My dad died a week ago today. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 12 years ago, received a stem cell transplant and got a lot of good years until the cancer came back. He was under hospice care for 7 months at home and the last 5 days of his life were spent in a nursing home.
It is such a strange mixture of disbelief and relief. He suffered greatly near the end but all of his children got to see him and speak to him one last time and I know he was aware we were there.
In my dad's case I think, initially, we didn't act differently when he went to the nursing home even though we knew he was near death....he was not able to speak but was still somewhat awake. So we sort of were having a "party" of sorts in his room. Knowing my dad he loved nothing more than gathering his whole family together all the time and most likely (being a very stubborn man) was hanging for us.
Watching him continue to suffer we thought (along with a suggestion from hospice)...hmmm...maybe we should not all be in the room with him and be a little more low key and actually say goodbye to him. We individually did this and the next day he was gone.
I have no words for the emotions I felt watching him die. It is a blessing that I was able to tell him I loved him and that he didn't have to worry about mom (that we would take care of him )
The most amazing thing is that morning of his death (3 am or so...I woke up from the dream and looked at the clock) I had a dream and my Dad was saying to me "It's time for me to go"....He died 4 hours later at 7:05...such a beautiful mystery.