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How do you stay with your LO til their last breath?
one daughter
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 12:05 AM
Joined: 1/30/2013
Posts: 1980

I feel like such a Wussy. I lost my daddy in March of this year. I was his only girl & the youngest. I was his baby & he is still my hero. The morning daddy passed, the Dr told us it could take hours, days, or even weeks. I had NO IDEA, it would take minutes. I walked outside for some air & my nephew came out to get me & said you need to come back inside. They had already taken the b-pap mask off my daddy. The next thing I knew my brother tells me "You might want to leave now". I knew what that meant. My husband asked "Are you sure you want to leave?" I told him "I can't stand here & watch my daddy die". What a coward I am. It all happened so damn fast. I thought I'd have more time with him to tell him how much he meant to me, thank him for all he's done for me & most of all tell him how much I love him & he'll always be my hero. I don't want to make that same mistake with my mama. But I just don't know if I can watch her take her last breath. But what if she needs me? What if my daddy needed me & I was too selfish?
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 6:14 AM
Joined: 8/28/2012
Posts: 318

Your father knew how much you loved him.  It's not selfish to try to protect yourself from something that you feel you can't cope with.  I was really worried about how I would handle being there for Mom's last breath.  As it turned out, she waited until she was alone to go.  I was in the bathroom & my husband had gone to the kitchen to make coffee.  While we were gone - and it was only a few minutes that she had been alone - she took her last breath.  It was as if she didn't want us to see that.
dj okay
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 7:45 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 1840

Dear one,


We all have special gifts.  Yours appears to be an abundance of mercy and love to be able to provide day-to-day care for extended periods of time.  You have sacrificed much to be there for your daddy and now your dear mother throughout their life.  It may not be your special gift to be able to watch them die.


Sue is right, your daddy knew how much you loved him.  He may not have wanted you to have the memory of his last breath.


I wanted to be with my dad, but it was not to be.  He died while with hospital staff only.  It came suddenly, so no family was there (we were getting ready to go) and there was no time to notify us.  It broke my heart that none of us were with him.  But that's just the way it was and I learned to accept that it was meant to be.  I had some beautiful moments with my dad the day before.  He knew I loved him.


When it came my mother's time to go, things were far different.  It was a much longer process and I knew she could go any time for almost a week before she died.  I wanted to be there for her, the same as I wanted to be for my dad.  There were times I had to come home and I wasn't able to physically be there every minute 24 hours a day, especially since it was basically just me.  But in the end, there was time.  The nurse saw the signs and called me in the middle of the night.  I was able to spend 5 hours with her before she left this earth.


My mother's passing was peaceful.  It was painful to let her go.  It was painful to think each breath could be her last only for her to take yet another...and another.  But it wasn't particularly hard to watch.  It was just hard to let go.


You were still in shock with your dad because it all happened so quickly.  It may not be that way with your mother.  But it will be what it will be.  And you will be "okay".


You are far from a wussy.  What you do every day gives me pause.  And you do it day in - day out, month in - month out, with little time for yourself.  Like I said, we all have our strengths, our special gifts.  I could never do what you do so well.  Maybe when your mothe's time comes, you will find another gift you didn't know you had.  But she will always know your love for her.


Sending a soft hug((((()))))

Daughter Of Grace
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 4:07 PM
Joined: 8/17/2013
Posts: 163

one daughter...I so wanted to be with Mom as she took her final breath. It didn't work out that way. worked the way Mom wanted it to.


I knew Mom was close to death for a week. I put off mowing the 5 acres, until I couldn't wait any longer...the rains were coming and they'd be here for days.


I told Mom I HAD to go mow...that I love her dearly...that she needed to let go & if she chose while I wasn't there...I'd understand.


I wasn't mowing 15 minutes & my cousin was standing in the middle of the 5 acres waving her arms. I knew Mom had chosen.


I put the rider into high gear...went running into the house yelling..."MOM! MOM!!!!  THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU" as I made it over to her bed.


I leaned down, kissed her good-bye...told her "I love you!" & she opened her mouth & shut it, again.


