Follow
Share

reasons why the dying won’t let go

Find Care & Housing
It's heartbreaking to see. My mother was put into hospice transition due to respiratory distress on September 28. We were called to AL that day because they didn't think she would live through the night. She did, and has been bedridden since then. It is now October 23 and she is still hanging on. I visited today.

She called me her brother's name and said she was in severe pain. I had the nurse administer medication. The nurses said she can only drink Ensure now because solid food makes her choke.

I posted yesterday about the dread I feel as an only son going to visit her, seeing her in this condition and not knowing how to comfort her. I held her hand and told her how much I loved her. She told me she loved me too.

I left so depressed. It is truly an emotional time for caregivers to have to see elderly parents go through this, especially for an extended period.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to dseag2
Report

As harsh as this may sound, my mother 'held on' near the end and because we had had a very difficult relationship, but I was the only one left in her life, I got the distinct impression she was feeling guilty about how she had treated me and was fearful of dying, fearful of being 'punished' after death ('going to hell', etc.) So I made a point to tell her that our history was all in the past, that we were 'good.' She passed within a day; and I came away realizing that our personalities are not entirely who we are, but sort of 'characters' we play, that our spirits are the true essence of us and return to the Source, however one understands that to be. In my mother's case, her earthly personality was difficult, even tho she had some lovable qualities, and it made our relationship more troubled than it needed to be; I think on her deathbed she realized that, which was poignant because we could have had a much happier relationship. My mom needed to know that fundamentally she was forgiven (as we all are, right?...not 'condoned' for our 'bad' behavior, but Understood.) Mom was able to 'let go', transition, and I could go on knowing we reached an understanding, however momentary, even tho she could no longer speak. To me it was an experience of Grace, freeing both of us.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Santalynn
Report

My dad was holding on his last day and we were not sure why. The hospice nurse thought he was waiting for someone.

My two brothers had been estranged from the family for many many years.
Dad had insisted that I not contact them ever so i respected his wishes.

I had to tell him they did not know he was sick and they were not coming.
Within minutes he seemed relieved and left us.

Your loved one may be also waiting for someone.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to InFamilyService
Report

I think that we don't know all of what is going on internally with a dying person. They may be working some problem out as they linger.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ArtistDaughter
Report

Physical pain, a loved one not letting go and the dying person feels they have to stay alive for that person. It's selfish to want someone to be stuck suffering in a body that's torturing them just so they won't have to face the loss.

I'm new here. I'm sorry you're going through this. I am too and it's hell.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Nakeeta
Report

My mother just passed on Oct 5th, she was in a NH, then went to the ICU. Her BP wouldn't stay up without a lot of IV meds and they could not do much dialysis with a BP of 90/50 over the past week. We knew it was time and I knew after all the conversations we had in the past that she would not let go until I left her side, her mother did the same for her. When in good health mom told me that she would have a difficult time passing if I was there, she didn't want me to observe her actual death. I'm honestly glad I knew of her wishes.

We left the room and in less than 3 hours she quietly passed. I felt bad leaving her alone and maybe I shouldn't have, but my mom was of sound mind and told us over the past couple months that she was ready. I was able to say everything I wanted to say while she was on the extreme amount of BP raising meds that kept her pretty coherent in the hospital. She knew who I was (said my name) and said many times "I'm Ok with it, no dialysis". I told many times when she opened her eyes it was ok to let go and that I loved her. They stopped the BP meds and made her comfortable and in about three hours she passed. The ICU nurse was the kindest person in the entire hospital and explained everything before and after mom's passing.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Stoplight
Report

My mother is in her final stages and the two people closest to her are me and my cousin. We went to visit her on Tuesday. She is barely lucid but I asked her if she was ready to be with my father (who passed 21 years ago) and her father. We told her it was okay to let go. She was yelling "I want to go home", "get me out of here" and "I want to get up". She is still alive. As MJ said, when the body is ready to go it goes.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to dseag2
Report
NightHeron Oct 9, 2021
That sounds really hard. I hope the situation has become more peaceful for all involved.
(1)
Report
You should read the book called Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying by Patricia Kelley & Maggie Callanan. They (hospice nurses) relate wonderful stories about what the dying (their patients) needed before they let go.

Some examples are: seeing someone, having something done, making sure the living will be ok when they are gone, fear of death & needing to talk to a spiritual leader, etc.

In my uncle's case, he was on hospice for almost 2 weeks without eating or drinking. He kept hanging on for his older sister who was disabled and was the last sibling that hadn't come to see him. She finally came, and he died 15-20 minutes after she left.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to polarbear
Report
lealonnie1 Oct 6, 2021
That was an AWESOME book! 😊
(1)
Report
Here is a link to a good article on the very subject:

http://www.ecarediary.com/QAArchives52/The-Dying-Process--Why-it-Takes-Time-to-Let-Go.aspx

My father waited until we all left the room to begin his final transition. The hospice nurse suggested to me that I take everyone out of his room and to dinner because she felt he was hanging on waiting to be alone. She was right because as soon as we all left, I poked my head back into the room and I heard the heavy breathing that signalled the end was approaching. He passed 8 hrs later.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

In the end, it's really just the body giving out. No amount of "hanging on" will make a body go longer than it physically can, so when it's time, it's time.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to MJ1929
Report
Nakeeta Oct 23, 2021
That's so true. We really don't need anyone's "permission" to die. It's going to happen whether anyone likes it, approves of it, " grants permission" or not.

It's really quite sad and even to some degree, counterintuitive for this Western civilization to be so frightened of death. Eastern world is the opposite. My family members refuse to discuss death, estate planning, or anything related to the subject of their own eventual demise. They don't want me discussing my end of life wishes or my estate planning with them either. They seem to think any talk of death will "jinx" them and bring on their death.

Frankly, it's irresponsible and unfair to not take responsibility and ensure family members aren't stuck holding the bag when the 100% guaranteed inevitable happens.
(1)
Report
When my Mom passed she had been into the dying stage for almost two weeks. She was in a Nursing Home. Hospice was called in 6 days before her passing.

We knew her death was going to be soon., so I took my Disabled Nephew to get something to wear for the funeral. He hadn't said his goodbyes so we stopped into see Mom. We sat with her and he held her hand. I sang her favorite hymn. We said goodbye and left at 1:30 pm. She was declared 20 min later. The Nurse later asked me if my nephew was the last person that needed to see Mom. I said yes, she always worried about him. The Nurse said she sees it all the time. When someone seems to be hanging on, she asks the family is there someone who hasn't yet said goodbye and the answer is usually yes. Maybe because they are too far away. The Nurse tells the family to call that person and put the phone up to their ear and have the absent person say goodbye. The Nurse claimed not long after the person passes.

Another thing is to tell them its OK to go. That everyone will be OK. Its time to be with the wife, husband, parent who have already passed on.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter