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My father was diagnosed with metastatic liver cancer 4 months ago and he has gotten progressively weaker. He's was in the hospital treated for sepsis then released home into hospice care about a month ago. I wonder if knows that he's actually dying. The doctor only told him that further treatments wouldn't help him. Even before he was diagnosed with cancer he became withdrawn, does that mean he knows he's dying? When the hospice first came to visit they asked him a series of questions. I was in the next room. She asked him something if he had a plan with a certain funeral home. I heard her say I didn't mean to make you upset. I hated that. She had already asked me and my brother the same question earlier. I can see he's fading day by day. The hospice handbook recommends saying goodbye. I'm afraid that he might be confused, think I'm going away, or start asking questions and get upset.

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I thank everyone for giving advice for this difficult situation. My father nearly died a few years ago from an arrhythmia. It was truly a miracle that he survived. That event gave me time to contemplate his eventual passing and to fully cherish him while he was here. Even when he regained his health, I had sense he wouldn't be around long. I would inadvertently stare at him to memorize the way he was. He would say stop looking at me your're gonna give me a complex. Now that he's back home he's doing the same. He'll just stare up at me with this proud look as if he trying to remember things for his journey ahead.

I don't know if he came to terms but when he was at the hospital he would often repeat that if he was going to die it would have happened with his arrhythmia. My father may have early stage dementia. I think it mostly because he's barely eaten anything in the last few months. I played a video I recorded from 2003 and he recognized me but didn't recognized the other guy and I said that you and he didn't believe it and got upset. Recently I showed him his high school graduation photo and he said that's me, and even commented on how he did his hairstyle. He seems to come and go. Some times he'll act like a child. He'll take a taste of pudding and he'll say eww take it away or other times he'll happily eat a few bites. Last week he called out daddy daddy and complained he he could see ice on his legs. Only a few weeks ago he was asking my brother and I if we had a good childhood. He is fading thats why I wanted to get the knowledge to say good bye and not make him upset.
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Banjo, you don't mention that your father has dementia... does he? I think I would approach this in someone with reduced mental capacity the same way you might approach it with a child, honesty geared to their ability to understand.
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Banjo, what Jeanne said, Spot On! My own Mother had Uterine Cancer, which had metastasized to her pelvic bones which were now crumbling, and we had her on Hospice, in my sisters home. She was in horrific pain, and had IV Morphine at really high dosage. There are six siblings, so we able to have a schedule that was a lot more manageable than most as even with Hospice support, having someone who you Love dying, emotions get very heavy. So my hat is off to you guys for doing this!
My Mom definitely knew she was dying. It was discussed at the hospital before we brought her home, and with Hospice and the Catholic Priest, who came to see her every week. She died 5 1/2 months after Hospice began.

The last 8 days of her life, she was moved to a Hospice Hospital, as recommended my our Nurses when it became apparent to them, that she was Actively dying, and thank God for this, as they were wonderful to her, and to us. My sister also looked after her Grandchildren in her home, so having little ones about, and having Mom die at home would leave those lasting impressions, so they thought it best for everyone concerned.

I knew that telling my Mom of all of the things I appreciated and respected about her was going to be something that I wanted to do, but saying those things off the cuff, I would get very emotional, so I decided to write my feelings and great memories down in a letter, and put them into a card, it was Long, my Mother was the best person I ever knew. But as I said, she was on a lot of Morphine, so I knew my timing of giving it to her would be important, as she would drift off, at certain times of the day. I knew that I wanted to read it to her, but after about page 3, it became much too emotionally upsetting to her and she preferred to read it in her own time, of course, I was crying through many parts, it was emotional on my end to, so I recommend that you break it up. Write down what you want to convey, and then read it or give it to him in parcels, as you feel he can handle it, and when he is the most lucid. But definitely don't let him pass, without letting him know exactly how you feel, and this will give him an opportunity to say the same. We are a very demonstratable family, so we often spoke of our Love for each other anyways.

I'm so sorry this is happening to your Father and your family, best wishes to you in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to rest, even in spurts while he is sleeping, and take advantage of your family leave at work if you have to, this is very difficult, I know.
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Tell him you love him (and, I agree with Jeanne, anything else that you think is important). If he wants to take leave, to say goodbye in plain words, he will let you know. And if he doesn't, you can still say goodbye to him in your head. I'm so sorry you're going through this, and hope you find comfort in being with him.
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Tread carefully. Say your goodbyes a little disguised and judge how much more open you can be. "Dad, I know we only talk about this in Father's Day cards, but I want to tell you what a great job you've done being my father, both when I was little and also since I've grown up." Maybe talk about a couple of specific things that come to mind. If there are some unresolved issues between you maybe you can casually bring them up.

If you judge he can handle it you can be more direct. "I'm going to miss you like crazy when you are gone, but I am so grateful that you and mom raised me to be independent. I will always cherish your memory." If that might be too upsetting, try to get the same message across less directly.

I certainly understand why you don't want to upset him, but don't lose the final opportunity to tell him things you need him to know.
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