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When death looms - the signs and symptoms of final moments on earth

Updated on October 2, 2014

Death in a senior citizen, or anyone, for that matter...

Death is a natural progression of life. The truth hurts but there it is.

My mom is 95 and I've been her caregiver for 4.5 years now. During a week long hospitalization in November, 2010 for pneumonia, I had a lot of time to do some reading and writing as I watched her struggling for breath that first night in her hospital bed. The doctor in the ER had pretty much given us the word that death was looming - he gave her a 40% chance of making it through the night. So, as I wiped her brow and watched her restlessly move about the bed and try to get up, I wondered what was causing these new actions as she's generally a restful sleeper. When the nurse came in at 4 am to check vital signs (I waved her off), I asked her about the movement - she looked at me for a moment and then told me about what to expect when death looms. This article is a result of that very first conversation and my further delving into the subject.

Although I write from the perspective of death in a senior citizen, the signs and symptoms of death are the same in people of all ages.

And, while they're with us, cherish every single moment you can. Shower them with gifts - a gift can be something small like a surprise visit or something bigger like one of these items I've found on my article: Great Gifts For Senior Citizens - I'll bet there's stuff there that you've never thought about like large button TV remotes or talking alarm clocks. I also 'gifted' my Mom's sweet tooth with a lot of homemade dessert shooters - mini desserts served in small glasses. They were just the right size for her liking. Mix up a few Mini dessert shooters for your favorite elder. Why not sit a spell and enjoy a dessert with them?

BTW: My mom is fine. She's home after 5 days in the hospital and better than she's been for a while. Her pneumonia must have been around a while (asymptomatic) as her mental status decline was probably a result of the bacterial infection. Read more about sign and symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly by clicking Signs and symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly.

And, finally, here's another great article about the emotions you might deal with when someone close to you dies: Death of a loved one.

Update October, 2011: Mom turned 95 on October 28, 2011 so what did we do? Head off on a cruise! Cruising with a 95 year old can be a bit of a challenge, and I've written about it in this additional article: Taking a cruise with the elderly; things you MUST know prior to embarkation. We had a blast and, in retrospect, I'm so glad we went. It was another good week together (well, minus the hellacious storm and my seasickness..).

Another update November, 2011: 1 short week after the cruise, Mom fell and broke a hip. She's a trooper though - a full recovery is expected. Here's an article I wrote about - a website where I update friends and family about her health status: - when health matters most.

Update July 19, 2012: Mom died Feb 15, 2012. Far from being tragic, her death was an easy end to a wonderful life. Mom certainly deserved the sleep, having worked very hard at living the last two weeks. Her death followed the typical pattern outlined in this article, and, in fact, I've updated it from a (now) even more personal standpoint. I miss my Mom greatly but am comforted by the best friends (both near and far) anyone can ever have. I am also so very glad that I had the resources to keep her at my home and to be with her when she died. Neither of us could have asked for more.

Update: August 10, 2012: I just had a friend die just the day before her 49th birthday. She fought a valiant fight against cancer and went way beyond her life expectancy. Still, it was quite sad that she didn't see 49. Here's a very interesting article that discusses a new study that shows people have an increased chance of dying on their birthday: People are more likely to die on their birthday, study finds.

Here's one more article that you might find helpful: Death and dying - dealing with the restless patient.

I caught Mom and Rita snuggling in bed one morning.
I caught Mom and Rita snuggling in bed one morning.

While They're With You, Come Get Some Good Gifts For Senior Citizens

I started my first website, when I was home caring for Mom. I was an expert at finding good gifts for senior citizens as I just had to be.

Some of the best gifts I bought Mom were things I'd never heard of like:

Day Clocks - these are clocks that show the day of the week along with the time.

Handybar - this is an aid to helping mobility challenged people get into and out of the car.

The signs and symptoms of death

There have been times in the recent past where my Mom's personality has shifted. Normally a cheerful, very funny woman, she would suddenly become agitated for little reason, become restless before bed, and become withdrawn from my friends who visit and family who come by. I thought she was being difficult and told her so. Sure wish I hadn't done that.

What my Mom was doing was signaling us (without knowing it) that she was preparing to, one day, say goodbye. The fact that her personality was slowly changing was, I think, preparing me for missing her as, in a strange way, I sort of missed her even when she was physically with me because, sometimes, emotionally, she wasn't.

The below are some of the signs and symptoms of impending death. Please note: death is a very personal experience so these signs and symptoms of death are generalized - not everyone will experience all of these symptoms and some may experience different symptoms of dying.

Please read through this carefully and share this article - everyone should be aware of these death signs so that they're compassionate to those going through the stages of death. It helps me immensely to remember that there are things that Mom cannot help - she's not being difficult, she's just helping me prepare to be alone one day. I felt sorry for those family members who took Mom's personality changes personally - they weren't at all meant to be that way. But, those who don't understand can frequently get their feelings hurt.

  • Withdrawal. A person facing the last portion of life on earth may withdraw from daily life. The withdrawal may be physical, such as sleeping most of the day or appearing almost to be in a comatose-like state or, the withdrawal may be emotional. The elderly loved one may not want to spend a lot of time talking with family and friends.

    This excellent white paper on death and dying is a worthwhile read: Understanding the psychological and social experience of a dying person

  • Restlessness. Those in the last stages of life may appear restless for no reason. They may pull at the bed covers, try to get up from bed for no reason, or thrash around the bed. This restlessness may occur as blood flow to the brain slows. Restlessness, though, may also be a sign that your dying loved one has unfinished business to tend to.

    To prevent the bedsheets from becoming tussled, you might consider buying a set of bedsheet suspenders which attach under the sheet to keep the sheet pulled down and straight. This can help shield against bedsores also.

  • Changes in appetite. This is probably the toughest symptom of dying that a caregiver has to endure as, well, what we do is provide nourishment for our loved ones. And, in my Jewish upbringing, what do we do? We feed - they eat! So, my offers of my Mom's favorite foods of past such as blintzes or matzo ball soup are frequently turned down. I used to take this as an affront to my cooking until I started to research death and saw that refusing food is a typical way for the body to prepare for death. Not sure if I was pleased to find this little tidbit out but the cook in me did let go a sigh of relief.

    Hospice workers also put this symptom in perspective for me. I was so concerned about Mom growing weaker but the excellent Hospice nurse told me that the body naturally slows down and forcing food is a bit cruel as the body can't digest the food as it used to. Bloating and uncomfortable feelings, such as constipation, can occur. Therefore, let the dying person dictate what they would like to eat. It's tough but must be done.

    Here's a great article about feeding a dying person: Food, nutrition, artificial feeding methods, constipation, and quality of life issues in the dying person.

  • Incontinence. Toward the end of life, the dying person may not recognize the body's signals to urinate or defecate. In addition to not recognize the symptoms of needing to "go", the body's muscles relax and there might not be any control of these activities any longer.

    For more about how to deal with incontinence in the elderly, read my articleIncontinence in the elderly.

    It was amazing to me how quickly I adapted to helping Mom stay clean and dry. The first few times were very difficult but, when I realized that it's just a part of life and dying, I quickly got over the queasiness of the situation.

  • Changes in breathing. As someone nears the end of life on earth, breathing patterns usually change. Instead of the slow, deep breaths of a sleeping person, the dying breaths may become shallow and rapid followed by pauses in breathing all together. These pauses may last from 5 seconds to a full minute. This is very difficult to watch so be prepared. But, changes in breathing in the dying person is very normal and not at all painful for them.

    Note to caregivers: As you sit by the bed and watch your loved one strive for breath, you might find yourself meeting their pattern. Remember to breathe!

  • Gurgling sounds in the back of the throat. Although these gurgling sounds may sound painful, the dying person is not in any kind of pain. The gurgling sounds occur because the dying cannot swallow so saliva gathers in the back of the throat. And, in addition, depending on the medications the dying person is on, the gurgling may worsen as the kidneys stop producing urine so there is more water present in the body.
  • Changes in body temperature. The dying body naturally will try to keep the internal organs warm so the extremities of a dying person may feel abnormally cool to the touch. But, a fever may also exist as the body's natural regulation of temperature weakens. Sweaty or clammy skin may occur with or without a fever.

    With changes in body temperature come changes in the look of your loved one. The lips may take on a bluish cast, the skin may pale or become blotchy or purplish as circulation slows. These changes are normal signs of dying and are not painful to the your elderly loved one.

  • Delusions or Dementia. As blood supply to the brain slows, the dying may become delusional. They may start talking out loud to others we can't see (and, who is to say those others aren't surrounding our loved one?). Frequently, those close to dying will utter words about "Going home." Some see this as a symbolic meaning and others see this as a way for the dying to signal to us that they're about to travel to somewhere else.

    When we were in the hospital, my Mom mumbled in her sleep one night. All I could really catch was "I can get up and walk out of here if I want to." After I started looking into the signs and symptoms of death, I now realize that she was signaling me that her death was near. Thankfully, it wasn't that near as she's drinking coffee and eating a freshly made biscuit right now....

Senior citizen caregiving 101: Things I wish I'd known
Senior citizen caregiving 101: Things I wish I'd known

This book is free through the Kindle lending library.


Come read my Kindle eBook - Senior Citizen Caregiving 101: Things I wish I'd known

I wrote my latest eBook to help other caregivers who tread in my sometimes astonishingly difficult path. I was lucky to have had the easiest elderly loved one, my Mom, to care for the last 5 years of her life, but, when I started caregiving, I had no idea of some of the challenges I would face. I learned by the seat of my pants - and, well, with Mom's gentle guiding hand. This book is 15 chapters of things I wish I'd known.

For those caregivers out there, here's my article The long goodbye - when your job as a caregiver is ending.

Books on death and dying that might help you understand the end of life process

All three of these books got the highest reviews possible (5 out of 5 stars) on I haven't read any of these personally, having found them a year after my Mom died, but I read the reviews and they're awe inspiring. If you or a loved one is facing dealing with the end of life as we know it, these books might help you understand the process.

"These things happen"

~My Mom

caregiving articles
caregiving articles

A few of my other articles you might like.

Here's an article I wrote about Things I wish I had known when I first became a caregiver.

I didn't write this article the next article, and, thankfully, I couldn't have as it is eloquently penned by a physician who is dying. He puts things into words from both the side of the patient and the physician within him. It is beautifully written and well worth the read: A guide to dying.

Books on death

As my Mom's primary caregiver, I believe in being prepared. These books about death are on my wish list.

The Complete Eldercare Planner, Revised and Updated Edition: - Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help

This is one of the best books on the market for those of us who are responsible for the care of our elders.

The Complete Eldercare Planner, Revised and Updated Edition: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help
The Complete Eldercare Planner, Revised and Updated Edition: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help

This book is not just chocked full of information, but it also contains some valuable checklists to help you care for and manage the care of an elderly person. Caregiving is both the hardest and most rewarding job I've ever had and this great resource book helped me be successful at caring for Mom. 17 reviewers have all given it 5 stars.

This book on caregiving would make a welcome addition to any home library. Pick one up today for your loved one's caregivers.


Helpful links about death and dying

As I perused the internet during my days of caregiving for Mom, I was always glad to find resources like those below that helped validate both my feelings and my experiences taking care of the dying patient. There's also some good links to organizations which might help you cope with death, dying, and grief.

One of my favorite pics of all time - Mom and Rita having a conversation.

One of my favorite pics of all time - Mom and Rita having a conversation.
One of my favorite pics of all time - Mom and Rita having a conversation.

Additional information on Hospice

Montgomery Hospice was truly a blessing to me and my friends as we eased Mom towards her last moments. I'm sure those last moments would have happened with or without Hospice but, for my sake, Hospice saved my sanity. The Hospice personnel were not only very knowledgeable (which I was not back then) but they always took the extra step of educating me. Death can be scary but, with Hospices' guidance, it wasn't at all.

Here's some good links to Hospice information. Please peruse these articles, especially if you don't understand what hospice is or what it can do for you and your loved one:

What is Hospice

Hospice Myths and Facts - Some people believe Hospice is where you go when nothing else can be done. That's simply not true!

And, finally here's a good link to Locate a hospice in your area

Please read my accompanying article: Things I wish I had known before I became a caregiver.

Another sign of impending death is...

...Interestingly an energy surge

Your loved one may be lying in their deathbed and suddenly sit up and ask you something mundane - like, "Did you feed the dogs?" Now, this can be a bit unsettling but, if you're there, consider this time a blessed memory. Take a moment to talk with your loved one and ask them if there's anything they'd like or need you to do. It could be that your loved one arose after a cerebral need to finish something or make amends. Speak softly to them and remember to cherish the moment.

Important note!: If your loved one is in a hospital bed, make sure to lower the bed towards the floor to its lowest setting if no one is in the room with them. My hospice nurse mentioned to me that people who have been bed bound for months may suddenly "make a break for it" and fall to the floor.

The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are the moments when we touch one another, when we are there in the most attentive or caring way.

~Jack Kornfield

Keep the dying comfortable with Comfort Washcloths

The hospital totally turned me onto these Comfort Washcloths. They're thick and pre-moistened. I'd take one and do my Mom's face, chest, arms and legs. She was always quite appreciative. I bought more of these when I came home for travel - I think they'd be great to have in a tote bag for a refreshing wipe during a busy day.

Mom still enjoys visits from the dogs periodically

Mom still enjoys visits from the dogs periodically
Mom still enjoys visits from the dogs periodically

How to help those who are dying

Along with the signs and symptoms of death, you should be aware of how your actions may comfort those dying. The below are just a few ideas to give you an idea of how to help the dying.

  1. For emotional withdrawal: Understand that the emotional or physical withdrawal is not a personal affront to anyone; it's simply a sign of dying. And, dying is about those who are actually dying - it's not about anyone else.

    Try to schedule visits around the time when you most expect your elderly loved one to be alert - around meal times or after naps. Do not try to arouse the elderly loved one or force them into a conversation.

    Talk to visitors and apprise them of the situation. Some people are more sensitive and may take the withdrawal personally. It's best to limit visitation by these folks as they're likely to be upset by the withdrawal which can, in turn, upset your dying loved one. Again, emotional withdrawal is simply a sign of dying and is not to be taken personally. But, some people simply don't get it...

  2. Changes in appetite. Accept that you're still a great cook (!) and offer light meals of clear broth or a few crackers. Liquids are more important than solids so try to make drinks interesting. Ensure plus is 350 calories and is a great thing to give the elderly once a day. Try to get your elderly loved one to sip water or offer small ice chips. Every bit of moisture counts. Even coffee is something.

    Also, check with your senior citizen loved one's doctor and ask about an appetite enhancer. My mom is on Megace and I can't keep her full!

    UPDATE: As my mom starts in on the last phase of life, we've withheld the Megace. This was the hardest thing for me to do as I knew she's stop eating. I talked this over with Hospice and found a new perspective. As we age, our digestion also slows. By giving Mom Megace, she'd eat more than her body could handle and would bloat. Megace was no longer a good medication for her. I now give her anything she wants which is usually coffee (!) and a bit of cereal in the morning, a very light lunch of broth, and a dinner of coffee (!) and cereal again. I also found a chocolate milk that she loves - Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk. The stuff is really really delicious. Check out their website to see if this chocolate milk is carried in a grocery near you: Cocoa Metro website.

  3. Changes in urination or defecation. Protect the surfaces your dying loved on uses by covering with plastic sheets, and bed chucks (disposable bed pads). I actually bought washable bed chucks which are much more comfortable.

    Depends are also a great item to protect the environment from urine or feces. Just make sure to never call depends "adult diapers" or to degrade the elderly for soiling themselves or their surroundings. At some point, it may be necessary to change to a different undergarment than traditional pull up Depends as it's too difficult to change them. Instead, find undergarments with tabs on the side so they'll fit snugly yet are still comfortable. I've placed a few choices below.

    if your elderly loved one is able to walk, you might schedule bathroom visits. Sometimes, the elderly won't even know they're going so it's best to try to stay ahead of the issue with scheduled visits.

    Make sure to change the elderly into new clothing shortly after an accident.

    Here's another read for you: my article on Incontinence in the elderly, and another: Male incontinence products.

  4. Changes in breathing. Turning the dying person on their side may help clear the airway and provide easier breathing. Ask the doctor or nurse about any troublesome breathing - morphine is frequently used to ease laborious breathing patterns.

    As you sit beside your dying loved one, you might find yourself unconsciously matching their breathing (and gasping) patterns. Try and be aware of this phenomenon and breath as normally as you can.

    Ask your loved one's doctor or Hospice nurse if morphine would be a help for breathing. Morphine relaxes the muscles and allows air to be more fully processed. It's helped my Mom a lot.

  5. Changes in body temperature. Cover chilled extremities with warm blankets but do not use electric blankets! Electric blankets are a no-no around the elderly as they simply cannot tell when they're too hot and they can actually overheat under an electric blanket. Same goes for heating pads. I used a heating pad a few years ago on my Mom's aching back and didn't realize it was burning her. A trip to the doctor and some silvadene cream and she was back in action but I'd learned a painful (for her and me!) lesson.

    To easily check a senior citizen's temperature, consider purchasing one of the new forehead thermometers - makes it much easier to take a temperature.

    If a fever is evident. consider applying small amounts of rubbing alcohol to the body. Follow with a light dusting of baby powder which will provide additional cooling to the skin. Place a cool cloth on the head and wrists and, perhaps, reduce the room temperature.

  6. Confusion or disorientation. Identify yourself when you first speak to the elderly and tell them what tasks you're going to do before you do them. When visitors approach, say hello as a clue for your elderly loved one of who is coming.

    Here's an important tip: Hearing is the last sense to die. Make sure you don't discuss the condition of even a comatose loved one while they're there. They very well may hear and understand you. Speak in a normal voice and speak slowly.

    For the times when my Mom has been disoriented, I've just sat by her bed, held her hand, and told her that she didn't have to worry about anything - I was going to be there to handle everything. She seemed to calm down after hearing these words. I also tell my Mom every single day that I'm glad she's here living with me and I am. I honestly would not have her be anywhere else than in her bed and in my arms when her time comes.

  7. Restlessness or agitation. Make sure that the dying person has any medications needed to alleviate restlessness or agitation. Contact a nurse or doctor as needed. If possible, if your dying loved one is cognizant, ask them if there is anything they'd like you to do after their gone (this is a difficult conversation). Ask if there is anything they need or try and distract them from their condition by mentally painting a pleasant picture of something you've done in the past.

    For the times at night when Mom was restless, I have sat and spoken to her about how Dad would have liked the garden I'd planted, or how he would have loved the first tomato we had the other day. Frequently, she will calm down as I go deeper into thoughts of past times with my dad and her.

    Sometimes, simply holding her hand will calm her down. I will speak to her in a light voice until she settles down. The other thing I've done that I've found works for Mom is to put one of my lap dogs on her bed. Having a dog to place her hand upon usually stops any agitation.

    Here's another of my articles which might help: Death and dying - dealing with the restless patient.

I am pleased to introduce my Mom, Gertie - Click on any small picture to enlarge it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gizmo snatches a rideMom and meFavorite photo of my Mom and Dad. They had a 65.5 year love affair.Mom and Rita share a smile.Mom and Gizmo - this is where Gizmo prefers to stay during the day.Jeff, Mark, Mom and me share a memory of a special dinner.We gussied Gertie up with the bow in her hair.Mom is telling us how big 6" is....John, my very very significant other, loves Gert almost as much as he loves me.My gorgeous parents on their 65th anniversary. Dad would die 10 months later.
Gizmo snatches a ride
Gizmo snatches a ride
Mom and me
Mom and me
Favorite photo of my Mom and Dad. They had a 65.5 year love affair.
Favorite photo of my Mom and Dad. They had a 65.5 year love affair.
Mom and Rita share a smile.
Mom and Rita share a smile.
Mom and Gizmo - this is where Gizmo prefers to stay during the day.
Mom and Gizmo - this is where Gizmo prefers to stay during the day.
Jeff, Mark, Mom and me share a memory of a special dinner.
Jeff, Mark, Mom and me share a memory of a special dinner.
We gussied Gertie up with the bow in her hair.
We gussied Gertie up with the bow in her hair.
Mom is telling us how big 6" is....
Mom is telling us how big 6" is....
John, my very very significant other, loves Gert almost as much as he loves me.
John, my very very significant other, loves Gert almost as much as he loves me.
My gorgeous parents on their 65th anniversary. Dad would die 10 months later.
My gorgeous parents on their 65th anniversary. Dad would die 10 months later.

Some additional books which may help you deal with a loved one's death

The sweet smell of death

After Peggy Hazelwood (an amazing online writer friend) left me a comment regarding the smell of death, in true Lori fashion, I took to the internet to explore.

It seems that some people report smelling a sweet odor just prior to death - one person noted it to be like old pancakes with a bit of syrup. Hmmmm...interest analogy. Anyway, the scientific reason for this odor seems to be many fold:

1. The shut down of the organs, particularly the liver and kidneys, produces chemical that are exuded in sweat of the dying.

2. Some think it could be changes in hormones.

3. Some think that the sweet smell comes from the breath of dying people and is attributed to acidosis.

Whatever causes the sweet smell of death, there's no disputing that it does, indeed occur with some people and other people seem to be able to smell it, but not all people. There's a thought that this is why the animals (usually cats) who live in nursing homes go and sit on the bed of those about to die. Whatever the reason, I'm glad God made cats...

Life is not about weathering the storm - it's about learning to dance in the rain.


A beautiful story about dying

One of my online friends sent me a PM through Facebook to tell me this beautiful story. It really touched me. I immediately asked if I could post it on my lens - she asked to remain anonymous which I will certainly respect. Read on, dear's a beautiful story...

Lori - I've been reading your articles. They are very good and spot-on advice (from my nurse prospective).

After reading the article on death and dying, I wanted to share an experience that I was so fortunate to witness. I had a resident (in her late 90's) who was really in good health for her age. She was deeply religious and quiet natured. She told one of my staff nurses one day that she would like for us to call her daughters to come as this was her last day. She told me that she had a dream the night before and in it, she and her late husband had reviewed their life together. Then, this morning, God had spoken to her to tell her that it was her last day.

We assessed her carefully - everything looked fine. As I helped her into her bed to rest until her daughters arrived, she pulled me down to her face and whispered in my ear "if I could only tell you how beautiful it is." She had such a look of peace and happiness. Her daughters came and then she wanted them to call the sons from Atlanta to come up right away - she wanted to say goodbye to them. She told her boys that.

I checked on her and her daughters frequently that afternoon. Much of the time was spent reading scripture and talking family topics. One of the daughters came to my office at one point and said that her mom wanted to go out for ice cream - would that be OK? I went with her back to her mom's apartment and told her "sure you can go! " She replied that she wanted to go in her daughters red convertible!

Before I left that day, I asked her "will I see you tomorrow?" Her response was "sure you will." Her daughters all kind of rolled their eyes and laughed like - so what is today all about?

Her sons and all the families did get there that evening and they had a nice visit. At bedtime they left. The aid helped her into bed right at 10pm. Her grandfather clock chimed the hour. This beautiful woman closed her eyes and left this world. This experience was such --- I can't describe the feeling I had except that I felt blessed. That God would let me witness this. And you know - I did see her that day, but in my heart. Some of my nurses didn't "get it". All of her family did. I am so grateful that I did.

The timeline for signs and symptoms of death

The below information was gleaned from the Montgomery Hospice booklet we were given when Mom was enrolled in hospice. For more information about hospice, click and read my article Hospice: is it the right choice?.

  1. One to three months pre-death:

    Withdrawal from people and activities

    Less communication

    Appetite changes - generally reduced appetite

    Resting more - you might see your loved one sleep all day.

  2. One to two weeks pre-death:

    Increase or decrease in pulse - decrease in blood pressure

    Changes in skin color - paling, blotchiness or a blue or purple tinge to the skin

    Changes in breathing patterns

    Changes in body temperature - either clammy/cool or a fever

    More changes in appetite - usually refusing food and having a problem even drinking water (use those ice chips)

  3. Days to hours pre-death:

    Increased sleepiness

    Possible surge of energy - remember to enjoy these times!

    Restlessness or agitation

    Difficulty swallowing

    Further changes in breathing - gasping with periods of no breathing between

    Rattling breath sounds

    Weak pulse

    Decreased urine or feces output as the kidneys shut down

    Eyelids may be slightly opened

  4. Minutes to death:

    Shallow breathes with longer pauses

    Mouth open


    Eyes may remain open or half closed

    Remember though: even during this last period of life, the dying loved one may be able to hear you. Now is the time to tell them how much you have loved having them as your mother, father, brother, sister, etc... Tell them how much you have admired them, how you will always keep them in your heart and how you hope to one day see them again. Now, some might find this calloused but, during what I thought might be my Mom's last moments, I leaned in and said all of the above and ended with "Tell Dad to send money...." Mom laughed...

    Update 3/29/12: I wanted to update this section by saying that the very last moments of the dying may be difficult to watch. Some liken the breathing to "a fish out of water" and that's what I thought when Mom took her last breaths. Please be assured that your loved one is not suffering while exhibiting this type of breathing - it's simply what happens. Mom went quite peacefully, surrounded by friends and family in my own home. She won the game.

This book got excellent reviews on and is a must read for those of us going through difficult times in our lives. I've always believed that things happen for a reason, and this book goes along with that theory.

Death also brings out the very best in some people and the, sadly, the very worst in others. I read a lot of books to help me deal with my own fractured family. I came to the conclusion that I just had to let some people go. I can honestly say that I've never looked back.

I also would really appreciate it if you would forward this article to any caregivers who are in the same boat as I am. I think this information needs to be shared. Thanks in advance.

I welcome any and all comments about your experiences. - Please do leave me a comment.