My sister was with her at her last breath & when she saw Mom open and close her mouth...she asked if Mom still had a pulse. I said..."Nope. but she heard me! She just needed to let me know she did.."


The hearing is ALWAYS the last sense to leave the body.


When I told her doctor & nurses what had happened, they were so happy for me...they too, believe that a person can still hear for around 2 minutes after their last breath.


Why did I so want to be with her as she took her last breath? The answer is an easy one for me...She gave ME my FIRST one.


Even though she's been in Heaven for 6 months...I'm sitting here with tears streaming down.



BIG (HUGS) and even bigger prayers you find the strength you desire.

one daughter
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 5:47 PM
Joined: 1/30/2013
Posts: 1980

If I'm able to stay w/mama til her last breath. I would feel guilty, cause I didn't do it for daddy. I feel so bad for getting onto him while he was in the hospital. The nurses would come in to draw blood & he would put up such a fight. I had to help hold him down one time. As I tried to explain to him that he had to have it done.
dj okay
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 7:10 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 1840

You make things so much more complicated than they need to be.  The situation with your dad will not repeat itself with your mother.  They are two different people.  You did what you needed to do with your dad and you'll do what needs to be done for your mother.


I've never given a minute's thought to the fact that I was with my mother but not my dad when they died.  I always figured it was meant to be the way it was both times.  I felt that my mother gave me a great gift in allowing me to be with her.  I don't think my dad had a choice.  His heart just stopped.


You are such a loving and giving daughter.  Please don't drive yourself crazy with all the what if's.  You've got a lot going on right now.  You need to focus on today.  You will be "okay".

broken hearted
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:00 AM
Joined: 6/2/2013
Posts: 42

My wife was rushed from her ALF to hospital after a seizure & she banged her head. When I spoke to the doctor's after her test results came back I told them that I know this is the end, my wife is dying I'm going to quit my job because although I visited my wife daily I wanted to be there without work getting in the way.

I had worked my notice but I agreed to cover a colleagues shift for them. On that day I was leaving my wife's bedside to go to work when she was rushed to hospital because of breathing problems, I told the staff at the ALF to keep me informed of my wife's condition.

I got a call at work telling me my wife had passed away. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE, I should have been there. I know I have posted about this on another occasion which some of you may have noticed, please forgive me for repeating myself, I just miss my Annie so much I feel like I let her down.

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 1:41 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

Broken Hearted:


I have to say to you that I don't think our loved ones put so much emphasis on their ending as we do.  I know what mattered most to them and what was cherished so much by them, was the time in between their beginning and their end.  The time of her life she spent with you, the life she shared with you, the love you gave to one another and the care you gave her and you being with her with happy and the difficult times of her life,  that's what absolutely means the most to a person.  You love her very much and she must have been a very wonderful woman, the kind of woman who knew what mattered the most to her and she probably would tell you, you stood with her all through her journey, you were with her in her heart at the very last moments and that is what really matters, she felt loved at the moment she left this earth, that's all that matters. 


Please do not think you have to undo all the love and good you did for her just because you were not with her for those last moments physically, remember you were in her heart, just as you carry her in your heart now. 


I had left my dad's room to go get something to eat.  I left when my sibling came.  I was gone for 30 minutes.  When I returned he had passed.  At first I felt bad because I felt I should have been there, but I started believing it was better that I wasn't.  It was better that my sibling was there instead.  My sibling didn't visit much and my father always asked for sibling.  I saw my father all the time and was with him every step of the way.  He knew that, he was comforted by that and in the end, the best gift for him was that my sibling was there.  My father was pretty much out of it, not really knowing what his surroundings were, or who was with him, but I'm pretty sure his spirit was aware that he was loved.   Just as I am sure your wife knew and felt your love with her always, whether you were in the room or not, it was in her heart and her spirit and nothing takes that away.  She may also have wanted to spare you those last moments, she may have been thinking about your feelings and didn't want you to be so sad. 


