Follow
Share

My mom is 89 and has end stage congestive heart failure. I took her from rehabilitate and skilled nursing home to live with me. The first week being home I had to take her to ER for low oxygen. She came home after a week on hospice care.
.
Two weeks later, I took her back to ER for a swollen arm. Doctors wanted to be sure of no clots before sending her home that night. Two weeks later my granddaughter called 911 because my mom was short of breath. Its been a week and my mom is gaining fluid each day with very little urine output. She has this cough that is fluid in her lungs. Today they told my mom she will die. My mom cried and cried and said she is afraid to die. How can I tell her not to be afraid? My heart aches. Thank you. Patsy

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Patsey, I have such empathy for you, and am so sorry for the loss you are facing.
My mum was also afraid of dying and I cannot believe the insensibility of the staff looking after your mum that they should be so blunt without exploring her feelings.
My mum was hospitalised following a stroke, and developed pneumonia with little chance of recovery. I spoke (out of mum's hearing) to the doctors about her fear of dying, and they explained to me the options of withdrawing antibiotic treatment versus what was in effect assisted dying - in other words 'making her comfortable' - via drugs to calm her and take away the pain. These were not their words, but the meaning was plain. I chose the latter after asking mum what she wanted - answers were via the squeeze of my hand, but I am in no doubt that she understood the implications of withdrawing treatment.
My point is that i believe when death is close, even those afraid of it (and I include myself !), find a sense of calm acceptance, and are more afraid of pain and the fear of the unknown than the actual passing.
I must add that I also nursed my elder sister through terminal breast cancer for four and a half years before she passed away. She was terrified, but drew strength through her religion. God rest her soul, she was so brave.
There is little you can do for your mum, except try to re-assure her that you will be there and make sure she is pain free. Towards the end my sister said she was looking forward to seeing Febbie (her cat), and claimed that Grampie (our grandfather who passed away when we we children) was holding her. Who knows? She believed it, and that's all that counts. She was at peace, and so was my mum. My mums fear dissipated once she knew she didn't have to be in pain , or be alone.
Hugs to you and your Mum,
Tess
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Pasty,
First I want to encourage you to be a pillar of encouragement to your mom.
I think it is time to return back the favor as her daughter.

Second, just enjoy her company, and let her smile.
Let her continue smile, and smile and smile. Hold on to the memories that you both shared.

Third, is Jesus in your life, if yes. Introduce it to her. If she has Jesus in her life.
There are no worries and afraid of death will be taken out from her heart. For she will know, that being with Jesus is the final destination of every peoples dream to be.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Tell your mother that God loves us as His children in a perfect way that only a perfect parent can. And His promise, through the gift of His son, is that if we accept Him into our lives, we will be with Him. I know it is simplistic - and yet so overwhelmingly complicated to accept. But if we put ourselves in the role of parent, accepting that none of us is perfect, what would we want? Every good thing for our children and for none of them to be lost to us. We don't have to be good enough, or do enough, we just have to accept this gift. It is there for the taking.
I believe God wants us with us so much that He won't let go until he has us in his arms, at death. And when my children were young and we talked about death I told them this: When you were inside me, you thought that was the safest, best place to be. You had no desire to come into the world. You could not image it. But through pain you came into this world. It was cold, it was scary. But you immediately adjusted and embraced life. THIS had to be the best place. But when you get old, your body wears out. Your friends are gone, The man or woman you loved is gone, maybe your children. You wish you could see them again. And there is a place where you can. But you can't imagine it. You have never been there, you are scared. Don't be. God has planned this place for you as He did when you were born. It will be like that, only perfect. And you will be with those you love and those you miss.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Hi I know for me this is the hardest thing I have ever done. My Mom has been diagnosed terminal. I have found that when my Dad was dying people including Medical Professionals said the stupidest things. One Dr while showing me an xray of my fathers tumor said while he was in the room he is 82 yo and had a good life it's his time. I wanted to smack him up side the head. Then my cousins asked if maybe the reason my Dad was so depressed was because I wanted them to move to where I live. I responded no he is depressed because he is dying and doesn't want to.

