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My mom is now living with my husband and I with the assistance of hospice. I believe she is in the preacitve death stage and I don't know to say to her when she talks about dying? She is not afraid to die but is frightened. I've discussed her seeing my dad again, meeting her maker etc, but anyone have any words of real comfort.

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Just realized this is a very old post. Oh well.......
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Windy, make mine a Gin and Tonic and some Djarum menthols. By the way this post is from 2010. Many have since departed.
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What I want to hear on my deathbed is assurance that I did more good than harm in this world and that I will be remembered for contributing to society, family and friends, and not taking more than my fair share of material and human resources. If there is a heaven, and I have my doubts, it is those that meet the above criteria that will ascend, not those who made the people around them miserable and gave nothing to society but claimed to be "A Believer".

I want lots of drugs if I'm in pain, a pint of good sourmash whiskey and a couple Pall Malls. (so what, I'm dying).

I understand how comforting reassurance about faith can be. Out of respect for people's belief I have many times participated in the rituals of various religions even though I'm not religious. My Mother is not religious, my brother (now deceased) was very religious. Mom has been hospitalized for life threatening illness more than once. My brother would insist on bringing people from his church to pray for her in the hospital. She put up with it but told me later how mad it made her that everyone just assumed she shared their beliefs.

I don't think most people "Of Faith" would force a deathbed prayer service on someone who was not "Of Faith" but it happens. we should never assume the whole world shares our beliefs or lack thereof.

To Moushiel, this is a great topic for discussion. All of us are going to be facing this difficult time with loved ones and our own deaths. Thanks for the post.
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Marlexa15 - All you can do is your best. Never feel guilty about that. My mother has been waiting on Jesus for every day of my 44 years, maybe even longer.

Every day she was a little bit angry she woke up and had to do another day on this earth with us, but she never had the courage to do anything about it. Now we know that's mental illness and is called being Passively Suicidal.

Mom's been in hospice a month, and I have no idea how on earth to process any of it. Mom's met so many of the "death is near" criteria or behaviors for so many years due to mental illness and dementia (or both), those lists do me very little good.

I don't know if I should be there, or carry on because this is going to be a long haul.

All I can go with is what my eyes & ears tell me. She's losing weight rapidly, sleeps almost all the time, has pressure sores all over her feet no matter what we try. I think some of them aren't pressure sores in reality, but just sores that her body can't heal.

It's all out of anyone's control at this point. I will just do my best day to day and not worry about anything else. I hope you can too.
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Mousheil --
My dying husband made a request to me expressing his view on what to say to him while he was dying. Our hospice team had told me to let Bob know that it was OK to let go and die if that's what he felt ready to do. One day when he told me he wanted to die, I told him, "It's OK to let go." The next time I visited him in the nursing home, he said to me, "Stop telling me it's OK to die." I apologized and never said it again. The next week I received a phone call at 10:45 p.m. telling me that Bob had gone to sleep and died peacefully. I have read that people with certain personality types need to control the way they die.
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My mom always talks about "I am dying today. Come see me". She has a very negative outlook with her life. We usually tell her she has to be thankful to God for all the things she enjoys, family who love her, relatives & friends. She is not sick, just old. She wants her creator to take her but then she does not want to leave my dad behind. Help! My siblings live far so I am "her rock". This rock is crumbling...
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As a near-atheist who likes and respects religion and good religious people, I have to say dying without a belief in Eternity is NOT terrifying for everyone. I harbor a WISH that there is heaven, and that I will see my parents again, but I'm not afraid of death. Of course I'm afraid of pain and terror, but not of being dead. Billions of people have gone through it before me, so why should I be different? Once I'm dead, my atoms will return to the universe, and that's just fine.

What would bother me in dying would be fears about the process. Will I be in pain? Will my family be all right without me? Did I waste my life, or did I have fun and spread love and joy?

The advice to LISTEN and ask questions seems the best to me. You don't need to take her fear away but to help her explore her fear and live with it. Hospice has chaplains who have tons of experience with the dying, probably more than her own pastor does. They can give you guidance.