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm amazed at the resilience of you and your mom as you meet these changes. This list of signs and symptoms are quite useful. I wish I'd read something like this before sat by my dying father-in-law's bedside feeling helpless and fearing the whole process.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you again for the wonderful comment, Virginia. It's not really resilience; it's more the quest to understand what's going on. I need to know what to watch for so that I don't get scared and fear the process. It's as natural as being born, living, and breathing. A lot of people don't get to experience life with a 94 year old - I'm very blessed to have her here with me. Still.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      You hit the nail on the head here, Lori. I too wish I'd read this before spending the last days with my dad. It was scary for all concerned, but it was comforting to be able to be with him. Something I didn't see mentioned in the list was the sweet smell and mottling of extremities. I am very sensitive to smells and that was an eye opener for me. The hospice nurse was helpful in reassuring us that this was all normal.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This lens is so accurate, truthful and at the same time, painful to read. Both my mother and father were so full of morphine in the days before they died, I felt like they were already gone. I did not want them to suffer, but I believe they were given far too much. This is an excellent lens on a subject not many people want to talk about until it's too late. Thank you for sharing your observations on the signs and symptoms of dying.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @Nancy Hardin: Morphine is give for a few reasons - the most common reason is actually breathing issue. Morphine greatly enhances the airways and makes breathing easier. The second is for pain. I agree that it may be overused but, if the choice is to live in horrible pain or be gone a few days before you body is ready, give me the overdose.

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      Namaste12 6 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: Thank you for such a wonderful and well researched/documented lense. This will make things easier as the time draws near. I hope a lot of readers who are in a similar situation stumble apon this. It will help.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Recently my husband died of colon cancer. In the last month before his death both of our cats wanted to be as close to him as they could get. Our little dog, Waldo, is still grieving.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm so sorry for your loss. Please feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to. I'm

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      When I saw your article title tears came to my eyes. When I read the Gerti was fine I relaxed but then when I hit the letter from the nurse my tears gushed. You are an amazing talented writer. Informative, emotional, and absolutely wonderful.

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      jseven lm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. I helped care for both of my parents prior to death and asked God to allow me to be with each one when they went to heaven, and He granted that prayer. My dad was at home and had Hospice, too. They are wonderful people. He saw Heaven and said out-loud " I need to get back to Florida Street." I looked up Florida and the definition was "feast of flowers." He would look up and answer someone, which I felt was his angel. He had one foot in this world and one in heaven, so beautiful. I was holding his hand when he left this world and it was very peaceful. My mom also had Hospice and she died at home 9 years after my dad. I am going to put her story on Squidoo, as she saw heaven and told me wonderful things. I helped take care of her along with my 6 siblings and God granted me to be holding her hand when she went to heaven, too. I will never be the same. May you have your request and feel the peace of God when your mother leaves. Selah~

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @jseven lm: I wonder if the reference to 'get back to Florida street' isn't similar to going 'home?' So many nurses have reported these types of words to be the last things people relate. It's quite interesting. Thanks for the comment.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you SO much, Lady! Mom and I feel like we are surrounded by so many people who care about us - it's so special to have all of my online friends.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. As a nurse, I've been beside many people during their last moments, and what you've reported here is very accurate. In my experience the surest signs that death is imminent are mottling of extremities (death usually occurs within 24 hours) the gurgling,is one of the last signs, and when combined with an unmistakable last change in breathing which, once witnessed is unmistakable, death is imminent. To those facing the death of a loved one, I can offer this comfort--in 35 years of nursing, I've been with many people as they left this life.In those final hours and moments, not one of them ever showed any sign of fear or dread.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      "Tell Dad to send money." Thank you for ending with humor on this amazing presentation. I could feel the love and preservation of dignity. You had me in tears and in smiles.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, Tipi. Mom and I share a wicked sense of humor which, although sometimes inappropriate is still fun.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      @anonymous: You certainly did offer a lot of comfort with your no fear or dread comment. Thanks so much. I was fearful at first until I started researching the signs and symptoms of death - I think I'll be ok now.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I was with my grandmother in the last 2 days of her life, and at her bedside when she died surrounded by her family. It was a remarkable experience, and I treasure my memories of my last hours with her. Thank you for this lens which has information which will help a lot of people.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I loved the article, especially all the personal touches. It is so helpful to have knowledge of what is happening and some guidance on what to expect and what to do. I know I feel blessed to have been with my Dad when he died. We were talking about how my sister was taking Mom to the doctor that morning and how all of us would watch over her. I was holding his hand, and he just let his breath out, relaxed, and left. It was a beautiful peaceful moment, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow - you and he won the game if that was the end play. Wonderful story Sharyn.

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 5 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      We are currently facing this with my mother. You have presented a lot of good information in a sensitive manner. Thank you for this lens.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @Monika Weise: Monica: I'm so sorry to hear that your mom is ailing. Please let me know if you need ideas about how to make her more comfortable while she's with you - I'm a pro as I've been caring for my soon-to-be 95 year old mom for 5 years. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      Sharing your experience will help a lot of people.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Such important information. Congratulations on your Purple Star. Well deserved!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Such important information. Congratulations on your Purple Star. Well deserved!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @Scarlettohairy: Thanks, Peggy. I'm pretty proud of this lens as I think it has a lot of good information that I wish I had had.

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 5 years ago

      One of the best lenses I have ever read, and one of the most useful and necessary, should be made mandatory reading for all. Thank you

    • goldenecho profile image

      Gale 5 years ago from Texas

      An exceptional lens...and one I'm bookmarking as my father is in the latter stages of Parkinsons.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @goldenecho: I'm so sorry to hear of your Dad's Parkinsons. A dear friend of mine has a father in a similar situation. My Dad has Parkinsons but we were lucky - it was never debilitating.

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      poutine 5 years ago

      An excellent lens so full of good advice.

    • priscillab profile image

      priscillab 5 years ago

      Once again you have tackled a subject that many of us wonder about but do not routinely discuss. It needs to be talked about and I have learned a lot from this lens. Thank you.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 5 years ago

      I saw my step dad slowly leave when he got cancer. At the end the last I talked to him he was seeing things on the walls (might have been the morphine) and his feet were freezing. I tried to warm them. He went into a coma three days later and the last day had the gurgle noise. Right before dying my mom says he opened his eyes and looked at her and then he was gone. That was right after she told him it is ok if you go. Lovely lens here. Blessing it!

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      SirAwesome 5 years ago

      Great job on this subject!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Just wanted you to know my first blessing as a SquidAngel goes to you..."Blessed"

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Before my dad died, he started seeing "people" and talking to them. He already had dementia, but it worsened quickly near the end. A nice lens about some of the things one can expect!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for this information. I am helping a friend whose husband is dying. The more info I have in my toolbox to help her eases my worries. You must be a wonderful person to know in the real (rather than the cyber) world. God bless you.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the warm comment. You must be a wonderful person also - it must be hard to see your friend go through this rough time - I'm sure she/he appreciates your support. I know I would.

    • ZCademy profile image

      ZCademy 5 years ago from Northeast North America, Earth

      Thank you for writing this lens ... it's an uncomfortable topic, and I hope to not need the info in it for a long time, but it's important to know this. I've been through parts of this process with both my parents; I wish I knew this then.

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 5 years ago

      I'm an information person, if I was in this position, these are the things I would want to know. My grandfather is getting frailer and my grandmother not so far behind him. There will come a time when my Mum needs this lens.

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      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for sharing this information. I anticipate becoming the caregiver for my 89 year old father soon. I am sure I will be reading a lot more of your articles. Your mother is very blessed to have such a loving daughter. Your lens is blessed too!

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 5 years ago

      Your symptoms sadly describe my mother-in-law to a tee. We just had to home her recently because she has mild dementia but she seemed to give up on life months ago when she lost interest in everything and even her garden which the family always kept so pretty for her. Instead she would refuse to go anywhere and just sit like a zombie watching TV. Very sad but really like she didn't want to be here anymore. Maybe people do know when it's coming up to their time to go. Thank you for sharing and good luck with the tier 1 challenge - you're already a winner in my eyes with this lens.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      I'm overwhelmed by the sense of community I've gotten by joining the Tier 1 challenge. You people are the best.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Went through this a few years ago with my mother and mother-in-law. You have done a great job of describing the experience.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My mother is also advanced in age and though she is doing well...death will come one day so I am happy to know more. This is really helpful.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My mother is also advanced in age and though she is doing well...death will come one day so I am happy to know more. This is really helpful.

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 5 years ago

      A very thoughtful and wonderful lens which I've read before but came back today just to sprinkle my blessing on it - have a great day :)

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      Joan4 5 years ago

      This page is indeed a service to all of us. And you have written this important information in such an interesting way. Most of us avoid discussions of death and dying. Our dad was always very upfront about life and death. He would say, "death is a part of life." He was so right. Thank you for such a beautifully written, thoughtful and factual page.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I can't believe how you use your mother for financial gain. Shame on you!!!!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Ha ha - that's a good one!

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      This is a very important topic. Your mother is such a beautiful woman! It must be difficult to go through this, it's important to be prepared in educated. Amazing read!! Blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @andreaberrios lm: Thanks you so much for your squid blessing. Glad you liked the lens - it is my most important and the page I'm most proud of. And, my mom is a gorgeous woman, inside and out.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago


    • molometer lm profile image

      molometer lm 5 years ago

      What a remarkable and deeply personal lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      liked the photo of your mother with the dog, such a sweet smile she has there :-)

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Lori, you are a wonderful daughter and thank you for sharing your mom with us. It's such a personal part of your life. (Your friend's story also touched my heart.) Mahalo!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Such a beautiful lens. My mother died this Memorial Day. She chose hospice since she wanted to (and succeeded in this) discontinue all her meds in the hospital and nursing home - but she only lived for four days of the hospice care. She was in such great pain that living had become torture.

      You present a passage that I can relate to, as I was the only family present for the last months and especially the last weeks and days. Thanks for emphasizing the beauty of sending the dying parent off with loving statements of care, and reminders of how glad you are to have had them for a parent. That's what I did (after we had used every moment possible during the dying month to express our caring), along with prayers - it just seemed the right thing to do.

      I read this lens before and it was such an encouragement to me, but I never really thanked you. Presenting information like this is a real gift, and I congratulate you. You did encourage me to not only concentrate on what is really important, you also caused me to think twice about becoming active in the squidoo community, and for that I thank you also.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just had to revisit and you had me in those tears and smiles once much love!

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 5 years ago

      This is a thoughtful and informative essay. I've gone through this process six times with parents, inl-aws, aunt and neighbor - as you describe, it is so important to think of the physical and emotional needs of the dying person. And though it is essential for loved ones to accept impending death and "let go", it is also VERY important not to give up on an elderly person who still wants to live -- as you describe in your mother recovering from pneumonia and being able after that to take a cruise!

      She is very lucky to have you with her.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 5 years ago

      Excellent information. Glad your mother is doing well now. My mother's appetite has been a problem for a few years. The Megace helped a lot, but unfortunately my mother won't drink much of anything (including Megace) and hates those nutritional shakes. My mother has told me about dreams in which she is preparing for death...including packing her bags.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      It is all so hard.. it aches. Thumbs up lens and Angel blessed.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      You are a wonderful daughter and your mum is extremely lucky to have you around. Great lens and congrats on the Purple star. Hugs

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      An amazing lens on a some what untouched subject.Very moving in more ways than one.Thanks for making this page!

    • Sara Valor profile image

      Sara Valor 5 years ago from Breezy Hills


    • CanInsure profile image

      CanInsure 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing. Really nice lens.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm back to visit this very valuable lens. You've done a great job explaining many factors the body goes through upon death. Great job.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm back to visit this very valuable lens. You've done a great job explaining many factors the body goes through upon death. Great job.

    • priscillab profile image

      priscillab 5 years ago

      You handled a sensitive subject so tastefully. No one wants to think about what is inevitable but this is a valuable read!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      Really great lens about a very emotional topic. Well done! Thank you.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am so happy you got a purple star for your award winning article, I did enjoy reading it and it set a good pace for me as I'll enjoy reading lenses tonight as I relax from a busy work day.

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      sherioz 5 years ago

      This is so beautiful. And so important. Thanks.

    • CanadaREVIEW profile image

      CanadaREVIEW 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens, than you for sharing!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      What a beautiful lens about being truly human when it matters. Thank you. I'm forwarding this to many.

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      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      This is a very touching lens. We all hate to think about death or our friends or loved ones dying. But this is will provide comfort and advice when that time comes.

    • opheliakeith lm profile image

      opheliakeith lm 5 years ago

      As the daughter of elder parents this information is invaluable to me. Great lens!

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 5 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      My grandma did a lot of this before she died. Your lens brought a tear to my eye. You're a very strong person to keep such a rational head about your darling mother and these stages of her life. I applaud your success in making her every last moment a happy one!

    • mantuamom profile image

      mantuamom 5 years ago

      My grandmother left us just over 2 years ago. Your lens brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and your mother.

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      Paula7928 5 years ago

      You did a great job on this lens! I really enjoyefd the story from the nurse at the nursing home. Its good that all of the womans family were able to get there that day.

