I stumbled onto a wonderful, wise website last night, Caring.com, and in particular, their articles on dealing with death, what to expect when someone is dying, what to do and not do, what to say, etc. It’s not something any of us face very often, so most of us have little experience to guide us.
Had I not had more calm, capable siblings on the scene, I don’t know how I’d have gotten through my parents’ deaths. As it is, I remember very little of what happened. I was an emotional basket case, incapable of rational thought. Or maybe I was that way precisely because there was someone else there taking charge.
With four siblings and their spouses, some of them not as healthy as I seem to be, there’s a good chance I’m going to face something similar again. And of course, at some point I’ll be facing my own demise, and worrying about how my son, an only child, will deal with it. Not well, I fear.
How emotional am I? How sensitive? I couldn’t read two articles without crying. But I found a tidbit of comfort that I could have used when my dad died 12 years ago — and in the years since. It is thought that often the dying person will, somehow, wait to die until loved ones leave the room, as if to spare them that moment. You can be at the bedside for hours or days, and the person will cling to life until that moment you step out of the room. Maybe remembering this will help me get over the guilt I’ve felt for not being with my dad when he died. I was rushing to the hospital and got there literally just a minute after he died. I was the one who closed his eyes.
Maybe, just maybe, he’d been told I was coming and wanted to spare me …