Is it wrong to not see a person dying, but wanting to remember them as they were?

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As an old Vet, I have seen many deaths and the horror always comes back to me. If a loved one is dying is it wrong not to go visit if they know longer know you? When my wife's aunt died, (who I loved very much) all I can remember is her lying in her casket. This has haunted me all my life. Today I do not want to see someone on their death bed or see them in an open casket.
I had to watch my mother die, I was horrified. She had left instructions NOT to have and open casket, but my sisters ignored her wishes. I was furious.
I did her memorial service and only spoke of the good parts of her life, as though she had never died. That is how I want to remember loved ones, as though they have simply gone away.

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I think it's a personal decision and you should do what you feel comfortable with. You state that you are an old Vet. Let me thank you for your service to our country. You certainly have seen a lot and I would think anyone would understand your decision to forego things like open caskets or someone near death. Do what you feel is right for you. I'd have peace with that.

I don't want to particularly visit under those circumstances, but as my cousin's POA and only involved family member, I have no choice. I will be there with her to the end with her struggle with dementia. I understand why some stay away. It's understandable.
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ff, you wrote it so well. I also go to more funerals now. It is my small way of saying that I care. The saddest thought to me would be what if they had a funeral and no one came. :'( I love that the family knows the person was cared for and remembered. I also write condolences on the funeral home sites online. I'm now a bit supporter of carrying a dish to families who lost someone -- that meant so much to us when my father died.

I didn't know what to do when people died until I saw what people did for us when my father died. I didn't have a clue, even though I had gone to funerals and sent flowers. I'm ashamed that I didn't learn until I was 60 years old!
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I think the decision is entirely personal. A lot also depends on the kind of relationship you had when the person was alive and healthy.

I stayed by my Mom's bedside long after the doctor's told me she wasn't aware anymore. I remember one afternoon sitting with Mom and holding her hand and the doctor coming in and quietly saying "You know she doesn't know you are holding her hand" I said "Yes, I know, but I am doing this for me now"
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my 28 yr old son was murdered 5 weeks ago . i did not participate in his final arrangements at all . i contributed financially but i have no desire to view a corpse . now a 35 yr old therapist questions why im not crying my eyes out every day . im conducting myself just like my son would conduct himself if he lost me . its an internal thing and im at peace with our relationship and my parenting and i dont owe anybody s#it ..
i was waylaid on the road yesterday by a funeral procession . i fail to see where their ritual is any more credible than the way i deal with grief .
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Skyhigh, at first I saw only the headline of your post - is it wrong to not see a person dying, but wanting to remember them as they were? - which gave me the wrong impression.

Mica's comment that you should do what you can live with must be true. And especially it is certainly true in the circumstances you go on to describe, where the person to be visited is either unaware or already gone.

But if the person is in the process of dying, and wants to see you, it's a different kind of question. Unfortunately I have known circumstances where family members stayed away because it was too "traumatic" (if they'd been through your experiences, I wouldn't be curling my lip at that word I assure you) to visit. "He gets so depressed to see your mother going downhill." "Oh, but you know I hate hospitals!" Oh dearie me. Poor them.

In spite of your internal scars, you were there when your mother needed you, and you paid your respects in every way that mattered. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Others do.
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Gershun, I remember Hospice telling me that once a person is in a coma, that the person can still hear what people are saying. I even asked what about my Mom who had lost her hearing, and was told that sense increases because the other senses had faded.

Why I was wondering about that was because I was in Mom's room watching movie, which was Mom's favorite, and when the movie ended, Mom passed 5 minutes later. It was almost like she was watching it [even in a coma].
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I appreciate everyone's thought here, but I don't think some of you do not understand the situation. My father-in-law is basically gone. His mind is gone, he does not know his wife of 65 years, his daughters and, his sisters. As I age (71) I realize that death is a debt we all have to pay.
I have died once in 1991 after a horrific industrial accident, the doctors were amazed that I was still alive. My employer wanted me med-flighted to a larger trauma hospital some 30 miles away, but the doctor told them if I was moved I would die on the way. They fear that my aorta was torn away from my heart. While I was having a heart scan I basically died, I had lost so much blood that I had zero out on the BP monitor. I said to myself "Damn I am dead" then all the pain had gone. Then I awoke and the pain was back. No, I did not see the light, I did see myself lying on the table and the doctors and nurses screaming and yelling, I did not hear them until I awoke. I spent from 9:30 AM to 1AM in the trauma unit. At 1AM I was stable and sent to ICU.
In this situation, I was aware of my surroundings.
My support comes from cooking and preparing the meals for my wife's family. taking care of the family business and many other chores, running errands for the family. I did see my father-in-law before he lost his mind. He does not respond to any stimulation. I am busy all day running errands and doing for the family.
We do not grieve for a lost one but celebrate their life. I will be doing the memorial service for my father-in-law, I will talk about his life and the good memories. At 93 he has beaten the odds. I lost my father in 1985, he died suddenly, I lost my mother in 2011, while she was still awake for the first time in my life she told me she loved me. I watched her die, a horrible death.
I have seen too many people die in my life, young men dying in battle, friends and family. It has been a heavy burden to bare.
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Wrong? Not at all... you do what you can live with.
I visited my dad till I knew it was his last couple of days - even though it wasnt apparent he was on his last couple days, I knew it.
I did not want to be there when he passed, or after because I knew it would put me over the edge again. The cremation place came and took what was him, but wasnt any more.
My memories are now of him talking to me of happy days, I still feel as though he is in the NH joking and well.
Do what you need to do as far as visiting- I sat and held his hand and told him i loved him, and left knowing i would not go back because i knew he was passing.
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It is not wrong to feel anything... but it is a bad thing to actually stay away because of those feelings, if the person dying is aware they have been left alone or abandoned - it could make a hard thing so much harder for them.

Where I work we occasionally see parents abandon a child with cancer or a disability and it is just unbearable to watch them suffer not just from their condition but from the loneliness and the feeling uncared for almost no matter what we do.

That said, funerals are for the living. If you care about the people left behind, it is almost always good to go if you can. If your being there won't comfort anyone but you, really, and it does nto comfort you that much, I think its OK to express condolences and not go.
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Captain. I'm truly sorry for your loss.
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