Losing a loved one

consigned to the wind

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 …



Categories: Culture, Health, Personal

4 replies

  1. Will check that link out.
    My mom would have done that – never wanting to be a problem.
    My dad, I think he was struggling to wait for my brother (hours away – long story: didn’t believe what I was saying and warned him to get in the car immediately, but didn’t)- I told Dad it was OK to go on, we’d manage. I think he realized my brother wasn’t emotionally capable of being there.
    Dad and I were always the ones to make sure the sick puppies and animals with no hope were cared for and peaceful.
    Lots to think about with this post…HUGS

  2. That site looks like it has excellent resources. Thanks for sharing the links.

    I am the eldest child in my family. I have lost both parents, a younger sibling, and three close friends. My parents deaths were anticipated and expected. The death of my younger sibling last year, following my mom’s death by just 7 months was not expected. I have also attended the dying process of three elders. In those 3 cases I let each dying person know that it was okay for them to go when they were ready to. I would be sad without them but would treasure the memories we made together and always celebrate their lives and the gifts (not a reference to possessions BTW) they gave me.

    Everyone’s grief process is different and every grief process I have been through has been different than the last one. I am not a Christian. If you are interested in reading my blogging posts about how I cope with grief see > http://thistimethisspace.com/2012/04/03/flowers-impermanence-and-the-grief-cycle/ and please read the comments you find there. If you want to you can also check out these categories grief, death, impermanence.

"I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it." ~ John Mellencamp

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