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

Responses: 164


Updated April 07, 2010


My son was almost 50 when he died from liver failure. Mostly I remember the terrible sadness I had in my heart, watching him go on Saturday from a few bites of food, to severe encephalopathy on Sunday, to morphine every hour to stop his thrashing around. His lungs had filled and he was foaming thru the mouth and nose, but unresponsive and not laboring too hard. At about 11:45 p. m. , he clenched his teeth for a moment, and went home. Now he is forever happy.
—Guest karen

Husband's Instant Death- What S/S

My husband was diagnosed 11/20/09 with stage 4 Prostate Cancer with Bone Mets. He also had IDDM And Coronary Heart Disease. He remained active and pain free on MS 15mg . He had two injections of Zoladex. His PSA went from 687 to 95 andthen to115. On 08/12/10 he began to have a problem with constipation 08 requiring laxative for relief. Then on 08/16/10 he began to complain of groin and hip pain. We saw his primary doctor on 08/17/10 who increased the MS to 30mg BID. On 08/18/10 he was pain free and the constipation was resolved. On 08/18/10 we retired to bed at 11:00 P.Me We were awake about 3 A.M. We awoke at 5:24 A.M. as we had a doctor's appt at 8 A.M. 70 miles away. He asked "Are you making a big breakfast ?"I said yes. His lips were white. I asked "Are you ok? He answered "Baby you know what time it is" He didn't look right. I called 911 . He agreed to go to the ER. As the EMT was about to put him on the stretcher he looked up, tensed his body,relaxed and he was gone at 5:55 AM
—Guest Elnora

lessons in death

Dad died in 2009. We'd gone for an early Christmas in 08 and for grandma's funeral. And there I noticed dad eating less than sleeping. Sleeping a lot. Sleeping in his recliner. During one of these naps of his I was in earshot of the death rattle. Everytime I heard it, a stillness passed through me. I knew it was coming. He told all of us about his wishes/medical directives. My husband and I told him he needed to put his wishes down on paper. He didn't. He just slept. We got a call on around the 1/4 that he would have died if for not being put on a breathing apparatus, and went back down to see him. That was 11 yrs to the day of my mother's death. We later find out he had been talking about seeing her. My brothers and I fought about his directive, the first of many fights. He himself struggled to yank out the cords, so much the nurses bound his hands. In the end, we gave him what he wanted. We pulled the plug. I still have flashbacks, but I know he was ready and we granted that wish.
—Guest tavthe


My moms last days are so cherished. One day in the last week, she was bedridden by this time, she said she wanted her slippers on, and her robe, she wanted her purse on her arm, and her cane by her...she told me to pull the car up, that we were taking her home to Cardington Ohio. (This is where she grew up)...it was so cute...so I had all the things she wanted right by her...days later she passed...the passing process was not so fun, I have heard they don't feel it, but as the body shut down, it began with the kidneys and no more wet diapers...then the lungs as they filled with fluid, snoring got more and more labored...and then the snoring suddenly stopped...we all jumped...then it was quick gasps for air and her chest rose quickly, and foam came from her mouth as the lungs completed filling with fluid, her heart then stopped....it was so sad, but at least mom is at peace and out of pain now...please pray for a cure for breast cancer...
—Guest Barb

Signs of dying

My mother passed away this summer. It seemed sudden at the time, but in hindsight I saw many signs. She lost a lot of weight, started eating a lot less. Her hair became thinner and started coming out in clumps leaving bald spots in the back of her head. She experienced horrible diarrhea the night before. And contrary to her nature, slept a lot and barely spoke the night before and morning of. I believe she went home soon thereafter. It has been a great relief to me to read common signs because I had been beating myself up for not being there (I was at work.) I now know that she would have probably passed that day whether I was home or not. There was little I could do to prevent it.
—Guest Kai

Mom & Dad's transferance

I will never forget my moms death. I was at the grocery store with my daughters. I was looking for frozen french fries. At the exact time I place my hand on the freezer handle... a weird feeling came over me. It was as if someone passed right through me. Next, my cell phone rang. When I answered it, my grandmother said " Mary(my mom) is gone ". I had alread new it before I said hello. It was the feeling like a wind but it there was no breeze if that makes any sense. Now, my father passed 90 days ago(June 26th 2010). What was different with my fathers passing was that I knew his death was near. I told him I loved him and also thatI understood he had to go and not for him to feel bad about leaving me. I would be ok. Well, my dad believed in doing things "his own way". I called my brotehr adn told him to come ASAP(I knew dad was not going anywhere until his only son came to see him. Dad passed the next day. Dad needd to hear his only sons voice.
—Guest posymm