There are people who show up at the end of things and they may not have been there for the whole journey, there are those who showed up for the whole journey through thick and thin, who do you think our loved ones would thank and be grateful for?  It's the ones who were there every step of the way, that is what I think.


Be kind to yourself, your wife wouldn't want you to feel bad about this, because you did everything a person could ever hope another would do for them.  We all should be so fortunate to have such a giving and loving partner.  Give credit to yourself and know that you are a caring husband and your wife was thankful for you.



one daughter
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 2:08 PM
Joined: 1/30/2013
Posts: 1980

dj okay - u always say the nicest things. Thank you.
Little Wing
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 8:15 PM
Joined: 5/15/2013
Posts: 146

One Daughter – please don't feel badly.  I, like DJ, was with my mom as she took her last breath but my dad was alone, actually found by the Wheels on Meals food deliverer (poor guy).  I've never given it a thought until I read your post that I should feel differently since I was with one and not the other.  Who knows why we are where we are when things happen – and only we know our own strength or determination or threshold in certain situations.  As you said, it happened quickly.  If it had been quickly for my mom, i might not have stayed.  I don't know, and as was said, I don't know that I believe the end or ending is as important to them as it is for us.  You know how you felt about your parents, and how they feel/felt about you.  THAT'S THE IMPORTANT THING.  Do I feel better that I was able to say a final final goodbye to my mom? Yes, but in the process of caregiving, we show our truest and deepest love and loyalty.  Not in the last goodbye.  Please try to be gentle with yourself and forgiving.  It feels of monumental importance now, but hopefully in time  you'll realize what went before it is far more significant and momentous.
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:49 PM
Joined: 11/15/2013
Posts: 92

He knew and he understands..I believe you can talk to him even now if you want to... as for your mom.. you do what feels right to you.. sometimes they seem to choose to wait til your not in the room to go I think its to protect you.. so you didnt let anybody down. He understood. He loves you.
Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014 2:19 PM
Joined: 11/11/2013
Posts: 30

I agree that things kind of happen for a reason, even if/though we dont' always know the reason.....


My mother died from cancer at the Hospice House nearby.  She made her wishes know on this and boy, did she make a great choice.  (I wish I could tell her that, hold on... I just did)


My two brothers, my sister and I were with her the whole time.  It was amazing to me that the four of us were sleeping under one roof again for a night (first time in probably 30 years).


We were with her for 1 1/2 days.  I had mentioned to my brother that I wasn't sure that I wanted to be there when she took her last breath.


I made plans to go into school for an hour to  meet with a colleague to outline lesson plans for the week.  I left at 9:45 and as soon as I got to school my brother called and said that she had passed.   At first I felt really bad that I wasn't there.   Is it possible she chose to go after I left?  I don't know, but that is how it happened and that was how it was meant to be. 


We need to be kind to ourselves, do our best and accept what is. . . .easier said, then done, I know!



Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 3:35 PM
Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 553

To Tory...... Some one told me when someone passes.   Everyone is where they should be.... My spouse passed on dec 15 .my son had left to go home less then 1/2 hour before his dad died. Sard knew it would be hard on his son and daughter... He passed unexpectally and quick in my arms my sister who also helped me was with do not beat yourself up.  Pauline
Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014 6:45 AM
Joined: 6/20/2013
Posts: 311

Growing up, my parents shielded me from death.  I was never allowed to go to funerals, things about death were never explained to me.  My first experience with death was a classmate in high school.  She was in my homeroom, and her father worked with my mother.


My next experience with death was just after the birth of my daughter.  My grandmother passed away just after she and my grandfather moved into my parent's home because my grandfather had dementia/AzD and she could no longer take care of him on her own.  She passed on her 79th birthday.  I was with her that evening celebrating her birthday, and she passed from a massive stroke a few hours later.  It was like once she knew grandpa would be taken care of, she knew it was OK for her to go.


My grandfather less than a year later in a nursing home, in the end stages of dementia.  I had last seen him a few weeks before his death, and was shocked at how diminished he was.