I understand as some have written that they already know. I would want to know, but I know my Dad didn't to hear these things and now neither does my Mom. I think Hospice is invaluable and the best as is this link. They are so helpful to me right now. Everything is life and as we move on is a process, not an event. As caregivers we need support so that we can be the best for our loved one. Cherish as many moments knowing you are never alone. Love and Light
Anne
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I forgot to tell you, I have been out of my body in the Presence of the Lord. It was about 31 years ago. Heaven is REAL! I do not have a fear of dieing any more. It is living that is hard. But, it is real! Any nay-sayers can tell you different, but I believe with my whole heart! Don't be afraid!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hebrews 2:15 (CEB) | In Context | Whole Chapter

15 He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death.

This one I know because I was always afraid to die before I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Once you know the truth that He died for all of your sins and receive His forgiveness, you can have peace about dieing because you know you will be received into Heaven for eternity. God will give her peace. Tell her to give her heart to Jesus. She can have peace overflowing and overwhelming. It comes from God. Blessings
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Maybe dont talk about it at all.. not like denial. Get a book and start having her tell you about her life. Childhood memories, boyfriends, school. she is the same age as my mom. They can blow you away with stories of no plumbing, refrigerators, electricity, burning coal then having to scrub the black off the walls. Just keep redirecting and ask her about best memories and things she wants you to remember and share. Sometimes they come to their own concluusions of saying I have had a pretty good life and I have seen it all. Don't just be her daughter be her bestfriend, love her, support her no matter what frame she is in, happy or sad. My heart goes out to you and I hope I'm as strong as you are when that time comes for me.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

One of my Gmas, who had all her life studied deep thoughts, and had a firm belief in life in the hereafter, suddenly when it got down to the nitty-gritty, she was "afraid to miss anything", and, asked "how do you know if there is anything after this?"
I held her hand, hugged her, and looked into her eyes, knowing she was wracked with pain.
Then said, "Gma, I know there is something wonderful that comes after this; you have studied it, and believed it, and I remember it-- I have seen it. Besides--you are afraid of missing anything here--you will have such a far better ability to see everything from there, than from where you are right now, and be able to do it in total comfort! "
She smiled, too tired to laugh, got a little more comfortable, but was still hanging on. The hospice nurse came in, and got next to her ear, and assured her it was OK to let go.
THEN she was able to let go.
Sometimes, a person going through that transition, needs permission--they want to know they will not miss anything; want to be assured things are going to be OK. They want to know they are missed, but not so much that they cannot let go when the time comes.
It is kinda like helping someone birthing a baby--only at the other end of the spectrum--it is birthing someone out of this life, and into the next.

IF there is a medical condition that is scary, they need to know people are doing the best they can, to make sure things will come out well.
But sometimes, the person just kinda knows things are at the very edge, and need reassurance.

{{{hugs!}}}
Talk the happiest memories, let them know that is what you will remember, always, and that they are always in your heart.
Everyone goes this path; none escape in the end.
I have firm belief we are welcomed "Home".
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I don't think there is any way to make a person unafraid of dying. We all have that fear. Even if we don't want to live, we don't want to die, either. Death is so final. And what happens after death is a mystery. If I was facing death, I would want to talk with someone who would lift me spiritually, perhaps to help me see that death was simply walking out one door and to the other side where I would not be sick anymore. When we are very ill with no hope, death can be a peaceful transition. But we have to know something lies beyond that, and we have to know that it isn't going to be a burning lake of fire.

I don't know your mother's religious beliefs, but they could be a good place to start in making her more comfortable with the idea of death. All of us must die. I personally hope I am at peace with it before it comes my time to cross over.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Copddaughter and Littltonway: When we retired my parents moved next door to us and that was in 2005. My mom passed in 2008. My comment is mostly about my dad, who had a major stroke in July 2011. He was in rehab for 3 months and then came home to live under our roof. He could no longer walk without assistance, meaning he could not manage the use of a walker on his own. He had to be led and balanced. He was incontinent. He could not speak in sentences. only yes and no and a few other words. He had difficulties swallowing and could only drink thickened liquids. About the only thing he could do for himself was brush his teeth, while I kept him steady by the bathroom sink, and lift a spoon to his mouth.

My dad took up residence in our MBR. He had a very comfortable hospital bed with an air adjusting mattress. He had his recliner, his wide screen TV with great closed caption features that he benefited from and he had our company and the best of care.

My dad was a very independent person and an avid reader. He loved his 3 to 4 daily walks each day and visiting with neighbors on our street. Even though his life was nothing compared to what it had been before and even though he missed my mom every minute since her passing, he was not ready to die.

He accepted that my life would be 24/7 centered around his care and that I was always watching him, when not with him, from every room in the house via a video monitor. He accepted that I would be taking him to the toilet and cleaning him up after every BM. He accepted that a shower was always with assistance and there was little he could do to help with the process.

