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

Responses: 164


Updated April 07, 2010

too sad for words

We live in Australia and came back from visiting my mother (88) in Germany in November. On New Years eve I received a phone call that my mother was admitted to hospital and I was worried, she had suffered for years from heart and lung problems and dementia had set in about 4 years ago. I immediately called the hospital and was told that my mother was improving, so I was relieved. 3 days later I called and spoke to my mother and she was very quiet. I called every few days to see how she was progressing but each time she seemed quieter and unresponsive. The very last time I got to speak to her was two days before her death. She asked if I was coming to see her and when I told her that I don't have the money to come again she just cried and hung up. That's when I knew she wouldn't be with us much longer. A call on Monday, confirmed that my mum had died. It was hard to hear, I would have loved so much to be able to talk to her just one more time but it wasn't meant to be. I miss her so.
—Guest Mutti

Uncle Paul

Dad called last night to tell me uncle Paul was taken by ambulance from the nursing home to the hospital. Uncle's kidneys were now shutting down. This morning I went to see him, to bless him and say my good-bye. All was true, his breathing irregular, the rattle & cough, he continued to take off his oxygen and pull any tube in him out. He pulled and kicked off all his blankets and clothes. I sat with him as long as I could, his restlessness made me uncomfortable. The nurses were to give him moraphine to comfort him. I left to return home. His last stages show his time is near. All I could say to him was to let go and be at peace. I hope he doesn't pass alone. Maybe he will hang on long enough so I may see him again. Praying for his peace & comfort.
—Guest tbk

my mom's death

my mother was diagnosed with advanced disseminated cancer of the cervix. In her final stages, she had been sleeping a lot. The day before her death, i was at her bedside as i had been along with my sister for the entire 7 days she had been in the hospital, i had noticed that she was staring straight up and had a glazed look in her eyes.... i didn't know what to do, i was so scared. As the day went on, the urinary catheter that she had had filled with urine, as before that, she could pass urine or feces. I thought it was a good sign that she was passing these fluids finally.. I had to go check on my children who were small at the time, and i had not been home for 6 days spending 24 hrs. at the hospital. On the day my mother passed, my mother started screaming! It was so loud my sister said, she had to run out of the room.... the last thing she heard my mother say was; Get that fire away from me!!!! several times.. then, it was silent.... she knew our mom was gone....
—Guest Vernell

my take on it

being a carer i observe many deaths in the eldery... all these signs stated are very factual but the most peaceful death was my own grandmothers. she was 82, alzeihmers,a poor soul really, could she have seen herself she would have ben mad at us letting her get that way. she was taken to hspital from her nursing home, with fluid in her lungs and the nurses explained she wouldnt recover. about an hour beofre she passed, she lost all her wrinkles, called for her mum and looked totally peaceful. her breathing became very shallow and with a very slight squeeze of my hand she was gone.
—Guest s black

So Helpful

Thank you for this information published on About.com. I nursed my beloved mother-in-law during her last months with Stage IV cancer. She knew she was dying, even if the family and friends around her could not bring themselves to believe it. The first and most pronounced indication of her journey was that she started to talking to those who went before, starting with her mother. She would appear to be awake, but was definitely talking to someone only SHE saw. She would sometimes reach out to them. Sometimes you could tell she was comforted by this, and some of the people appeared to make her afraid. When it was a comfort, I just sat by her side and listened quietly. When she was afraid, I'd take her hand and bring her out of it by talking to her and reassuring her that whoever it was could not harm her. This started happening at around six weeks prior to death. One week prior to her death she mostly slept. We brought her home with the aid of the wonderful Hospice nurses.
—Guest DG

loving auntie

my auntie was always a tropper.she die at 97. I remember her always being cold and she been sleeping alot. she died at the hospital at 6:45pm ,2010. she died peacefully. I miss here so much. but _ know she is with the lord

my twin unborn babies

buried my two baby boys identical twins. my daughter and son in law suffering so.... she was in her 6 month we have been crying for 8 days now . and I no life will go on, but its still with us so, this should not have to happen to anyone . We are so saddend and are walking zombies. we are so numb. the Rabbi was truly wonderful, gave our babie jewish names for comfort. we are a very close family so she has support I hope time will heal us all
—Guest sherry

Still grieving

I let go of my mother nearly 12 yrs now and It still seems so vivid in my mind I knew that she was going very soon I asked the Lord I would let him take her and he did I trust him 100% the last thing she left was her teardrop after her last breath in her own bed surrounded by her family all in her room with her, no one should have to die alone ask me I will be there for you or anyone. God Bless karen
—Guest karen

loved one died

with colon cancer he urvived 6 months from diagnois. at the end he threw up something that looked like mud. it came from eye, nose, mouth, ears....everywhere....he was reaching out with hhis hands and talking non top to omeone. i could not understand him. but he was seeing someone. he looked at me like he was mad. i held his hand until his final breath.i will never forget the ludge that came from his body. i can't get that image from my mind
—Guest phyllis

