A difficult subject-End of life

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
147 posts
Mark didn't want a big fuss and wasn't at all religious and wanted a cremation. He had a cremation and service, but instead of hymns, I chose 4 of his favourite songs (including Don't worry, be Happy). A letter from grandson was read out, plus a very impromptu poem from the heart, from me, which my daughter read out (I just couldn't).
I think of him as a butterfly in the daytime and as the first star that I see at night and always say hello and ask how he is.
People thought it strange that there were songs instead of hymns, but then commented to me afterwards, how lovely the songs were and how lovely the service was.
I don't think your thoughts and words are wrong, Mads. We have to do what we think fitting and right, what other people may or may not think doesn't come into it.
Good post Mads, very honest.
I did the probate myself last time around, it was fairly simple, if a bit fiddly.
As for frogs etc, my FiLs name was Alex, so to avoid problems with wriggly incarnations, we planted an Alexander Rose in the garden outside the kitchen window: it is a hardy thing and still thrives. In fact it is still flowering now. Possibly because that's where we chuck all the teabags, lol!
I think this tread is dead useful.
I think my mum is dying; hardly surprising as she's nearly 84, riddled with arthritis and has dementia.
Thing is, I've always been considered the 'artistic' one of the family, and a bit of a black sheep lose cannon. Yet I'm the one now being looked to as the 'practical' one.
The one who can solve all of mum's problems (I can't, all I can do is try to help her be as pain free as possible knowing that she'll be missed and is loved.)
It sounds ruthless, but I view my role as helping mum to enjoy her end as much as possible without too much pain, preferably none, surrounded by what she knows. Nothing more, and nothing less.
And I'm supposed to be 'airy, fairy' one!
Sometimes being artistically practical is a pain, and that's why I've found this thread useful. It's practical. I think true 'practicality' is an overlooked quality in our society.
May I take the liberty of "bumping" this in the hope that it could be stickied? It seemed to help answer some practical questions and therefore remove some of the fear that many of us live (and lived) with. It also had some lighter notes too.
Unfortunately, it disappeared as so many threads do, but I think it stays valid. Not sure if others are in agreement?
About three months before mum died, I googled something like "signs of dying". There are several really good sites written bt experienced people, explaining what happens as the body is in the process of shutting down. It was so helpful for me, I understood how the nursing home was caring for mum, I wasn't at all scared, but could support mum. Since then, I have sent several other forum members a PM to suggest that they too pluck up the courage to do the same.
I was thinking primarily of those that are caring for somebody at home BB. I agree that outside resources can be invaluable too, but feel that reassurance and advice from familiar names here can seem less frightening when someone is scared. I'm one of the "practical" types but I couldn't have faced looking for that type of info, not when mum was at home- very individual thing I guess.
Anyway, we will see if this disappears into the ether lol.
Maybe this is the sort of thing we need to know well in advance of when we need it? When dad was dying I was concerned about how little he ate and drank. Apparently during shut down the vital organs can't cope in the same way, so the body only feels thirsty to the extent that it can cope with that amount of water. So someone may only take a few sips, because that is all their system can manage. Forcing someone to drink can be harmful and cause pain and or suffering. Knowing just this helped me do the right thing.
I completely agree with bumping this thread. Knowing 'just how' death approaches and then occurs takes out some of the fear and anxiety - it's bad enough knowing one is starting to lose someone one loves, without having to worry about the 'how' of it happening.

When my husband was in cancer end-stage having hospice care at home, and when I'd (finally) accepted that yes, he was dying, and wasn't going to pull through and keep going a bit longer and that the end had come rushing in on us 'out of the blue' so to speak rather than a steady decline, then I took one of the hospice nurses aside and asked her frankly 'how will the end come' and she described the likely scenario of the last few days (eg, the swallowing reflex will go, and then food and drink have to be stopped, or the patient could choke to death by fluid or particles entering the lungs, and the circulation will start to fail, and the limbs will change colour, etc etc).

It was hard (oh so hard!), but it did help, and it meant I could warn my husband's mother and our son as these changes started to occur.

I also did look up 'dying from a brain tumour' on the Internet, and found a very good brain tumour support site that took me through end stage for brain tumour patients, again, very helpful and 'reassuring' in a strange way.

Finally, I think it was Crocus here who best summed up our very understandable anxiety about the food and drink issue of the 'near-death' person. I think it was she who said, we must always remember, they are not dying because they are not eating and drinking - they are not eating and drinking because they are dying.

I think that is very reassuring, and very 'easy to understand' - even if's it 'hard to believe' (as in, there is a psychological impulse in us I think to want to keep them alive by sustenance....)
Perhaps this topic needs to be moved to a section covering the difficult topics, such as the one on sex a while back. Sort of a "things we're afraid to talk about" section?
I agree Charles. In the last few years a lot of relatives have died leaving me to deal with things. I have learned a lot and put lots of hints and tips on here a couple of years ago about what to do when someone dies, but that's now effectively been lost, which is a shame. Death is the one certainty in life, and in the midst of grief, what to do can be very daunting. Extra scary when it also signifies an entire change of lifestyle, from 24/7 caring to endless free time, once the endless paperwork has been dealt with.
147 posts