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I am sorry I have not responded to my other posts... I got the call today. The one that everyone dreads. It seems mom had taken a turn for the worse with her pneumonia. Plus she keeps having these little TIAs/CVAs and her pulse ox is down in the low 80s. I have consulted with her POA and we are all in agreement. The docs had her on a CPAP trying to force air into her lungs. We have taken her off of it. She is on oxygen and is getting Ativan every 4 hours. She is resting peacefully. She had been getting very aggitated and mumbling loudly. She is way worse then she was before when round one of this happened. I got here around 1500 today and it is now 0100. I will be here in this chair until the end. I have said my goodbyes. I have excused her from all wrong doings and told her she is forgiven. I have even gone so far as to tell her she has done the best she could to raise me and that I am being well taken care of by my wonderful husband. I am safe, I have my own home and one of the best husbands a wife could want. I had to pull him away from his Army unit today as he was in drill. So he showed up here in full uniform in order to be with me. I sent him home to get some rest since he had been up since 0400 the morning before. I asked the nurses what to expect or at least what the possibilities were as far as physical things that would happen to mom when she died. They filled me in. My question to everyone, what did you witness? How did you handle it? Was there anything special you did or said to the person whom was dying?

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Thank you msdaizy. Things have gotten worse with my fathers heart he has had some chest pain lately and not eating well. Tonight first night he ate something in four days. I am waiting for home health care to come out and check on him as well. I have been monitoring his BP and HR every couple of hours and put a call into his doctor and he told me what to do. He has a pacemaker on top of everything else and I called to have them check it here at home. He has a kit and they can check it from Washington DC. I do not know how long those batteries last or if something else is going on. I am on vigil and will call 911 if he has another bad episode. I don't play around with this sort of thing. He has his nitro and that has helped. Now if I can get him to eat a bit of something to help his heart and I have been pushing the water as much as I can and he can tolerate. Yesterday he grabbed my hand and told me he was dying and I told him and calmed him down and said no Daddy God not ready yet for you. It worked as I know his fear probably exacerbated his heart. I was happy after giving him his meds to see his normal rating last night and today is getting better. I will keep you all posted as best I can as I miss reading and commenting in here. Blessings of love sent to all of you.
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Crystal we do what we have to do..it's almost automatic at times. I know you understand. It's the part of witnessing the whole thing that seems to hurt the most. I totally know where you are at. I wished I could wave a magic wand and make it all better. But when it's over and your dad is with the angels...you will feel a weight lifted like no other. I think the day my mom passed I came home at 2 am...and went to bed...and just passed out. Slept until 10 the next day..then moved to the couch and slept more. Your body can only take so much. But it's a good thing. Its so exhausting seeing someone you love so dearly go through the whole process. Hang in there...I pray it will be soon. (((Hugs))) My thoughts are with you and your dad tonight.
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Nan my heart is in my throat as I read your post. I feel so bad for you and all the caretakers that recently lost a loved one. I am still tending to my father and it has been a long time and sometimes I am so worn out I can not concentrate or leave the house much..my mind goes blank for a minute and I wake up knowing what all I have to do everyday. I have to say this and I hope it does not sound wrong. I think it is easier on the patient and the family when there is not a long long illness as in years. It seems like the ones I have talked with recently had strokes and passed quickly but then there are those of our loved ones that suffer for so long it is horrible to watch day in and day out. And there is nothing you can do but make them comfortable. I don't know why this is the way it is for some of us here but I know one thing I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be doing this for as long as I have. Lord knows I love my father but it is really hard at times to be going back and forth to the hospital and medicines and needles and blood transfusions, etc... It is hard some days like this today. I think about now I am praying for mercy for him since I know this is too much for him too - The Waiting... I hope this comes out okay as I am so tired and my words might not be setting good at this moment. While all of this has been going on in my life the past two years I have not had the time to be with my mother who is getting older and having health issues too. (my parents are divorced but closest friends you could ever meet) I have a feeling if I do not go and visit with mother and something happens to her I will never forgive myself. I am on a rollercoaster - somedays smooth most days not.. My tears have subsided for awhile as my body and mind is really tired ... I have to hold on and thank the Lord for without Him I would of not made it this far. I am so sorry about your beautiful mother and know she is watching over you each and everyday...we will all be together with our loved ones someday. Keep her photo close by you and I know how special mothers and fathers are...and I know how special you were to your loving mother as well. I have tears now:( There is no one quite like them there will never be. God Bless you friend. Hugs.
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Just know this is a place to come when you need to. I lost my mom Jan. 1st. She too ended with pneumonia. She lived with me 32 yrs and I loved her so much. The memories are all here. I feel like I'm getting stronger, but believe me, I am still grieving. I just went down to iron some of my husband's shirts. Mom lived downstairs..the laundry room (laundry was her favorite thing to do, even at 95!) is right off her kitchen. I started to iron and saw her radio on her kitchen table right by the kitchen chair she sat at every morning. I just gave way to tears! I could only get 2 shirts ironed, and I came up here and got on this site. I haven't been on for about a week. This week was going pretty well, but I'm sure glad you are all here and I can see your stories and experiences too. We are all in this together and this site makes me remember that so many of us are going through the same thing. Some of us have alread lost our loved ones, and so many of you are still care-giving. Some of you are right at the end of one road, and you will be entering another. Stay strong. We can all build each other up.
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Army wife thank you and I feel your heart in your response. We just lost another member of the family (not immediate family) and I was there shortly after she passed. Her daughter (my sisterinlaw) was in the room and she was hysterical. I walked in the room placed my hand in her hand and it was the most peaceful feeling. It is hard to describe. Now will I be that way when it happens to Dad - I hope so. I have had the fear but the fear is leaving me as I know this one thing I will share here. When it is time for the Good Lord to call him Home..I will know and I pray it is in peace. I am strong women., I am weak women but I know one thing I trust in the Lord to help me and my family when this time comes for us. I have been on this watch for some time now with my father and I make him comfortable. Play music. Talk to him and tend to him. It is something I will never regret for it is Gods work too. Caregivers that do this are special ones because not everyone can do this work. And it is work. I have gotten strength when I thought I had not a minute of it left....tis hard to write in words here. Just know I feel your pain and I am here for you as we all are. We let go and let God. We are not in control. Neither is any medical professional. To me it is all in Gods hands and plans and no one can stop or hinder it from happening. Your Mom is watching over you and she thanks you for tending to her. You are a wonderful daughter and never forget it. Many daughters could not do the things you did for your Mother. Like I said earlier caretakers are special people God puts on this earth to do what they have to do for their loved ones. God Bless you Armywife and I am so happy your husband is home with you now. Thank him for his service to our country as well. My father is a Vet and I am an advocate for all our Vets - young and old. They must be treated with the utmost respect and dignity their whole life. They served this country and we support all of them. You can bet on this one - I certainly do!
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Armywife, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Mostly, I want you to know you're not alone and that any and all of the feelings you have or will have, are valid and normal. I hope that we can all be here for you. hugs.
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Hi AnArmyWife, I didn't know that about using another funeral home. I heard the stories. And it wasn't just that one funeral home. There were others, too. I think the latest one I read was when they buried the new deceased person with the old one. It's hard to be the spouse at home when your other half is deployed. My sister's hubby is in the Guard (??). Anyway, our airport has on the wall, all those Guards that were deployed from here - who died while deployed. Two walls are covered - they do the portrait in one row going across the huge airport center area. When you just stand there and look up, you see how MANY have died. You don't really see how many of the locals die when you hear it one at a time with space interval. When you put them ALL in one room, you SEE how many have died throughout the years. I know that they do this to honor their service to their country, but as I stand there looking at their portraits...I feel such sadness. And you have to go through this every time he deploys.....I'm glad that he was able to stay behind and be of help for you. HUGS!!! Book
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Let me rephrase that posting to BookWorm... The last thing on my mind has been proper grammar. Let alone correct spelling. However, what I was referring to was that I was told that it is state law (Michigan) that the body must go to another funeral home. One that is not a chain, or owned by family of the funeral home where mom had been taken to when she died. I am pretty sure you have heard the horror stories in the past few years of crematories where families would fork out thousands only to learn that their deceased loved ones, were buried in a mass grave on the funeral property. (If not, here is one of the press releases that is enough to make you want to vomit) The funeral director at our place mom was at, said after all of that nightmare, he would put his hand on her casket as it was being moved into the um furnace? Which still was not particularly reassuring. So mom was sent out of town to be cremated. But before that could happen, we had to wait for the death certificate to be signed by the doctor that was at the hospital on her floor when they pronounced her dead. After that, and after we said our goodbyes, they took to the morgue in the basement of the hospital. This is a bit complicated because two states are involved. (Mom lived only just over a mile from the state line of the other state.) She looked so peaceful, when I took my last look at her. She looked the most peaceful she had in years. before we can get the will read. Then when mom ashes come back, the power of attorney, executor of will, my husband and myself and not sure who else will be there. Crystal, I feel for you. My mom was back and for with good/bad days then closer to the end, more bad than good. I was there in the room with her. Just her and I. I had the TV on mute so I could listen to her breathing. I did not see her last breath. But I heard it. I have said this all my life, I did not want to be at her bedside when she left this earth.... I knew I would be an absolute wreck. As I type this, I am still a wreck. There is NO consolation for the people that cared about her. And in her last two days, she was only there in body. When she was awake for a bit, I called her sister so her sister could say her last words. I told her sister, I would put the phone near her and put her on speaker. Her sister was emotional and trying to be strong. She struggled with what to say. But she said, "I love you and I am glad I got to spend the last three years with you." They had been separated as kids during the Great Depression because mom's family could not afford to take care of them all.(Very common back then.) What gets me the most, I lost my "dad" when I was 3. I lost my step dad when I was 16. There were a couple of men mom had considered marrying and ultimately, those three have died as well. I am scared to death of losing my husband and I have begged and pleaded for him not to volunteer to go to Afghanistan. He has done two tours 25 months total in Iraq. And was due to go to Cuba, but thank the gods he has medical issues preventing it, so he was sent back home. I could not imagine having gone through all of this without him... There were so many things that happened all at the same time when mom was going through this. People kept telling me I need to write a book. I may just do that. Thank you all for listening/reading. Say your goodbyes while your loved ones are coherent. Do not wait, you will regret it. Even if you are angry the way I was, don't wait until the end. Life is precious and you never know when you or someone you care about will take their last breath.
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Armywife, I'm so sorry about losing your mom and I know it is a struggle to be with a person when they pass. I know it had to have been comforting for your mom that you were there. It is time for you to heal. You did all things right. My grandma, 92, passed 2 years ago. She had CHF but it all started as an infected toe. It ended up getting infected into the bone. She refused surgery to have the toe rmoved. The infection spread into sepsis. She was taken from the hospital, semi conscious when she was being driven to Hospice. By the time she arrived, about 30 minutes later, she was unconscious. My sis, bro and I stayed overnight with my grandma in her room. She had oxygen st her nose and they had given her medicine to calm her. Earlier during the day, people came by to say their goodbyes. The next morning, my bo went to work. My sis and I stayed throughout the entire day. My grandma was a very stubborn woman. She was a "do as I say" person. My bro came back for a couple hours after work. Then went home. My sis and I still there. We hadn't slept since she was in the hospital. She had the rattle and as it increased, we asked that they suctioned her mouth and if they could give her something to calm her. We asked for a cot for me and my sis laid in a recliner. As soon as we laid down and my grandma drew her last breath. She was very peaceful. She waited for us to lay down and get comfortable before she passed. And she was not alone. It was within 2 days that she was at Hospice. We weren't expecting her to go as fast as she did but it was on her terms. I am glad I spent her final journey with her. She was loved and in peace. I handled her death better than I thought I would. It was sad, yet I know she had a long life, a good life. My sister had it more difficult. They were best friends. We think of grandma often that part never goes. It just lessens in time. Oh, there was a woman who played the harp in the hallway. I asked if she could play some big band type music as my G'ma liked that music. The woman did and my G'ma had made little smiles when she heard it. My you find happiness in all that you did for your mom. Blessings
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I am so sorry to hear your news Armywife. As I read all these comments I got a lump in my throat. My prayers are with you and the family. God Bless you and may Mother Rest in Eternal Peace. No more suffering. I am watching my father going through this as well at this time. One day good the next day not too good. Hugs to you.
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Blessings to you and yours, AnArmyWife. (((((hugs)))))
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Bookworm, she had to be sent out of town to be cremated. They have to wait for the death certificate to be signed by the doctor before we can get the will read. Then when mom ashes come back, the power of attorney, executor of will,l myself and not sure who else will be there.
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Armywife, I am so sorry for your loss!! May your mother find peace and eternal happiness. May you find peace and comfort in knowing her suffering is over and it is now your time to heal. ((HUGS TO YOU!))
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Armywife, I am soooo sorry! I kept seeing this thread popping up on the right side and just finally decided to check it out. I think anyone who can stay with their loved ones as they go thru their last hours here ...you all are just so brave. As I read each of your comments, and yours too Armywife...My heart rate was beating fast as I read all your experiences. I just know that I cannot handle that stage. Siblings will have to step up and take over. I think you all are so wonderful and strong to be able to be there to the end.
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Armywife... You are a wonderful daughter!!! I have been with loved ones when they passed my brother-in-law. You tend to find yourself getting fixed on the breathing and the rise of the chest. I think mothers are in tune with their daughters. I think when your mom knows that you are at peace she will relax and go. My mom passed away 21 years ago in her sleep, as did my oldest sister. Those are two women I miss terribly. Their deaths were a blessing for them but total shock for those of us left behind. Take this opportunity to quietly be with her. Maybe let her know that when it is your time you know she will be the one that comes to greet you. Be proud of yourself that you were there to share in her journey. My prayer go out to you and your mother. Blessings to you both.
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ArmyWife,
I am so sorry that you have gone through so much. I hope you have an opportunity to rest very soon. I know you have to be exhausted. Thanks for all of your kindness and thoughtfulness, even through you own difficulties.
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JessieBelle, That's beautiful. I'll take my father's favorite poem out to the cemetery and read it to him next time I go home. When I was going through his papers, I found that he had written the whole thing out, as if it wasn't enough to be able to read it in books. Realtime.
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ArmyWife, I'm so sorry. Thank you for letting us share your thoughts during this hard days. Love, Realtime.
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Donna, mother did the same thing with the mottling of the legs. Sweetie, we had a couch in there. Plus a recliner. I was laying on the couch watching her off and on, facing her and always listening to her breathe. She got very noisy in the end. About the last 45 minutes. She passed away peacefully Sunday night around 2330. I was the only one in the room with her. The nurses there was so compassionate and awesome. They always looked in on me and asked me if there was anything I needed or wanted. Brought me non-alcoholic drinks and ice. Along with one particular nurse "Jen" whom would go out of her way to answer any and all questions and make sure I was comfortable. Really there are some spectacular people who help with the ones nearing the end of their life. I could not have asked for a better staff. (Minus the MRI department losing her small gold hoop earrings, which have still yet to be found. sigh)
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Sounds like you've done everything right, and all you can do.

My father had a brain tumor so was not conscious the last few days. He was in a wonderful residential hospice facility. The nurses and Dr.s there told us to let him rest peacefully the last few days and try not to interrupt his "journey" as long as he was peaceful and comfortable. They told us that as long as the person seemed comfortable it was better not to disturb them as sometimes you "bring them back" and prolong their pain and stay here on earth. They told us about the mottling of the legs that occurs right before death. We had several false alarms with the mottling and extreme breathing coming and going for about three days before he passed.

They told us that sometimes it appeared death was eminent and then the patient would continue for another few days, other time it would come without warning. Do they have a cot for you so that you can try to rest?

Will have you in my thoughts and prayers.