He loved when I would call my sibs during his awake times and he enjoyed listening to their voices even though his responses were minimal. He could always laugh at a joke or something his children said on the phone to him. He loved most things I cooked for him, but would let me know when he didn't. He loved our dogs by his side and he enjoyed feeding them treats from his plate.

My dad also had a stroke in 2002 that impacted his concentration (couldn't always hold the thread of the 5 to 10 books he liked to read at one time) and impacted his vision so he could no longer drive or carry on his handyman work anymore. That was also a huge loss for him.

Never, in my wildest dreams, nor those of my brothers and sister, did I ever think my dad would want to live under the circumstances he was dealt after his 2011 stroke. But he just kept going. At one point, when he was living with us I asked him, "Dad, do you want to go on this way or do you want to go to mom." I talked to him about his many medications and my question was, do you want to continue them or discontinue. "I need to know what your wishes are so I can honor them." So we broke it down into yes and no answers. I was very alert in his mind and could understand everything I was saying. That was never an issue. His answers were, "No, I don't want to discontinue my medications and no I am not ready to die." So we continued.

About 2 months ago, we made the decision to place my dad in nursing home care. We were exhausted and had given 8 years to the care of my parents. We were sleep deprived and starting to have our own health issues.

It broke my heart to place my dad, but in many other ways it felt needed, not for him, but for us. In spite of the fact that my son was the chef at this facility and his girlfriend was the charge nurse on my dad's floor, my dad did not do well. He missed being with me and the comfort of being cared for in our home.

I visited him almost daily, but when we left to be at our Granddaughter's wedding he stopped eating and had lost 14 pounds in the week I was gone. He had his 90th birthday this month, September, on the 19th. He was failing and my brothers came from out of state to be with him some 2 weeks before his passing. He was so happy to have them with him.

My dad passed away on the 24th of September. I was by his side and holding his hand during the 36 hours of unconsciousness that he went through and I was there when he took his last breath.

Maybe 5 days before his passing, I asked him if he was looking forward to seeing Mom and he said, "yes." I asked if he was looking forward to see a favorite dog of his and he just smiled. I asked him if he was afraid, and he laughed and said, "No."

I think before he was afraid, but he wasn't anymore. And I think if he had continued to live with us, he would have not lost so much ground.

My mother, on the other hand, made a decision that she wanted all medications stopped and she wanted to go to God. She was not afraid of dying, more over she just didn't want to go on living when there was so little to live for. My parents had been married for over 60 years, but they took a different path to the issue of passing, even though they both held religious views.

My post is not meant to give you answers, it's only to say that some are ready and some are not, until they are. My heart goes out to you both.

Sending you love and white light. Cattails
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

It is difficult situation for all of us. I just wish my Mother would talk about it in any form. Being a strong Christian, it makes me feel at a loss when she continues to talk about being able to garden and live alone once she recovers from this "spell". She is 89 and has been with us for 2 years. It is like a big elephant in the room! Her mind is sharp, she just thinks she is going to live forever. God bless all of you and hold you gently in the palm of His loving hand as you make this walk with your loved one.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom is 79 and dying of COPD complications. Her pulmonologist believes she understands what is happening and what is to come. If she did, she has forgotten. My sister and I are reticent to bring up hospice, since we don't want to spoil the few good days she has left. I am at a loss and since I am spending 10 hours a day with her, I am burning out fast and need (probably hospice's) help. Watching her slowly die in front of my eyes is killing me.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Dear patster, don't know if this would or could be something that might help you or not. There is a show called "I Survived . . . and Beyond" It is REAL people who have actually died, some for as long as 1 1/2 minutes. They tell of their dying experiences, and how amazingly beautiful they were. Each claims that they are no longer afraid of dying, and in fact are looking forward to when their right time to go comes! As they were being revived from this side, and felt themselves pulled back here, not one of them wanted to come back!!!! The other side (heaven?) was so beautiful, and each person describes a feeling of being embraced by the purest brightes love that we could never imagine on this side. I don't know if maybe you and your mom might be able to watch it together? This is just an idea, and I know when I watch it I feel really wonderful knowing my dad will soon be experiencing this complete joy and peace. I am in R.I., and get cable but the show is on the "Biography" channel if you get it. If you do watch it make sure you watch the "I Survived...and Beyond", not the "I Survived"
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

