that except for the being a giant part.

Thanks for the dope question! Rawr!

Aetherin2 karma

Just seeing post tore me up, currently taking care of my terminally ill mom.
shes about to do her 3rd round of chemo and can't walk very well
anymore due to the tumors on her spine. shes hangin in there and
fighting and so am I.
The grief is something i'm having trouble dealing with on top of the
stress plus i'm currently dealing with a chronic pain issue, i'm just
kinda at a loss and feel very helpless. I cried for the first time the
other night out of nowhere really. fuck cancer man.

Is it normal for relatives of people with terminal illnesses to withdraw or avoid contact with their diagnosed family members?

KyleMcMahon3 karma

I’m so so sorry for what you’re going through. It’s horrible and I really feel for you and your Mom and loved ones.

Please don’t feel helpless. There is so much you are doing and so much you can continue to do, while also prioritizing your own mental and physical health.

Can you write a list of your Moms daily, weekly and monthly needs and then write a list of every potential person in your lives that may be able to give an hour or two a week? And then match up those two lists? Even if it’s as simple as, sitting with your Mom while you take a nap or a shower. I think you’ll be surprised at the willingness of others to help when you ask.

Also, no matter how hard it is, MAKE TIME to prioritize your own mental and physical health. Whatever that means for you; whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, going to a movie with a friend; whatever that is for you DO IT. Regularly. I promise your Mom will understand & I promise that you will feel better for having done it. Every battery needs to be recharged if it’s going to continue to work. You can show up more effectively for your Mom when you have the rest and energy to do it.

For your other question, I have found it is very common to withdrawal when a loved one gets diagnosed with a terminal illness. I did it with my Mom for a period. It was almost like, I couldn’t handle it, so I withdrew. But then my therapist said to me, “Why are you spending your time mourning someone who is still alive?” And that really hit different.

I realized she was alive right now and she was there right now and I was spending time AWAY from her in some weird unconscious way to prepare myself for when the horrendous happened. So I immediately adjusted that thinking and spent every moment I could with her and I’m so grateful that I did.

I’m so glad she said that to me,

n0bel1 karma

Why did you rebrand hospice care to deathcare? Isn’t that exploitative?

KyleMcMahon2 karma

Hey N0bel, I’m not quite sure I know what you’re referring to. Hospice is definitely a part of the death care industry, but deathcare is not another name for hospice if that makes sense.