It's not a relief watching her die. It's peaceful. Anyone else felt that way?

Started by

My 90-year old bedridden grandmother has been declining rapidly over the last few weeks, as some of you know (not my first post). Since I've been living with her for the past 6 years, I noticed her slow decline over the years, when she first started losing her balance and falling, when she no longer would leave the house even to get her pension... In a way, I've had 6 years to accept the idea that she is mortal. Now that she broke her hip, became bedridden, lost the little will to live that she had, and stopped eating and drinking, I see the changes happen every week, almost daily. I don't feel relief watching her waste away sleeping with her eyes half-open. I might feel that later, when she's gone. For now, I just feel the kind of calm and peace one does when one's made a decision. I like standing close to her, watching her breathe irregularly. I enjoy just being there for her in case she wakes up and needs something. All of the pills are more or less useless now, so I can spare her the discomfort. I have put my life on hold for real now, and I no longer feel pressured into doing it, because I know it won't be long before I have it all to myself again. Did any of you feel the same way during the last days/weeks?


Very insightful and bravely spoken message, Belle

Trying to make decisions concerning not just another's welfare but their life is very stressful and the calm and peace you feel is divine guidance letting you know all is as it should be
I genuinely thought my mother might get better. We had been through some close shaves before during the previous two to three years, and I honestly hoped that if I didn't make any mistakes and didn't panic and kept on keeping on she would turn the corner.

But I'm glad for you both that you've reached this kind of acceptance - less stressful for your grandmother, as well as for you.
I'm so glad you are feeling at peace. Even after we brought in Hospice (who were wonderful), I kept thinking that mom was going to "turn the corner" and "get better". She had a long slow decline and then fell, breaking her wrist. Then she developed pneumonia, which we treated. But as you say, her eyes were half closed, she stopped being able to process food and her breathing was irregular. I think I got to the feeling at peace part about 10 minutes before she died. You are lucky to have such insight!
I didn't feel that way. I felt responsible to "make it all better"

Up until the last 10 days, I was still trying to get to the bottom of what was causing the pain, and "fix" her.

The last 10 days were the most stressful for me...and the final day was a horror I would never wish on anyone. Peaceful is not a word I would use for any part of those weeks.

Peace only comes now...months later. When I realize I lost Mom..not last June, but more than a year before that when the stroke stole every bit of who she was.

I'm so glad you're at peace. End of life with our loved ones can be very stressful and agonizing. You sound very healthy.

I used to work in hospice and people would always ask me, "How can you do that? I could never be with people as they die." But it's not scary or uncomfortable and I would experience that peace you're talking about. It was a different kind of peace because I wasn't a family member but it was peaceful to me.

God bless.
I felt that way once my mom passed. I was with her the last day for over 12 hours because the hospice nurse thought she'd pass that day. She did, late in the night. I found peace in that the ups and downs and the crazy-making last week of hospice were now over. And I knew that I had done everything in my power to make my mom's life as good as it could be for as long as she was here. I felt great peace and great relief that it was finally over, after 15 years of caregiving. I had done my best and mom was at rest.
I haven't had to go through this with my mom or grandmother. I do appreciate you sharing your experience. It really does make us appreciate everyday that we have that is healthy and happy.

I know that the days you are describing will come not too far away for my cousin, who I care for. We are now about 4 years into her dementia and she is progressing. She was taken to the ER a couple of nights ago from the MC. I met them there and while she wasn't hurt, but, had a minor injury, they wanted to check it out, I could tell that she really has gotten so much more feeble.
Thank you everyone for sharing your stories - it is really good to hear that we are all going through a very similar process, albeit at different speeds. I saw my mother try to wake up my grandmother and have a conversation with her. Grandma was fast asleep and mom looked annoyed that she 'refused' to wake up for her. She is SO not ready to let her go. I try to prepare her, but I suppose her grieving process has just started - up until last week she still had some hope that grandma will be all right.

I am here for grandma now. But as soon as she's gone, I will go be with my mother for as long as she needs me. We will have tons of PJ parties with wine and funny movies and will slowly start living for ourselves again.

Please feel free to share more - I admit I can't quite get enough of the wonderful and sad stories we all have to tell :-)
I think you have an unusually mature and compassionate approach, and it's a very realistic approach. I did develop an approach similar to that when my sister was dying of cancer, after she agreed to a DNR order, and after I had consulted with her medical team and processed the unsettling if not devastating news that cancer had compromised literally every part of her body.

At that point, I wanted it to be over for her and my father, and perhaps selfishly, for me as well. It was agony to see her suffering and deteriorating by the day.

I won't say that we were comforted by the knowledge that she would be dying in less than 24 hours, but we were relieved that her suffering would be over.

I'm glad you've had such a rewarding experience with your grandmother that you can see both the excellent and the poor times and put them in perspective. I think this is the best way that someone can accept the death of a beloved family member.
Everyone, thank you - you've been wonderful!

Grandma passed away this morning. She called for me and woke me up, so I was with her in her last 2 hours. It was all relatively peaceful. Yes, she struggled to breathe at the very end, but it seemed unconscious and she didn't appear to be in pain. I opened the window to let in some fresh air and left the room for no more than 3 minutes. When I came back, she was gone. She tried to tell me something before she passed, but I couldn't make out the words, so I just told her that it's all right, that we are all right, that I am here for her and will take care of the others. I hope that comforted her.

I really feel a bit awful now, seeing how genuinely upset the rest of the family were when I told them and they gathered at home to pay their respects. I am not upset. As I expected, I am relieved that her suffering is over and comforted by the thought that we all did our best, worked as a team and did a wonderful job, considering.

Thank you once again for the warm words and your support - this website really got me through the last 3 months!

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support