    • msbaby profile image

      msbaby 5 years ago

      How lucky your mom is to have you! I would love to have her secret for raising such a beautiful, caring daughter. Thanks so much for sharing your journey and advice.

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      Pangionedevelopers 5 years ago

      sweet outlook

      moms's are great

      8 years since mine passed

      give yours a great big hug

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      Ruthi 5 years ago

      I have to tell you, I choked back tears until ... they let loose when I saw the photo of your Mom and Rita chatting. That just did it for me. I am amazed at the care you have taken creating this page which reflects the care you give your mom as her caretaker.

      Thank you for sharing this lens link on my lens for my aunt. And now I give you my blessings and a bit o' sunshine.

    • frances lm profile image

      frances lm 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens. People don't talk about death enough. And good to hear about it from somebody who cares for their "old person" as much as you. The lovely smiley photos of your Mum were also a treat.Thanks.

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      FishFearMe 5 years ago

      One word: OUTSTANDING!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's 3:11 a.m. here and I am soooooooooo glad I found your pages of comfort this morning. Been here with my folks for over three the process, I have learned a great deal. Didn't have any warning or formal preparation for being a caregiver and YES, the learning curve can be very steep! Thank you for all the information you have provided, as I am still a "caregiver in training". Much love to you and all those you love.

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      My ex was the caregiver to his aunt, who lived well into her 90s, and when she passed, he was the caregiver to her daughter who passed not that many years after her own mother. We are indeed blessed when there are family members and friends who can act as caregivers. Such a beautiful tribute of caring love.

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      My ex was the caregiver to his aunt, who lived well into her 90s, and when she passed, he was the caregiver to her daughter who passed not that many years after her own mother. We are indeed blessed when there are family members and friends who can act as caregivers. Such a beautiful tribute of caring love.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Christe: your comment is one of the reasons I keep writing. Sometimes, caregiving is a very difficult job and there's a lot that I still don't know. When I've gone looking on the web, information is not very detailed. Thank you so much for your kind comment and I hope your folks and you are doing well.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. Your love for your mom shines through. Very useful information. I wished I had known all this before my dad died. I did some volunteer work with hospice and learned about these things before later becoming the caregiver for two other family members.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      This is an amazing page and I hope those in need find it when that time comes. I've watched and aided as loved ones passed on and it is never easy - but knowing what to expect as you've outlined here can be of great help and peace of mind.

    • craftblogger lm profile image

      craftblogger lm 5 years ago

      My Mom took care of my grandmother after she had a stroke and never recovered from it. I know your lenses would have helped and comforted my Mom if she read them back then.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Every time I read one of your lenses I am struck at how much helpful information is in them. I know they were not all easy to write during a difficult time, but they are going to help so many people. We do not talk much about death in our culture, but doing so is healthy. I am glad you have shared with us so freely. Who knows when any of us will need this information. Bless you!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Telling your story as a caregiver is going to help so many people who are going through the same thing. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • olecrAN0N LM profile image

      olecrAN0N LM 5 years ago

      A book you may find interesting to read is "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche. It's intriguing how Eastern faiths and cultures view death as a long and natural process, while Western ones often fear and attempt to avoid it. It's a book that really puts things in perspective.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      A totally beautiful lens that brought tears to my eyes. I was my Mom's caregiver 24/7 for 3.5 years. I can SO relate to you. OMG I am SO glad you created these beautiful lenses about your Mom. She looks like she was a real peach. Mine was too. I bet our Mom's are both in Heaven looking down on us now. Excellent job you did. I'm blessing you with some Angel Dust.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Blessings to you and your mom:)

    • MarilynImanse profile image

      MarilynImanse 5 years ago

      What an excellent bunch of lenses you have created. Although I have not been a caregiver, I was with my mother and a girl friend when they passed. It is an honor to be able to be there when they pass. Your information is wonderful. Thank you.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What an excellent article ,thank you for all your helpful thoughts & observations, I have my mom living with my family & I for the past 6 years it's only in the last 12 months that her health has worsened she is 89 yrs ,she has a collostomy bag & recently broke her sacrum but she is now walking again & getting back to normal.One thing that helped was getting a stairlift in , at first she was very resistant to the idea but when a friend of mine suggested it wasn't just for now but for the years ahead she brightened up.....suppose what I'm saying is something as practical as that gave her the feeling of a longer future & definitely helped,best of luck with your mom she looks a very contented woman !

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      My dear Mom is going to be 90. She is doing fine and is always cheerful and is able to take care of herself. I appreciate this information, thank you for sharing it on Squidoo.

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      mumsgather 5 years ago

      My mom died of cancer when she was 46. She was in great pain before her death but she had the same energy surge that you spoke about.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Condolences on the loss of your lovely mom. What a wonderful experiences you were able to share over the last 4+ years of her life. I can totally relate to this lens as I recently lost my dear 93 year old mother and it was very much like what you described.

    • JenniferAkers LM profile image

      JenniferAkers LM 5 years ago

      My condolences on the loss of your mom. It sounds like you two had a wonderful, loving relationship. I'm sure you have a lifetime of tender moments to reflect on and comfort you. Also know that your lens is so insightful and personal - and it certainly will help others that find themselves in the difficult position of a loved one transitioning to death. Not only have you provided helpful tips, you shared your personal story. It's worthy of the Purple Star, Angel Blessings. As others have undoubtedly experienced, your lens touched me immensely.

      I was blessed to see my grandmother on her last day. Similar to the story you posted, the nursing home called me to visit ASAP. Her vitals showed the time was near, but they were concerned I might not make it in time to see her (I had to drive across the state, alone, pregnant in my first trimester). I told them to tell her that I would be there and to wait for me. She did. Amazingly, her vitals improved the next day - the day I was to be there. My uncle and I sat with her, talked to her and shared the latest family news. Her breathing seemed shallow (like you mentioned). After checking with the nurse that my grandma wasn't in pain, I told my grandma not to worry; she could go and be with my grandpa and mom. I believe the hearing is the last to go; her body seemed to relax (and she died early the next morning). I'm forever grateful we had that time together.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      "Tell dad to send money" :)

      How beautiful that you and your lovely mother were able to share a laugh at the end. This is an amazing lens about death and dying, something so many of us find difficult to discuss.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Thanks for a great lens, advices and knowledge.

      As hard as it is, it is better to be informed.

      Blessing from an Angel.

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      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Wow. My heart goes out to you and Gertie, my strong friend. Thanks for all the info. I'm sure I will be using it in the near future. d

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Great practical lens full of firsthand information for caregivers. Blessed.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      This was a great tribute to your Mum and has piles of important info for all caregivers.

    • AustriaChick profile image

      AustriaChick 5 years ago

      A wonderful loving lens. Thanks for sharing this information

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      This lens is a treasure trove of useful information. My heart is too full at the moment to say anything useful beyond that. I will share this, to be sure.

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      ideadesigns 5 years ago

      I am grateful for your advice. I have been there in the last moments with my grandfather, we were so glad to have all our family there. Yes the final weeks are as you described. It's sad, yet peaceful. Thanks again.

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      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Very good lens. You describe this very well. Your mother was very beautiful and enjoyed spending time with you both through your lenses.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 5 years ago from PA

      This was so wonderful to read. I was honored to be with my grandmother prior to her dying and she kept talking to "her friends". I couldn't see anyone else in the room but I believe it was angels to help her to the other side. Being with her toward the end of her life was a real blessing. Excellent Lens.

    • rachelscott profile image

      rachelscott 5 years ago

      Lens is so interesting. It deserve thumb UP.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us.. I was with my father when he died.. even though I was trying to avoid being there for the exact "moment".. but I'm glad I was because it was peaceful and not horrible (which I expected it would be)... Blessed!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Your mom will live forever in the hearts of so many.

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      jazziyarbrough 5 years ago

      You really deserved a purple star for this blog. Excellent work, I love this blog. Thank you for sharing

    • alternative-help profile image

      alternative-help 5 years ago

      What a sweet, loving gift for Gertie and the rest of us!

    • Fushi LM profile image

      Fushi LM 5 years ago

      Hey I must admit that reading this lens touched a soft corner of my heart. I felt like a member of a family loved and caring. Such wonderful people are hard to be found out. You are gem when it comes to care and love.

      I also visited some other lens "death of a loved one" and "the long goodbye" which are equally blessed by your mother.

      My condolence to your late mother.

    • Mayapearl profile image

      Mayapearl 5 years ago

      This is a great lens and you deserve 5 purple stars at least! There is so little info on how to deal with the death of a loved one. Your lens has a wealth of information and it is written with love and heart, thank you for being so inspiring.

      I love the picture of your mum giving Gizmo a ride.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I remember when my grandmother was dying, she kept trying to get up out of the bed. It was very alarming when it happened, and it seemed to happen about once a day. It would have been helpful to know this was a common behavior in dying people.

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      Lovely, lovely lens.

      It reminds me of a man I know -- who also went out for ice cream on his last day -- who was home, resting on the sofa, said to someone there with him, "Gee, I feel so good," and soon after died.

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      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      A beautiful and touching lens and such important information too. Thank you so much for sharing Gertie with us. *blessed*

    • Onemargaret LM profile image

      Onemargaret LM 5 years ago

      This lens is making me cry. So sad but something everyone needs to know. God bless you for taking care of your mom!

    • Onemargaret LM profile image

      Onemargaret LM 5 years ago

      I bet your mom was a jewel. So are you!

    • mattcut profile image

      mattcut 5 years ago

      this is an amazing lens. my mom and dad died in 2009 and 2010 both of cancer and though it was gruesome to witness what cancer does, it was at the same time the most bittersweet and beautiful thing to assist each of them along out. Thanks for your work, it is appreciated

    • mattcut profile image

      mattcut 5 years ago

      @Onemargaret LM: amen.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I will begin with a thank you! We have been blessed the past 3.5 years looking after my Father in law. Though it has not been an easy journey, we walk it with him. Bruce suffers from dementia, was diagnosed a year ago with lymphoma after a 3 week hospital stay from pneumonia. He was discharged under the care of Hospice with no expectations to survive more than a few days. The family visited, we made our peace and waited. Physically, he proved everyone wrong. One year to the day, we are in the same situation. Bruce has expressed his love and gratitude to us again, which is a gift since 90% of the time he is incoherent. We are giving him permission, letting him know how many lives and hearts he has touched. His quality of life has been extremely compromised the past year, in clear moments from the dementia he expresses his sadness. We hope his journey home is not too far away. If not, we will continue to bring joy and happiness into his life, give him a glass of wine and chocolates each time he asks. Thank you for sharing your experience and the knowledge you acquired along the way. Though difficult, we have been blessed with the opportunity to care for an aging parent and the chance to say good bye.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I stumbled on this site by accident, and while I do not need this info now (to my knowledge), I was completely elated that it exists. My own parents are getting old and have recently been sick. It was (for me) a glimpse into what will one day come. Thank you for bravely sharing. You're mom is awesome, and you are wonderful! The apple never falls far from the tree... :) <3

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm sorry you're not a squidoo member so I can get back to you personally. If you see this reply to your above beautiful note, please email me again. I'd love to get in touch with you as you go through this journey.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @mattcut: Matt: your mom must have raised you right if you witnessed the end of her life. Most people either aren't strong enough or don't care enough to give up time in their lives to help ease others to passing. You mama did good.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      I'm sorry for your loss. What a beautiful lens! I also lost my Mom so I've been through it and the stages. She died from cancer but unfortunately she was only 52 at the time.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 5 years ago

      @Melissa Miotke: It's when I hear about people like yourself who lost their Mom at 52 years of age, my heart breaks. My Mom was 95 so there was no tragic end involved. I'm so very sorry you were robbed of growing old with your mom.

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      grannysage 5 years ago

      I was a nursing home social worker and I worked with the Hospice staff a lot. One of the things that was hardest for families to understand was when the dying person would stop eating. They had to explain how the body shuts down and does not need food or water. I did not feel sadness when people died, for I knew it was a passing over to another and different life. This is a very good resource for caregivers to help them understand and accept the dying process.

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      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      Another beautiful lens. Wish I had seen all this before my mom went through her transition. It would have helped take the emphasis off my feelings and onto her needs instead.

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      This is a wonderful and helpful lens. My parents are elderly but still independent. I don't know how long this will last. Bookmarked this resource as it is excellent. Thank you.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. My mother recently passed away. She wasn't sick for long, for which I am grateful. Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman!

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. My father has leukemia, the chemo didn't work, and he is now preparing to leave this world. After a fourth stay in the hospital with an infection in just over 6 weeks, he has proclaimed "no more", signed a DNR, and will die in the comfort of his own home. He seems oddly peaceful. I can only hope that I face death when my time comes as bravely as he is facing his.

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      patrick1944 5 years ago

      Very nice article. I've lost both of may parents and all of what you have here would have helped... excellent!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful article. I just lost my Mom to AML Leukemia on July 12. Her death was peaceful and I held her through this process. A beautiful transition as her face lost 30 years upon death. She became 45 again. She is singing with the angels in Heaven now.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Nell, I'm so glad that the experience was a beautiful transition. I agree with those words.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 4 years ago

      This is an excellent lens. You have so much great information. I am sorry for your loss~

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

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      vaigavenugopal 4 years ago

      Really a great lens. I involved in it..lovely...<3...nic pics too....

