I have been with three people who have died. The first was my grandmother, when I was 21. It was very difficult because she had been sick for so long and had lost 100 pounds (she was 54 pounds when she died). I helped my mom and dad to caregive. She was in a coma for a couple of days when she passed. I was also with my granddad when he passed away. My mom and husband were with him. I was 27 at the time and remember that mom and I both thought he must have been bleeding internally because there was an odd smell in the room and it was even on our clothes.
The last person I was with who passed was my dad and I was 36. My mom was there too and even though dad had been horribly sick for many years and it was for the best because there was no hope of getting better, it was still difficult. I had also been very sick after the birth of my daughter the year before (almost died myself) and after he died, my blood pressure spiked to a dangerous level and I ended up in the ER.
Fast forward to present day. My FIL is dying and he has several things wrong (two previous heart surgeries, diabetes, an anyserum in his chest, acute kidney failure, he is recovering from two bouts of pneumonia, MRSA and had C-dif). We were told months ago he would pass any day. To be honest, it is anyone's guess at this point. He has been at best an adequate father to my husband but that is honestly stretching it. He has been more of an aquitance to my daughter than a grandfather. He cares nothing for me and has made that plain.
My husband had mentioned to me recently that he is worried when the phone rings that it will be the nursing home wanting him to make a decision or for the family to come because "this is really it." I told him to not worry and that I would take care of our daughter while he spends this final time with his dad. I told him if we are at the nursing home when it happends that she can say her final goodbye and tell grandpa that she loves him and then I will take her out of the room before he passes. My husband looked at me shocked and was seemed suprised that I would remove her from the room.
Our daughter is eight and to be honest, I feel if it can be prevented that she is too young to be in a room when someone dies. She has lost pets, understands the concept of death, she has even had explained to her how different religions view death, what a funeral is, a cemetary, etc. But there is, in my mind, a huge difference in understanding something in theory at 8 and experiencing it firsthand.
I think that my husband feels because she has been labeled gifted by doctors and is advanced academically that she could handle it. I have explained to him that advanced academically does not mean advanced emotionally or socially. I am recovering from acute renal failure myself due to medication and this is a child I had to take out of church on Mother's Day because they pastor had woven into his sermon about how he missed his mom because she had passed on. I can feel my daughter inching closer to me and then she just bawls her eyes out. I had to remove her from the sanctuary and go into the lobby and from there the parking lot to get her to compose herself. In my mind, this is no one emotionally ready to see someone die in front of them.
My daughter is also not particulary fond of her grandfather (she doesn't like how he treats mommy and daddy because she has heard quite a bit and has seen how he acts). I am also worried that if she sees someone pass on that she doesn't have a lot of love for that she will associate that with loss in the future and then be somewhat relieved when a person dies even if they were good and loving toward her.
Am I just totally off base on this? I try not to allow how my FIL has treated me to hinder him being around his granddaughter, but I just feel that my husband is totally off on this. I feel 8 is just too young for any child of any emotional or intellectual maturity to see someone die in front of their eyes (I know kids in other countries see such things all the time during wars, famine, etc. but I also don't know how emotionally stable they are too).
Thanks for your thoughts on this.