God bless you both. (I have never claimed to be a consistent atheist.)
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Care for my mom for 5 years after her stroke. she was bed bound and tube feed. How ever I could extend her life I did.Never give up
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My mother was in a Hospice unit for 5 days. I told her it was ok to die.I would miss her but she can let go. I feel your pain God bless
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Your big girl panties? Buck up? Dont think so.. You say you're a Christian so you have the whole eternity thing wrapped up. That said it all. Good luck with that. The things we try to avoid are the things which haunt us the most.. in the end.
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Maybe take this time to let yourself talk to her about all the good things she meant to you in your life. It always seems so hard to be honestly grateful to someone you love when you think you have all the time in the world to do so.
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Seems these are all very good answers. I would only add that you tell her it is okay to be afraid. Let her know it is okay to cry out to God if she wants. I think her generation are particularily quiet about their faith and fears. I think they grew up feeling a lot of shame if they felt weak and that they needed to just get a grip and pull up their bootstraps...but the Father wants us to be dependent on Him and He wants us to call out to Him, the Psalms and Lamentations and even Jesus on the cross cried out to His Father and asked if He could have this "cup" taken from Him (if there was any other way without having to suffer and die for our chance to not be eternally damned) being dependent on God is a good thing.
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I agree with faithful, in that my dying mother also took great comfort in looking back over her life and feeling satisfaction in a life well-lived and well-loved. She also appreciated the loving attention shown her by the family members around her, and those who came from miles away to visit her during her last weeks.
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Moushiel ,
First ,let me encourage you on the job you're doing in taking care of your mom through her final days/weeks/months .It is never easy to watch our loved ones dying right before our very eyes.However ,even thoughyour mom seems frightened ,you can encourage her by letting her know that she finished her work here on this earth ; being a good wife /mother,raising her children ,being a great grandmother or whatever she's accomplished in her life . Let her know that God is now calling her to move on with the final chapter of her life and that the rest of the family ,although they'll miss her, will be ok. ----Sometimes it's just the fear of the unknown .Before my mom passed away she needed that final reassurance from her family that she did a wonderful job ,she can go onto "rest" and we would all miss her but be ok.I found that spending time talking about the family and especially the grandchildren really gave my mom a sense of peace .
God Bless You
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oliviajr .. sounds like what i did with mom 21 yrs ago , only she died at the hospital . cancer was eating her up alive and had to have strong painkillers , morphine , everytime we hear her moan shes in pain , push the button and more morphine goes in .
so sad to watch mom passin away in front of our eyes , then it hit me ! i dont have a mom anymore ! hate it ,,,
i will keep my dad home as long as the lord s willin . it is hard work but its well worth it ! he s only parent i have left and im going to cherrish it as long as i can .
olivia , im sorry for ur loss . xoxoxo
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Moushiel,
Sorry to hear about your mom. I just lost my mother Friday Oct. 1. I think she to was a little scared to die . But for her it was because she was in the hospital. Once I found out there was nothing they could do I told them I wanted her to come home on hospice where she could die in piece. They tol me she would probably live maybe a week. When I finally got her home Friday night I told her I loved her and would miss her very much, if she was ready to go be with my father it was ok and that I would be ok. Thirthy min. later she passed I was able to be there holding her hand and I felt when her sprit left her body. She went very peacefully. So I guess what I am trying to say is just let her know it is ok to go if she is ready, and that you will be ok. I hope this helps.
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To die without having faith in God would be a terrifying ordeal to even think about, much less actually be going through it. When a loved one is at that door, it really puts things into perspective, that time with people you love is THEE most important thing on this planet we live on. Not material belongings, prestige or worldly knowledge. But, in answer to your question, I would say in my opinion the best thing you can say to her is that she shouldn't be afraid, Christ has already paved the way to the place He has prepared for her, and that YOU will be along eventually to join her. Remind her of her Mom and Dad and siblings that have gone on before and that they are there to show her around. When my Dad was at the door, I'm not sure if he knew I was there with him, I tried to look into his eyes, but he was affixed on something above my right shoulder. I believe that was his guardian angel there to escort him to that beautiful place where there is no sickness or death, no more crying. I TRULY believe in a place called Heaven because if God can create a beautiful place called Earth for us all to inhabit, spinning in the middle of nothingness, He is capable of creating a place with streets made out of pure gold and beauty beyond compare in another area of His Heavens.
Since He inhabits eternity, I would say the areas are endless. To feel security in knowing that this is not the end brings peace and joy to a person about to cross over.
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I once thought I was dying and the overwhelming emotion I had was not death, but the fear of dying alone. I believe my wife with dementia knows she is dying but she hasn't shared her fears with me. I hope that what would help me would help her and I often remind her that even if I'm not physically present she is always in my thoughts and we will always be together.
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I would say listen to her and acknowledge her feelings. Let her know you love her and will miss her and value all the time you had with her in life. If she is religious talk about her feelings on life after death and God. Remind her of good things she has done in her life and that you will always love her. Mostly just be there and listen. It is the best anyone can do in a time such as this. A time we will all face one day, one way or another.
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My father had the same experience as Arianne described. Right before he died he saw a vision of his Mother, who had passed away years before, at the foot of his bed. She spoke to him in her native tongue and he spoke to her. That story was so calming for me - that someone you knew in your life on earth is sent down to help you transition to the next life.
Of all the things that we are taught in life, dying seems to be the most taboo subject. So many people have a hard time being around someone who is dying - because it seems too "scary." That is why so many of us have the fear of dying alone - or wondering if there is something after this life.
If your Mom has been a member of a church, it would be wonderful if her clergy person could visit - or perhaps members of her church. If not, I would let her talk and be a good listener. None of us have the answers. Ask her to look down on you and her family in the next life - to protect you and pray for you. There are so many stories of family membres who have passed, who send signs to their loved ones on earth. That may comfort her too.
Also, I would also talk to her about "everyday" things that are going on. Funny stories about a child, a pet, etc. - things that focus her away from the fear.
Bless you and your Mom and your family...there is no "roadmap" for this stage in life...we all struggle with it.
Lilli
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I spent some time thinking about this when my father-in-law was in the process of dying. My mother-in-law and I were the only ones with him when he took his last breath, and it was pretty hairy to say the least. I also would go sit with my neighbor and friend as she was dying of cancer, so I've had a little time to think about it. Being a Christian and having the whole eternity thing wrapped up, I'm not really afraid to die, but I'm also not looking forward to the process itself. It's the whole fear of the unknown as to what your last minutes are going to be like, you know pain and stuff. That part wigs me out a little, to be honest. So if your mother can put into words what the exact reason for her fear is, then at least that would give you some insight into what she's thinking. Maybe she's afraid of being alone at the end, that's understandable. As for me, I just have to trust Christ in his sovereignty to take care of my last minutes and have faith that he'll meet me where I need Him at the last. After all, in the grand scheme of things, the time we have here on earth is just a drop in a very large ocean as compared to eternity. I'm gonna put my big girl panties on and buck up.
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Although your mother talks about dying, you may not be able to comfort her with words. Perhaps there is a lullaby, hymn, or song your mother used to sing around the house that you could sing to her, or with her. Or play familiar recorded music to her. You can also ask the Hospice nurse what kind of music is used in Hospice facilities. Holding your mother's hand might also be comforting. As she withdraws more into herself, you may not be sure how she responds to these gestures. My father-in-law, who outlived all his siblings, had a vision of them all coming to take him "home."
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Just be there and listen to her. It says a lot that she can be honest enough to tell you her feelings about death. Maybe having her pastor visit her may help as well. Good luck and God bless.
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This is a gift that she is wanting to talk to you.Listen to her-cry with her,tell her how important she is to all of you.Talk about GOD.Let her know how much she is valued.Peoples worse fear is that they will be forgotten,now is the time to let her know exactly how much her life meant and that she will never be forgotten.Don't run from the subject if she brings it up. Be Brave.
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Moushiel, you could talk to your mother in a language of faith which represents her beliefs. This would give her strength and comfort. Some ( maybe even most?) people who are in hospice and close to dying never bring up the subject of dying. Your mother has, so this gives you the green light to talk about it with her. It sounds like you already have. Just your physical presence with her, the sound of your voice, holding her hand--will give her security and comfort.
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