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 4 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      My mother died when she was 55. My father remarried, I grew to love my step-mother almost as much as I loved my mother (she really was a good wife for Dad until his death at age 94.) Now she is 94, has alzheimers and is in a home where I visit her daily. I am not looking forward to the time of her demise but your article here has helped to prepare me for the inevitable. Thank you!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      She was beautiful :) bet she is an Angel up in heaven helping out every one.

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 4 years ago

      What a wonderful lens about caregivers, and great tribute to your mother. My father died less than 2 years ago at age 72 after 5 long hard years battling Stage 4 cancer, and I moved to be with him those last years to help care for him, and will never forget it. My daughter was only 3 1/2 at the time, and I REALLY liked your ideas on the books for kids, as I know how difficult it can be to try to explain. Many of my own lenses include stories about my Dad, he will always be remembered.

    • dpgibble profile image

      dpgibble 4 years ago

      If your loved one cheats death, the journey back may be difficult. Your amazing lens gives me an idea about writing from that point of view. I have already tried it but am not happy with the result. Your purple star is well-earned.

    • Mariajomith profile image

      maria 4 years ago

      thanks for sharing this, i have never seen an article like this before.

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this... my nana just passed away recently. Interestingly my mum was there for it, and my mum was there when my nana's husband passed away a few years back. I have heard it was quite an experience to witness.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Near my father's death his doctor said his feet would swell up quite a bit right before the end. We kept checking his feet and sure enough one day they were larger than normal and he soon passed away. Thanks for the great information.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Really love this lens. My mother is dying in a Hospice. She only got a week left personally. I can feel it. Her lips are less colourful also. She is a bit restless, mums only 52, 53 tomorrow but I understand I have to let her go. She needs to fly with the Angels.

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 4 years ago

      Congrats on Purple star! Very well written. Your mother was blessed to have you for her daughter!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      This is such a special lens. How lucky you were to have your Mom for so long. Blessed!

    • profile image

      TheBeautifulLife 4 years ago

      Today is my very sad day...your lens moevd me very much. Thank you for really blessed lens, my friend...

    • LadyKeesh profile image

      LadyKeesh 4 years ago

      I haven't first hand experience the death of a mother, but a very good friend of mine has. She cared for her mother for many years and I sat in the car and cried with her when mother passed. I am so grateful for the years I have with my mother and hope I will not be a reck when shes gone. Sorry for your treasured loss. Great original lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Several of the things you mention as signs of the end being near were certainly true when my mom died. Gertie was fortunate to have you as a caregiver. Thank you for sharing this beautiful lens with all of us.

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      msseiboi 4 years ago

      No one is exception to death in one's family....very informative and useful lens

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      Very useful information. We had to go through this in our family recently. It is a journey we all must make.

    • profile image

      djroll 4 years ago

      I remember reading your posts the last days of your mother's life. I'm still affected by them. You wrote so lovingly. I thank you for sharing such a personal journey.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      thank you for this it helps a lot i have been taking care of my grandmother for years and the last year she has taken a turn for the worse in the last 3 months she has went from being able to walk to being bed bound not able to even sit without assisance we have hospice and at night she gets very restless this help explain the last few months

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 4 years ago

      Don't have appropriate word to comment...just awesome and heart touching!

    • RationalHedonist profile image

      RationalHedonist 4 years ago

      My heart felt for you reading through your lens. My father died a couple of years ago, and my mother is slowly starting to deteriorate. It's a mixed time of sadness and wonderful memories. Thanks for putting your heart and time into this.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      What an amazing job on a difficult subject. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and insights.

    • davidcompass profile image

      davidcompass 4 years ago

      Great job! I really like the idea of asking your loved one, if there is anything you could do for them after they are gone.This is because the dying person may have some thoughts and ideas in mind without the strength or ability to implement such thoughts or execute such ideas.

    • msalada lm profile image

      msalada lm 4 years ago

      Well written. I gives a person something to think about.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Could have sworn I Blessed this - rectified for a wonderful lens, caring and practical.

    • irminia profile image

      irminia 4 years ago

      You made it so beautifully - sensitive and graceful. So death is a simple thing after all :)

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      I remember reading that if somebody elderly falls and breaks their hip, often they will die within the year. They don't die because they broke their hip but rather because the feebleness associated with that fall is a sign. Sure enough, my grandmother died within one year of breaking her hip. Your page is very well done. Blessed.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Cari Kay 11: Actually, a broken hip is generally the signal that the person has 3-6 months - a year is pretty good! My Mom died 3 months after her hip break.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      You have created such a comprehensive piece. Great work. Extremely helpful.

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 4 years ago

      Brave lens. Bravo.

    • profile image

      salleyd 4 years ago

      My last trip with mom was at 95 years old. It is a treasured memory to visit her best friend of 76 years (since they were in nursing school together). It definitely had it's challenges so I can relate to your cruise.

      Every day is a blessing and a treasure. I wish those who have little time to spend with their loved ones could realize how quickly it can be gone.

      Blessings to you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens, Birth and Death are natural occurrences in our life's one begins it and the other ends it.. I've always asked mysel the following two question: Where, do we go when we die? and Where, were we, before we were born? My dad lived to the ripe old age of 100 years, two months and 27 days. His mind was sharp to the end. I remember the last day I saw him at the Hospice as throat cancer began its relentless thriump over him, he battled with it to the end. He looked into my eyes and asked me to take him out the Hospice back to the surgeon that had removed the cancer five years earlier, he felt certain that he could be saved again. I gazed into his eyes for a very long time, he nodded in understanding that it was not going to be possible this time, suddenly I heard the loudes roar of motorcycle engines coming thru the walls, my hairs stood up, I went outside to see what was going on, only to see hundreds if not thousands of motorcycles that had come to the hospice that day to make a donation. I never forgot that very powerful moment. Thanks for sharing your Mom's story.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      This is useful and beautiful. I also saw my mom through her last months of life in her home, and she was so grateful to be able to die at home, with those she loved near her. Hospice was a great help. I also wrote a lens to tell my mom's story. I wish you would publish the meat of these lenses in print. My husband doesn't do computers, but you have made those last days so easy to understand. I'd love to have a print copy myself should I be his caregiver. Paper books are much easier to reference at a bedside vigil than a computer. The hospice notebook they gave us was hard to keep on one's lap. It would be great if this were available in paperback form. I haven't had time yet to read all your lenses on this topic, but I think together they'd make a great book.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 4 years ago from Texas

      Like you, I found it helpful to document the stages of death as they occur. It must be a part of the grieving and healing process. Such great information for caregivers, family members, and anyone else dealing with an upcoming loss.

      I took care of my husband in his final 17 days, at home, with the help of hospice & family members. Unfortunately, I did not know many of these things at the time, so it was a learning process. I feel blessed that I was able to be there with him, and help him on his journey.


    • profile image

      JadaFuego 4 years ago

      I am so fortunate to not have lost anyone in my family as of yet...I try to keep myself prepared, but we all know that is futile.

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      johnsja 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens. Loved reading about your Mom. I don't think we ever stop needing them.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Congratulations on LOTD! I've never read a lens more deserving than this one. You are a wonderful young lady and you and your mother were fortunate to be together during her final years. <3 Much love to you.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Congratulations, Lori. I'm so glad this lens got LotD. It's well deserved.

    • Mami Design profile image

      Mami Design 4 years ago

      Truly amazing lens! Blessed!

    • profile image

      Sabrinnaxo 4 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens! you deserved LOTD!

    • Jemecan profile image

      Jemecan 4 years ago

      I know personally what you went through. I lost my moyher earlier this year.

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      santadelcobre 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing all this information. It is so important to be aware of all these signs. Beautiful lens.

    • radhanathswamifan profile image

      radhanathswamifan 4 years ago

      Nice lens:) But would like to add that knowing one has to face death, it is always good to prepare oneself so that one can embrace death rather than be fearful. This is possible by leading a GOD conscious life. Read books by Srila Prabhupada - founder acharya of the Krishna Conscious movement. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      I just love this lens.. and am back with Angel Blessings and congratulations for your job well done!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      nice lens

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      reasonablerobby 4 years ago

      It takes someone very special to create a piece of work like this that provides such insight to a process and event that comes to us all in various forms. I am sure this will be very helpful to many many people. The references to academic articles on the topic has been especially useful for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I went through all the important sections.. And I'm really glad that you provided the world with such useful information.. :)

    • Allanna profile image

      Allanna 4 years ago

      Very good advice in this lens. Great job.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens. Congratulations for the lens of the day.

    • nickybutler profile image

      nickybutler 4 years ago

      Amazing article. When I first saw this on the front page I thought 'What on earth, how morbid!' However I am truly glad you shared your experiences. It takes skill and finesse to write an article about a subject like this and not come off as preachy/depressing. Well researched, well written and surprisingly comforting. My nan passed away 2 Christmas' ago and it was devastating for the whole family - as you say, it doesn't matter how old/ill a person is. It was interesting to compare her last days to your mum's and the general symptoms - and to find they were pretty similar. Thanks again for sharing this wonderful lens :)

    • cameras14 profile image

      cameras14 4 years ago

      I appreciate the advice you share in this lens, ages always a problem with everyone

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 4 years ago

      I know exactly what you are talking about. I have been working in nursing home couple of years. Congrats on LOTD. Very well deserved :)

    • profile image

      CeyhunDonmez 4 years ago

      Love your lens.congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      CeyhunDonmez 4 years ago

      Love your lens.congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      ikepius 4 years ago

      Death is a subject so painful that we often avoid it. But not you! I have learned from you to cherish every moment. Thank you.

    • bwet profile image

      bwet 4 years ago

      Excellent lens. Love the way you write about this topic. Great work and definitely deserve the LOTD

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      What a wonderful lens. We care for my MIL who is 95 and doing well. I love the heated animals and plan to order one for her. Congrats on a well deserved LotD!


    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I wish that I had read this before having to deal with the deaths of my mother and both of my wife's parents. I have watched them all die (I was not present when my father died) and this would have been so helpful. I can and do smell the sweet scent of death and liked to think it was the scent of the angels coming for the soul.

      This article will definitely help people to handle these really hard times with dignity and compassion. You are obviously a deeply caring person and I salute you.

      Congratulations on the LOTD.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Congrats on LOTD. A difficult subject to talk about but you did so very well. Thanks

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      A very tough subject tackled beautifully on this lens - well done. Very well deserving of your LotD, and here's some extra Angel Dust on you.

    • sbconcepts profile image

      sbconcepts 4 years ago

      Congratulations on being chosen for LOTD! Very beautiful and well deserved recognition for such a touching lens.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I was lucky enough to have cared for my mom for two years and was right there when she took her last breath...her last words to me were, "I Love You" Blessed I am.

      My mom wanted to die because of her suffering, shortly before she passed she opened her eyes and said, I'm not dead yet!? Knowing her Faith she knew what and were she was going, seeing my dad standing by her bed (he had died in 1948)

      BTW we read many of those books...

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • justramblin profile image

      justramblin 4 years ago

      What a beautiful job you did. Such a wonderful, emotional read. Thank you and congrats on LotD, an honor truly earned.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 4 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Congrats on a very well deserved LotD! Came back to give an angel blessing

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 4 years ago

      Congrats for earning purple star and LOTD.. All the best.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your LOTD! and your purple star, and now a blessing too. No one deserves the praise more.

    • Allison Whitehead profile image

      Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

      A truly wonderful lens, and very accurate - my mum in law died three years ago and we were all there in her last days. I recognised the symptoms you so clearly described. Congratulations on Lens of the Day - so very well deserved.

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Highly educative lens ,it deserves what it got ,congrats

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow, what an amazing resource! Condolences on the loss of your dear mother, but look how you're helping others from your experience. I'm sure your mother was very proud of you! Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      MarkJustice 4 years ago

      Great lense on a difficult subject. I will be using this information soon I think.

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      purpleslug 4 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Thanks so much for this lens as my mom's husband is dying of cancer, so this will really help us.

    • profile image

      djroll 4 years ago

      A much deserved LOTD. Thanks again for sharing your mother's story to so many.

    • smaraymond profile image

      smaraymond 4 years ago

      This lens is so well written and so informative. I couldn't stop reading and crying. Congrats on LOTD! Well deserved.

    • bdwilliams lm profile image

      bdwilliams lm 4 years ago

      What a fantastic LOTD!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This lens just becomes richer and more beautiful and useful as it grows. Your LOTD is very well-deserved. Your mother was blessed to have you, as are we.

    • TracyM1969 profile image

      TracyM1969 4 years ago

      Great Lens and congratulations on Lens of the Day!!

      My dad was 17 years older than my mum, however, mum died pined for her for the next year and a half. When we were called to his bedside, I took a cardigan belonging to mum with me and placed it under his hands. He wasn't responsive and we didn't think he even knew we were there or put the cardigan under his hands, however, when he started to take his last breaths, he gently grabbed the cardigan, my sister and I cuddle and kissed him and told him we loved him as he slipped away. He was 87 years old.

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      Pete Schultz 4 years ago

      Congrats on LoTD, this seemed such a depressing topic, but I did read through it, and recognized things both my parents went through approaching death. Had I known this earlier, I would have recognized "symptoms" for whatever good that would do. Anyway, congrats.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      An especially poignant tribute to your mother and all loving caregivers. I learned more here than I've learned in quite some time. Especially meaningful as I enter a time of caring for my mother during her battle against yet another cancer. I will certainly need these resources. You are blessing many lives by sharing such vital information and raising the awareness we all need to deal with death gracefully. Deeply appreciated.

    • profile image

      NC Shepherd 4 years ago

      Wonderful. This describes exactly our experience with Dad's death. And Hospice was certainly a blessing for us, too. Congrats on LOTD.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Just stopped by to wish you a wonderful fall. Wishing the very best of the season's bounty for you.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 4 years ago from Sweden

      Painfully true lens! I am telling my story in my lens about GMB Braintumor. Death is like an enemy. Something we ourselves cannot fight. Congrats to LOTD

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wishing you and your family all the best in the coming months and years. Thanks for sharing this incredible story.

    • profile image

      Gatortail2 4 years ago

      My grandmother died in a private hospital, which refused to allow dogs and she loved dogs. If she had been strong enough I would have moved her to a public hospital to give her one of her last wishes to cuddle a dog. If I am ever in ambulance on the way to a private hospital if need be I will roll out the back door to avoid going to it. This is an important lens, Thanks

    • SPhilbrick profile image

      SPhilbrick 4 years ago

      What a wealth of information you've put forth here. I have been a caregiver and a witness to the dying process more than once. It is uniquely individual but if you know some of what you might expect-as you've noted so well in your article; it becomes far less frightening. 2 years ago, my 99 year old Nana passed and the day I had to leave her to travel home (4-5 days before she died), I bent over the bed to speak to her and apologize if I was ever not gentle enough with her the past week that I helped care for her while she was bed-ridden. She took my hand, spoke soft yet firm and said, "you done good".... in true Nana fashion.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Wonderful lens. My mom is 91 and thankfully she isn't displaying any of these signals. I am enjoying these last years with her so much. I know you must miss your mom. Congratulations on LotD!

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      Excellent lens! I feel more prepared. I only experienced one person dying, a co-worker with cancer. I feel fortunate my parents are both alive. My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer a second time. This info is very helpful!

    • cyberflutist profile image

      cyberflutist 4 years ago

      This is great advice. So many of us don't know how to approach the elderly. We need to remember that they are people just like us with the same feelings and emotions.

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 4 years ago

      I'm SOOO happy this got LOTD! I have loved your senior lenses so much. They are full of wisdom and first-hand experience. You show such love for your mother and teach others it's important to be a good or better caregiver. :)

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      What a touching and beautiful memoir, as well as extremely helpful guide to those of watching elderly parents slip nearer and nearer toward their final breath. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • bossypants profile image

      bossypants 4 years ago from America's Dairyland

      Back to read this lens and celebrate Lens of the Day with you! Much deserved and I'm so glad to see you recognized for all the support you've given to others!

    • mySuccess8 profile image

      mySuccess8 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing and for teaching us about caring for our beloved elderly!

    • JuliaAnnPayne profile image

      JuliaAnnPayne 4 years ago

      I love this lens it is very informative for I lost my mother-in-law two years ago and she lived 95 wonderful years and we still love and miss her but she is in our hearts everyday so we can make it another day...

    • profile image

      merleannw 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing,

    • Lisa Remmick profile image

      Lisa Remmick 4 years ago

      I lost my Mom in Jan 2010 to Cancer and it was a tough battle on everyone as we provided the home care for her. Remember to respect and help the elderly in their times of need.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Thank you for sharing, dropping off a ~Blessing~

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

      My dear! Thank for taking care of your mother. You have honoured her and I pray your grandchildren will take care of you.

    • nicenet profile image

      nicey 4 years ago

      My dear! Thank you very much for taking care of your mother. I pray your grandchildren will take care of you.

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Congratulations, Lori, on your LotD. You so deserve this and oh so much more. Your lenses about Gertie have really helped my in my process with my Mom. I see a book in your future. Blessed.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      congrats on the LOTD and receiving the Purple Star for this lens; you can be proud of your efforts

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your purple star and LOTD. Death is a subject that scares many people. Personally I am not afraid of death but the thought of dying in a traumatic way is what scares me. Most people view death as the end but in reality it is just a transition over into truth, joy, and peace.

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 4 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      This lens really has touched me since I work with seniors and have elderly parents still with us. I will bookmark this to refer back to and refer to others. So well written and well-deserving of the LOTD and Purple Star. I have read several of your other lenses on caregiving and seniors. I too agree with DebMartin and see a ebook in your future.

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      jseven lm 4 years ago

      I have a beautiful story to share about my mother and her dying experience, too. I love your lens and think it should be a small book. Congrats on lens of the day! I know how much you miss her...mine left in 2003 and it sometimes seems like yesterday. God bless~

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      jseven lm 4 years ago

      Blessed too!

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      faye durham 4 years ago

      This lens really touched me as I have been present for the death of two family members. I didn't think I could do it but nature moves at her own pace and death is a natural part of life. It's wonderful that you were there for your mother and share the experience to help others with this beautiful lens.

    • umyati profile image

      umyati 4 years ago

      Sign of death coming usually appeared 40 days before. Yesterday my older syster (44 years old) die caused cancer. There were many sign from her that I felt unusualy act. All strength behaviour was done by her and I ask to my heart is the death will come to her?, but all problem about death only God was knew.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      Very personal lens! Congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day (LOTD)!!!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      Very personal lens! Congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day (LOTD)!!!

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      Your articles, including this one, are wonderful, and will be a great resource for me as my mother ages. She turned 80 last year (Oct. 29, a day off from your mother's birthday), and she was in a rehab unit on her birthday after having had pneumonia. (She was in the hosp., then in the rehab place for a total of four months.) I was positive she wouldn't be home again. I thought she was going to die from her pneumonia, and then when she started to recover, I figured she'd never be able to go home again, but she is home and living (and driving!!) on her own. She's irritated that she's not back to full health though :-) Your articles (this and others I've been browsing today) will be invaluable to me as she gets older still.

    • QueenDRanch profile image

      Deborah Zappa 4 years ago from Mesilla Park, New Mexico

      I lost my mom January 17, 2012. She died in full mind and spirit in her sleep.

      God bless.

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. My mother was a caregiver for my grandmother for many years. It was very difficult sometimes but my mother was at peace when she died, knowing she had always been there for her.

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      jgelien 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing the story of your mother, her life and your loss. You have included so many helpful resources for those going through a loved one's end of life journey. Your mom looks very sweet. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Mellithorpe profile image

      Mellithorpe 4 years ago

      Your lens was very informative and I can read it and think back now and see the progression as I sat with my husband at his bedside but I did not want to realize it or didn't realize it was actually happening. I am sorry for your loss and I admire you for writing this; I know it had to be a very hard thing to do. It's been a little over 4 years since my husband passed and I don't think I could write about those last few hours even now. I look upon those hours as a very personal time for both of us that I probably will NEVER share with anyone.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great info on here, a well deserved LOTD

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Thank you for sharing your touching story. I was deeply touched and remembered my late dad who passed on two years ago at the age of 65.

    • mrducksmrnot profile image

      mrducksmrnot 4 years ago

      A very informative and well written article. I've watched many of my family and friends pass on and a lot during the last year. As for all the extras's about depends and other items you hit it right. I have MS and am a paraplegic from the waist down and use these on a daily basis. I live by myself and garden, fish, hunt, surf the web and do about anything I can but just from a wheelchair. These items are wonderful suggestions and I know they work great. I plan on being around until the Lord calls me on. Congratulations on a well deserved LOTD.

    • secondhandrose lm profile image

      secondhandrose lm 4 years ago

      I am sorry for your loss and I thank you for writing this. I was a part-time care giver to both my grandmother and father and both went through everything you wrote about here. After taking care of my grandmother, I knew what to expect with my father and, I hope this doesn't sound badly, but it was easier with Dad. He passed away two days before his 65th birthday.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I think you are an angel and I am giving you a Squidoo Angel blessing.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Don't even know what to say - reading your lens has found me unusually quiet. I think you have given so much to so many. Love the warm stuffed toy idea, and your frank discussion of all the physical changes of the dying process. Blessed.........

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      This is an extremely informative and heartwarming story. It prepares us for the inevitable so there no surprises. Congrats on LOTD. Well-deserved.

    • Kazooli LM profile image

      Kazooli LM 4 years ago

      Telling you that this is one of the most moving lenses is just an understatement. You have shared a part of your life that's ever so blessed. You mom looks like an Angel. And you have put a smile on my face :) x

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      soaringsis 4 years ago

      You have much courage and love to enable you to produce this heartfelt lens. Congratulations on your purple star and LotD. The gift of love is the best gift ever.

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      What a wonderful lens about life and the great relationship you and your mother shared. God bless you for sharing your fabulous story of love with us. You have given death the honor and respect it deserves as a natural and well deserved part of a life well lived. Congratulations on LoTD - this lens truly deserves it.

    • bonusbaggings profile image

      bonusbaggings 4 years ago

      Wow this is one amazing story, really touched my heart, congratulations on being the lens of the day.

    • Noctai LM profile image

      Noctai LM 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this, as a caregiver to a 85-year-old dementia patient I can relate to some of the things listed here. It was nice to hear your story and the stories of others. Well deserved LotD.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      This is a wonderful story. Congratulations on LOTD. The love in your heart is apparent ~angel blessed :)

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      AngelaKane 4 years ago

      Great article and thanks for sharing.

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      Anna2of5 4 years ago

      Conratulations on the Lens of the Day,wow it was so touching. I'm so glad you had time with your mother and that you're folks had such a great run together 65.5 years, that's Amazing! She must have really invested in your life from a very young age, I hope. My mother is in a different place. She resides in Belize. Its warm and she can go swimming when she likes, and there is fresh fruit around on the trees there- very much to her liking. Anyhow, thank you for sharing this walk you've experienced.

      Sincerely, Anna2of5

    • Lareene profile image

      Lareene 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I lost my niece Sept. 8th 2012, she was only thirty eight, I am deeply affected, changed and uneasy with it. I spent a month with her mostly listening and loving. Your lens is helpful. Your family pictures are moving and meaningful. Thanks.

    • Smashbooks LM profile image

      Smashbooks LM 4 years ago

      After recent events, I have learned that you should cherish everyone, even those who bring you strife or those who you wouldn't expect to die any time soon, because you just never know how long they have here on earth. See the good in everybody, understand that everyone is doing as well as they know how. Thank you for a great lens. I need one of those hankies. :)

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      God bless you for this amazing piece - and tribute - I can scarcely believe you were able to write this with such calm! I have tears in my eyes. My sincere condolences for the loss of your wonderful mother - and also my congratulations on LOTD! Beautiful! :) Kath

    • EbooksFreeWeekl1 profile image

      EbooksFreeWeekl1 4 years ago

      What a nice lens. Congratulations on your purple star and lens of the day, much deserved. Please add a few pictures of her in her early years if you wish. :)

    • ksktika profile image

      ksktika 4 years ago

      This is a good story. I had time with my grandmother for 1 year to take care of her. so your story remind me of her. Congrat !!

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      Mother-in-law died Jan 18, this year, she was in Hospice for about two weeks prior and your descriptions are exact. Great research and article references.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 4 years ago from Florida

      God Bless You for taking care of your beautiful mother. I love her smile and your doggies just love her too. Congratulations on the awards. You REALLY deserve it. Thank you for all the insight. My daughter, my mom and myself all got to be with my sweet gramma when she went to be with the Lord. My mom sang to her as she passed on fulfilling a promise she made to my gramma.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 4 years ago

      Congratulations on this well deserved LotD. This is such a sweet, beautiful tribute to your mom and the amazing relationship you two had.

    • Jeri Baker profile image

      Jeri Baker 4 years ago

      As I watch my parents getting older I think of this all the time. They are likely the healthiest people in the family, but I know how illness can strike anyone at anytime. Thank you for this lens.

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      Cynthia Davis 4 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience with death. Though, I have never been with someone in their dying moments, my grandma was said to have called to her deceased husband that she was coming to him. I've heard that this is quite common? I've really enjoyed your story. God Bless and Angel Blessings**

    • ArmchairBuilder1 profile image

      ArmchairBuilder1 4 years ago

      This is a great post. I went through this with my dad not long ago. It's difficult to feel as if you should be doing something. That "something" turns out to be just being there for them. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Sammy24 profile image

      Sammy24 4 years ago

      Great lense. I actually wrote one called do not be selfish when someone is dying. People who stay away from the terminally I'll because they can't see them like that drives me nuts. You must think about the other person and not yourself in their final moments....great info! Thanks

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      Wonderful choice for Lens of the Day. My congratulations.