My Father

My 80 year old father had a haemorrhage-stroke. The night of his stroke he could not speak but looked at my mother with a thousand words. Spent 23 days in ICU. then to stroke rehab . When we visited, my beautiful father could not say I love you enough. One night early into this he ripped his feeding tube out of his nose and told the nurse, no more! and to get his daughter. When I got there he told me his father was at his bedside. (no narcotics) He was very lucid for his final days. Out of the blue he requested to go to Hospice 6 days before he died. He was so peaceful and relaxed there. He knew. Night before he died he kept saying, lets go! Im ready. and kept looking up. He went to kiss my mom's hands then blew on them. Next day became non responsive, hands very cold and the strange breathing- the rattle was very distressing. I knew it would be that day. His chest would rise and then stop for a bit, then resume. like a fish out of water. My brother was holding his hand. miss him!

Mums Death

My beloved Mum had Vascular Dementia and we as a family had a few scares along the way with strokes, but she always pulled through. On the night of her death she was on top form and more lucid of late and I as her son did not suspect anything was a miss nor did anyone at her care home, however my life was destroyed by a phone call in the early hours of the morning saying Mum had passed - it was a very unexpected and sudden death but another stroke had occured and her life was taken from her and us at the age of 79 and our only blessing was it was a incredibly peaceful death , but possibly Mum knew as she said she was going to die but as she looked so well and was on top form this was dismissed
—Guest Kenny Douglas

Mom wanted to be with Dad

My mother in law passed away October 27th 2010, my husband and I , brother and sister in law and 3 nieces were by her side as she took her last breath and headed upwards to heaven. Mom never complained of pain in her year long battle with brain cancer. I on many occasions wanted to deny the signs that her passing would be near, we were given the same guide by Angela Morrow , RN Recognizing the Dying Process that helped us to understand that death is a natural part of life and should not be feared. Mom was in an assisted home care home, one of the best their services along with hospice are greatly appreciated.
—Guest Guest Burnett

Mom's last day, in 2005

My mother was nearly 96 when she died, and had been living with me for 13 years, in a wheelchair due to a bad leg fracture at age 82. She was incontinent for the last six months of her life and was slowly drifting away mentally (dementia). three days before her death she called me to her room - she hadn't spoken a lucid word for several weeks. In a clear, strong voice she said "Son, I have something to tell you and it's important". When I asked ablout it, she said "You weren't elected". "To what?" I asked. "Pope", she said. "But I wasn't running for Pope" I said. "Oh yes you were, and so was I, but they don't vote for women!" was her response. Then she lapsed back into silence. During her last night, I was awakened at 3am by the baby monitor - her breathing had changed. I went to her room, held her hand and talked to her till she passed at 3:30, completely peaceful and quiet. I still sometimes awake at night, thinking I hear her calling or knocking at my door.
—Guest Eldest Son

Sitting with my dad

When we moved my dad into hospice we knew he wouldn't be there long. He'd already lost consciousness and was increasingly non-responsive. The last thing to go really was his sense of being tickled. When I'd touch his feet he'd move them away but eventually stopped doing that. His breathing became labored, although he coughed so hard once that he sat up. His eyes never opened, though. At first, after losing consciousness the last time, Dad's eyes were moving as if in REM sleep, but soon they just began moving back and forth, left to right, and almost in time with his breathing. This lasted for hours. In the last 2 hours of his life, he didn't move at all and his breathing became less and less noticeable, as if his lungs were filling up (I'm sure they were). We spoke to him regularly, and held his hands and stroked his brow and told him how we'd miss him but we'd be ok. We also said we'd see him soon, whatever "soon" means. His breathing stopped roughly 5 min before his hear
—Guest Kevin

last moment

my father just passed on oct 9th. I was the only one with him at the time of his passing. My siblings had been with him earlier in the day. He had been struggling with cancer for several years. Days before his death he wanted to get out of bed..but couldnt walk. He would yell at the hospice nurse's, my mother. This is a man who never raised his voice. The day of his passing, all of the hospice nurse's were gone. My siblings went home and my mother went to bed. His breathing became more shallow,gurgling.He was not awake but i put my hands on his face, kissed his cheek,told him that I loved him. He took a deep breath then his eyes opened wider then I have ever seen. He then passed. He was looking directly at me, but wasn't seeing me. I hope and pray he heard me. I don't know if the eyes opening is a medical response or the passage of the soul. I would love to know if anyone can help me understand this.
—Guest melinda

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