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Readers Respond: What Did You Experience During the Dying Process of a Loved One?

Responses: 164


Updated April 07, 2010

Declining Daily

I have been taking care of both of my parents for 5 years..My dad's health has declined significantly. He sleeps most of the day, eats very little, but likes candy/cakes, etc...He hardly talks, falls frequently, needs help with everything he does. He will be 96 soon and has experienced mini strokes several times. The quality of life is no longer there for my father. The pain and stress the siblings are feeling in unbelieveable. If my father realized the situation he is in, he would not want this. He was always a very strong man, never complained and worked so hard for all of us. I suffer in silence seeing my father like this for so long. We are all doing the best we can, but it is so difficult and has caused so much stress on everyone. We do have some care for them, but due their limited finances, we all help as much as we can... I will miss him terribly when he is gone, but seeing this daily is hurting so much..
—Guest guest

Second time around

This is the second time for me, 1st time was watching my brother die and that wasn't easy. This time it was watching my father-in-law die and it was much harder. He was diagnosed with late stage Pancreatic Cancer just before 1/1/2011 and was told he had 6 months to a yr to live but could possibly get 2 - 3 yrs if he started chemo. I think had he not started that, he'd not have died as early. This site helped going over those stages of dying to help me better understand the process. I know my father-in-law was conscious to the end as the Hospice nurse would have him blink for her. The hardest part is the Death Rattle - us thinking they are choking or horridly gasping for air when that's not neccessarily the case. We were all there for him during this transition, comforting him. We'll miss you Dad. You were the best Father In Law a girl could have, the best Pop Pop to your grandchildren, Loving husband and a great Father as well! RIP, as you are no longer in pain.
—Guest KNG

I love you dad

My dad was in prison for 30 years straight. He got out on July 29 2010 and lived with me till he died July 21 2011. He died of C.O.P.D. When the doctors told me and my brother he had 6 months to live. He suggested we talk to hospice. Hospice told us we had 3 months. My brother and I went into action. We called the rest of the family, grandkids and cousins. We threw my dad a life party. We had all the food he loved to eat and we set up the livingroom where he was front and center. We all spoke to him and told him the things we loved about him and what we will miss about him. Then we had white helium balloons that we wrote messages on. Took him outside and we set the ballons free. He got to be a part of his funeral. He loved it!!!! He passed away 3 months almost to the day hospice told us he would. I feel so blessed that I had the time that I did to spend with him. I cry everyday for my dad. I will never ever forget what a great dad he was. I love you Pop.

grandma dies

I lost my wifes grandma the other day. She was 94 and ready to go. It was such a beautiful experience to have the hospice team and family there. Thank god for hospice nurses.
—Guest samiam


My son passed away nine months ago, two days after graduation due to fluid overload, complications from dialysis. He was chronically ill and at the age of 12 he had an 18hr surgery on his lung and afterwards begin to tell me that he would not live past the age of 19. I have wondered if he had an experience during that surgery and was told that he was needed here until it was time. He died at the age of 19 yrs 3 weeks, 13hrs and 27 seconds before his 20th birthday. If he could come back and let me know he is okay and made it it would sooth my soul and give me peace, but so far nothing. Missing him like crazy.

Grandad Going Home

My grandfather is near the end of his life. Reading what others have experienced with their loved ones, as well as the article about what to expect at the end, has been comforting. Just eight months ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer--a result of a lifetime of smoking. He has stopped drinking and eating, has become agitated by his bedding, and has begun talking to others about farm duties that he did as a routine over 30 years ago. We all love him so. Thinking of living without him is painful, but I am so grateful to have this time to say goodbye to the man that I have always called my hero.
—Guest grandaughter

As I write

I looked up mottling and arrived here. The woman I've cared for these last 6 years legs are mottling. I'm sitting here next to her watching her die. She's 90 and the most brilliant woman I've ever known. She's been in bed for the past year and her skin has broken down badly and she's so confused, has been for months. Use to work in ICU and Hospice but living with someone makes it a personal death. Now I'll just sit here and wait.
—Guest Sophie

God's call

The Lord puts us in places for a reason, I believe. On 2/11/11 my aunt told me my grandmother had a pressure sore on her Rt great toe, I told my grand dad I would dress it every day. On that Monday I went to change her dressing, she was home alone in bed. As I walked to her room I could hear gurgling. I called her md, lasix was ordered bid. I felt she should have gone to ER, but the md wanted to wait..so we took her in to see the md the following day..she was sent home with abt. That Wed I did her v/s and her O2 sat was 56%, I called 9-1-1. She was admitted to ICU, ventilator, Propafol the whole 9. On Thurs morn I went in to see her, she was awake, responsive wanted to watch TV Ch. 10. I felt good, thinking grandma is going to pull through, I thought. Over the weekend she declined rapidly, we could not believe this was goodbye, too soon. I told her I loved her in her, respirations increased, I kissed her goodbye. She died that morning with my mom and aunt by her side. I miss he
—Guest Carman Meloncoly