    • OMENA777 profile image

      OMENA777 4 years ago

      I loved your lens, very informative for care givers. I took care of my friend Gerti, in her home. She was 100 when she passed, and I have helped friends pass too. It is a very sad and rewarding to share final moments with those ywe love.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Wow! I enjoyed your Lens very much. It is certainly worthy of LotD. I was one of the caretakers for my MIL in her last year. I gave her herbs to provide comfort care, and she didn't experience many of the symptoms of dying. She also refused harmful medical care, which made her life much easier, and I can't say enough about looking for natural alternatives and leaving toxic pharmaceuticals alone. At one point, I had to get on her case about something, but the rest of the time we got along well. Our youngest son stayed with her that year. She went to the hospice inpatient facility for her last 10 days, and I spent as much time with her as I could. The last two days, she was in a semi-conscious state. But she would rouse herself. Our oldest son was the last to arrive to say good-bye, and she roused herself and gave him a hug. On the last day, I was sitting with her, and she started to mouth the words, "I love you" over and over, and I went over to her, stroked her forehead, and said, "I love you, too. I will miss you. Jesus is waiting for you." And she just stopped breathing. The last few days can be so important. She took that opportunity to reconcile with God. Cutting anyone's life short (as some people would like to do) robs the person and his family of some of the most precious days of their lives.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

      This is a sensitive and uplifting lens on a pretty scary topic for most of us. Thanks for your info on how to see the beautiful moments and give the best care we can.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I am caregiving now, and I find your page both helpful and restful. blessings to you for all your hard work chronicling all your insights and work.

    • rainykua profile image

      rainykua 4 years ago

      "Remember, grief is as normal as dying is. Expect it, feel it, live through it, and one day, you'll laugh again." Love this.

      Thanks so much for sharing this lens.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on LOTD; so well deserved. Your mom would be proud. Since we last talked I've experienced several home goings in my own family. Friends are a blessing from God.

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      Asher Socrates 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      You are a fantastic writer my friend. Asher

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 4 years ago

      Congrats on the LOTD & Purple Star. I looked after my dad for years. I think some people know when they are about to die. My dad said goodbye to me the day before he had his final stroke. The next day he had a stroke & died. With all the things he did for me in my life, I was glad that I got a chance to show my appreciation by looking after him. I sure miss him though.

    • TheBLU26 profile image

      TheBLU26 4 years ago

      This lens deserves the Purple Star in every way! Well written, straight from the heart and so true! I appreciate the time and work you put into this and for sharing! THANKS!

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      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Congrats on receiving the LOTD. Well earned.

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I cannot believe it myself but I read your lens from beginning to end and I thought it was a very well written lens and very absorbing. I guess everyone has to deal with this in someway or another someday. Your mum looks like such a lovely lady!

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      Gatortail2 4 years ago

      My grandmother went into hospice four years ago her family doctor who also served as her friend because he was the son of her childhood best friend told me with a wink of his eye he could relieve her pain with morphine. I knew what he ment because he also had cancer so he had little fear of losing his medical liecense for giving her a morphine overdose to stop her heart. I said no, after which I had three years of sleepless nights because of the incredible pain I forced on her. I mistreated one of the finest persons that I ever had in my life by stopping this truly caring offer by her doctor. If I must make a choice like this again I will say yes.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Gatortail2: I don't think you mistreated her at all - choosing an overdose was not your decision but hers. I do hear you though - there were nights when I gave Mom a little extra (certainly not enough to do that kind of thing) but to ease her breathing. I always called Hospice and reported the extra - they never once chastised me. You did the best you could given a very tough decision. Be happy that she knew you were there for her and you loved her. I wish you peace.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for a lovely and informative lens, and congratulations on LOTD! As a nurse, I have witnessed death many times, and your description is completely accurate. I can add, that not one of the people whose final moments I shared seemed afraid or even apprehensive as death came. My condolences on the loss of your dear mother. She looks so sweet and personable, I'm sure she was love by all who knew her.

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      Gatortail2 4 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: The only sounds she was able to make was her near constant groaning lasting for five days so I was her voice and I failed to use it. Her choice would have to take the overdose she was a strong person but could not tolerate pain.

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      WhitePineLane 4 years ago

      This lens has been very interesting for me. I have lost two aunts in the last 30 days. Both my parents will be 80 within the next nine months. The end of life has been on my mind a lot lately. All the things you discuss here are very good and comforting to know ahead of time, and I think will make me not so upset/afraid when the time finally comes to say goodbye to my parents. I thank you for a very helpful and well written article. And hearty congrats for a well deserved LOTD!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      It's creepy but I do agree that people are more likely to die near their birthday. I've heard it too many times before to be mere coincidence. Thanks your sharing your story about your mother. Fantastic lens. Liked and shared. Sundae ;-)

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 4 years ago from USA

      Excellent Lens, and congratulations on the honor of the Lens of the Day. I lost both my mother, at 90, and my dad, at 95½, within the last 3½ years. It was hard to see them go.

      Your Lens is accurate, as we saw almost all of the signs to which you referred, with both of their impending passings.

      We miss them so, but they were dearly beloved when alive, and shall never be forgotten.

      It is true, being a human being is 100% fatal - no one gets out of this life alive. Well, Enoch did, but we haven't heard of anyone doing it recently.

      Much appreciated Lens!

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      HealthySante 4 years ago

      I just discovered this lens and I have tears on eyes as it touches me so much. My mom is in another country so far about 10,000 kms and reading your articles here, I remember her. Who doesn't love a mother? She did everything for the whole family, she's the pillar of the home. She never hurts anyone.

      I lost my grandma without seeing her 5 years. It really hurts!!!

      Thanks for letting me remembers good moments shared with my mom.

      I love you and I keep reading your lens!

    • sunlightseer profile image

      sunlightseer 4 years ago

      We lost my father-in-law (who had been Dad to me for over 40 years) in February. We witnessed almost all the changes and stages you write about. It's sad and scary, but better to be prepared and know that they are not in pain with the unusual actions we see. Thank you for writing on this painful but necessary topic.

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      kayla_harris 4 years ago

      It is really a special topic! Thank you for sharing! And it is very useful!

    • KeemaWolf profile image

      Fiona Findlay 4 years ago from Queensland, Australia

      What a thoughtful and thoughtfully constructed lens on what has to be possibly the toughest topic in the world.

      Thank you for taking the time to create this lens, because it can't have been easy at times.

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      rvmom26 4 years ago

      I am also a is such a blessing! Thank you for this information. I know you and your mom were a blessing to each other!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      My husband,myself and my daughter were with his sister the night she died. We all slept in the room with her so she wasn't alone. When I awoke I think she had already passed as her breathing changed and she was white and cold. It was a very hard thing for my 17 year old to go through as for us to.

    • sjewula profile image

      sjewula 4 years ago

      Thank you. Seven days after my wife's great aunt passed was Valentine's Day. Uncle Frank said that he hadn't missed one in 65 years and he wasn't going to start now. He passed either just before or on Valentine's Day to be with her. Thanks for sharing.

    • Arun2012 profile image

      Arun2012 4 years ago

      This is a very valuable article.

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      anonymous 4 years ago


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      anonymous 4 years ago


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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for this beautiful, and informative article. You and your mom's generous sharing is a true blessing. I hope you are doing well.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was in a relationship with john and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but August 12, 2011 a day I can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because I answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but I refused, and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so downcast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love john very much and I am not willing to loose him to any

      woman, so I ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that make me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster Dr sambol spell temple. if you need his help you can contact him on

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was in a relationship with john and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but August 12, 2011 a day I can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because I answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but I refused, and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so downcast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love john very much and I am not willing to loose him to any

      woman, so I ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that make me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster Dr sambol spell temple. if you need his help you can contact him on

    • profile image

      sailor_man 4 years ago

      nice lens

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a really nice article you are a very good person

    • profile image

      gpoppa 4 years ago

      My Mom is 93 and I see some of the same things in her behavior. We lost my Dad 2.5 years ago and since then she has been depressed, just wanting to die. However, she also uses her situation to get more attention. And that is fine because she deserves it. It's difficult for everyone to deal with the negativity and constant complaining but I gladly do it. After all, she's my Mom. And to me she's the perfect Mom. I wish everyone could have their mom around for as long as I have.

    • Totus Mundus profile image

      Totus Mundus 4 years ago

      Some experiences of death can be quite harrowing. I have had friends and relatives die and the experiences with each have been very different, most of them positive, some not so much.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I wish I'd this wonderful resource when caring for my grandmother temporarily many years ago. Thanks for a great lens!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @WhitePineLane: Thanks so much for your warm comment. I wrote this article originally because I wanted/needed to know what to expect. I'd never witnessed the death of a person before and was scared at first. Finding that there is a natural progression eased my fears and allowed me to ease my Mom's too.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Sammy24: You've made an excellent point - dying is about the person dying and no one else. If family and friends get that one point, life (and death) would be so much easier.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Lareene: I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my sister when she was only 36. That type of death (sudden death) brings a different grief than what I've experienced with my Mom's death.

    • Soap LM profile image

      Soap LM 4 years ago


    • abbielea25 profile image

      abbielea25 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing so much of this information. My grandfather had 3 strokes earlier this year and has quickly gone downhill from there. It's nice to know an idea of what to expect. Also love the pictures with your mom and the dog. Adorable. Thanks again for a great lens.

    • sasta10 lm profile image

      sasta10 lm 4 years ago

      This should be the lens of the year. Great lens and one that touched my heart. Thanks for sharing your experience, a lot can be learned from this lens.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @sasta10 lm: Thank you SO much for the beautiful comment. I really appreciate it.

    • bernie74 lm profile image

      bernie74 lm 4 years ago

      This was so sweet to go through, it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks you so much for sharing this

      Blessed b a Squid Angel

    • Dipalika profile image

      Dipalika 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this. I never thought about this. Death is as beautiful as life. I wish everybody gets to experience this in a natural way ...

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      onyesvic 4 years ago


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      anonymous 4 years ago

      "People facing death, young or old, do not think about what accolades they have earned or what social functions they have attended, what positions they have held, or even how much wealth they have accumulated. At the end, what is on their minds is who they loved and who loved them, who respected them, their family and friends; that circle is everything and is a good measure of oneâs life and whether or not one has made a difference." (Dr.Bernadine Healy quote) Book by her husband Dr.Floyd Loop, former Director Cleveland Clinic.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like your Site I am going to tell my friends

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your lens is very soft and emotional.I respect you for loving and caring your mother so much.This shows your grace and humanity.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 4 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I read this for the second time. Thank you for writing about your experience. It is very helpful.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 4 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I found that I did bless this lens before. Such a wonderful heartfelt piece that I wish I could bless it again!

    • MEDerby profile image

      MEDerby 4 years ago

      How wonderful that you could share this experience with us.

      My closest friend just passed away this month, I had the honor of holding her hand as she left us,

      Birth and death..remarkable bookends

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have read your items with tears and a smile but most of all with a huge amount of respect for you. You have been a wonderful daughter and I only hope I can do some of what you have done

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you SO much for the beautiful comment. I had the best parents in the world; they raised me to give back and that's what I hope some of these articles do.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Your mom was very fortunate to have a daughter like you. Thank you for sharing your story ... and your mom ... with us.

      Hospice is wonderful. With their help, I was able to take my darling hubby - dying of brain cancer - home where he wanted to be - away from the hospital atmosphere he so detested. His prognosis was weeks to months -- he had a mere 19 more days. Almost all of the signs & symptoms you describe here occurred and Hospice helped prepare me so that I was able to remain patient and calm with him. Two days before he died, he slipped into a coma. Our youngest son was with me, but the other two children had had to return home 1,000 miles away after coming to visit with their dad a week earlier. We called each of them that night we thought Bob was going and I held the phone to his ear as they said their final goodbyes. We don't know if he could hear them, but we all like to think he did. It meant a great deal to his other son and daughter to be able to 'speak' their heart to their dad. Bob lived 2 more days and my son & I sat in his room the whole last day to be near him, talking to him; sharing stories. Bob & I were married for 45 wonderful years and knew each other 47 years. He was my best friend; my soulmate. I know we have been together in other lives... and that we will be together again some day. He lives on in my heart every day and will never be forgotten.

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      GeekGirl1 4 years ago

      these tips would be helpful especially to a person working in the hospital. so that they would know how to cope with the loss. thanks for the share

    • Brenda Schilly profile image

      Brenda Schilly 4 years ago

      I appreciate sharing your personal experience. I have been caregiver for 3 years. 2 of them was for individuals with special needs. I changed gears and began working with the elderly. My first patient turned into a hospice patient (we were hired initially for stroke recovery). I learned a lot--from him. his family, the nurses etc. He was the nicest, graciousgoopahoy man I had ever met. A gentleman in every sense of the world.

      Your article was well-written and very informative. Most of the time, it is the family we are "treating" once the patient has accepted death.

      Thanks for your great article,


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      anonymous 4 years ago

      great lens :)

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      keri-dennisfulmore 4 years ago

      Thankyou for such a well written article on such a touching subject. Today marks the one year anniversary of my Nan's death and I miss her dearly. I'd believe in life after death, so I am comforted in thinking she is still in existence somewhere and definitely in my heart.

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      CristianStan 4 years ago

      You put this together very well, I have a relative who might pass away soon, so this is very helpful and comforting

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      Mellithorpe 4 years ago

      Although your lens was very hard for me to read and relive my husband's death 4 years ago, it answered some questions I had about the last moments with him, my father and mother. I've always said I never want to go through that again but If the time comes with another loved one, I don't want to be anywhere else.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I wish I had read this before my father's prolonged demise last summer. I would have been able to help his wife more. I will insist that my children read this (though as Kenny Chesney says, "Everybody wants to go to heaven--they just don't want to go now!"

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      CoolKarma 4 years ago

      Amazing, awe inspiring and incredible lens. Thank you so much for sharing and all the helpful info. I am so glad your mom had a peaceful passing, and a daughter that loved her so much.

    • Ravyn LM profile image

      Ravyn LM 4 years ago

      Very well thought out! As a part-time care-giver and a (almost) OTA, this page is an easy read for someone who might want more information. I hope you don't mind if I use your page to send people to through my career.

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      RGrieco 4 years ago

      I did cry reading your lens, you see I went through exactly what you did with my grandmother, she was 95 also when she died back in Dec 2009, it was a heartbreaking time, thanks for sharing.

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      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      My aunt passed away from breast cancer two years ago today. The last few weeks were something I can't explain---you did a very good job here with all of the tips, advice. The time line is very helpful. I used to work in the hospital as well for 16 years with breast cancer patients and the energy surge you described was always so interesting to me. This page will be extremely helpful to those facing this situation.

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      Ankushvchoudhary 4 years ago

      Awesome lens..

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      crossroadsblogg 4 years ago

      nice share... :)

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      Right Believing 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such a "touching" story. It sounds like you and your Mom had a wonderful loving relationship that will live-on forever.

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      CanInsure 4 years ago

      Hard to swallow, but it is a reality.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wooow, this great lens here at squidoo. I am really impressed. I made time to read all the content but it worths it, really!

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      Hillbilly_Direct 4 years ago

      After losing my younger brother, I spent years reading books trying to understand death. I felt I couldn't 'live' with life anymore without understanding, what's it all about, what comes next and all that. I basically felt I faced a fork in my life, I wanted to wallow in self pitty, but knew that wasn't good for me or my child. So I had to figure out how to live again. Thankfully I did, I came to terms with the lose of my brother, it still hurts some days, but it doesn't dominate my life. Following this trajic lose, my step dad became ill with cancer. Over the course of about 5 months, we watched him wither away and eventually he passed. We knew when the time was near, we feared it, but we knew. It was not as hard, because I had learned and dealt with death previously with my brother. I accepted his passing so much easier. I feel for my mom of course, going into her golden years, it is not fair, she lost her life partner. But even she is doing well and is happy. Death is very interesting, inevitable, unavoidable, we all face it eventually.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a fascinating page, made all the more poignant because I don;t expect my onw dear Mum to survive much longer. Thank you for sharing this page, I have found it very comforting.

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      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Really intense and informative. Thanks for sharing all this useful information. I am sure one day I will need to come back to it. Squid Angel blessed.

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      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      We lost my mother-in-law recently and i recognise many of the signs wish you have outlined although I don't know about the time table. At the time MIL was in a care home and well looked after, we visited as often as possible but three months before her eventual death my youngest son suffered a bout of viral encephelitis ( very similar to meningitis) and of course we spent lots of time at his bedside in hospital and then looking after him at home. We were very much helped by the care home staff who made her last days very easy, or as easy as possible for her.

      A well-presented lens on a difficult subject.

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      Writing Nag 4 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      My favorite lens of the year. Helpful, loving and sensitive ideas on a tough subject. I commend you for sharing your mom with the community, reading your lenses makes me feel like I knew her. Well done.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Back to say thank you. My Mum passed away yesterday and I was with her. Knowing what to expect, through having read this lens, helped me so much. And yes, Mum's breath had a sweet smell about it that was exactly like the treacle tarts she used to make :)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: AJ: I'm so very sorry to hear of your Mom's death. I hope she passed easily, as my dear Mom did and am so glad to hear that my article helped you. Once I understood how death usually works, I was no longer scared. I hope your sorrow is manageable and pray for your quick recovery. Much love. Lori

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have never had the chance to read or talk with someone that had so many similar health issues as I have been living with my mother for the past 9 years. They started out more infrequently but since a major hemorhagic stroke in Aug 11, it has been ongoing. I am grateful for the good days and still confused on the bad ones. We have spurts of clarity, co2 retention, TIA's, seizures, pneumonia, ups, downs, ALF's, SNF's, rehab, med changes, incontinence, confusion, etc. I am emotionally raw and exhausted. I never in a million years thought I wouldn't continue to do it all myself but I am a mom to 3 kids 4-13; and I just couldn't keep up. I go every day and spend time, every Dr, question everything and advocate to the best of my is exhausting and emotionally draining, though I would do nothing different. I have felt so very alone as none of my friends have had to encounter this yet. Thank you for your blog. Thank you for sharing. I do not know where my story will end, though I suspect it won't be long. She is in the hospital with pneumonia again, and I can never get past is this the last time I'll see her? It's very hard to explain to those who haven't been there.

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      jseven lm 4 years ago

      I can't believe it has almost been a year already! This lens is so dear to my heart as I was my dying mom's caretaker, too. I will never forget those precious moments and am back to bless this lens. Thanks again for sharing such intimacy.

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      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Donna: I'm so sorry I have no direct way to get back to you as I'd like to speak to you. From your comment, you're doing everything you can do (and exactly what I would do). You're caught though in the sandwich generation - I chose early on not to have children so I was able to put all my attention to caring for Mom. I'm sure you're run down and would caution you to take care of yourself first so you can keep up the exhausting pace you've documented. If you read this, please use the 'contact' button on the top of this article to leave me your email address so I can get to you directly. I wish you and your Mom peace. Lori

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: Donna, my heart goes out to you and I want to echo what Lori says - you are doing everything you can so don't beat yourself up about what you can't do.

      My Dad was my Mum's carer but we had to put her into a Nursing Home because she needed personal care 24/7. There was no way my Dad could cope, even with qualified Carers coming in each day to help. After 9 months of visiting my Mum every single day, my Dad died, very suddenly. Mum's Care Home was an hour's drive away and because of my own health I could not drive to see her without help from my husband.

      It was impossible to visit Mum as often as I wanted to and there was no prospect of moving her. I would go through phases of dreadful guilt but as the Nursing Home said to me, I was doing everything I could as I too have children who need me.

      Today I am planning my dear Mum's funeral and yes, I know what you mean about that at every visit you wonder if it will be the last, so each time you are mentally saying goodbye. It is emotionally draining and exhausting.

      My thoughts are with you and your family Donna.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: Thank you Lori and yes, Mum passed very peacefully, with me holding her hand and telling her I love her.

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      ukprowriter 4 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for sharing. I worked in the funeral business for 21years so I can relate to so much on here

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      GabrielaFargasch 4 years ago

      God bless you for writing about such a difficult topic... I have aging parents and I cannot imagine having to cope with the inevitable one day... what comforts me is that I strongly believe in the Afterlife... I know we go someplace much better than Earth...

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      LiliLove 4 years ago

      My grandma died a year ago. I still miss her everyday. Thank you for sharing my story. Blessed!

    • alina nicoleta92 profile image

      alina nicoleta92 4 years ago

      Such a great lens. It reminded me of my grandpa who I am missing tremendously.

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      hmommers 4 years ago

      Tears in my eyes for the most part of your lens. And what great advice you have! I am so tuned in to my Mum that I have recognized some of the symptoms you describe without being able to know what they mean. That's clearer to me now. What a pair of tough cookies our mothers are! My Mum's home called me three weeks ago to be prepared for the final stage because of a pneumonia, but like your mother my Mum is het old self again. Thank you so much for this lens. I have read more of yours and I am going to read the others as well. But I am limiting it because besides being very informative they also bring me to tears every time. :'-)

      Hugs and kisses, Hannie

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Great lens. Thanks for sharing that.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      This lens is so very helpful on so many levels. Caregivers or not, it is so important to be aware of these signs and prepare the best we can for them and for us. Congratulations on your purple star, lens of the day, and many blessings. A work of love all the way!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a good lens. When I worked in a hospice...I would have to explain certain things like this to people. It is not easy. At all. Good lens, thank you for making it.

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      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Wonderful Lens! Thank you!

    • jen17 lm profile image

      jen17 lm 3 years ago

      Hi gottaloveit,

      I just wanted to let you know how much I admire your lens. It deals with a very tough subject and you covered with such grace and compassion. I recently lost my Mom to cancer and could identify with so much you said. Yours is one of those really helpful lenses, one that is bookmark worthy and one that will help so many grieving people if they just read it. Thank you for your empathy and compassion. No wonder you received a purple star.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @jen17 lm: Thank you SO much for the kind words - it meant the world to me to read an emotional post. I'm so sorry for your loss and hopeful that your grief is short. I'm doing well almost 2 years later.

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      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Very moving piece of personal writing. I admire you a great deal for being so frank and open about a delicate subject. Well done!

    • three michi profile image

      three michi 3 years ago

      What a wonderful, touching and informative lens! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      This is definitely information that needs to be shared! I wished that I had this type of information available when I was hospice care giver for my dad. This was the hardest experience that i have been through and this information would have made it much easier to bear.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you so much for your kind words. This article never earns much but I'm so glad I wrote it - the comments are worth their weight in gold.

    • RPWag profile image

      RPWag 3 years ago

      I went through this recently with my 89 year old Aunt. My family was her only family within 2000 miles and she really needed help. She had dementia on top of her failing health. I wish we had this great information during that tough time.

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      sethandressen 3 years ago

      This lens brought back memories of my aunt's death. I was young then but can now somehow relate to the moments mentioned here.

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      jeaniechampagne44 3 years ago

      I'm amazed at the volume of information here - thanks (seems so inappropriate). I googled signs of pending death which led me here - to you and your wonderful and thought-filled writings! My Mother is 94 and today she fell asleep while eating a strawberry blast from Sonic --- this was uncharacteristic ..though her short term memory basically hit and miss for years, she is alert and has never fallen asleep during the day while I'm visiting her (she is being cared for in a nursing home)... and never while eating ice cream -- which she ate without being persuaded to do so. I watched her sleep and noticed odd facial expressions and she kept opening her mouth. So, I shared my observations with her nurse - who reported Mother voicing earler today that she was very tired and did go back to sleep. All this is different, as Mother has been independent, taking herself to the bathroom, as well as feeding herself and verbalizing her needs, getting out of bed alone and walking in the hallway with the aid of only a walker. Although, I see her often, I've been mindful of her age and when the phone rings - the thought crosses my mind that it could be the nursing home. Lately, in that regard, I've included in my prayers a request for a sign, so I'm not totally caught off guard - selfish, I suppose. You know what they say about being careful what you ask for. I appreciate your writings so much.... I will continue to go through them.... Jeanie Champagne, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @jeaniechampagne44: Jeanie, what a wonderful compliment you've given me. Thank you SO much for taking the time to jot down your thoughts. I hope your Mom is doing well. What you're seeing are probably the beginning signs of waning. I'm thinking of you. Please contact me if I can help you in any way. Please kiss your Mom for me. And, hug her tight.

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      carliedun92 3 years ago

      Death is really inevitable. You do not exactly know when will your life end. Hence, you must make the most out of the time given to you. Live life to the fullest and experience every single moment this life has to offer and when the right time comes, you are ready to accept death and you won't regret anything.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @carliedun92: You are SO right. As I post this, I'm in a hospital waiting room, praying for a dear friend who is having surgery; I'm in the same waiting room where I waited for my darling Mom after her hip surgery in 2011. Memories are flooding back - mostly good ones.

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      carliedun92 3 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: I agree with you. Our departed loved ones would be happy to know that we continuously cherish every moment we had with them. Also, we should always keep in our hearts all these good memories because these are the best keepsakes we could forever treasure.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @carliedun92: You are SO right on all sentiments. I am so very grateful that I had those 5 years with my Mom. Those who had the opportunity and didn't take it really missed something special, if you ask me. And, we had relatives just miles away who rarely dropped by....or called....

    • profile image 8 months ago

      Thank you so much for all you've written! My much loved ex mother in law lives with my husband and me. She is a wonderful person who has been like a mother to me. She is turning 96 in a couple of days which is why I was looking for gifts for the elderly and just happened upon your page. And one led to another! I appreciate so much all that you've written and I will be back for more. I've learned so much this evening and can't thank you enough.

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 7 days ago from Philippines

      this is a beautiful story. Thank you so very, very much.

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