When we understand that Jesus Christ defeated death and the grave, and promised that we would be with Him in Paradise after our physical demise, it is then that we find peace in the act of dying..."for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Jesus has risen from the dead and promised us all that if we accept Him we can also live with Him eternally. I'm sure there are people that will come back with their lame comments and try to diminish the encouragement I have tried to convey to you Patsy, but it sounds like your Mom needs a Pastor to talk to, or read her stories from the Bible and try to get her to sing spiritual songs/hymns with you. She needs to be reassured that there is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear. The death of Hid saints is actually precious in His sight. It isn't an ending, it's a new, never ending beginning that your Mom needs to be reassured of. Remind her that her Mom and Dad or any other loved ones that have gone before are there waiting for her... my heart goes out to you and I know this must be hard to watch. Try to keep her mind occupied with positive things.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Patsy, my most sincere warm wishes to you and your mom. I would suggest that you try and communicate with her openly about this phase of life. Remind her of the many conversations she had with you about these important phases and the lessons you have learned through her wisdom. That these lessons themselves teach us that there is a cycle here that we must adhere to. I believe if you show her your confidence in this cycle of life, that you learned from HER how to better understand and deal with this...she will, at least I hope and pray...realize that the cycle is beautiful from start to the end. this cycle has given her, you, your children, grandchildren and many wonderful memories. she may find comfort in that.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My Mom died of congested heart failure. She was a saint of God, lived every breath to be like Jesus.She lived next door to me and would call me to give her a reality check. Even with her faith she neede a strong arm to lean on when the pain was too great. I would pray with her and sing Hymns and she would fall asleep peacfully. We cried together many a night. We don't need to understand , just hold the Masters hand!" That kept us going
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

As a former Pastor and councelor I have seen this many times. I read the word of God to them and pray. God's word is light and chases away fear of death and darkness. "The entrance of thy word giveth light..."Ps.119:130
Pray with her and use bible scriptures and promises to comfort her. I would pray a prayer something like this...Dear God, we are needy and ask you for help. We are afraid and need comfort. Thank you Jesus for taking our sins upon yourself and paying the price so that we can have eternal life in Heaven.Please forgive us our sins and wash us in your precious blood. Your word says.."Perfect love casteth out fear..."1 John 4:18 and "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love,and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. We ask you Lord to wrap your loving arms around us, comfort us and we invite your presense here.Chase away our fear and doubt and give us faith and love and trust in its place.As long as we are alive our work on earth is not done, so Lord do your work in me.Help me to love and forgive any who have hurt me. Send your angels to guard us and protect us. And when our life on this earth is done, let your angels take us to our Heavenly home!" There are so many promises in Gods word. When people get old their lives have no future or hope. They have built their lives, had kids, done all kinds of things. But now there is one thing left before them...death, the grave and what?? So if we put our trust in God then we have something to look forward to.Let me know if you want scriptures of promise to read to her.I dont want to make this too long, but I will be glad to listen to anyone who is in need and try to help with Gods Promises. We may not believe it or have faith and trust that it is true. But it doesnt matter what we believe. What matters that when you have nothing left but death to look forward to you need Faith desperatly, and HOPE, HOPE, HOPE! I know, I have been a thread away from death myself and Faith and trust was what kept me from freaking out. "Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Patsy, No one knows who planted the seed that causes so many people to worship birth and hate death, opposite ends of the same process. You might try telling your mother that she came from somewhere before she was born and will go somewhere after her body dies. Death is as natural a process as breathing or dreaming. It has happened to everyone in the world who was ever born, except those on the planet now to whom it hasn't happened yet. Fearing death doesn't help. Accepting death as the next natural step in your spiritual development might. We are immortal spiritual beings, so we have been around for thousands of years and will be around for thousands more. We are not our bodies, which are born and die. Your mom will accept this within ten seconds before or after her heart quits beating. If you can help her accept it sooner, she will spend more time this lifetime living at peace. Good Luck. God Bless You.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

they are not gone til they are gone.some are in and out of sleep.
if it was me,when i wake from being in a sleep i would like it to be nice with freinds and relatives,trees and sun.icecream too of course.not the cheap stuff!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Patster, I am sorry your mom is dying. I am also sorry that someone at the hospital told her she was going to die. Depending how and who told her it can be the wrong approach and add to the worry a patient goes through when they are processing this realization for themselves. I have found or seen that most people who are terminal are very aware they are dying long before they do and usually need no "wake up call." It could be a fear of the pain of dying rather than dying itself or how other family members are going to deal with it all that worries a patient the most.

