What a silly thing to have nostalgia for, but I've been thinking about it all day. Three out of four of my grandparents had a major heart event and BOOM! That was it. Off to their maker they went! Only one grandparent had a lingering illness and, even then, it lingered less than a year. Then there's my parents. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was still in college. He was dead by my late 20's and that was after years of terminal illness and caregiving. Mom had me later in life & was significantly older than dad, so by the time he died she required regularly checks in and help. Now she's got congestive heart failure, COPD, and mid-stage FTD. I can't remember a time in my entire adulthood when I wasn't minding one of my parents, and today I just keep thinking how easy they had it. Not a single parent of theirs ever required their care. I can't even imagine what independent parents would feel like. Man, I'm tired.

Hi Wubba, that took courage, what you said. Many of todays pills weren't developed until 1981 (ACE inhibitor), & 1995 (ARBs). (Those categories of bp meds are today's standard). I'm not sure about meds for diabetes or COPD, cuz my family had none of that. But I do sympathize with ur family's situation, & your being so vigilant to care 4 them. It can seem relentless.
I guess we're called the "sandwhich generation", cuz we're between kids in college & extended parental care...(or something like that). I think society & laws are trying to catch up with our dire need for more flexible care options & respite, but I never had an ounce of help, yet I helped anyone in my family. Even my ex in-laws, I still am helping them.


God bless her. My grandma said she wanted to go quickly and by God she did. She was 85 and her heart just stopped. No suffering either. That’s exactly what I hope for too.

NHWM, my Granny went to bed and died peacefully during the night. No pain - for her!

I guess the ideal way to go is going to bed and not waking up!

My maternal grandmother was the first to go. She had pulmonary problems but there was no reason to think she was going to die soon. The day after my grandparents returned from a 2 week trip down south to visit my aunt, my grandma got up during the night to pee, came back to bed and told my grandpa she wasn’t going to breath any more (that’s what he told everyone) and she collapsed on to the bed and was unable to be revived.

4 years later, my paternal grandfather died from brain cancer. I don’t remember how long he battled. He was 10 when I died. Us kids were shielded from it, we rarely saw him after his diagnosis. I don’t think he lived but a year at most?

4 years after that, my maternal grandfather died and he had been declining for years. Started with depression after my grandma died, then he got diabetes and landed in a nursing home after his leg had to be amputated. He was there for a year at least before my aunt came up and got him & moved him down to SoCal. Down there, it was discovered that he had lung cancer (the doctors here knew it but didn’t tell the family). After a few months, he died peacefully in her home.

11 years after last remaining grandparent, my paternal grandmother, dropped dead in the dining room at her assisted living during dinner. And I tell ya, that’s the way to go! She had a DNR on file so they didn’t try to revive her. She was 83 & had lived a long full life. Her body was weak thanks to life-long heart problems. She was only about 80lbs, always a tiny petite woman, so CPR likely would have caused significant chest trauma anyway.

My MIL was the first of our parents to go. And she was the one we all expected to GO LAST. She was the one who didn’t drink or smoke, she was the most active. Her battle with pulmonary fibrosis lasted 18 months. The last 5 months, were the worst. I would say that about early 2018, she started needed helping with some of her ADLs. By the time she died 6/1/18, she was a shell of her former self, down to 70lbs from 140 (she was only 4’9”). Totally bed ridden, on oxygen. It was both horrifying and heartbreaking to watch her dying.

I agree with those doctors. I thought my father's stomach cancer was a horrible way to go. But at least he had control of his facilities until the very end. My mother has the competency of a 3 year old at this point. She rarely understands anything I tell her, even if I write it down. She's confused, paranoid, scared, depressed, angry, incontinent and in pain on a daily basis. Her quality of life is absolute garbage at this point. It's the most pathetic situation I've ever witnessed and every day I wish it was over for her.

Years ago I read an article in which doctors said they would rather die of a massive heart attack than lose mental, physical function or both.

Both my grandfather's died of lung cancer in their 60's back in the1960's and 70's. one grandmother got sick and died after 6 weeks, after it was discovered she had a tumor on her liver. She was 82. My other grandmother beat the odds with Chronic Leukemia, and was only 'sick' for about a year and only suffered for the last few weeks. She too was 82.

Only Auntie Jessie (98) and Great Granny (92) lived for a great many years after the quality of life was gone.

Start a Discussion

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter