ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to say goodbye to a dying loved one

Updated on March 14, 2016

GERTRUDE IS WHITE!

Those were 3 of the last words my Mom said as she was dying. And, let me tell you, she sat straight up out of a coma to utter them. I reassured her that 'Yes, Gertrude was white' and she slipped away again. But, I remember laughing...we always had laughter....

Don't buy me green bananas

~My Mom

Books to help you understand the feelings of those who are dying and the dying process

I'm a big fan of education and, when I was a caregiver, I armed myself with as much knowledge as possible. In talking to other caregivers, it struck me how little we knew about the feelings of the dying and the dying process itself. So, here's a few good books on Amazon.com that may help guide you as you ease your loved one toward the end of their life.

I'm so grateful this woman was my mother

I'm so grateful this woman was my mother
I'm so grateful this woman was my mother

Senior citizen caregiving 101: Things I wish I'd known - My newest Kindle eBook

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

I cared for my Mom for 5 years after Dad died. I started off being a caregiver with absolutely no training - that was, until Mom started to teach me how to take care of her. I'm lucky in that I had the best Mom/teacher of anyone I know. She was an incredibly easy patient and, for that, I'll be forever grateful.

I wrote this eBook to help other new caregivers who may have absolutely no idea what they're doing. Been there, done that. And, I'm hoping to lessen your learning curve. So, buy the book!

 

Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult

transition to finally letting go of sorrow -

it is not a permanent rest stop

~Dodinsky

Assure your loved one that you've "got it covered."

My Dad was fine the last time I saw him, just 2 weeks before he died. He died sort of "suddenly", well, as suddenly as an 89 year old man can. He got sick at 11 pm on April 3, 2007, went to the hospital 4 hours later, and died right then. There was no warning, no long goodbyes, no painful ending. None of that. He just died. I consider this type of death "winning the game." There was no pain, no lingering, no sadness on his part. He just died. Although it was a tough for me, especially since I was to comfort my elderly Mom, I was content in that he knew how we'd carry on. We had a plan.

You see, I had spoken to Dad many times of what we expected after he was gone. He'd had open heart surgery at 68 years old. The doctors gave him 10 years - he lived 26 more. But, during those 10 years post-op, Dad and I spoke often of the plan for Mom if he should die before he did. My older sister had died at just 36 years of age so I was next to up bat.

I assured Dad many times that, no matter who was left behind, they would live with me as long as I could ensure their safety. So, Dad knew prior to his death that Mom would become my priority. And she was. I believe he rested easier knowing that Mom's future (if there was one) was set. At least, I hope he did.

Just 10 days before her death, my gorgeous mama still shared laughs and smiles

Just 10 days before her death, my gorgeous mama still shared laughs and smiles
Just 10 days before her death, my gorgeous mama still shared laughs and smiles

Trust in your instincts and the right words will come

Trust in your instincts when speaking to the dying - in my own case, as Mom neared death, I was able to continue to share a sense of humor with her. One of her frequent musings was "Don't buy me green bananas." A lot of people might think I was being crass but, in the end, I was just being the daughter that my Mom raised me to be - especially one time when I was convinced she was dying of pneumonia and I leaned in and whispered "Tell Dad to send money...." I know, I know - please don't slam me in the comment section below.

My Mom taught me to deal with the successes and failures of life lightly, with humor. I consider it a legacy to Gertie to continue on with the wit which we shared.

BTW, this picture was taken on our last outing to lunch just 10 days before Mom died. As I recall, she didn't eat much of her sandwich but she finished her beer....That was my mama, through and through.

Thank you, Mom.

~Me

I love to hear from those who come by my little piece of the internet world. So, leave me comments please!

Please leave me comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for letting us in and sharing your thoughts with all of us.

      Your mom enjoyed you just as much as you did her. She was proud to the tips of her toes of the daughter & woman you've become.

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      This is amazing

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      If this is the Gertie pictured with a biker helmet on another lens, I would have happily given her a Harley ride.

    • profile image

      vgopal 4 years ago

      Amazing Lens loved it.

    • profile image

      Insurance-Provider 4 years ago

      Very touching......thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great words of wisdom. I remember my Dad's last days as I was driving him to the doctor and he quietly said, "I'm afraid of dying." I was taken aback and said, "Tell me how you feel about it." He was silent before he shouted, "I said, I'm afraid of your driving!"

      I miss the Gertie stories, too.

    • profile image

      ellen-dey-9 4 years ago

      That was really wonderful. I lost my younger sister to brain cancer and her husband and I were her caretakers. It was a labor of love. But I still miss her every day and if it wasn't for her daughter and grand-daughters I don't know what I would do. I still cry for my loss. Someday I hope to find my new normal. I really commend you for being able to write this.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      You bring tears to my eyes again, Lori. Gert was so fortunate to have you as her daughter, but obviously she knew that. You have written another, beautiful compassionate article that not only honors your mother but yourself (however unintentionally). You are a beautiful soul. Your written words will immensely help others in similar situations. Blessed!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Shoot! It's not accepting the blessing!

    • profile image

      Bitbreaker 4 years ago

      wow! its so useful. thanks for share.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      God bless you. May your parents rest in peace together along with your sister.

    • pericaluic profile image

      pericaluic 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      OK, I can't resist telling a story about my dad's last day at the hospital. The nurse was trying to get him to cough to help his breathing. She said, "Cough, Clyde, cough" and then my sister echoed her request, "Cough, Dad."

      Feeling fed up, I'm sure with the whole hospital experience, instead of a chest-clearing cough, he said the words, "cough, cough, cough."

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      My dad just passed last Tuesday, and I'm a mess - I'm finding it very very difficult to think he will no longer be on this earth - I wrote a Letter to My Dad and posted in my lens called Best Father Daughter Songs - I thought when the time came I would be ready...I'm not, I miss him so much it hurts like a physical injury.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

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

      I can only hope when my time comes, my daughters and son are as wise as you are. You have a real gift my friend, for writing your feelings. Don't ever give it up, because it's the best therapy in the world for troubles of any kind. Gertie was a wonderful woman who raised a wonderful daughter.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This was very beautiful. You're mother was blessed to have you.. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This was very beautiful. You're mother was blessed to have you.. Thank you for sharing

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      You may not be a "specialist in the field of dying," but your heartfelt pages about your mom are special, indeed. She must have been a beautiful soul to have raised such a wonderful daughter.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      It is wonderful that you share your love for your Mom and your grief with others. No doubt many will find your experience will aid them when the time comes to say goodbye to their loved ones. I can only pray that my child (or another loved one) will be as compassionate a caregiver for me in my dying days as you have been for your parents.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Ruthi: Ruthi: it's comments like this that keep me going on. When Mom was alive, I used to read her each and every comment I got on my articles - she was tickled and she would be again. Thank you so much.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @LisaDH: Thanks you for the beautiful comment. My Mom was, indeed, a beautiful soul - what a nice way to put it!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @LisaDH: Thanks you for the beautiful comment. My Mom was, indeed, a beautiful soul - what a nice way to put it!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you, Sunny. I was way more blessed to have my Mom than she was to have me!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      @Nancy Hardin: Thanks, Nancy. If I were closer, I'd certainly help you out. In fact, even from afar, I'm here for you. Much love.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      I hesitated to come to this lens because I thought I might cry. I did a bit, but the lens is so sweet. Pinned to "This i want you to know." And I am going to spend part of my day thinking of the mystery behind "Gertrude is White"

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 4 years ago from Chico California

