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Hubby on hospice now. Nurse says stable, but lately he's been falling asleep morning and afternoon as well as sleeping at night. Also recently he's leaning even more to the right. He does eat and drink except fell asleep during lunch today. I have to leave town and am so afraid he will die while I'm away but there are a couple of things that simply must be attended to. I'll be a day's drive away and I do so want to be here with him. I know it can't be predicted with certainty though, and I don't think he's "actively dying". I am fortunate that he is in the hands of truly loving caregivers but I'm supposed to leave tomorrow morning and I just can't hold the tears back.

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Thank you, everybody, for your responses. I've been away for nearly a week now and the caregivers report that he is doing just fine. I realize that I really needed some time to just be away from the situation. For years now he has greeted me happily whether after a few minutes or a few weeks away. No difference to him as he has no memory. I thought I'd be on tenterhooks, ready to rush home at a moment's notice, but now that I'm away I don't have any anxiety about it. Wouldn't have known this if I hadn't gone. My brain needed to rest. Fortunately I know the caregivers love him and are taking excellent care of him.
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Superstring,
I was at my dad's bedside in the hospital (when he suffered a huge stroke) every day and slept there also. He stabilized, even though the tube feedings weren't being absorbed and he was no longer verbally responsive. After a week I decided to take my girlfriend up on sleeping at her house. I left word with the nurse to call if anything changed. Of course, the ONE night I'm away, the nurse called at 4:45 am, telling me that he was near the end. I raced out of the house and got to the hospital within 20 minutes. He died between the time she called and the time I got there. I was devastated but thought that maybe he was "waiting" to be alone. Maybe dying is a "private affair" for some and they don't want to transfer to the spirit world in front of others. I know it would upset me to be around my family, sobbing as I'm leaving the physical world. I think I'd have a harder time transitioning knowing they were so grief-stricken.
As a nurse, I've seen families become so upset at the time of death of their loved one that the banging on the walls and stomping on the floor actually "reawakened" the dying person for a few seconds, only to die again. What agony!

We have to believe that things happen for a reason. I had said "goodbye" to my dad earlier, when he was awake and responsive and I believe there was a reason that I wasn't there at the very second of transferring over.

I hope things work out the way you'd like but, if he passes while you are gone, believe that it was the way it was meant to be. God bless.
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Dear superstring,

I'm so sorry, I know this is an extremely difficult situation. In your heart, you know you've done everything possible. I saw my dad every day and yet two hours after I left his hospital bed, he passed away. I had no expectation of this happening. I only say this because even for those who are actively keeping a bedside vigil, it is unpredictable when a person passes. Maybe my dad chose that moment to spare me, I don't know. In my mind, I thought it would have been better if everyone was around him but only the nurse was. It was shock. Given they were monitoring him at the hospital and there were no indications it would be this quick.

Be kind to yourself. None of us control what happens. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
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This is so hard. As a practical matter, depending on his mental ability, he may not even know your gone.  I think it's more important to the living to be present at death than it is to the dying person.  It's just the way we are wired emotionally.

It's ingrained in all of us to think we must have a loved one with us when we die and vice versa. But many times it really makes no difference. It's usually not like the touching death scenes that Hollywood conjures up.

If you must go, you must go. My guess is that you have done all that could be expected of a spouse. And as others have said, it's impossible to predict these things.
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Superstring,
You are not alone. I have not left my mom for over 3 years for more than a day. Last month my daughter and her family invited me to go on a trip with them for 5 days. My husband, my sister and my other 3 daughters said they would take care of my mom. I was afraid, like you, that she would die while I was gone. I was so afraid I would feel guilty... But I would also feel guilty not to go and lose out on building memories with grandchildren. Finally the decision was made and then three days before we were to leave, my mom had seizure. It was not her first so we handled it fine but I thought, now I can't go. The hospice nurse said I should go, as did everyone else. I decided I needed to go and I would need to be okay with it if she left this Earth while I was gone (not sure I would have been). The morning I was to leave, mom woke up, she was happy, told me she loved me, and I could tell she was okay with me going. I called to check on her several times a day. She did just fine. I am back and she is still hanging in there.
I wish you luck on your trip.
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I'm so sorry about your husband. I would be devastated in your place and can appreciate that it is difficult to leave him. I assume your trip can't be put off.
It's often reported that some very near death will actually wait for their loved one to be gone before they pass. But since you have spoken with the hospice nurse and she has given you assurances that he is stable then you have that. Be careful on your travels.
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