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Caring for a Dying Parent In Their Last Days – a Personal Story

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This is a personal story about caring for a dying parent. The death of a parent is inevitable, but we don’t talk about it. So let’s do that. Let’s talk about it.

My name is Sher Bailey and I’m going to share with you what it feels like to care for a dying parent at the end of their life. This will be a painful post to write, and it may be painful for you to read.  But it’s an important conversation to have with yourself before it happens. If you’ve already lost a parent, I encourage you to read on and share your personal experiences if you’d like.

Caring for a Dying Parent In Their Last Days - a Personal Story

Caring for a Dying Parent In Their Last Days

There is no guidebook here. There are no rules a dying parent has to abide by, and none for you either. Death is a very personal experience between the dying and their loved ones. This is my personal experience. I hope you can take something from it that will help when you walk this path.

Before I begin, I want you to know the last thing my mother said to me as she was moving from consciousness to unconsciousness. “I wish I’d been happier.”

Without question, those 5 words are some of the most painful, life-changing things anyone has ever said to me. I hope you’ll remember them, as I do, and take whatever action you need to take in your own life so that they won’t be your last.

Their death process is your experience, too.

Your parent is dying, but as you walk with them you’ll realize it’s almost as much about you as about them. Your parents brought you into this life and so as they leave it, you will undergo a change that gets to the very core of who you are. Be attentive. Listen to their stories. Commit their words to heart.

There will be things your parent says or does during this time that will come out of nowhere and break your heart. It could be a sweet story they remember, or it could be something completely honest and raw, like my Mother’s words. The filters we all try to have as we walk through life don’t matter to the dying. If you’re afraid you’ll forget, write them down.

You become the parent, and they the child.

I took care of her, changed her, bathed her, fed her. I stroked her forehead and calmed her anxiety. I gave her medicine and held bottles of water while she sipped.

The circle of life is never more evident as when you become the one your dying parent looks to for comfort. When they are afraid, you are there to comfort them. You’ll say a lot of things you’re not sure about, but you do the best you can. You can’t get this wrong if your choices come from a place of love.

You’ll find yourself watching them as they sleep.

Mother slept while I sat at her bedside. She liked knowing I was there, I could tell by the look in her eyes. Honestly, I was afraid to move for fear she’d wake up. It was as though I was back at my daughter’s crib in that respect.

Watching her chest move up and down was comforting to me. I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

Their confusion will be hard.

There were strong meds which caused her confusion, but it was more than that. Mother’s mind was elsewhere. Sometimes she knew where she was, and others she didn’t. I went wherever her mind went. If she was in a garden, I went with her there. If she was talking to my brother who hadn’t yet arrived, I confirmed to her that he was in fact in the house. I never tried to correct her.

Your dying parent will move back and forth between this world and the next.

Dying is work, and Mother had a lot of work to do. I would see and hear her talking to people not meant for my eyes. And then she’d be present with me again, but only for brief interactions.

Sometimes she’d look in a particular part of the room and explain what was there. “There is a pretty lady with lights all around her, ” she told me. “There are lights everywhere!” she said as she waved her arms around to show me how many there were.

It becomes plain to see that a body is only a vessel.

As her body weakened and stopped functioning normally, I had to come to terms with what that looks like. When you sit with your parent as they are preparing for their journey, there are almost imperceivable little changes that happen to their physical body. And then suddenly, you see what’s happened in its entirety and it takes your breath a little.

You may have relationship issues to deal with.

Our dynamic was not good. I was a great disappointment to her, and it was easy for her to tell me so. I remember the last time she sat in her wheelchair. I put my head on her lap and sobbed harder than I’ve ever cried or seen anyone cry.

My sobs were guttural and uncontrollable, and she put her hand on my head to pat it as best she could. In the midst of my anguish, I cried out to her again and again, “I’m so sorry, Mother. I’m so sorry I was a bad daughter.”

I continue to struggle with this, to be honest. I wish I had a checklist of good things I’d done alongside the “bad” things. Truth is it probably wouldn’t matter. When your heart breaks, you can stitch it up. But, the scar will always be there.

When an estranged parent dies, they get to leave the demons that haunted them on Earth behind. Ours stay with us, always at the ready to come out and force remembering.

When your parent is dying, you realize you are not immortal.

I watched death come for her, settle in her room, and wait quietly until she was ready. It didn’t wrestle her life away from her. Sometimes I hoped my death would be like hers. When it got more challenging, I hoped it wouldn’t.

When a parent dies you can’t help but think of your own death someday. You wonder if this is how it will go for you, and what will happen with your own children if you have any. Will they be there with you? What can you do to make it less traumatic for them?

You’ll search for yourself in your dying parent’s face.

That’s what I did. Her nose was my nose. Her smile, crooked on one side so that lipstick never looked quite right, was my smile. Her small hands were my hands, although hers were painfully gnarled by arthritis and were adorned by a single ring she wore on her thumb.

I remembered being in church as a little girl, Mother holding my little fingers in hers as our Southern Baptist preacher railed against the devil from his pulpit. Her nails were always long and manicured and I loved running my fingers across them. I dreamed of the day I’d have long, red nails, too.

The exhaustion will be merciless.

My family and the hospice team were adamant that I eat and sleep, and they told me that as often as they could get the words out. That seemed impossibly ridiculous to me. How could I sleep? What if she looked over at the chair beside her bed and I wasn’t there? Even worse, what if she passed away while I was in bed?

I would tell you not to do what I did, but you will. People will want you to rest, and you should listen to them. But, you won’t. I finally made my husband promise he would sit by her bed, watching her chest rising and falling, so I could take a 3-hour nap. He was under strict instruction to wake me if the slightest thing changed. You should try and do the same.

Be still.

You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. Your dying parent will feel your spirit beside them and know they are in a safe space and well-loved.

I spent time letting my eyes settle on everything about her. Her face, her smile, the way her hair looked. I knew it would be my last looks, my last chance to see her in life.

Afterward.

I did my best. That’s all I can say. You’ll do your best.

Remember, you were present. You were filled with love. You were patient. Still, it won’t feel like enough.

There is no shortcut to get through this pain. If you can get to a therapist, I encourage you to do it. Lean on your loved ones as much as possible. Accept help.

After two years I can still hear the way she said my name. I worry I won’t be able to hear it forever.

This is the obituary I wrote about my mother after she died. She’d want me to share it. Mother loved being the center of attention. 🙂 I hope you’ll tell me about your mom or dad. I really want to read about your journey.

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320 comments

  1. Thank you for this as I watched my mom go just one week ago tonight. I already lost my dad and a step dad, 2 brothers and many extended relatives. 

    • A year and a half ago, my father passed away after a week on life support from an accidental overdose. Being an adult, he and I had grown apart, living in different cities busy with work and family. My brother and I had no idea he experimented with substances, so when we got the call about what had happened, we were stunned, shattered, and heartbroken. Making that dreaded decision was easy simply because the doctors did everything they good, but there was no way he’d come back to us. I’ve recently taken on dealing with the aftermath, and it has shattered me all over again, tears in my eyes as I write this, because we never got to hear those last words and revelations. I often wonder if that would have made it harder. I’ll never know, but in all honesty, I don’t want to know.

  2. I could barely get thru this. I lost my dad less than 2 years ago & sat in his room as he waited to go…so much I wish I had done. My mom is struggling & I can’t bare the thought of loosing her too.

    • This! I lost my mom in February. In total I cared for her for 17 yrs. Raw emotions. I would not trade one minute of this. Thank you for writing this. Many blessings to you.

    • I lost my Mom 33 years ago and I too can still hear her call my name. It’s is during those sad moments were your mom becomes your best friend. Her last word was Nene (boy)  to my son and with that nickname my son is still called. She knew when I was pregnant it was a boy and always said “i don’t want God to take me till my first grandson arrives and sure enough y two months later after the birth of  first son she passed on to those glamours gates to heaven. 

  3. Well written story. I was with my mom for her final 3 days once she was in a coma like state. I did not leave the room at all- I felt like she didn’t want me to see her die and feel that pain (as if it avoidable). So I just drank her Ensures and slept on the floor. On the 4th day I stepped out of her room into the hallway to take a call and within minutes they pulled me back inside to say she’s going. While she was “asleep “ I spoke to her telling her it’s ok to go and tears would roll down her face. It was a very powerful emotional experience.

    • I felt exactly the same way – my Mom didn’t want me to see her die. I KNEW she wanted me to leave but I couldn’t. For the last 5 years I’ve felt like the only person on the planet to have this experience.  Closing her eyes was the worst part. Thx for sharing and I’m sorry for your loss. 

      • Wow! My sister’s and I feel the same way, she didn’t want us in there when she passed. Yet,I didn’t want her to be alone. There’s truly an emptiness that I feel now that she’s crossed over to the other side. They say you learn to live with it. I still can’t begin to imagine what this life will now be like without her. This still does not feel real to me just that I haven’t talk to her in exactly one month today.

  4. At the end, I learned, there are still so many things left to say. We had a month to prepare and I thought I had said it all and asked everything I wanted to know. Now I know that no matter how much time I had, it would have never been enough. Watching your parent die changes you. It makes you want to do even more….

    • Thank you for your tender and true words. I felt it was a honor to have walked alongside both my parents on their death journey. My mother had breast cancer we suspected had gone to her brain, but she didn’t want to know or fight anymore, “I am done,” she said and my heart sank. She was in. Hospice House and between my dad, my aunt and uncle, we took shifts sitting with her. She lingered unconscious for 3 weeks until her body finally gave up. My aunt and I were both there and all I can say is that wasn’t my mom lying in that bed, just a body, her spirit had left long before that. It has been 13 years since then and I still remember and grieve all over again from time to time. My Dad had Parkinson’s that was diagnosed 2 years before my mom passed and his situation was much, much harder for me. Again, between my 2 uncles, great neighbors,and I we were able to keep him in his home for a year after my mom passed;however, it soon became obvious he needed more and more help. I put him in assisted living, without my sibling’s approval but with the support of his doctor, my uncle’s and friends support. I can’t say enough about how important it is to have a support system, whether or not it is your family or not. My dad declined slowly in both mind and body, list his abilities to converse, feed himself and walk, etc. I remember a day when I was visiting and I saw his eyes trying to say something to me and then a tear ran down his cheek. I felt so useless and struggled to find the strength to visit him, but I did and eventually, 4 years after my mom passed, my dad passed with only him and me in the room. It was hard but I prayed and prayed God would end his suffering and knew he was bound for a much better place. I remember sitting with him that afternoon, waiting and twice I sensed a presence in the room with us and as hard as it was, I was overcomed with peace. Again, it was a honor to me to have been there with them in this journey and while it truly was hard, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I found out just who I was, found my strength, and my confidence in my own life and death.

  5. Caring for my parents was a real eye opener in many ways. There are moments I would love to forget and some I hope I never forget. My Mom was in a facility and I was there a few times a week because they to go daily was impossible. The one weekend I did not go was Labor Day – we had been invited to a few picnics so I said yes and decided to go with my husband and children – some days I wish I hadn’t gone . On Labor Day evening we received the call that Mom was going to the hospital with an infection- long story short my Mom passed due to a c- diff infection a few days later. I do that what if’s all the time , had I gone maybe I would have noticed the wrong and could have gotten her to the hospital sooner.  Now I had to care for my Dad who was not in the best of shape . I am not the only child but somehow I felt as if I was – death and politics really  are eye opening adventures. I am one of 4 children 2 lived out of state  and a younger sibling who was in denial that he needed any care. My dad beat leukemia twice and now it was back along with a million other issues .  He had arthritis everywhere and you could hear his bones rubbing together with every move – changes were made to his house so he could stay there , finally had gotten him 24 hr care and he lived at home until the day he passed. I was able to be there with him and many family members . 
    I am thankful for the time I had with both my parents and feel somewhat selfish because I wanted more. I also do the what if and I should’ve done more , maybe if I had quit my job and cared for them myself they would both still be here. What I did learn is to treasure every moment and really they don’t want anything but the company of there family. So be sure to visit more tell them you love them , hold their hands just be there fully there . Today we live in a busy word and we all need to savor the moments and make memories and flat out just be kind to everyone! It’s free. 

    Yvonne

  6. This was me to a tee with my mom. She passed away on Monday July 15th 2019. I was there when she took her last and final breath. People say I look like her, and I see it to. She would state at the ceiling and smile,I know she saw her mom and dad and brother and her beloved dog.
    Your story hit so close to home.
    Thank you for sharing it. This was our life back in July. My mom passed from stage 4lung and bone cancer. It was so aggressive. Thank you again

  7. My father just passed away, I can relate. Thank you for writing truths. Death is hard and to sit and watch it happen is hard. Like you said it comes in,  settles in and waits. This is so true. I thought I was the only one who noticed this. 

  8. Your journey was also my journey. I’ve lost both of my parents and all of my step parents. I’ve had the honor of taking care of them (except my father) until their last breath. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to go through in my life but I’m grateful that I could do it with them all. I miss them deeply but I feel them around me constantly. You wrote this article so perfectly! Thank you.

  9. Thank you for this. I’m sure it popped up into my feed because I typed the words “hospice house” into Google a bunch of times today. My mom was just admitted to a local hospice house tonight and this article is what I have been living since February. I have been doing my best to care for her, but I wish I was more patient. You seem like you were more patient. I feel badly thinking I sometimes showed my anxiety over her care, but I also have a seven-year-old and almost two-year-old and have just been running on empty a bit. I am not naturally a medically inclined person, never wanted to be a nurse or LNA and was surprised at how much I stepped up, learned her meds, navigated appointments and medical equipment, rose to each new challenge, but I sometimes wish I did it with less irritability at the stress of my life. My mom has a spit-fire, blunt personality and she always called me out on everything, but I think she knows how much I love her and how hard this is for all of us. I am going to try to continue with the rest of her journey with more patience and grace. I hope for you peace and healing. Thanks!

    • I care for am elderly lady in her home..96 next week. I see the signs of the end and I’m not ready & have anxiety so you touched me with your comment. I too will try to practice patience

  10. My mom was by far my best friend! She was always the one that stood next to me 110%. Every single decision I made in life was applauded by her. She was always there for me, no matter what. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she was given 2-6 months. She was 68. Life seemed to blast by so quick since that day at the doctors office. She was put in the hospital after becoming dizzy at radiation. Pretty much that room would become her last view. She was sent home with hospice a month later & had her “wish” to be back at home. I sat with her until she had her last breath – her hand in mine. All the talk about the heavy meds & them not really understanding where they are are true! It took a deep toll on us all. There were not many words spoken the last few days, but I DO know she still knew I was there. My biggest regret & what I am struggling with now is that I told her it was all “ok”, but really this whole blur in my life WASN’T ok! It wasn’t right, didn’t make sense & will never be understood. I went through counseling & think it helped a bit, but life will forever be heartbreaking. 

  11. I lost my Dad January 3, 2019. He had Alzheimer and in the last weeks before he died he had Pneumonia but on the death certificate I think it says he died of brain disease. I had been takking care of him for about 6 years from the time we buried my Mom. No body knows the hell I went through!!! After the caregiver left i would always go in to check on him and give him a kiss good night and I always wanted him to know i loved him!! He was always the one man I could count on to be there for me no matter what I needed!! Now the tales were reversed and i was trying to be there for him but your right no matter what you do when they are it is never enough!!! Every time I get sad or start to cry I stop because the most beautiful picture comes into my vision of my mom and dad sometimes holding hands or sometimes arms around each other but in every picture they are always smiling almost giddy like. So then I am not sad anymore because I am so happy for my parents that they are together again!! I did the best I could taking care of my Dad and making sure he was cared for when I was at work, exercising or out with friends but people still feel like they have the right to judge me criticize how I cared for him.

    • I just read your story and honey don’t ever worry or think about what other people think or say. People that criticize usually don’t have a clue about what u have been through. U did your best and that is far more than they probably will do when it’s their turn to take care of some one. God bless u child.

  12. I watched my mom and mother-in-law die and as hard and devestating that it was, I also felt it was an honor and privilege to be with them as they left life on earth. There was so much Grace in the room, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Thanks for sharing your story.

  13. I traveled that path 3 years ago. Yet not a day goes by that I don’t have to catch myself in little things. I have to remember not to call her between 9-10 in the morning. I did that for decades. It’s a hard habbit to break. I was lucky that my siblings each took turns staying with Moma. She had a stroke. She hit her head. She was never alone 24-7 no matter where she was. ICU- ER- rehab- and finally the nursing home. We bounced back and from rehab to the hospital 5 times. Finally she just gave up. She had not been able to speak or walk or do much of anything. She was not happy. I could see it in her eyes. She did not want to be a burden. She was ready to go. She decided that she had had enough. When the therapist came to work with her, she shook her head – no. She took her left hand and swiped her finger across her neck. That was it – no more. The therapist tried to work with her but my mom slapped her hands away. Stubborn all the way. MoMA was in the hospital to rehab to nursing home a total of 13 weeks. It’s hard watching your mom just fade away. The last week she didn’t wake up once. Yet the day before she died, she was having an animated conversation with someone. Don’t get me wrong, she couldn’t speak. Heck she wasn’t even conscious. But there she was with her left hand in the air and shaking her pointed finger at someone. Then she would tire and her arm would fall back on the bed. Next minute there she would start up again. Occasionally she would shrug her shoulders and tilt her head. This went on for hours. Finally at 430 am on October 21st MoMA took her last breathe. We all figured she had finally negotiated her terms of departure. She always got her way.

    • Your Moma sounds kinda like mine. She was more able than yours, but had a ton of health issues over many years. She rallied and did better than the docs expected several times. But eventually she kinda wore out of rallies. The end was her decision. There wasn’t anything more to do, and her wishes had been communicated to me and her healthcare people many times. She was kept comfortable the last few days. One of the last things she said to me was “why does it take so long?” – she was done with it. She did have some aware moments in the last few days, and had some good laughs, even if she wasn’t especially communicative. I wasn’t with her when she passed, I don’t think she wanted anybody to be. But I did spend as much time with her as I could. And I want to call her ALL THE TIME, just like I always used to. At least once a day, sometimes more than once. For something, for nothing. Soon it will be the first anniversary of her passing… it’s dang tough.

  14. I love this. Just two weeks ago we sat with our dad during a week of hospice. He had stage 4 Large B-cell Lymphoma. Only two treatments of chemo and he was so weakened they couldn’t continue with anymore. Days went by that my mom sat and slept by his side and in the hospital every time he weakened worse. I was so sure he would get better. Nope. The drs finally told us the cancer had gotten worse and they was nothing else they could do but hospice. My daddy wanted to be home to die. He was a very private person. So is my mom. They gave him two weeks. Just two. He came home on hospice on Sunday, we all sat with him days and nights, taking turns. We notified all his families and friends. They came to see him or called and spoke with him when he could still talk. As the days went by, more and more morphine was given for his pain. Of course we questioned why so much. By the fourth day, I was so sick of seeing my daddy just sleep, not respond to my momma, and cringe with pain when moved to different positions or cleaned and changed. I prayed hard to God for his suffering to end. I no longer could stand to see him getting liquid morphine when he couldn’t even open his eyes or swallow water. Friday we all, 3 of us children, and all the 5 grandkids, took turns sitting with him and saying some final words. We each told him we would take care of momma and it was ok to go when he was ready. Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever have to do that. Nothing could break your heart more than sitting with your parent while they die. I kissed him several times on the head as he was taking his last breaths. I will carry those moments always. What hurts me most is the words he lightly spoke while still in the hospital…. “It would really tickle me to get over this mess and get better,  but it doesn’t look like I’m going to.” He wanted so much to get better. That broke my heart worse than anything, knowing how much he wanted to get better, and there was nothing I could do to make that happen. 

  15. Thank you for sharing. My time of watching my Dad die was short. We only had 32 days from when he was diagnosed with Leukemia to the day he died. That last week was the toughest week, (dealing with someone in a fever state is a strange experience!) and I have many moments that I wish I could do over,be atringer or say just one more thing. The one moment, though, that I don’t regret at all was looking him in the eye, after he told a room full of doctors and family that he was ready to die, and letting him know that as much as I wasn’t ready to let him go, it was his decision and I would honor his choice. It’s been 5 years and I still feel the same way…and miss him every single day.

  16. I lost my mom on January 25thof this year to lung cancer which spread to her lymph nodes and then to her brain. 12 plus lessons were found. I was her cheerleader, her translator of sorts when she wasn’t focusing or couldn’t understand or remember the medical lingo going on. My dad was there too, but more because he had to be or else I would flip on him. We took turns every time she went to the hospital. My husband was amazing with caring for the kids and my best friend helped with the kids as well.
    I tried to give her hope when she went into the hospital even though I knew she would never get out. I worked with seniors in a nursing home, I knew what was going to happen. As it got worse, we all knew it was happening. A blood clot formed and it became a double edge sword for drs. When the oxygen wasn’t enough, her wishes were filled that no further treatment would be given. I payed in her bed beside her and slept there.. I couldn’t leave, I wouldn’t leave… I did just as you did.. I stared at her face I put her hand on my face and I said “ my mushy mommy, I love you so much!” ( it’s a thing I called her because her skin was always so soft) I noticed her breathing differently, I have seen it before in the nursing home. I told my dad it’s happening and tried to get in touch with my brother. He didn’t answer and I stopped calling so I can have my last few moments with her. I just said what an amazing mom she was, how much I will always love and miss her. That I will take care of my dad and brother and not to worry. That I love her so much over and over and over again, and I just cried and cried… I saw her face turn from pink to
    White. She took her last breath and I was too busy crying to see it. I just looked up and the nurse checked and it was done. I cried saying my mushy mommy I love you so much, my mushy mommy!!! My brother came not realizing it was too late, he panicked when..why…no.. I shouldn’t have left.. but he had to. He had to rest, he has Tourette’s and his body was a mess. After a bit I told the nurse, if she doesn’t kick us out we won’t leave. That I would never be able to leave if she doesn’t say we have to. She gave us more time then came in and said it was time to go. 
    I knew in my heart she wouldn’t make it to my 40 th birthday, so I celebrated turning 39 so she could be there. Some people made fun of me, others understood. But I  so happy that I did what I knew in my heart. 

  17. I took care of my dad and mom – dad died in 2013 with cancer, mom died last year April, 2018, from congested heart failure.  I loved the time I spent with them both.  I still think of it as my most important role in life.  They needed me, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. 

    I retired in 2016, and within days I realized mom needed me more than I had thought.  She was with me every minute from then on.  We laughed, cried, wished aloud things we wished we had done differently.  We exercised together, I watched as she read her Bible and as she prayed (at times, these prayers lasted an hour).  

    During the last few days of her life, she slept a lot, waking sometimes so alert we wondered if she was rallying.  The day before she died was my birthday….she woke up and sang ‘Happy Birthday’.

    We watched her as her breaths became more further apart.  I held her hand almost every minute during her last 24 hours.  

    I am grateful for this time I had with them both.  We were able to share how much we meant to each other.

    I am so thankful for this time….it was a gift that I’ll never forget.

  18. My mom died five years ago, my sister and I were with her when she died.  She was ready – I was not.  I was the youngest in the family , I always felt cheated that I didn’t have her as long as my siblings, but the last several years of her life , I was her caregiver so I had more of her.  I was afraid, I’d never seen anyone die before.  I’d list my dad , my brother and my son before my mon died, so I knew the pain , but I had never been with someone when they actually died.  
    I can so associate with this article, it brought back so many feeling I had being with mom when she died. 
    There is a saying , and I apologize because I don’t know who said it, but I repeat it often “ My Mother taught me everything, except how to live without her.”

  19. My mom is currently in hospice and this blog was very encouraging! Thank you for being so open and sharing your experience. Know you aren’t alone in this as your blog also helped me realize the same ❤️

  20. Beautifully said! I lost my dad last March, and everything you mentioned, is exactly what I faced, and I too, respected my fathers moments when he was with me and not with me in mind. When you express that your mom saw a woman with lots of beautiful lights, it makes me recall the time when my dad told me he was walking around his room, and then “bam,” he felt a jolt and was right back in bed. I’m pretty sure he had an outer body experience, but then he told me he saw his mom, and I knew in that moment, he would be taken from us soon. They see their angels who will come for them, and in their story of who they see, is a beautiful moment, because it conforms to everything we believe is waiting for us when we leave this earth. I wish you peace, in those moments of missing your mom. It is unfortunate, but we do in fact belong to a “club” now. A club I would rather have waited to belong to, for at least another 20 years, but, God had other plans! Thank you for sharing your story. 

  21. This was beautiful. It made me think of my Grammy and my dad. I was there for both of them in their final months and in the moment they left this world.
    My Gram was like a second mom. For much of my life my mom and I lived in her home. She was my person and my best friend. The very last words she said to me were, “Goodnight my Steffi, YOU get some sleep.” This was in response to me telling her I’d be back in the morning and for her to get some rest. By the time I got back a few hours later she had slipped into unconsciousness. I sat holding her left hand as my sister held the right. We talked to her and to each other as we listened to the morphine drip. Suddenly she took a big breath, and that was it. That was her last. And then the morphine beeped to signal that it was empty. That was sooo Gram. Waste not want not.
    With my dad it was different. He wasn’t connected to anything. There was no hospital with nurses and doctors in and out. Just me and my 3 siblings, and our mom, who had been his ex wife for 30 years. We knew the end was near because hospice had told us so. There were no “last words” on the day he passed, but in the weeks leading up to it he and I had some beautiful moments. We were estranged for a long time prior to his cancer diagnosis. Watching him die broke my heart. I was left with so many regrets and internalized anger. It took a long time for me forgive myself. I finally came to the realization that he had his part in our estrangement, and just because he was gone,it wasn’t fair for me to absolve him of that and carry such a heavy load.
    Thank you for this post and for encouraging others to share theirs.

  22. What you wrote is pretty accurate. My brother, sister & I did “shifts” at the hospital for her last 11 days. My brother spent the night in her room. I came by 7:30 am – I would get her perfume & spray it on a Q-tip & rub it behind her ears. Then my sister came after work. Her last night, we were all there in her room- my husband, daughters & their husbands, my son & my granddaughter. The next morning she left us. My brother said she was waiting for me to put her perfume on so she smelled good for dad. The horrible thing at that time, was the realization that I was then parentless. 
    A year ago my son passed away suddenly. Luckily he was still living at home & was at home when he had a sudden heart attack – no known heart problems for  him. So, this is so much more painful than losing my father – I had a ton of guilt – and losing my mother – too much left unsaid & I, too, felt like I should have been a better daughter. But losing my son, my only son, my baby boy, this is too painful. I hate the cliches – no parent should bury a child. Guess what? It happens all the time!  It has taken us a year to get to the point now where we aren’t angry all the time. Yes, we’re constantly sad & we will be forever. He was the fiber that held this family together. He was my handsome, strong, smart, well-respected son, who would tell me he loved me, even in front of his friends. The world lost someone so incredible last year, but Heaven gained an amazing Angel. 
    Thank you for writing your story, and for reading mine.   ~Carrie

  23. Oh my mom. She succumbed to ovarian cancer that eventually spread to her liver and killed her. I will never, ever forget those last two weeks when I took off work and just sat in my parents house with my little sister and my dad and watched my mother slowly fail. There were things we laughed at. There were many, many tears. Mom took to dancing with Dad every time he helped her move across the room from her recliner to her hospital bed. I know they loved one another to their last moment. I know my mother loved all 3 of us girls greatly and she did the best she could. I also know I will never forget how she let me know regularly what a disappointment I was to her. I hope someday her spirit will forgive my many shortcomings. I pray someday I can forgive myself. It’s been two years and a month since I last saw my mom but I feel her with me occasionally. I dream of her often and at least once a week I break down in tears. I have the last voicemail she ever left me still. And I send her emails on her LinkedIn account, the only social media she ever succumbed to. I know no one will ever read them but sometimes I need to just talk to her. The pain is like a knife still when I let it out, but mostly these days I can keep it in a little box inside myself. I did see a therapist and it had helped some. And honestly I have been shocked by how long it’s been and how I still struggle on so many days. The thing that bothers me the most is how different my dad is now that mom is gone. To say she was his rock is an understatement. Dad was always quick to anger and full of biting remarks. Since Mom is gone he’s like a shadow of his former self. He no longer makes decisions in regards to any situation involving us girls, I think because he’s afraid we’ll stop coming around. He cries every time we leave his house after a visit and I get so angry that he won’t just be himself. Only recently did I realize this is himself now. Without Mom there to reassure him he would be forgiven for hateful remarks he remade himself and it’s like I lost both of my parents in that way. Thank you for writing this and allowing me to share my grief and story too. Know that you’re not the only one and I hope for peace for you and your family. 

  24. Very beautiful! I just lost my Deddy a month ago. There is never enough time. I am so thankful he went peacefully in his sleep. Sadly I never got a picture of he and I holding hands. I planned to but it never happened. I do have one of Momma and him holding hands. 54 years of love and tears. My heart hurts for her. Thank you for such a wonderful piece. It will always hurt I know this. 

  25. My mother passed away somewhat suddenly. She found out Aug 16, 2018 that she had two, large noncancerous brain tumors. They wanted to do surgery to remove the larger one. She was put on a large dose of steroids to keep the brain swelling down. On Sept 19, she went into a diabetic coma because of the steroids. She was intubated and in ICU. She recovered from that but came down with pneumonia. She got over that and came down with a deadly mold infection in her lungs, which took her life on Nov 6, weeks before her 60th birthday. I love in Texas. My mom amd my sisters family is in Tennessee. It was alot of travelling back and forth and phone calls on my part. I wouldnt leave the hospital when I was there. My sister was relentless in taking care of her. We all have absolutely no regrets. But it is like you yourself are dying. I will never forget her look, her voice, her stories. She was a remarkably beautiful woman.

  26. Thank you for writing this. Death came suddenly for my mother in April of 2018. What we thought was the flu was ovarian cancer.Within 2 weeks she was gone.i thought often about the many times I put off seeing and doing things with her because she saw how busy I was. At the end my father couldn’t make decisions. I did. They haunt me. Did I make the right ones? Was that test necessary? Should I have asked more questions? Did I ask the right questions. I feel your pain.

  27. Oh my gosh!! Reading about your mom put me right back to when my mom passed away!! And just as you described it, I felt the same feels, and the situation seems very familiar!!
    My mom was a very tough cookie!! As a good German, she had no time for bs and she had little patience for mistakes, and I’ve made a LOT of those! I know that she had forgiven me for them, but she had not forgotten them!! She brought back some very painful moments, and all I could do was tell her that I was sorry!! I didn’t mean to hurt her!! But I still felt (feel) like crap for not being better for her!! 
    I hear her telling me what I’m doing is not what she would so many times!! 
    I miss her talking to me, responding to me when I talk to her now!! 
    And it’s the little things that get me, a sound, a sight a smell, and I immediately dissolve into a puddle of tears. 
    I now have a similar situation with my dad!! I live far away and go see him as often as possible, but it’s never often enough! I talk to him 2x a day and tell him I live him as much as I possibly can!! And to be quite honest, the thought of him leaving scares the living daylights out of me!! How am i supposed to go on without him, without both of them!! I’m so thankful for every day I still have him, but I now sleep with my phone on, just in case that call comes through… please not tonight is my prayer every night!! The one blessing is that, unlike my mom, my dad isn’t in any pain, he eats well, but needs 25/7 care and his body is just giving up, but he’s not!! 
    Sorry for the long comment, but this got to me!! 
    My heartfelt thoughts for you and your healing!! Thank you! 

  28. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been caring for my mother two years now. She has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My older brother has always been my mothers favorite. Yet it is me, her difficult child, that is here by her side. I am divorced and have no children. I feel it is my duty to be here. I think we are just now entering the really difficult stage.  I often feel very alone. I also feel incompetent most days. Reading about your experience helped me. Thank you. 

  29. I experienced losing both my parents, dad when I was 31 and mom when I was 36 (5 months ago).  The hospice journey was different for each of them but I had the gift and the curse of being a part of both of them.  My dad’s went much quicker while my mom knew she was going to die a little over a week before it happened.    I lived in her hospital hospice room for two weeks – afraid to leave for even a minute because I didn’t want to miss a doctor or the impending medical complications we knew were coming.  She was so coherent for most of it – we had some amazing talks about life.  The wait was agonizing – for both of us.  I didn’t dare let her see me cry as I felt like I had to be strong for the both of us.  I now feel alone in the world.  I am married with two children of my own, but no one could ever love me like my mother did and there is no escaping that reality.  The world is different for me now and I hope that I appreciate life more for the experience.  Before my mother passed, she promised if it were possible, she would send me dimes to let me know she was watching and I find them everywhere.

  30. This was so incredibly beautiful!  I didn’t have a great relationship with my Mother. But i was the one who sat at her bedside & put the cold washcloth on her forehead when she got hot & pulled the blankets up when she got cold while everybody else went shopping. I sat there all afternoon trying to get up & tell her I loved her & was never able to do it. I’ve never forgiven myself for that. That was the day before she passed in 2000. 

  31. I loved your story.  Except for he estranged part, these could have been my words.  It is Erie, and yet comforting how our experiences were so similar.  I am sure many people out there can say the same.  What struck me the most was when you said you are afraid you won’t be able to hear her voice anymore.  It has been four years, and I still pray I won’t forget her voice.   Thank you for sharing your story.

  32. Not all parents are worth lovingly saying goodbye to. Some have physically, verbally, and emotionally abused their children. Children have left them and changed in order to stop the cycle of abuse. Some have remained at their side and carried on their legacy of abuse to their own children. Sometimes love is staying away so your children never see the horror of abuse. Perhaps they die alone, perhaps they are where they are because of the choices they made. So sad but true.

