Death of my friend, I was there.

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Hi everyone I have a beautiful friend who is 58 years old and has been in a facility for the last 13 months in a persistent vegetative state. He has been a dear dear friend for over 40 years and he is a very well-known musician in our community and across the country. There are tens and thousands of people who are truly his friends he was he is an incredible human being I just need to explain his personality because he was small in stature but huge in've never met a human being like him.
I've been going to visit him throughout the months and I will say that he was minimally responsive to many different things but over the course of the month I saw that he was diminished and I believe everything happens for a reason so when a CNA accidentally dislodged his feeding tube about 10 days ago, they did not put it back in because it was Preposterous to continue to keep him in that state. I have been grieving his loss for 13 months and wishing him gone for all that time because he would be so pissed off you can't even imagine!!!!
I'm just a person I'm a mom I have two grown kids I have never worked in healthcare kind of creeps me out and even though I'm a truly loving and compassionate person when my grandmother died I couldn't even touch her body and she was the absolute love of my life.... so now Begins the story that I'm here to talk to you about...
After 10 days off of life support I felt a tremendous urgency to pack a bag and get myself out to his facility as quickly as I could I actually felt myself being pushed and I had to hold my emotions back from getting too overly anxious. Whatever was driving me I had to Pace it because it was much stronger than a human being can bear!!! I made it out to where he is and walked into his room where his roommate had his family of five visiting... where the patient across the hall screamed help at the top of his lungs every 15 seconds... where there were buzzers and nurses and CNAs and clicking and dripping and craziness everywhere I said no no no no!!!!! Never to be one that follows protocol I barged literally barged into the administrator's office at 3 p.m. and asked her to please move my friend to a private room for a few hours so he can die please it needs to be done now... it wasn't really me barging in anywhere I was being pushed to do it and I did it and I was glad. That staff and the two visitors pulled everything together and got us in that private room within eight minutes flat... honestly it was a miracle the room was huge you could have had 40 people in there literally!!! I was so thrilled but I knew we had work to do and my God you guys I've tell you it wasn't me what work was I going to do and how was I going to do it???? It's the strangest feeling... I just made that room as quiet and peaceful as I possibly could with a battery operated candle and then a woman walked in with a little boombox and she didn't speak English very well and asked me if he liked music oh my God you guys he's the best harmonica player you've ever heard and that is his occupation always has been... I told her yes of course we will definitely play some music and she asked me what kind... I told her he was a blues musician but I didn't really think she understood me... she came back and apologized for the CD she was giving me saying it was wrong but it was BB King and it was absolutely right.
With everyone gone it was just the two of us so I talked and talked and sang and caressed his face and wiped his brow with a cool cloth and kissed him and did things to this man that were so far beyond my capacity. From 6 p.m. till 2 a.m. I talked this man out of staying here any longer then two CNAs came in because I asked them to move him over in the bed... he was a skeleton with skin... I laid down next to him so I could count his death rattle breaths and I instantly fell asleep. The nurses were administering morphine every hour on the hour and I never heard a sound. At 4:55 a.m. on August 2nd I walk to the sound of my name being called by the nurse telling me he's gone...
This is only 48 hours ago so I want to know why did he died when I was asleep?? What actually happened in that bed when his Spirit left his body and how could I have just simply been there and feel or see or hear nothing absolutely dead nothing.!!!!! I'm here because I'm not sure how to feel even though I feel elated and relieved and so happy that I helped my friend cross over but keep in mind this has nothing to do with me however right now it kind of does--- because I'm still a vital human being who has these feelings of well I don't know what the feelings are!! I'm not sad I literally and truly have gone to the stages and have accepted that he is gone... but how could I have touched him and handle him and been with him so intimately and so self-assured when in fact I'm truly the most emotional puddle of Tears woman you have ever ever met... how did I handle everything so naturally? How should I feel now?


I don't really get what you are asking. I think you may be asking where your strength came from during such an emotional time.

I think we all have reserves of strength we don't even know we have. It's kind of like the stories you hear about someone lifting a car off of somebody. It's like when you need it suddenly you have this super human power. You only tap into it when it's necessary but I believe we all possess it.

All my life I thought I would absolutely fall apart when my Mom started to age. But when she did start to deteriorate I suddenly went into survival mode and handled things like a little warrior. I think when push comes to shove and you have no other choice you just do it. You can fall apart when it's all over. That's what happened to me.

I think when you love someone a lot you want to be the strength that they no longer
have. That's love taking over. Love is the most powerful emotion and it can conquer all if you let it. I think that is what happened with you. You let your love take charge. It may sound hokey but I truly believe it.
No it doesn't sound hokey at all and to be honest I just started to search because I wasn't sure how I was feeling right now... I don't feel all together with it I kind of feel a little bit detached from reality... maybe it's just been a really long time since I've grieved a death or maybe because this was such a profound experience... but I was really curious to find out how people who went through what I went through feel right now like the day after or a few days after... I mean I'm a sixty-two-year-old woman I'm not a kid who doesn't understand her own emotions... so I guess I just need to write it out because it's not bad it's just fuzzy unfocused and weird.
I suppose that the biggest question I have can't possibly be answered. Why did he die in the three hours that I was sleeping? And I'm truly sorry because I'm not even sure why I'm asking this question and I have never actually publicly grieved so... please forgive the fact that I'm not 1000% coherent but I do appreciate your beautiful answer... and I thank you with my whole heart for being there to hear me and listen♡♡♡♡♡
RhonaLee, you mentioned that your friend died while you were asleep. Note that there are some patients who rather pass on when no one is in the room as the patient doesn't want friends and relatives see them die.

Since you were there being such a kind gentle friend, he waited until you were in a deep sleep. He probably felt this would be the best thing for both you and him.