I think my father is dying

He is 95. Sound in every way except he has no mobility. For some weeks he has been eating almost nothing and sleeping a great deal. Then on Sunday the sleep became almost trance like. He does not eat at all any more. Just sips of water. A lot of coughing and fretting and sometimes shouting at things. His skin is waxy yellow and stretched across the bones of his face. He has lost so much weight. I took him in a few small spring flowers. He always loved the garden. He gave me a wonderful smile. I'm not sure he knows who I am any more. It is so strange. His tome town was destroyed by an earthquake this week. The cathedral his grandfather helped to build and was first dean of collapsed. He watches TV but I don't know if he sees it. I am wondering whether we can handle what remains ourselves or need a nurse. He has been a briliant father. I don't think my family realise what is happening and that this is the end. I love him so much.
—Guest Jane

My grandmother

I was 15 when my dear grandmother passed from right under me. 9 days before she died we had to move her from one nursing home to another nursing home and at first she kept telling my mom and I that she would try but it would be hard. A few days later her demeanor had changed, she slept a lot and became almost incoherent. Once, she thought my mom was talking about my deceased grandpa in Disneyland. She had called out to her mom a couple times one night. She, in essence, had a 'final burst of energy' she grasped on to the bed rails and said, "I want to get up with you." But she couldn't even with help. She slowly stopped eating and talking and I spent one night being the only one she would let wipe the phlegm from her mouth. I told her how much I loved her and when I finished she tried to lift her head and open her mouth but nothing came out. She fell back onto her pillow and I said, "I know, grandma, I know." She died that night. I miss her and love her dearly.
—Guest Annie

My Grandfather's Passing

When he was diagnosed with liver cancer he was told he had 3-6 months. It was subtle things at first, he got up in the morning but didn't get dressed, his appetite diminished etc. He was fully bedridden for about 4 weeks prior to death. He stopped eating and was put onto morphine patches. As his drinking waned his urine started to turn a dark orange colour. His legs bloated whilst his body continued to lose weight. A week before he died he called out to his mother who he said had come for him. Over the days he slept almost continually whilst we made sure someone was always sitting with him. He passed away quietly, without struggle, during the one minute he was left alone. The bloatedness disappeared in an instant and he looked 20 years younger than his 87 years of age. That was 14 years ago, I still miss him.
—Guest Sharon

last moment

Melinda, your dad did hear you and if he was looking at you he did see you. He knew you were with him. I don't have a doubt in my mind on this. It all from love. Just keep that knowledge with you and it gets you through the tough times.

taking care of dad

That i had the ability to praise him on his accomplishments, thank him for his sacrafices, tell him i loved him, reasured him we would be okay and say good bye finally because this was not"see you later" but final goodbye. He heard everything even if he could't reply. He could let go. After he died I could cry I no longer to be strong for him.


I'm 23 yrs my mom died 1/23/11. I had been her caregiver since i was 16. In june 2010 mom was sent to home hospice. She was told she had no cure for Lung cancer! She didn't want to die nor did I. we went to an herbalist but we thought he was helping her but didn't. Hospice said she had about 6 months left and she passed a little after that. She was fine walking, eating, talking, until 3 days before she passed that she couldn't breathe without the oxygen. Then a day before she passed she was very anxious, so i gave her the tranquilizer. She started seeing people, talking about people but they are still alive. Then at 4 am she was walking barefoot, something she would never do. I called the hospice and was told to give her morphine!! My mom was never ok with me giving it to her since the herbalist told hers he would die if she took it. Now I'mm confused because i asked her if she wanted it and she agreed. I don't know if she understood that i gave it to her to make her feel better. She passed that day @ 115 pm like the herbalist said. I wonder if she would still be alive today if i hadn't given it to her? *Note from your Guide: I'm so sorry you're having to deal with such a deep loss so young. Morphine did not cause your mother's death, lung cancer did. Many patients experience symptoms at the end of life that are effectively treated with Morphine - such as shortness of breath and pain (which can present as confusion and odd behavior). It's possible for some patients to die more quickly if they are given very high doses of morphine or multiple doses close together but even in that case morphine did not cause the death, only hastened it. It sounds like you gave your mother excellent care when she needed it most. You were there for her and did the right thing by getting advice from a hospice nurse. She was very lucky to have you!
—Guest yeseniamanzano

sister with end stage liver disease

my older sister is 50 yrs younge.She has been an addict and abused her body her whole life.She has been given maybe a couple of months that is a big MAYBE. she is on all kind of meds morphine every three hours.When will i know that the end is near and she is going to pass.
—Guest diane seaver

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