      I am so glad I found this page today. Thank you for your compassionate spirit and your generosity to share about your Mom and how we can be better at understanding the cycle of our lives. We need to prepare ourselves and our loved ones for loss. And to be participants in the healing. When I read "Gertrude is White" I felt LIGHT surrounding her. I believe your story will comfort many.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a treasure once again and another perfect remembrance of Gertie. I know I didn't do it right when Dad was dying 30 years ago. Now, Mom is 86 and still insisting on living alone and gets along well for the most part with her books, deer and birds. She fell while running to my Uncle's last fall and broke 3 bones in her face. Now she fell a few weeks ago on ice, probably running from the mail box and has a long break in her arm that is healing well. Her physical condition is excellent, even probably better than mine but she is starting to lean and jut her chin more of the time and her eyes are dimming. Memory is her greatest issue but talk to her and she is very happy and so pleased to be in her own home with no plan of moving. I was glad to hear that you got that 6 weeks away, I had thought about you many times back then. Loved on FB and hopefully many will receive this wisdom of love! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This lens reminded me of my grandmother. I used to spend a lot of time with her. It has been around 17 years since she left us. Really a touching read. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      NinaCatonGupta 3 years ago

      thank you for writing this. it is very moving and has helped me in a currently difficult situation - i have spent a long, long time thinking about everything you have shared.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Thank you so much, I was a care giver to my beautiufl mom too, I miss her so much and reading your posts brought back beautiful memories and helped with my grief she passed in March here at home in her big comfy bed with me by her side

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Whatv a beautiful lens. She was undoubtedly a very special lady!

    • profile image

      Bookquest 3 years ago

      I found your blog while researching for an upcoming cruise - little did I know that your words are exactly what I needed to read and that they have nothing to do with cruising. My elderly mother is declining quite quickly -I so needed to read your articles on recognizing the some very painful signs of the end being near. Thank you for sharing your mother's final days and most importantly your kind and compassionate thoughts on saying goodbye. Its oh so hard for me and my siblings to accept that our mother is fading! You have given me insight into this necessary part of her life journey. Thank you.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @Bookquest: I am so very sorry to hear of your Mom's demise. I pray that those last days are painless and she's as comfortable as possible, like my Mom was. Knowing the signs and symptoms of death really helped me accept these new changes. As Mom would say 'these things happen.' Please contact me at dogloving1@yahoo.com if you need questions answered or any support. Lori

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      It's tough to think about, but it makes sense to think and talk about it early. My aunt died recently, and quite quickly. Different peoples' reactions to what she said and did in her last few days varied greatly. I felt that she had a right to say and do whatever the hell she felt like, but there was some concern that she wasn't behaving as 'nicely' as she had her whole life. I think faced with that situation I might tell a few people to @&%$ off too and spend my little remaining time with the people *I* wanted to.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      @Erin Mellor: Oh boy, are WE in the same boat! The dying have every right to do and say whatever they need to. The 'filter we all live with is gone when the body starts trying to conserve all its energy and focus on living. I too had a relative who was offended by some of my mom's actions - my mom's filter simply left and her dislike of this particular woman shone through. I thought 'about time!' That woman is no longer in my life and I'm way better for it.

    • profile image

      Tikileahsmom 2 years ago

      Such a beautiful article.........this was very helpful reading. And I love that you were able to find humor with your mom when you thought she was near death. I want to laugh till the end and hope that those with me understand this. Thank you for sharing

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 2 years ago

      @Brite-Ideas: I'm so sorry I'm just now seeing this comment. Your loss is profound, go ahead and wallow a bit. It's ok for his passing to be very very difficult for you - that's quite normal. But, you'll go on to write again, to laugh again, and to have fond memories of your Dad again. Time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds but it does make them easier to bear.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image
      Author

      gottaloveit2 2 years ago

      @Tikileahsmom: Thanks for your kind comment. We did laugh - a lot. These days, Mom is frequently in my mind and we still laugh together.

    • profile image

      Angela 2 years ago

      im currently caring for my father-in-law in our home. I've learned more about life while caring for him than anyone else could ever teach me! I feel so honored to do this...but, like you, I will feel a big sense of relief when he is finally called home to be with his wife who passed away 8 months ago. He's only 76 and still sharp but fading every day. We expect maybe another week with him. Thank you for the wonderful blog...helped me a lot!

    Click to Rate This Article