A difficult subject-End of life

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
147 posts
Some thing else which can be destressing but is unavoidable is if the death occurs at a weekend or in a holiday period there will be delays in getting the documentation so you can register the death backlogs also occur over holiday periods at the cremetoriam/burial ground.(My dad died the friday of the long bank holiday in June and it was nearly 10 days before we could register the death and then a further 3 weeks before we could bury him).
Post mortems also delay the registering process.
thanks ladybird; i'm just wondering if i dial 999 for an ambulance..what do i say Image
does the paramedic 'pronounce' the death and then go away!.. i'm really scared about being left with dad and don't know whether i should 'make him comfortable' or what to do; he does have a funeral plan, but if i just ring them it doesn't sound like they can do the 'pronounce'; i feel terrible talking about this, he could live another 10 years to be 100!...but it does scare me that i might find he died in the night and i want to be sure i know how to do the right things.
I am sending you a private message Ricko Image
When Mum died the Marie Curie nurse called the doctor and then made Dad and I a cup of tea. The doctor talked to us as she went through the 'life extinct' procedure which I found very reassuring. The MC nurse then laid out the body. She stayed with us for a while till she was happy that we were okay to be left I guess. We then chose to have 2 hours alone with Mum. It was her birthday so I read out her cards and we talked to her. When we were ready I phoned the undertaker who we'd already decided on as he's a friend of the family. He gave us time to say goodbye before taking her body from the house.
As difficult as it may be to talk about, I think the sharing of experience may well be very beneficial for some people and therefore think this is a very worthwhile thread.

The majority of loved ones that I have been with "at the end" have died in hospital with the exception of two. One was sadly a suicide and the police and ambulance both arrived together.

The one thing I would like to say is that, certainly in my experience, when the death occurs at home and the undertakers take away the body of your loved one they may well use a body bag. This can be VERY disturbing and on the occasion when this happened it was for my former mother in law. As all her children and myself were there we decided that my husband and his sisters would wait in the other room when the undertakers did what they had to do and when they carried my mother in law out. I am glad that I was able to help in this way and would suggest that this would not have been a memory they would want to have of the last time their mother left her home.

When you are with a loved one and you know it is only a matter of time, I'm sure it is quite usual through the tears to be begging them "not to go and leave me". I know I certainly did...Mum did with Dad too and I can remember him looking at her and saying "I'm not going anywhere yet you silly Bu****"! Dad passed away half an hour later. I think there does come a point when you have to face the awful fact that this is the moment that you have feared for so long, and in a way you need to give them permission to let go. My Mum fought and fought and we just had to tell her that it was time to go and see Dad. Heartbreaking.

Another subject that I have had bitter experience is that of the dreaded "will". Not all families, as many of us know, get along well and I would encourage everyone to ensure that there is a will made (irrespective of assets). There is nothing worse than having to deal with family arguments about who has what etc etc when you are trying to deal with your grief. I found this terribly sad. My Mum made her will and then a form of "wishes" whereby she wrote down who should have what jewellery etc. My mother in law was very organised and when she knew she had terminal illness she literally went around the whole house and her personal bits and pieces putting names on everything!

I'm sorry that my words are so all over the place - just thinking about it all makes my thoughts run away. Time is a healer so they say but no one can say how long that time is can they........

Bell x
bell is right most undertakers do use body bags, I know i did when I was working as its easier to transport the deceased that way, especially from upstairs or in flats, there are exeptions but I wont go into those as that side shouldnt affect any of us hopefully.
No matter how many bodies I have seen and its in the hundreds I dread the day when I ring my Mum in the morning to see if she is ok and there is no reply and I have to go into her bungalow just knowing what I will find!
My mum died at home in the early evening. I phoned the out of hours doctor who came and pronounced mum dead. He left a message on the undertaker`s voicemail for us and he attended about two hours later. Mum didn`t want to be "manhandled" so myself and Ruth attended to mum`s "last offices" and dressed her in her best nightie (her wish). The undertaker (a family friend) made all the arrangements for us, came back with a coffin and liner for mum and allowed me to be there when they made her comfortable. Mum died on a Monday night and her funeral was from home on the Wednesday morning (yes, the same week!) The undertakers came an hour before the service and took mum`s coffin down the stairs, which was no mean feat is it was a circular stair where she was placed in the kitchen beside the sink where she spent endless hours watching the sea from the window. The homecarers all gave mum`s coffin a last polish (she was always nagging them to leave the dusting alone). We had one car for Dad, hubby, myself and Ruth and Dad and Ruth shared a cord, hubby and I having one each opposite each other and beside Dad and Ruth so we could support each other. The undertaker arranged the other cordbearers for us. We all (over 50 folks) went back to the house for tea and a buffet. Total cost in 2006 was £1,700. It is all the extras like laying out, cars and the like which add to the cost. Mum`s coffin was polished pine, simple just like she was. We always joked if she wanted a mahogany coffin we would have to redesign a wardrobe!

I know I am slightly (maybe very) off topic, but my point is that mum had gone to bed to wait for God, the OOH doctor used to call in every night if he was in town and there were lights on to make sure mum was comfy and I was "OK" her death wasn`t unexpected and we were as prepared as we could be with arrangements etc., I dread the day Dad passes as he has prepared nothing. Dad has a DNAR letter on the mantlepiece but it is a comfort to know that should he be found unconscious the paramedics would still come out and make him comfortable.

Dad was concerned about the forthcoming hospital admission for hubby to get his new hip, but I have extra care in place for him the week we are away, and the undertaker knows to keep him on ice should the worst happen in my absence.

Dad insisted on getting an overdraft to pay for mum`s funeral and wouldn`t consider asking for a funeral grant, even though the undertaker did offer to help with the paperwork in that regard. When it is dad`s turn I will accept all the help we can get.xx
As mentioned previously, I found my OH dead in bed, and then had a post mortem. Once safely back at the undertakers, they sorted things out and then asked me for some clothes. It seemed fitting that on his final journey he should wear his favourite clothes when we were travelling around Australia - and I couldn't bear the thought of anyone else wearing these anyhow. Initially, I didnt want to see him in his coffin, but then changed my mind. I'm glad I did, he looked so peaceful, as opposed to how I'd found him.
I put hubby in special t-shirt which grandson had bought him and a sweatshirt which I'd bought him at the Classic Motorbike Show in Stafford earlier this year, it has a picture of an Indian motorbike on the front of it. So, grandson's t shirt and motorbike sweatshirt - what could be better for hubby?
I'd been everywhere and done everything for him, so I followed the undertakers into our bedroom, I needed to be with him whilst they put him on the trolley, wrapped in a sheet and then a black covering over the top (NOT in a bodybag). I felt that I needed to be with him, to make sure that the undertakers lifted him nicely, which they did, and so on, in my usual supervisory way. Had to make sure they did it right, which they did. Wasn't scared, it's my hubby that's all.
Went to see him three times before funeral, took him his Mandeville and Wenlock teddies and cards from grandson and granddaughter, photos of our wedding, photos of his beloved Hamish dog for the disabled doggie, family photos: him as a baby with his mum and dad, their farm etc etc. His favourite cap and a Stationary Engine magazine. Didn't want him to be by himself, so I arranged and surrounded him with all these things.
Just like way back in Saxon times, when people took their possessions with them, no different.
That's lovely nana. Sadly, I was too stunned even to think about doing something similar. It seems so right.
NanaNana - thank you Image x
147 posts