String of Lights

When my mom was in an ambulance from the hospital to the hospice center she was barely conscious and mumbled to my sister "Just one more string of lights" My sister said what? Mom said "Just one more string of lights to my mom and dad. They're waiting for me..." Then she coded. She came back but never regained consciousness again. In the hospice she had the death rattle for two days and was heavily medicated with morphine/atavan, with family coming in and out day and night. I was six months pregnant and never left her - neither did my two sisters. We had taken care of her the whole time she was sick. My brothers, dads and uncles were in and out of the room. On the second morning, the sun was just coming up. Mom was afraid she would die at night. It was just my sisters and me in the room. My sister opened the blinds and said, "Mom, it's a beautiful day, the sun's coming up." Mom's breaths slowed, and we ran to the bed and held her hands and told her we loved her. Her soul left her body.
—Guest MomsGirl

sweet and lovely

Mom was 93 when she died in hospice care in a city far from her home. My four sisters, a brother, 2 nieces and 2 great grandsons were there. Mom spoke to her many grandchildren by phone, they all called to tell her they loved her. We sang to her and she joined in. The nurses told us that they liked to come into see Mom because it was a happy room. Mom died softly surrounded by love. Mom was a great mother and a terrific grandma, never forgetting her 40 some grandchildren on their birthdays. A great lady that is dearly missed by many. We were blessed to have her in our lives.
—Guest d bates

My Mother

My mother died a few months ago. During this process, my cousin, who works at a long term care facility, said that dying people often smell meat roasting. My mother, in her last days, said that she was afraid she had left a roast in the overn when she was lying in her hospital bed. Do some people smell meat cooking in the final days of their lives?
—Guest Thelma

watching my dad die

it was just like it says on here how weird exactly 10 min after telling my dad it was ok to go i would meet him in heaven and i stepped out the room he passed i can still see him dying in my head it was very dramatic for me and still haunts me but im glad i could tell him i loved him and though he was unresponsive he squeezed my hand i know he heard me
—Guest muriel

My Dying

I have experienced the deaths/passings of many relatives and friends over the years. Neither my wife nor I have any extended family still living. It is because of our past experiences that we have chosen the path we are walking for my journey. We have seen death handled badly, usually by medical staff much to their shame. We have seen death due to violence which is never fair or pleasant. We have seen a few who made the last walk so well that it filled our hearts with the kind of peace I hope to leave behind with others as I depart. .In 2002 I was forced to retire on Social Security Disability due to neurological symptoms that were objective but unidentifiable as to causation. I lived life as fully as I could given the circumstances. We were parenting nine children, seven with special needs. We had not planned to do things this way. I was making good money and we wanted to share our love with the children no one wanted. We did this as best we could. In 2005 I pretty muc

Dads death

Recognizing the Dying Process By Angela Morrow, RN, About.com Guide is what my father was like before he died yesterday. I was sitting with him at the end, he was in a huge amount of pain, and had been for around 4 months. He was in his bed at home and was staring at the ceiling, his eyes became wide and he said "they are turning out my light" then passed on. When he said this he had a smile on his face, something I had not seen for around 6 months, and his face was so serene, no sign of pain at all. The look on his face will stay with me forever.
—Guest Dennis

Special Sister

My sister was diagnosed with Anal cancer on 6/15/10 and she passed away on 7/22/10 She was 42 yrs old. We took her home with hospice care, and 9 hours later she passed away. Me and my other sister and our brother had never experienced anyone dying before, so this was all new to us. Even though I knew my sister was dying, your mind plays tricks on you, thinking that all of sudden everything is going to be better. My sister stopped talking about 1 week before she passed. We had enough time to tell her how much we loved her and we would be okay. We made promises to her about watching out for her two boys. I miss her so much! I feel so honored to have been by her side, thru every step of the way. This experience has humbled me to the core. Everything that happened from the time she left the hospital til she passed was all on "God's" timing! I realized that later. My sister was so strong and courageous to the end. She is our Angel in Heaven now.

Gift from Nature

My mom, Nancy was 83 when she died. She was the world's best mom. She lived every day for her kids, all 3 of us. She was ill for about 20 years with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some small strokes. Finally at about the age of 69 she had a major stroke which left her paralyzed on one side, and she could not get around. I decided I would take her in and take care of her. Up to that point she was really not compliant with her blood pressure medication, probably forgetting. Having kept her alive for the next 13 years was no easy task; mainly with the help of my friends. The last 2 weeks of her life were the most interesting. I used to trim her hair monthly even tho she was bedridden and shake the towel over the front yard bannister. Well 2 weeks before she passed a mother bird decided to set up a nest in my front door light fixture. When I checked the nest after the babies left, it was lined with my mom's hair; I still have the nest; it is in perfect shape; more than 15 yrs ag

Last words of my dad

Dad was a hardworking man, who often worked out of "workshops" as he called them. The last thing he said to me, when I called the his cell phone at the Hospice, was "Are you coming to see me?" and I told Him I would be there at the in of the day, to which he responded, "Okay then I'm going back to the shop!" He slipped into a coma that day, and passed 3 days later. I was by his side at the moment of death. I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT MOMENT.
—Guest oneal

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