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

Responses: 164

By

Updated April 07, 2010

My grandpa

My grandfather lost his 10 year long battle with cancer on Spetember 8th, 2009. When the doctors told him there was nothing they could do for him and put him on home hospice care, i made it a priority to visit him before he died. It was the hardest thing i have ever done, but very rewarding, because the moment that he looked into my eyes and knew it was me, i realized that it was the right choice to vist him, even though it was a hard one. He had been mostly unresponsive for two days, but when i came into the room and my uncle said "dad, look who came to see you" my grandpa looked at me and put his face in his hands and said "oh, i cant believe you are here!" my grandma, aunt, and the rest of the family was shocked! it was the most of a response they had gotten from him in days. I will never forget it. He died 4 days later, exactly a week from the day he entered hospice care. I love you grandpa, your memories will be forever in my heart. I am so grateful for the 21 years we had.
—Guest Charity

The Journey

My mother in law was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gerhigs Disease) in Sep 08. She came to live with her son and myself in Dec 08. When she came she was still able to speak, feed herself, and walk a little. Every month since then she lost the use of something with the last thing being able to speak. She plateaud for about 3 months-with no new changes. It is now Oct 09, and just last week her face just changed-the spark that was once in her eye was gone. She cries everyday-the only vocal communication she still has. She has been sleeping more and her breathing pattern has changed to the Cheyne Stokes. She takes 4 breaths and then stops breathing for about 30 seconds and then repeats. It breaks my heart to watch her go thru this as I have been her caregiver for the last 9 months. I did ask her if she felt something was changing and she nodded her head yes. I cry with her everyday, although she is my mother in law, we have become very close. I know the dying process has begun.....
—Guest Karen

last rally

My future Father in law had been sick and was fighting it. He had a feeding tube inserted as he could no longer swallow correctly. He had problems with it and got an infection. The more serious issue was his breathing. He was on constant oxygen. He had been in the hospital, a nursing home and back to the hospital. On Friday he was totally out of character. For a man who seldom smiled and barely laughed in years, he suddenly was full of laughter and stories. He had not spoken of his father or the war around his son ever that he could recall. Yet here were the stories. He was joking with the nurses and had us all in great spirits. Saturday though was a different story. He had great difficulty breathing. The oxygen mask made no difference. He started on Comfort care, pain medicine and anti-anxiety medicine so he was comfortable. He passed away Sunday around 4:00 am. I was home and had woken ready to head to the hospital right then. At 4:20 the phone rang with the hospital saying he passed
—Guest Sharon

The Honor of Being There

As my husband's family and I prepare for the impending death of my mother-in-law, I am reminded of the experience ... and honor ... of being with my mother in her final moments 11 years ago. August 1998, my father, my sisters and I were all gathered as my mother was in her final days in a hospice facility in Michigan following a brave battle with cancer. On her final day of earthly life, I was sitting with her, holding her hand, humming "Amazing Grace" to her. She had been freshly bathed and smelled so sweet, as sweet as the sound of grace. As I hummed, I listened to her breathing become less and less frequent. I found myself staring at her neck to see when the pulse would stop. It did at 9:15am. My father was concerned that this memory would haunt me, the youngest in our family, but instead, I was and am comforted by the honor of being there when Mommy died. She was there when I entered this world, and I received the biggest honor possible by being there when she left.
—Guest Suzy

My Beautiful Mother

My mom had been sick with cancer and it had spread to the skull. She had her skull removed and 5% was left so we thought she would recover. The 5% cancer ended up blocking blood to the vein that leads to the brain. Mom couldn't speak and was unresponsive for weeks. My dad and I never left her side for 38 days. Mom was transported to Hospice and right before she died as my dad was holding her head she opened her eyes and looked at him for about 10 seconds and then she passed on.
—Guest Cheryl

My Mom's transition

My Mom went through major surgery last December 2008, and we thought we had conquered her cancer, but we found out about one month ago, that the cancer was indeed in her brain, and we could do nothing. Within 2 days, she started on the downhill trend. She had days when she was unable to communicate, and days when she was totally competent. Then she started losing her muscle control, could hardly walk without support, and sometimes couldn't walk at all. She lost her hearing so we wrote to her, and she would respond at times, and other times she could not comprehend what she was reading. She had a annual big picnic with friends she had been anticipating, when that day came, she was so cognizant and in control. Immediately after that party, she went into shut down mode. She had dilusions, saw people & things that weren't there, thought evil people were trying to get in for her drugs, and now she has been steadily alseep for 4 days--waking up only once to respond to my words of love.
—Guest Lorna J

losing mum

my mum died two weeks ago - i am still traumatised by it. she had suffered from vascular dementia for 6 years and had been in a care home for 4 years. she just got weaker and had suffered more TIAs. her last week was hellish - but because noone in the home could tell our family what was actually happening. I have read a few websites now so I know my mum went through a normal dying process but her breathing, the darkening of her hands and feet and the lack of a pulse were absolutely awful. When it happens to your loved one - get as much information as you can. It will help in the long run.
—Guest logie girl

