My Mom has not eaten any real or nutritional meals for 5 months.
The past 5 months she may have a little yogurt or ice cream or cream of wheat. But the last 2 months she has really only had hot chocolate or some ice tea.

Now she is getting pressure sores on her feet. They are being treated, but we know she will only continue to get more since she has not been getting any protein or proper nutrition.

Over the past month or so, one day she seems she is on her death bed, the next she is doing okay. Hospice nurse says she is holding on for some reason. She suggests we all meet next week along with the Hospice nurses and Chaplin and tell Mom it's okay to let go.

Has anyone done this? Do you think it is a good idea? She has declined so much physically. Any advice from those of you who have had the same situation will be appreciated.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
You have received some wonderful answers.  People "hang on to life" for a variety of reasons: they are afraid of what will happen to them once they die/ afraid of what is "on the Other Side" or afraid that they were/are not "good enough" for God or their Higher Power to allow them into heaven, are afraid that their loved ones will not be able to cope with living/life once they are gone, are afraid that they will be forgotten once they are dead, feel that their loved ones still need them (because their loved ones say "See you tomorrow." as they leave), don't want to die when their loved ones are in the room (especially if the family is present 24 hours/day), are waiting for a specific someone to come and see them before they die or because they have been fighters all of their life and they consider "Death" as the "Final Fight".  

You know your Mom the best.  Is she waiting for someone to come visit her?  Is she waiting for someone to graduate from high school or college?  Is she waiting for someone to have their baby?

I think that the meeting with the Hospice nurses and Chaplain is a good idea.  It will allow you to say "Good Bye" to your Mom, to thank her for all that she has done for you over the years (even if those years were not so great or fun or were stressful), and to let her know that you will miss her and will remember her.  Think of this as giving your Mom one last "Greeting Card" that says "I LOVE YOU".

{{{HUGS}}} and Prayers 🙏
Helpful Answer (15)
This is true, DeeAnna

My niece lives in Georgia. My brother waited until she arrived. He was at death’s door too. He perked up when she walked through the door. She may have been a grown woman with kids of her own but he still saw her as daddy’s little girl.
See 1 more reply
It is my personal belief that some people hold on for many reasons and one of them is because they are scared that their love ones will not be able to go on without them. They need to be told that everybody will be find and they did a good job in this life. Another reason as I found out with my dad, is out of fear because they are afraid of what is or is not on the other side. This is were you tell them that they will be ok and that people are waiting for them on the other side. In truth, we all have someone on the other side waiting for us! Yet another reason for holding on they need to say goodbye and this happens even if someone can't speak. It is just them hearing the person's voice.

If it was me, I would tell her that I love her and she did a great job raising me and although I will miss her I will be ok. Plus, their is ______(name) is waiting for you.

Sometimes people need a little push to go.

I am so sorry that you and your family are going through this difficult time. I have a feeling your mom will go once you and your family tell her that you guys will be find and you guys will see her again.

Helpful Answer (13)
Great advice!  I have done it twice, with husband and more recently with my aunt.  However, my husband was holding on until he heard from his 2 sons (too far away to get there quickly).  I talked to both of them and let husband know that they called right there in the room, they loved him and give permission to go.  Husband was unconscious, but hearing.  He'd hear my voice and his heart rate jumped much higher.  Obvious proof they can still hear.  Maybe he thought that the boys were right there in the room.  Whatever it was, after that he relaxed and let go.  He passed a few hours later.
See 1 more reply
I am so sorry that your mom is having such a difficult time.

Is there anyone that she could be waiting to say goodbye too? If not then it is a good idea to tell her that it is okay for her to go if she is ready.

My best friends dad lingered in a similar situation and when her mom told him that she would be okay and he could go when he was ready, he squeezed her hand and passed away. We all believe that he needed to hear she would be okay with him dying.

May The Lord give your family strength and grieving mercies during this time. Hugs, it is so hard losing a loved one.
Helpful Answer (12)

As a nurse I am VERY AGAINST THIS. Sorry. I know they recommend. My friend, also a nurse, will NEVER forget the look in her brother's eyes when she said "It is OK, Nick, you can go. We will be OK. We'll always love you" and he looked up at her like "WHAT THE HECK! Am I DYING." People will go when their hearts, kidneys and lungs give out. Meanwhile just keep reassuring her that she is, has been a good Mom to you, that you will always love her. That you will have her with you all your life. THAT is a good way of saying you can go. But to say "You can go" when they are perhaps not ready to let go, themselves. NO. I think it is a huge mistake and have seen it go wrong more than once.
Helpful Answer (11)
anoni0000 May 2019
Amen. I know I would feel like my brothers and sisters thought I was a pain in their posterior if they said that to me on my deathbed. You are right - we can't shut down our own faculties. It is not within our power to do so. I was also very offended when my sister told Mom that she could "let go", She had rallied when they had given her a bolus of fluid the Friday before, and I think if they had been hydrating her and treating the infection with the appropriate antibiotic, she could have made it. Worst week of my life - and hers. My sister, who had not visited her for 3 years, and had not been supportive of me, all of a sudden showed up and was ready for Mom to die. It really stung. I don't want her anywhere near me when my time comes.
I’m so sorry. It’s very hard watching a slow decline.