My cousin's dear wife passed away last year from cancer and she even knew it had spread to her brain before it was diagnosed, yet some doctor thought he had to educate her that she was dying and just needed to accept it, which upset her horribly. Her husband told the medical staff at the hospital that doctor was never to see her again and he had better be glad he had not been there when she was told. Another doctor told him and his wife that he was sorry she had been upset and that she did not need to give up hope, because no one knows what might happen. As I told my cousin, "she already knows she is dying and the doctor did not need to say a thing." She lived a couple months longer but she dealt with it and I believed reached peace before going. From my own experience when someone believes they need to tell a patient and the family the patient is dying they are clueless how it affects the patient and the family who usually are already dealing with it in their own way and actually puts unnecessary strain on them.

I would talk with your mother about what she is feeling and thinking. Ask her what she would like to feel better or more comfortable. Does she have any wishes about what she might like to do or someone she would like to see. Reassure her that you are there for her and that you will do what you can to make her comfortable. The fear of pain was the worst thing for my mom because she had watched and cared for her own mother who died from cancer and had suffered quite a bit. Most of the reasons your mother has been taken to the hospital seem like comfort issues that hospice should be able to deal with depending how good they are about the critical issues that normally arise. I am surprised they had not given her an oxygen concentrater and bottled O2 for the home since she has CHF from the beginning with a comfort pack of medications to use for these times. Did your mom agree to hospice or was it pretty much "pushed" on her at the hospital? What did she want? Is she ready to be on hospice?

I like kristinn's suggestion. I always said that my mother was not dead until she took her final breath. A patient may be terminal, but they are not actively dying until they are actively dying. You do not have to be on a death watch the whole time. I got her out as much as possible and found ways to do it even when we had to use a hoyer lift and a reclining wheelchair.

I wish you and your mom much peace during this time.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

take them for drives(like driving miss daisy i guess).let them enjoy the world outside until 'then'.fresh air,sun,trees.i think it may be better than an institution.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am sorry that your mom is at the end of their life and she keeps crying about it. This can be a difficult time in both your life's. We have a whole end of life section on our site to help caregivers like you. www.agingcare.com/End-of-Life-Hospice

Also, our editors wrote an article that will help you with your mom's fear of dying.

How to Deal with an Elderly Parent's Fear of Dying
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/dealing-with-elderly-parents-fear-of-dying-138570.htm

Hope this helps,
Karie
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Hospice will help. Just tell them what you told us. The hard part is accepting that there is no "get out of jail" card to play here. Being awake to what is happening in this moment is the truest tribute to life -- hers, yours, just Life -- you can have. Sending you love and light...
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Hi Patsy.. I can feel your pain .. I'm sooooo sorry.. My Dad lives with me and going through the same thing... COPD.. And skin cancer on the LT Leg.. he is 81... It is so hard.. All we can do is try to comfort them...It kills me to see my Dad cry .. But I try to say something funny ...And talk about something else.. Or good times.. It seems to help.. Hang in there ...I think caregivers are angles..
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

My heart aches for you Patsy. Since your mother is on Hospice, turn to them for guidance. Their experience can be very valuable at this time. I'm sure seeing your mother cry and cry was very hard on you, but it seems like an honest and appropriate response to me. I hope she does not spend all the time she has left crying, but I get tears in my eyes just thinking of her situation. She surely is entitled to cry.

If she is afraid of the process of dying, the pain and anguish, Hospice can assure her and comfort her on that (or help you do the comforting). You can assure her she will not be alone, and she will live on in your heart.

As for being afraid of death itself or life after death, what she will find comforting depends on her beliefs. If her beliefs are bleak and you have a more positive outlook you could talk to her about what you believe -- not in the sense of trying to convert her but in trying to give her a more hopeful possibility to think about.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Patsy, I don't know the answer to this. My dad is afraid to die also. Is there a pastor that can come in and talk to your mom? She needs to reassured that God is forgiving and offers her a better place. She also needs to know that her passing will be peaceful and that you will be with her, holding her hand, and not allow her to suffer. What more can you do? My Aunt was like you mom, so afraid of dying. Nevertheless it happened. Just give her as much love and comfort as you can. Be there and make sure she is on a morphine drip to reduce anxiety from the lack of breathing ability. Just give her as much comfort as possible. Be there.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter