Death and Dyingdebby -- Monday, August 12, 2002 -- 12:42:20 AM
For when the center cannot holdThis thread is tagged: death, dying, hospice, caregiving, funeral, memorial
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My grandmother is dying right now. Sadly, in the last few weeks of life, she drifts in and out of dementia and can't be left alone. This is putting a lot of stress on my mom and her husband, and they have decided to put her into the VA hospital. I am thrilled to report that she gets her own room, gets her own sheets, pillowcases, and everything, and it will cost $20 less a day than the 8 hours of in-home care they were paying for.
My mother, who quite often drives me bugfuck, is handling this all beautifully. I realized that she and her husband were getting a siege mode mentality--doing everything for Mimi since father's day because the assumption was that she would die any minute. Last week I told her that while Mimi probably would die soon, she had already lived nearly two months longer than the "any minute" the doctors had given her to expect, and that she and her husband couldn't keep this schedule up. She thought about it, agreed, and went out looking for a good place. She is thrilled with what she found; she can go visit Mimi at any time, but won't have to deal with the dementia (which is only resistance and unhappiness, not anger).
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Sunday, August 11, 2002 -- 08:09:08 PM.)
Wow. I definitely do not want to be around when someone dies, unless the unspeakable happened and Spawn got sick. Not that I'd want it then.
My cousin was just in from out of town and she took care of her mother during her final illness, and my mother is now taking care of Mimi. To me, being around while someone is dying seems like such an...invasion, of sorts.
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Sunday, August 11, 2002 -- 08:23:06 PM.)
I thought I was sympathetic. I was just mulling. I am glad to see you back, I'm sorry things are bad.
Faux Tag, because that's what we're really doing.
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Sunday, August 11, 2002 -- 08:31:57 PM.)
Debby, I know I'm chiming in late but I'm so sorry that you are going through this. The finality of death is always shocking and upsetting (it often has a numbing effect for a while) on the ones left behind nomatter what the circumstances. Please take care of yourself.
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Sunday, August 11, 2002 -- 11:11:19 PM.)
Debby, I am really sorry. It's nice that you have the emails - I remember how traumatic it was when you lost them the first time.
I was with my grandmother when she died. She was in her second go around with cancer and she decided to stop the chemo and not fight it. She wanted to be at home, not in a hospice, so my mom basically gave up her own life for nine months to help her. Five years later, I have no idea what this was like for mom, except that she makes comments about setting off on an iceburg rather than being a burden to her children.
Anyway, when my grandmother died, she was basically comatose. I have no idea if she knew we were there, but we held her hands until she stopped breathing. It was surprisingly peaceful. It's interesting, Cal, that you feel that might be intrusive, but I think dying alone might be the saddest thing I can imagine.
I think dying alone as in, no one cares whether you live or dies, would be terribly sad. But the actual act, I would rather be with no one else around.
My cousin did something similar when her mother died, and her mother did the same thing to help Mimi take care of my grandfather in his last years. This wing of the family is not much on that sort of self-sacrifice. Mimi has been living at home with mom, having a great time, as much independence as she could manage. But too much time of constant care and there was no question she went to a care facility.
Well Debby, I've had a rotten week and I've been sobbing over other things for the last three days anyways, but your post was so lovely and so very very sad. I'm still crying ten minutes later and my husband just called to me from the other room to see if I'm okay.
And I felt Calgal's sympathy.
Bless you, love and peace to you, I'm glad you're buying flowers. That seems exactly the right thing to do. Are you okay alone? I was thinking about running away anyway, would you like me to come up there?
You know, people seldom talk about these things with their families, but we should, I guess. I wouldn't want to die alone, but I don't know what the people I love would want.
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Monday, August 12, 2002 -- 02:42:00 AM.)
When my father went into the hospital for the last time with his pancreatic cancer, my mother decided that none of us kids would see him at his worst. So 10 days before he died, my father disappeared. I was 12 years old, and never was given the opportunity to say goodbye. My little brother was only 8. My sisters were a bit older, 16 and 15, but still, none of us got to say goodbye. He was just gone. Even though there were about 4 months of us knowing that he was dying, it was still a strange, sad disappearance.
My mother died just about 5 years later, and again, we watched her die slowly for months. I was in college in another state when I got the call to come home. I had visited the weekend before, and found her in a coma that neither of my sisters had told me about. She was in a hospice. I saw her two weeks before, and she hadn't known who I was any longer, but was awake. I saw her on Saturday, in the coma, but the nurses said that she could last that way for weeks. I went back to school on Sunday, then was called home on Tuesday. She died, alone, around 2:30 the next morning.
When I think back on it, it sounds so callous and unfeeling that none of us were there with her, but she was gone, and had been gone for so long. And I think we were just numbly struggling along, trying to do the best we could at our ages.
I've thought often about how I would like to die. What I would like to have happen after I die. It gets harder to contemplate as my kids get older and begin to ask about my parents and about parents in general dying.
Debby, I'm glad you were able to be with your friend, and that you have his e-mails to go along with your memories.
Cal, I'm sorry about your grandmother.
Debby, I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. You've made him very real to me in your posts about him. It sounds like he was very much at peace at the end, and I hope that you can find some for yourself.
(Deleted message originally posted by debby on Monday, August 12, 2002 -- 03:15:50 AM.)
My grandmother will, if she lasts to the end of September, be 97. The only regret I have is that she didn't just keel over dead, or die in her sleep. She wouldn't want this slow, strenuous, stressful fade.