I think meeting with the chaplain is a good idea. I did that when my brother was being treated by hospice.

Can you also speak to a social worker? The social worker was very helpful to my brother and our family.

The hospice nurses had the same discussion with me before my brother died. She also said a person should feel like everyone is at peace with them leaving this world.

Some people want their loved one to stick around past their time. So if you feel like you should ‘give her permission’ to go, then do that. I did with my brother.

Before that, every time I left that evening I would say that I would come back the next day.

The nurse said that I had to stop telling him that I was coming back to see him. So, I told my brother that it was okay to go and that I knew he was ready to leave. I was at peace and I believe he was too.

Many, many hugs in this tough transitional time.
Helpful Answer (10)
Thank you. That is one thing we do which I hadn't thought about. We tell her we will be back the next day to see her. Good advice. I will talk to my brothers and tell them we should stop saying that and say something like you said to your brother.
See 1 more reply
My mom became as helpless as a newborn during her year and a half in the nursing home; she was frail, mostly deaf, blind, incontinent and needed to be fed her pureed meals. I couldn't understand why she kept on going so, following the advice of countless people, I did tell her it was OK to go if she was ready. Well I found out that she wasn't ready, in fact she was terrified and my conversation disturbed her greatly. She was never one of those people who moan that their life is meaningless and wondering why they are still here, so I guess I should have known she would fight to the end. I did tell her they were waiting for her and it was OK to go one more time though, but it was as she lay actively dying, minutes before her last breath.
Helpful Answer (10)

When my dad passed 25 years ago he was in a VA hospital. He had stopped eating completely. He was unresponsive and was having what they called "air hunger," which was just rhythmic gasping for air (he had emphysema). It was so hard to watch. Somehow I knew he was holding on for us. We stayed by his bedside until the wee hours and the nurse came in and said he was resting more comfortably and we could go home and get some sleep. I was the last one to leave the room. I leaned over him and kissed his forehead and I whispered in his ear, "I love you Daddy. We will be okay and I will take care of Mom." I kissed his forehead again and I took my mom home to get her some sleep. We had barely gotten home and the nurse called and said we needed to come back because she thought he was gone. I know in my heart he was waiting to know I would take care of my mom. I also know he waited until I got Mom out of there so he could slip away.

Right now I wouldn't think of saying something to my mom like that because I think she would feel like I was telling her I was tired of her or something. If my mom was in an unresponsive state, almost comatose, like my dad was and she was suffering, then it would break my heart to say it, but I would let her know I would be okay. I don't think I could say it is okay for her to go, but I would say I will be okay and I have always loved you and you are the best mom ever. I believe they should be actively in the dying transition, not doing poorly and then rallying. How long someone "hangs on" is really up to them. They have such little choice and free will of their own remaining, we need to allow them what we can.
Helpful Answer (10)

My Dad passed in 2013. He suffered a fall and hit his head we think and with the blood thinner he was taking it was a bad combo. Long story short, there was so much bleeding on his brain that the neurologist was keeping him comfortable with pain meds and he was hanging on but unresponsive. However, I truly believe that although unresponsive one can tell what's going on around them and hear you. He hung on for many, many hours after admission to the hospital. Eventually, he was taking large gasps of air about every 30 to 45 seconds. It was then that I decided to tell him that it was ok to go. I told him that we loved him, he did a great job raising us kids, mom would be taken care of, but if he was ready to go that it was ok. He took one more breath.
Helpful Answer (10)

Thank all of you for your advice, best wishes, and prayers.
I decided not to have all the Hospice team and my brothers
meet up and approach Mom as a group to tell her she can let
go. I just wasn't sure how she would feel about that. I feel
it may upset her or make her feel overwhelmed or confused.
The more I think about it, I do agree that when God is ready for
her to leave this earth he will take her. I do reassure her that
we are all doing well, etc. I love her so much. We have been so
close and she has not only been a Mother to me but my best
friend and I will deeply miss her. I will never experience a love
like my Mother has shown me.
Helpful Answer (10)
DeeAnna May 2019
Thank you for the update.  You know your Mom best and you have made the best decision for her.  Take care of yourself during this stressful time.  {{{HUGS}}}
See 1 more reply
About a month before my father died he told me that he was seeing people, like his brothers (already dead) and his sergeant from WW II.  Did I see the man standing at the foot of his bed?  I said no, but that if he saw him, he was probably there in spirit.  Then he told me that one of his brothers said, "I was sent here to help you cross over when it is time for you to cross over, whenever you are ready."  I told him to believe it, and it sounded wonderful. 

I told my husband and aunt they could let go only when they were in the dying process, but I liked that comfort my dad got from the statement "when it is time, I'll help you over."

BIG HUGS   Caregiverhelp11.  Sending loving energy to help YOU through this process.
Helpful Answer (9)

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