Both my parents died differently. My Dad waited until I was out of the room. He probably thought that was the best thing. His caregiver was there the whole time, so he wasn't alone.

I stayed over night at my Mom's long-term-care, and found her favorite all time movie at 1 in the morning. Five minutes after the movie ended, Mom passed. Hospice later told me even though Mom was in a coma, she was "watching" the movie.
Rhonalee I think a higher power was guiding you. Your friend needed to see you one last time and you were compelled to go.
Many people and animals sense when something is about to happen. Sometimes a dog will die by his masters bed and not move for as long as 48 hours. People ready to die frequently wait until they are alone before they pass over. You think they are alone but i believe people who have gone before come to escort them to the other side
You are receptive in a way you never knew before. Some would say you are psychic. I have a friend who has those powers. When one of her daughters had a very premature baby that was not expected to live she put her hand in the incubator and the new born took a finger and squeezed. My friend told her daughter the baby was going to make it and she did.
I also had a strong experience when my half sister was born. I guessed by accident that my Dad's partner was pregnant and some how the day I felt the baby was being born on a certain day. Years later when I had reconciled with my dad and met my half sister for the first time I found i had been absolutely correct. the day I had the feelings was my half sister's birthday.
You are not alone having these premonitions many people will probably share the same stories.
Try and think of it as a gift rather than a trauma. Youn were gifted with those few last hours you were able to spend with your very special friend and I believe he knew you were there. As a hospice nurse i often urged family members to get in bed with their loved one for the last few hours.
Rhonalee, what beautiful tribute to your wonderful friend! Your story really touched me, and I believe Gershun is right, you tapped into your strength and reserves, to give him exactly what he needed, to lovingly and gently pass over, with his true friend by his side. He must have been so appreciative, that you made it happen, just as he wanted it to, cuddled up to someone who cared so much about him.

I think you are a wonderful person to have sensed his needs, even though you may not have understood them at the time. It was a Devine intervention, and you made that happen, and that's Lovely! Who knows what higher power implored you to take these actions, but they did, and you should feel blessed to have been given that job to do! It's absolutely Amazing, and will be something for you to gain strength from as your life moves forward. You will never forget that profound feeling, and I thank you for sharing! I love it!

Of course you will feel sadness and grieve his loss, but he is in a better place, and you made that happen, giving him grace and dignity in his final hours. Good on you!
Dear RhonaLee,

My deepest condolences and sympathies on the passing of your cherished friend. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Very good of you to be with him and care for him. I know its hard. We all want to be there but its like the others have said, its not uncommon for someone to wait till loved ones have left the room. Its still a horrible shock.

With every passing comes so much raw emotion. It sure doesn't feel real. My dad passed 9 months ago and I still can't believe it.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Thinking of you. Sending all my thoughts and prayers. Please know you gave your dear friend a wonderful gift. The gift of your presence and love. Its more than most people have in their final moments.
I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

All I can say is there is something mystical about being with someone you love very much when they pass to the next world. The feeling can also be defined as a divine experience as i defined it for the two people I have been with as they passed. 
You are taken away with the entire process. I had a favorite aunt pass away with about 6 of we close close family there when after talking to family decided to shut off her ventilator after we saw that any more medical treatment was for naught. I will never forget the love in that room during that time before she passed away. We all held hands and touched her as well so she knew we were there. We prayed together as her heartbeat slowly stopped and it was over for her here on earth with us anyway.
It is a truly spiritual event. My aunt was loved by many and we were all there.
My mom on the other hand was the opposite of her sister and more private. She wasn't a person with a lot of friends but was more immediate family based.
I was with her alone when she passed. But I fell asleep and woke immediately when my brain didn't hear the sound of her deep shallow breathing anymore. I too felt so so guilty for years about not being there holding her hand while she slipped away to God. I was fortunate to find this site where I found it was common for some loved ones to pass while their daughter, etc was asleep or stepped out. Since then I have thought so much about how my falling asleep was so selfish that I could not have made myself stay awake. I have come to terms with this finally as I truly don't think my mom wanted me to see her actually take her last breath as maybe (and most definitely) she was correct in I would always have that as a bad memory but perhaps she wanted to ease my suffering by not having me see her die. Hard to explain but yes it was to me an honor to just be there with the both of my two girls that passed.
You will feel the grief soon as you are in a state of disbelief for a time as the aftermath of such an event is jarring.
Those two times I was with my mom and her sister, my aunt in 2008, my mom in 2013, I have never felt closer to the Lord. Now I am not overly religious either; raised Catholic it's hard to ignore the basics and by my choice say my diety is the Lord above is there and it's up to everyone to define their diety and beliefs for themselves faced with this decision. To me the actual passing was in a sense beautiful, breathtaking, awesome as you feel a transcendence where a spirit shifts out and away.
My honor to be there.
Don't beat yourself up over being asleep, happened to me with the person I loved more than anyone in my life - my precious mother.
Love does take over. Love guides us through.
It's all so basic it's beautiful.
Yes you will grieve now and cry tears of sadness as he is gone. Well, gone from this earth for sure, but never gone from our hearts where they live on through love.
What a lovely thing you did for your friend by being with him and providing comfort. What a lovely thing he did for you to allow you to share in his trip back home or wherever he believes he needed to go to.
Take a few hours now to settle into the new normal where your friend will no longer be here on earth, remember fun times, loving times with him and feeling secure in you were there to stand with him as he departed this life.
In the next few days (funeral, burial, etc) you will get sadness back and cry and grieve. But for me I was sort of comfortable in knowing my mom knew I was there and even in the room sleeping and just like in life would forfeit anything she wanted if I needed it. My mother arranged it with love in mind.
I am proud of you that you were with him and you two were brought together for the end of his life.

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