WINNIPEG — A musician who left his 89-year-old mother covered in her own feces and urine on the floor of the home they shared until she died says he will never forgive himself.
“I’m very, very sorry. I miss my mom very, very much,” Ronald Siwicki said Tuesday as he broke into tears during his sentencing hearing in a Winnipeg court.
Siwicki pleaded guilty in January to criminal negligence causing death.
His mother, Elizabeth, suffered from dementia. In November 2014, she fell out of bed and couldn’t get up. Siwicki, who was 62 at the time and his mother’s main caregiver, left her on the floor for more than three weeks.
Siwicki told court that his parents were great but he was never able to grow up. He lived with them his entire life, wasn’t allowed to leave town and his mother discouraged romantic relationships.
After his father and sister died in a hospital, he promised his mother she could die at home, but he was not equipped to deal with her declining health, he said.
“I was in no position to be a caregiver. I realize that now,” he told court.
Lawyer Mike Cook said his client will look in the mirror every day “and see the face of the man who killed his mother.”
Siwicki tried to continue caring for his mother by giving her nutritional supplement drinks and water. But, Cook said, Siwicki always remembered his mother’s words: “No outside help. No hospitalization.”
Siwicki waited until his mother died before he tried to clean her or call an ambulance.
Court heard officers found the elderly woman in her own feces and covered in bed sores. There was so much human waste around her that the carpet underneath had buckled.
An autopsy found that the bed sores were so severe they went down to her bones and were the cause of her death.
Crown attorney Alanna Littman said no one would request to die, suffering and alone, on the floor.
“She died a painful death. She suffered.”
Littman said Siwicki had friends, family and doctors he could have reached out to for help but chose not to. Instead, she said, the local musician played shows and spent time on Facebook.
The charge carries a maximum life sentence. Littman is asking for 35 months behind bars.
“We as a community will not tolerate the neglect of our most vulnerable,” she said.
Cook said his client has changed in the years since his mother’s death. Cook said Siwicki lives in his own apartment, has a girlfriend and has been a model citizen. The lawyer is asking for a suspended sentence with strict probation.
The judge has reserved her decision to July 10.
Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press