worst thing in my life

I lost my mom April 7, 2009 and it was a nighmare and to this day I still feel that i am dreaming.I stayed with my mom in her room until her last breathe but i could not actually look at her leave me,,,,i think God helped me in a way because i was sitting near her bed in the hospital and my 2 daughters were there and one was holding her hand when she passed but i dozed off and it seems like just before my mom took her last breath seems like someone just touched me to make me open my eyes to tell me shes gone,,,,,,i remember opening my eyes and looking at the clock saying 4:43am and i said "she's gone" and i went into sudden shock,,,i just laid with my mom and cried and kissed her over and over,,,,,,i miss her and i am dying everyday without her,,,,,,i was in denial the entire time and i think i still am. I look for my mom and i cant beleive that she has left me....losing my mom is the worst thing that could happen to me.
—Guest passion

My son Scotty died...

My son Scotty died.In 2006 he was 18 and healthy, then out of the blue he comes down with a very rare form of cancer and it takes him down bit by horrible bit, until age 21, on November 22, 2008, he died in our home, right in front of me. He had been homeschooled, so we had spent all of our time together, and at 18, instead of being able to go out into the world and begin his adult life, he found himself on a journey to his death, with his mom by his side. He spent all of his dying time doing what he called: "Giving full disclosure and total transparency." He held back nothing. He wanted me to be witness to his short life on this earth. I was the "bookend" to the "story" of his life, having been with him in that first, and that last, breath of life. He shared with me some deeply profound and amazing insights into life, that were so far beyond his years of personal experience. He came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ only a mere 3 weeks before finding out he had cancer. He believed.
—Guest Hinrichsfamily@hotmail.com

dad passed a week ago

My dad passed a week ago last night from acute respitory failure from post polio syndrome plus recurrent unrinary tract infections that would spread into his bloodstream resulting in sepsis. I had noticed he would stop breathing for a couple minutes during the days before his death and when he went he just never regained the breath. What was odd is that 2 days before he died, he was up in his wheelchair picking tomatoes with my son and the following day was alert and discussing death and the afterlife with my family. 4 hours before he died I had gone home -now I wish I had not- he suddenly woke up and told he " He would be seeing me". He meant in heaven I am sure. I miss him alot and think I am still in the numb stage of grief.
—Guest diana

To the sky...

My Mother passed three weeks ago. She spent the last three months of her life in Hospice at my sisters home. I had not seen her in eleven days. I came home late after traveling with my family and knew I needed to rush to her bedside. I spoke with her that night and said I would travel in the next morning. By the time I got there it had started. She was unresponsive. Hospice came, told us she was actively dying and gave us a pamphlet to follow. Seriously. She actually went through everything on it including one phenomenon in particular. At about 10:30 my brother who was rarely there for her walked through the door to the surprise of me and my two sisters. I returned to the room to find my Mother with her eyes wide open reaching for the sky. I immediately told everyone I thought that they should come in the room. She released the last of her life 45 min later. It was peaceful and I was so relieved for her. I am now over the trauma and reflecting on my memories of her. She died her way.
—Guest luro

my brothers last hours

my brother passed away 1 month ago and I cannot forget the final hours. He was talking to me and my daughters. He wanted to sing a gospel song which is "I've got the victory. When he finished singing the song he said he was now going to sleep. Within an hour he started the (death) rattle. He only wanted me in the room with him. I really feel he was ready to die and the only one he wanted in the room was me (his sister). We were very close. When the other relatives came to the hospital, he was already gone. It is like he wanted it this way and that is just the way it happened. I know there was nothing else I could do for him but rub his arm and sit by his side. This was a very traumatic experience for me because, out of all of our family he just wanted me there. I pray every day that I don't continue feeling this down. Even worse is our cousin who he was very close with passed away on Saturday. She was only 44 and she loved my brother. Pray for my family. Thank you
—Guest debrabutler

My Dad, My Friend

I hope all is well, Dad. We are doing reasonably good since your passed on. I don't like to say die because that seems so final. I wish I could have made life easier for you as your approached the end of your days here in earth. I know you know that I did the best I could. Still I want to see you and talk to you. It is the seeing part I miss. I talk to your all the time. Sheree and I are getting along much better and are talking with each other at least once a week. Lolita turned 40 and you know the rest. Tell Mama, Auntie Glenn, and Aunt Florence, Grandaddy Clark Brian, and all the rest we said hello. I know they were glad to see you....
—Guest anita0126

Seeing "Ghosts"

I'm a hospice nurse and I'll never forget my first experience with a dying patient. An elderly woman dying of heart failure had been unresponsive for 3 days when during my visit she suddenly opened her eyes wide and started talking to people we couldn't see. Her family recognized the names of the people she was talking to - all dead friends and family members. I didn't believe in an afterlife before that experience but I sure do now!
—Guest Sonja_RN

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