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I just don't understand the dying process. I read and read and read about it. I sit here and watch it everyday. Two weeks ago we were convinced my mother would be not be here today. Well she is and its like she went back in time to 6 months ago. She doesn't have a clue what is going on, with her Dementia/Alzheimers, she lives in her own little world and in the moment.
Do I wait for the decline again or is she really on the upswing. My life is in limbo and no one understands the frustration and confusion. Sometimes you just need to vent.

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I'm so sorry, Bemomiller, that you are on this rollercoaster. Many of us have been there. This is the reason that doctors are often reluctant to say how long a person might live. I will say that a rally, such as you describe, is very common shortly before death. Many, many families have left to go for dinner or go home and get some sleep after hours or days at a bedside, simply because there is a rally. By the time they return - even if they were very briefly gone - their loved one is gone.

That happened when my dad died. My sister from out of town had joined me in sitting with Dad as he was dying. He rallied quite a bit and my sister decided that she'd better head home (40 miles) and feed the dog, then she'd be back. Dad died in my arms while she was still on the highway going home.

If you find that you aren't with your mother when she dies, do not feel guilty. We can only go by what we observe. This rally of hers may last hours or days or (rarely) weeks. Our hearts are with you. You can only do what you are doing. When your mother dies, you'll likely feel both grief and relief. That is normal under these circumstances. No room for guilt.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing.
Carol
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The only thing I would add to Carol's post is that sometimes the dying seem to deliberately wait till every one is out of the room and pass alone. Family only needs to be gone a minute and when they return there is a different feeling in the room. I can't describe it but you just know before you approach the bed. Another predictor is the loved ones pets, usually a dog, it will keep vigil for usually about the last couple of days prior to a death, there are not necessarily other signs, but the animal refuses to leave till the owner has passed.
The apparent rallying in the days or hours before death that Carol describes is also very common. One elderly patient I knew had slowly declined seemingly from old age, had ceased to eat and lay semi conscious in her bed needing complete care. Everyone thought she was very close to death. One morning she woke up and asked her daughter for a cooked breakfast. The daughter called me because she did not know what to do. I told her to make the breakfast because the worse that could happen would be that she would throw up. I also warned her that this could be the last rally, but there was no way of knowing and she might just get better. Well she enjoyed her breakfast and many more after that back to her normal crabby self. You just never know. Nothing can really prepare you, having someone with you who has been through the experience is very helpful in taking the fear out of the actual moment of death
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Hi Bemomiller, I am sorry you are going thorough this. (sigh). I don't really know much about the process of dying. I think it can vary greatly but I do know that sometimes one can have a last burst of energy right before they pass. And I have read on here that the eyes say a lot. Not sure though what to look for though. Anyone?

Hugs to you and your Mom. My only suggestion would be to try and let go of trying to control the process but easier said than done, I am sure. It is good you came to vent. You need to right now. But don't forget to breath as well.

Blessings,
Mishka
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Bemomiller,

What Carol said is totally correct. We were anticipating my dad's death a week before he actually died and 4 days prior to his death, after having been in that twilight caused by morphine and Ativan, he 'woke up'. He was hungry and thirsty and we were very confused and uncertain. 2 days later he went back to that semi-conscious state and we were told it could be a week or so based on his awakening a couple of days prior. I took that opportunity to say to him everything I wanted to say hoping against hope that he'd hear me. We knew he was dying but we thought he had a little more time than he did. I called the NH on Sat. night after work and my dad had just died moments before. We weren't with him and that bothered me but then I realized that I'm not psychic and I had no idea that my dad was going to die while I was at work. I wasn't in a position to take off work indefinitely. Even the hospice workers were a bit caught off guard when my dad died. We had all thought he had maybe a week. But no one knows these things for sure. I've heard so many stories like Carol talked about where the family decides to go home and eat or run an errand or two and their loved one dies while they're gone. It happens.

That you're educating yourself about end of life issues is a very positive thing. I did the same thing. I read all the literature and familiarized myself with the end-of-life signs and symptoms but they're not always present and they don't always occur in biological order. I know how exhausting it is to be on 'deathwatch' but don't get yourself in a vulnerable state where you get sick. You have some hard days ahead of you. If you choose to sit by the bed around the clock make sure you're eating and staying hydrated. And again, it's ok to not sit vigil around the clock. Do what you need to do to keep yourself sane and healthy. Many blessings to you during this time.

My dad died 3 months ago so it's all very fresh in my mind.
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Yes, they can rally. My SIL/best friend passed away last week. The week previous, she was hospitalized and was in and out. I went to visit on a Thursday and she was her old self, laughing, cutting up, eating and preparing to go home the next day. We were planning our trip to Las Vegas with all our family. The next day, the doctors told her daughter she should go to a hospice facility. She was livid and fought it with all her might. By Sunday, she had accepted it all and gave up. Her life journey ended the next day...peacefully. Looking back, I see she had been dying for a month but none of us recognized the signs. Her only wish was to die with dignity. She did.
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Thank you so much.
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