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.

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No how no way would I expect my child to go through that. It is unnecessary! I stood next to my GM when she had a fatal heart attach- and was previously in good health. We were in the family's restaurant kitchen- I was 4! Now at 60 it still disturbs me and I was rushed outdoors when it was obvious what was happening. Not pretty at all. Way to young to need that lesson.
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I would truly question why your husband would want such a young child present. Makes no sense to me at all; especially with the comments that this is not someone your family holds particularly dear.

Perhaps hubby needs to talk with someone about his feelings. Good luck!
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I was 15 when we had to take my 45 year old aunt off life support. I stood right by her bed and watched it and... yeah, not the sort of thing I would recommend for someone younger. Watching someone die, even if it's a pet, changes you.
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Hi Joyce,

I'm with you.

Why expose her to something that is truly a life changer if you don't have to.

Have you asked her? Unless you know she would answer how she might think you would want her to as opposed to how she really feels.

Since your FIL is already in a nursing home what's wrong with your husband doing his thing as a son when that call comes and your daughter staying with a neighbor and watching a movie? You can go with your husband to support him and you can tell her what's up when you return so she doesn't have to worry about you both while you are gone. What if it's a false alarm and she has to go through that a few times?

Too much for a kid. It might make her too serious and sad while she tries to process something she just doesn't have to yet.

Nuts to reality. I get that kids in other countries experience this stuff but so what? Those kids are old before their time. You're right in taking your clue from how she reacted to the episode in church.

Just because she's gifted doesn't mean she's not a child. She'll have plenty of chances to suffer the pain of watching someone die as she moves through the phases of her life.

Just my take on it all. Good luck and I hope you keep us posted on your decision.

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Joyce, I am 47 years old. When mom started the dying process, it was Awful. She was Struggling to Breathe...for 30 minutes. She had DNR. I sat here in the livingroom agonizing for 30 minutes: should I call 911 or not? For 30 minutes. 30 very long minutes of her Struggling to Breathe. I almost gave in. I came on the inernet and came on AC and started posting for 30 minutes while stopping to hear her struggles. If you and your husband never heard of the someone struggling to breathe, it is NOT something I would have an 8 year listen to!!! Mom was not as "noisy" as what others have posted with their loved ones. Some mentioned that they heard the "death rattles" from their chest and the struggling to breathe. Mom did not have the death rattling. Thank you, God, for that!!!

I was in elementary age when Nana died. She was my father's mother. In my whole childhood, Nana was the Only One to ever Hug us kids. I loved her. Then she died. Our parents took us 8 kids to the hospital where the morgue is. There is a Viewing Room. We went in. And our parents Forced Us Kids to Kiss Nana one more time. I saw her on the gurney and I Knew she was dead. I did not want to kiss her. But was forced to do so. She was icy cold. After that, I have avoided the hospital at all cost. When my sis got shot and almost died, I only visited her once or twice. When mom or father were hospitalized for weeks, I refuse to sleep overnights with them. I visited only. What I'm trying to get at is - I was traumatized when I was forced to kiss dead Nana in the hospital. In my young mind, I associated death and hospital. And I still feel that way. Maybe my parents needed that closure but they should not have forced us kids to do it.

I do Not go to Viewings. I Refuse to See my Dead Relatives and Dead Friends in the casket. In one Viewing, my aunty ordered me to go to the casket. Pissed me off. I said no. I want to remember that person as alive than to see their dead body that doesn't look like them at all - in the coffin.

Your daughter is too young to witness death. If you read around this thread, you will see over and over how many people have agonized over this stage. And these are grown adults - not people in their early 20s. But adults.

Please stand firm with this. Your daughter is still a child.
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