My mother 5 years ago after a year of declining health and many hospitalizations.  My father, sister, and I were with her when she passed.  My brother, who was a funeral director, could not bear to be there when she passed.  He went home and drank himself to sleep.


My father less than 2 months ago.  On his last day I went to feed him dinner and he was in the "death rattle" stage when I went into his room.  This continued for 3 hours.  When the hospice nurse finally arrived, the stage had passed, and I sat with my Dad for another hour, in which his breathing had changed, and he became deathly pale.  The hospice nurse assured me he would rest for the night, and we both left.  When I got home 30 minutes later, I got the call that he had passed.  I think he waited for me to leave so he could leave himself.  My brother, once again, stayed home and drank himself to sleep.  My sister was aware of what was going on, but she lives across the country.  Hardest phone call was to her and to my aunt, dad's sister.


I never thought I could be there and watch my parents die.  I never thought I had that kind of inner strength in me.  Now I consider it an honor to be there for them as they transitioned from this life to the next.  Even though I wasn't there for my Dad's final breath, I was there during for most of his transition to his heavenly home.  And, again, I feel honored.

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 2:04 PM
Joined: 10/15/2012
Posts: 191

I was w my daddy all day Sunday and he was so bad than I had to go to work mon afternoon I had told him if he needed to go home wed look after momma he passed three hrs later
Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:17 AM
Joined: 2/21/2012
Posts: 44

Dear One Daughter: 


My mother was in the nursing home for 9 years, she was 89 years old when she passed away.  The sights I saw in the nursing home were sometimes horrifying.  I would see patients slumped over in their wheel chairs unable to speak, unable to recognize their family members - they were living but what kind of life is that for anyone?  I know that my mother would never have wanted to live that way.  She was always very active, roller skating, bike riding, swimming at the beach, going on great vacations with her husband.  My constant prayer was this:

"Please Dear God, do not let my mother become a vegetable, she would not like this, please if she does have to die, let it be quick and do not let her suffer too long, and one more thing I am a coward, I spent 9 years taking care of her and laughing with her and buying her presents and birthday cakes and seeing her smile.  I do not have the courage to watch her die - so, God, maybe you could arrange for her to die in her sleep very peacefully so she does not suffer.  I had the courage to be a caretaker, I had the courage to come face to face with my mother's Alzheimer's disease, but I did not have the courage or strength to watch her die.  On September 6, 2012, while I was in New Jersey with my husband and my friends celebrating my birthday - is was my birthday on Sept. 1, my husbands birthday on Sept. 9 and my friend's birthday on Sept. 6, so we decided to have a birthday dinner at Olive Garden to celebrate our birthdays. We were planning to stay in New Jersey from Sunday to Friday.  I received a telephone call on Thursday afternoon from a doctor who told me my mother was in critical condition and most likely would die before the night was over.  In total shock and disbelief, we ran back to the hotel, got our stuff and hit the road for the three hour ride back to our home.  My mom passed away at the hospital before we arrived.  It was quick, it was sudden, she did not suffer and I was not there to witness her death.  I believe that God, really did answer my prayers.  She is in heaven now with him and I have no regrets because I know I took very good care of her for 9 years and she appreciated everything I did for her.  I am at peace - it will be two years on Sept. 6, 2014.

Your father knew you loved him, a nurse told me that sometimes, they don't want you to see them die.  The nurse watched a woman sit by her husband's bedside for hours waiting for him to die.  When she went out of the room to go to the ladies room - he passed away before she returned.  Be at peace One Daughter - you did your best.

Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:05 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 701

Mom just passed on the 15th.  I was the only one here at home with her (as usual).  I thought I would have a problem with it but I didn't.  I loved her so much and I had promised her that I wouldn't ever leave her alone.  I called Hospice and they told me how to administer the medications to be sure that she was pain free and as stress free as possible.  I caressed her arm and hand and talked to her, told her I loved her and that her family was waiting for her and the angels would take her to the Lord.  She smiled and closed her eyes.  Our situation was unique and not for everyone to experience, but I am so thankful that we were together.