How to say goodbye to a dying loved one
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
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
Senior citizen caregiving 101: Things I wish I'd known - My newest Kindle eBook
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
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
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.
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