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Thank you all. I am still on death watch. Mom has been given a higher dose of Ativan and now she is receiving morphine. I am still told we are looking at hours. We finished day one at 1600. The staff here has been so wonderful. Very comforting and compassionate. They have been as gentle with her as if she were a new born filly. They have offered me some guidance, support and peace of mind. I have never done this before. I had no idea despite having been a medical assistant/phlebotomist, I obviously do not know everything. When I was a candy striper, I had always wanted to work on the oncology ward and was found on the oncology ward doing my volunteer work. But I never have worked at one. As I sit here, things start getting to me. Listening to the congestion in her chest, the now shallow breathing with a gulping for a deeper breath then back to the shallow breathing... A wonderful lady from our Army unit had brought me some fresh fruit to eat late last night. As I sat here nibbling on strawberries, the tears started. I kept thinking about how she would never eat another one of these or the seedless grapes that I had. I wished I could at least rub a bit of juice on her lips, give her that one last taste. It kills me to think that she will not see another sunrise, will not have another cookout or for that matter be able to yell at me. At this point, I would give anything to hear her yelling at me. I have had a steady stream of traffic most of last night filtering in to say their goodbyes and hellos. Today much of the same. Though for the last few hours the only people I have seen has been the nurse and aids. I sent my husband home again. It is so hard for me to remotely relax when I am so very sleep deprived and the last thing I need is for him to be upset seeing me upset or him snoring while catching some Zzzs. I have considered tracking down a bible and reading some passages. All things are set for when she passes regarding where she goes to and what will happen or be needed. Tonight her POA came in asking me many questions that the funeral home had to help with the obit. I was aggravated that I could not recall some names that I should be able to. But I have gotten two hours of sleep in the past 48, being sleep deprived really does screw with your memory. Anyway, I sit here alone with mom... waiting. Thanks all for the ideas.
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My FIL had been in a CW band until he retired. They played in clubs and at weddings every weekend for over 20 years. I sat with him, with my Labrador for his last days. I hung things from their home on the walls of his nursing home room and had pictures of his family all around in case he opened his eyes he would see something familiar. Bible reading made him restless so I stopped. My husband found some old recordings that someone had done of the band live at a club, complete with commentary by the bandleader. I started playing those and he noticeably relaxed and smiled quite a bit to himself. At one point he joined himself in a song. His last words were singing along with himself. For him, the music gave him peace.
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Jessie, I'm sure he did.
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Looking back, what I wish I had done was said Psalms 23 for my father before he passed. He was a very religious man and may have found comfort in it. Instead I was lost in the confusion of the last things that needed to be done. Later that night I went into the backyard and said the Psalms to the heavens, hoping that he would hear.
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"To cease upon the midnight with no pain"---Keats, Ode to a Nightengale---describes my father's death perfectly. He was 95. You have done everything right, dear Army Wife. During my father's last days, my mother sat with him holding his hand, my daughter sang him songs he had taught her (he smiled), I tried to think of any unfinished business he might have and told him it would be taken care of, I told him we would make sure my mother was comfortable, safe and happy. We all told him we loved him. I keep thinking of other things I could have done --- he loved poetry, I could have read it to him, and didn't. You'll think of things, too. Don't dwell on them. You have done it all right.
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It was much the same with my father. He rallied for about an hour at lunchtime and ate the best meal he had in long time. Shortly after that, he tried to say something to me that no one could understand. "Bile" -- I thought later maybe it was Bible he was saying. He lay back and the death rattle began. It probably went on for about an hour, maybe a little longer, then he was gone. After being ill for so long, I was glad that he had crossed over. I feel guilty that I felt relief. Later I understood that we went through the grief while he was still alive, watching him die a little at a time.
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My brother had colon cancer, he went into a coma and he made rattling noises as his lungs were filling with fluid. We all sat by his bedside and chatted. His last wish was that we watched over him as he went through this. He just did not want to be alone. He was in the coma for 48 hours. When he passed, he took a deep breath and no more rattling could be heard. It is a very sad thing. God Bless you during this difficult time..
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My mom told me that she was dying and within a day, she was gone. I think she was preparing me, moreso then herself. Mom could hardly communicate before she died and made little sense most of the time, but she got that out. It was peaceful and quiet and I told her, like you did, that it was okay to let go. That I would be okay. I think she needed to hear that. It's been almost a year now, and I'm still not okay but I am so glad that I let her go in peace. She was everything to me. I wish you peace and I hope that you will know that you've done everything you can. We do our best and that's absolutely okay.
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When I recognized the Cheyne-Stokes breathing, I told my mom it was OK, she had done her best, and held her hand. I've spent a lot of time thinking about all I did and didn't do for her, and sometimes I think I did my best too. I did know she did not want to die alone, and at least I have that much...I hope it is easy and peaceful for you and hubby and Mom...blessings...
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