  33. I’m sorry for your loss. My mother past away a year and four months ago. It was the hardest thing to endure. My mom was sickly and became bed bound. I always took care of her as she did me. I struggle with grief everyday and no matter what I’m doing her last few months hit me like a ton of bricks. Her hospice aid was an angel and treated my mom with such love that we all leaned on her for strength. I can’t say our experience with hospice was positive as they would come and make comments like “I can’t believe she’s still alive”. They didn’t communicate with her PCP as they should have neither did they give her adequate medication to keep her comfortable. My mom was in agony. My sister and I sat in a chair for four month closing our eyes for five minutes at a time. I remember being scared to fall asleep or go to the bathroom. My sister and I would take turns and put alarms on our phones so we can give mom her medication on time as she was now having to have it every hour. I still feel as if we were responsible for her death. Wondering if we had rushed the process along. I loved and still love my mother with the same unconditional love she had for us . I still hear her cries for help it truly was traumatizing. I remember laying in bed with her singing to her to try and calm her agitation. I blame hospice for this as my mom caught an infection due to the hospice nurse not changing her cattier as required by the physician she then became septic even was hospitalized with pneumonia . The infection caused encephalopathy. I kept watch Day in and day out fought with hospice as my sister and I were my moms advocate. I have so much anger towards them they robbed me of my mother. I can’t stop reliving every moment and the events of my mom’s passing. I go to work and try to keep pushing forward for my family and because my mom would suffer when she saw me in pain. I hate when people tell me that she’s in a better place. I’m glad my mom isn’t suffering anymore, but I’m selfish I want my mom back. The sleepless nights to me was just another opportunity to savor every moment I could have with her. I would take care of her all over again if I could just have her back. People tell me I have to be strong and I get that but I’m hurting I want to just scream “I am strong but I’m hurting it’s not easy to lose someone you loved so much. I didn’t know how PTSD felt like till now. I can’t even go to the hospital that we would spend days, weeks, and long hours without breaking down till this day.  I remember saying to my sister that maybe moms getting better maybe just maybe we would have a miracle. The reality was that she was going through the stages of the death and there was nothing we could do to stop it. I wanted so much to stop it. Why couldn’t I stop it!!!! I know I can’t question God’s will but I wish the day my mom passed I’d had passed with her. 

    • Anybody that tells you you “have to be strong” needs a kick in the bum. You don’t HAVE to be strong. You are allowed to grieve, whatever that looks like for you. Nobody can tell you how to do that. It’s your journey and it takes as long as it takes. And I don’t doubt that you have PTSD after what you went through. My heart hurts for you. I hope you will find some healing so you don’t hurt SO much anymore. My sympathies to you. And if I may be so forward – a HUG as well.

  34. I just lost my dad in June. He was given a week to weeks to live in April. He made it 9 weeks. We had Senior Helpers there 24/7 with Hospice. We did this, my brother and I, so we could be present every day with daddy. Dad died at 94. Cancer took him away from us. We watched each day as he got weaker and weaker. During the 9 weeks we made new memories and talked about the old ones. We said more “I love you” than ever before. He was forever in his right mind and let us know he was in charge. He died on my brother’s watch. I had been there the day before and told daddy I wouldn’t be back for a few days. I had my daughter’s graduation open house to get ready for. He told me to bring him a plate of food on Sunday. He died the very next day while my brother was with him. Peacefully and ever in charge to the end. I am so thankful we had 9 weeks to say all the things we needed and to love him like no other.

  35. My mother had always prayed for a “peaceful death” I used to think that was AWFUL until I saw how precious it really is. Mom was a vibrant 83 year old who developed blood clots in her bowel and subsequently sepsis. We had many discussions about what she did and didn’t want done when it was time. She was a very devoted Catholic and the Dr. suggested we get a rosary in her hands. Later that day, the surgeon felt she was stable enough to go to the OR to try to save at least part of her colon.

    They needed to put her on the ventilator for surgery. I went in and told her it would just be for the surgery and we would get her extubated as soon as we could. She looked at me and said “If I don’t do well you promise to take it out?”. I promised.

    I asked if she wanted me to stay while they intubated her and asked her was she afraid. She held up her hand with the rosary in it and said “I’m not afraid of anything”. Those were her final words to me.

    She survived the surgery and was able to communicate with us around the vent. That next afternoon her kidneys and liver started to shut down. My siblings and I knew that we needed to keep our promise and requested the vent be removed

    Our family priest came to be with us. When she was off of the vent we all went back into her room. We all kissed her goodbye and told her how much we loved her. Father had started the 23rd Psalm and we all joined him. As he said the last line of the Psalm she took her last breath.

    She got her peaceful death surrounded by her family. We were so blessed to be able to be with her.

  36. I feel so connected to your story of your Mom. My Dad passed away August 18 2019 it hasn’t even been a month and it seems like an eternity. He had a massive heart attack and only survived for a day and a half in the hospital. I don’t know if he knew I was there. I was there when he took his last breath. I had a very loving close relationship with my Daddy. I’m 50 years old and he was 79 and I know he lived a beautiful life and God called him home in the way he would have wanted to go very quickly.  Does the pain get any better with time ? I hear friends say you will get a sign he is in heaven and it will bring you peace. I know my Dad loved me Dearly but I have not had and peace with it or any signs or comfort. Did you get comfort or signs ? 

  37. I read this as I watch my father approach his time to go.
    He doesn’t resist using oxygen nowadays. Regardless, it doesn’t bring the blush back to his cheeks like it did before but he feels the difference so he using it.
    We’ve fallen into a routine that works for us. I wake him, bath and dress him. His meals are becoming smaller and sometimes he skips dinner for a dessert with coffee. Why not? At this point, he can call the shots … well, some of them. I wake him for meals, remind him what day it is, respond to his story using the words he can’t recall to help him out. The educated man that could answer all our questions is still there but I see him fading.
    The moment I’m waiting for, dreading, is when he cannot make our weekly trip to see my mom, his wife of 64 years and love of his life, at the cemetery. Then we will both know it is really happening.

  38. I wasn’t there at the last moment of my Dad’s life. He had been struggling for some time from various forms of cancer and who knows what else. Ultimately it was heart failure due to sepsis that took his life. He was ready. Had been for some time. He had finally been placed in Hospice earlier that day. Mom and I had been up all night, her caring for him and me driving to be there to help her take care of Dad. He died in his sleep at the Hospice center. Thankfully, I had been to visit just 2 weeks prior. At that visit had the opportunity to tell Dad how much I loved him and that my brother and I would take care of Mom. And that Mom would be OK. I also told him that if it was time for him to die that I had accepted that. My family had been “preparing” for Dad’s death for over 20 years. Perhaps longer. Dad suffered from heart disease (a double bypass and 30 years later a triple bypass), prostate cancer, bladder cancer and kidney cancer. His prostate and bladder had been removed as well as 3 toes (due to infections). He also had a pacemaker. The poor man had suffered enough and we all knew it was his time. Our faith is what kept us going. We know that Dad is with God. We don’t know what that looks like or what that means. I feel that it is beyond my understanding at this point. We had many friends and family to be with us and share stories about Dad. Some were touching, some were funny. But they were all about Dad and how he had touched others during his life. I miss my Dad every day. But I continue to feel his love whenever I see wildlife or the mountains in all their glory. He loved to take pictures of the animals of Wyoming and flowers. I will always see the world from that perspective – God’s creations. Thank you Dad.

  39. My dad died in hospice almost 2 years ago. He was very sick and faded quickly. Hospice took over and allowed us to be together as a family which was important.  I will always remember the nurses and Champlain.  It was being ok another world where only my  dad mattered. 

  40. My dad died in hospice almost 2 years ago. He was very sick and faded quickly. Hospice took over and allowed us to be together as a family which was important.  I will always remember the nurses and Champlain.  It was like being in another world where only my  dad mattered and nothing else. 

  41. Thank you for this. I cared for my grandmother, dad & mom. I was 23 when my grand came to live with us, I came home from school & within a 3 year period dad was gone, grand was in a nursing home and my mom was gravely ill. I cared for mom for 15 yrs. I never heard her say my name in all that time but we had joy, love. I became a nurse in every sense but without the degree.
    When you are caring for your loved ones you deal with doctors, nurses, lawyers,the government, & no you do not take care of yourself.
    You get all kinds of comments from well meaning folks who for the most part have no idea what you are doing but are at the ready to tell you the shoulda, coulds,woulds of what you are doing. If you are lucky you have a few who stick with you till it is over.
    The day my dad died, I had spoken to him that morning & by lunch I was getting the call he was gone. When we went to the funeral home, I just knew they had the wrong person. Only when they wheeled him out it was my dad. Eyes can play tricks as I thought I kept seeing him breathe. When Mom passed the same happened, we don’t want them to be gone. When Mom passed I felt like an orphan.
    There is not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. It was such a spiritual experience taking care of her.she was only 56 when she became ill, I was 26. I don’t regret a minute of having the privilege of being her daughter & caring for her.
    I looked at her face trying to memorize her face, the arch of her eyebrows, her cheek bones. I’d watch her breathe too, sing to her, touch her as I feared she could be gone any second. I learned not to be afraid of death. She had visitors too from the other side & I am grateful they came to be with her.
    Although she didn’t speak a word we had our own communication skills.
    I thank you again because your comments were spot on.

  42. I helped my mom care for my dad in our home. I was going through a divorce, job change and was pregnant with my second son, so I moved home. I talked a lot with my dad but his terminal cancer took him at 63. We had 15 months to prepare for his death. I watched him suffer terribly, which made it easier to let go. Twenty eight years later we got my mom’s diagnosis of cancer…my heart broke. She spent so much time with me and my sons over the years, I never really thought about her being gone. She was 89, I made her a bedroom in my dining room because she couldn’t handle the stairs. I bathed her, talked to her, cooked for her and did everything I possibly could to keep her comfortable. She had taken such good care of my dad when he was sick, she deserved the same. I miss her terribly. We fought at times but they didn’t last. It’s the most loving thing you can do.

  43. Beautifully written …As i read your words ..it was as if much of it was mine. Funny ..its been close to two years now but feels like yesterday .. i can still imagine every vein on her hand .. every mark on her face . The way she would look at me with love and gratitude in her eyes .Gratitude that i had managed to keep my words that she would not be left alone to die . There were 7 of us , our spouses , and her much loved grandchildren, that shared the weeks with her before she passed. She was always so grateful for anything ..no matter how small that we did for her. It was such an honor to be there with her knowing that we were able to fulfill her wishes up till her last breathe . She deserved the best because she gave us that kind of love and service through our entire lives . At 85yrs old …her every day consisted of awaiting phone calls and visits from loved ones …still loved to laugh and spend time with all of us , up until those last coulle weeks when she became ill . She was one of the lucky ones .. she left this earth feeling loved …fulfilled & happy life on earth behind her. I really wish all seniors could have that during the end . Thank you for your story .. it gave me a chance to ponder over our experience of saying goodbye to our mother .

  44. I took care of my mother till the end (we lost her 4 years ago. I moved out to where they lived to help care for her) and am now doing the same for my father after he suffered 4 strokes In 3 months. Everyday I wish I could do more, I wish I could be a more patient daughter and caregiver. In the end I would have it no other way tho. All we can do is try our hardest and do the best we can do. My mother cared for my grandmother so I’ve never had any reservations about carrying for my parents, I’ve always felt it was the least I can do. Like I’ve said so many times, we want my father home not in a home plus there’s no way we could afford such a thing. I’ve had to quit my job to care for me father and we’ve had to give up so much but in the end all we need is a roof over or heads and each other until it’s his time to join so many others in the other side. Thank you for your story I appreciate it❤

  45. Sher, thanks for sharing this. Every death is different. It’s seems those that are still living end up with the most regrets. I watched my father die from cancer when I was only 23. He fought hard, he was only 50 years old. 6 months goes by fast.  My dad has been gone for 39 years. I was a daddy’s girl. He missed out on so much of life.
    I lost my mother and best friend without any notice. She was not sick, I was on vacation and my brother called me early in the morning.  I can still hear his crying voice telling me mom’s dead, mom’s dead.  The guttural scream that came out of me, I was in shock. He found her on the floor with the phone in her hand…she tried to call 911. It still makes me upset when I think of that call. I miss her everyday. It has been 9 years since she left us.
    Almost 3 years ago while on vacation my husband got sick. When we got home he went to the doctors. Stage 4 cancer. Doctors gave hope of 3 or 4 years with this super chemo medication. He was in pain, moved to bones. The but original tumor was improving. Between the pain and lack of appetite he became weaker. Mike had such a strong will all his life and was sure he would be this. He worked half days until one night the pain was so bad we went to emergency room. He was a little confused but we thought it was from pain meds.  The Er doctor dropped a bomb saying with liver cancer, ammonia builds up in the brain. Causes confusion, comas! Took 11 days to get pain under control and have hospice agree to let me take him home.  He was so happy to be home, even if it was in a bed. He lasted 5 days.  Mike did not pass easy. He fought until the end. I have many regrets on how things were handled and that I should have know and done more, been sweeter, listened better. I can’t change any of those things now.
    I miss him everyday. I never wanted to be on my own at this age. We were supposed to grow old together.  We were married for 39 years and together for 41.

  46. I have lost both of my parents my dad in November of 07 and just lost my mom in July of 19. My mom had thought she had a stroke so for 2 months I am helping her walk, bath, eat and sometimes drink. She goes to a Dr appointment and they want me to take her and have blood work done and have an xray done of her stomach because I asked them why it was so hard. Then i received a phone from the Dr that seen her at her appointment and she thinks my mom needs a unit of blood so I take to the hospital and they admitted her to the hospital and the Dr making his rounds ask me how long she had the mass on her right kidney. I looked at him and said what mass these is the first I am hearing about a mass. So he takes me and shows me the scan. And it is 3 times the size of her right kidney. And the he points out the she small masses on her lungs. So on Saturday we see a Dr that has order more scans and test. So on Monday they come in start talking to me and tell me that it looks like cancer and they don’t know what kinda but due to the scans they can see that it has spread to her lungs and possible her heart. And they ordered an MRI of her brain and they come in and tell me that she has a tumor on the front part of her brain that was causing the left side of her body to be of no use to her. Which is why she thought she had a stroke. So they come in Tuesday and tell that she does have cancer still don’t know what kind but it is stage 4. They do a lung biopsy and they type it and do slides and it comes back with renal cancer. That day she has a seizer and they don’t think she will make it thought the night. They tell me to get family to the hospital to say there good byes. That was the hardest part because my little brother and his family were on vacation in Hawaii. So I call and ask him how soon he can get home that mom may not make it thought the night. So I get family to the hospital and she makes it thought the night my little brother arrives Thursday morning at the hospital and we get told the she need hospice care and we were OK with that. They tell that she need inpatient care of hospice. So we get her moved that night and family is still coming to see mom and speak to her because she was able to speak a little bit. So we never leave my mom side if we did it was to eat or to go to the bathroom. One of us 3 kids stayed with at all times even my 16 year old son stayed at her side. On Saturday night I was going home to get some sleep and my one oldest brother was saying with her. I kissed her on the head and told her that I loved her and she looked at me and said” I love you all too” after that she never spoke again. We all talked to her and I watched and just took in the way she looked because I knew that I would never see her again. On Monday my little brother had to go back to work and so did my sister in law. So I stayed with my mom Monday night in the hospice place I talked yo her and told how sorry I was that I was not a better daughter to her. And that I was sorry that I called her in many ways. My older brother texted me and told me to play the song my heart will go on so I did. My brother came to stay with mom while I went home and showered and came right back. He said he was going g to get lunch when I got back and he and my son left to go get us some lunch. I went and played the song one more time and when it ended I seen that my mom was gasping for air so I walk to the door and asked the nurse to come and check her breathing and she walked in and told me she only had minutes left I told her I need to call my brother but before my brother could get back my mom passed away I was holding her hand and I told her to go and that I loved her so much and she took her last breath and went. That was the hardest day of my life and it is like you can never unsee that.

  47. Thank you for sharing your story. I would like to share mine with you, but it will have to wait a little,  because it to hard to put into a few paragraphs. 
    I will put my story out, and I will share it with you.
    Thank you 

  48. Thank you for sharing your story. I would like to share mine with you, but it will have to wait a little,  because it to hard to put into a few paragraphs. 
    I will put my story out, and I will share it with you.
    Thank you you’re words were like mine. 

  49. I became so emotional reading this article & yet I wish I had read this prior to my mother’s death, five years ago. 

  50. I am so sorry for your loss.

    My sweet Daddy is in end of life comfort care. My parents have lived with my husband and me for 6 years. For the last year, my Dad has continued to decline drastically. My mom was able to get him in to a nursing home. She was not sleeping and had to do everything for my dad. It has been heart wrenching to watch him slowly get weaker and more frail.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  51. Thank you for sharing your experience. I went through some of the exact same feelings that you did. We had my mom for 97 years. I can also remember her taking my brother, sister and me to church every Sunday. I remember coming home and the time we three ladies spent in the kitchen preparing Sunday lunch together.

    Where do I even start to talk about all the wonderful things she did? We were not a wealthy family by any means, but we were rich in the sense that she made sure we had all we needed. As she grew weaker in the last 6 months of her life, we siblings came to the realization that this was the beginning of the end here on earth for her. We had to face the reality. Mom always said that she never wanted to go to a nursing home. She never did. We did the same, bathing, feeding her, changing her. The last thing my mom said was to my brother. He said, “I love you, mom”. She said, “I love you too”. After that she closed her eyes and slept. My sister and I had turned and positioned her the night before. We both kissed her and told her goodnight. Nothing had changed in her breathing. The next morning my sister called me. She had passed away just as my sister came into her room the next morning.

    We had a beautiful celebration of life for her. She loved us all, and that’s all we could have asked. By the way, my brother who was sick at the time passed away unexpectedly 18 days after my mom passed. I guess he was waiting to spend the last days with her. It was a hard experience, but it was a time of loving on her, singing to her and letting her know we were there. I will always cherish those moments.

  52. Hi, I took care of my Husband, and my Dad as they passed. As i read your story i was taken back to that time. It’s been 4 yrs for my husband. And 2 yrs for my Daddy. The dying process must be about the same for most. You’re story was and could be mine. I thank God my daughter was with me both times. She is my rock. Because when things get scary she is in charge. I fall apart. Just know my heart is with yours. We share a similar story. I can’t hardly stand to think of letting my mom go one day. She is my last link to the past. It will be me and my brother. We are the end of the line for our family. Except for my two kids. I hate death! And i don’t look forward to it.

  53. We lost my dad last week, our journeys are so similar . My Daddy was an amazing man, always our protector , to see him frail and tired with leukemia taking over slowly taking this man we all adored was rhe hardest battle of my life. I am grateful to have been there , every minute of his 19 day journey . Only 19 days from diagnosis to death , yet the disease was so powerful in that short time , we are still in a state of disbelief. Leukemia? What ? How is this possible to just appear ! My daddy’s fought those 19 days for all of us, but the day came that we all told him it was on to let go, that we would all be ok, that we promised to always hold my moms hand the way he always did. We could see in his eyes how hard it was for him to leave us, he didn’t want to go, he would say to my mom “ let’s go, let’s go anywhere but please let’s just go” those words were hard to hear . My sister and I climbed into bed with him his last night in hospice , one of us on each side, holding his hands, watching his breaths so shallow, the hardest thing we ever did , but also the most wonderful. The nurse walked in while we were still in bed with him, with tears in her eyes , s…she only knew him a few days yet she looked at the picture on his bedside of a strong man with his three daughters and wife and told us, that is the man we should remember , not this poor skinny sick man. Our journey is just beginning …he will does we be a part of our hearts and lives, we just now have to decide what those days will look like without our daddy ..but one thing we know…his life changed each of us, he changed the lives of anyone he met, he was a good man, and losing him also changed each of us, his loss will remind each of us to be better , to live a life where we won’t have regrets when our day comes…that one day someone will shed tears for us and be able to say “ she was a wonderful person” just like the same words we hear everyday regarding our daddy’s impact on the world in which he lived…treasure all the moments becasue one day they will be the memories we cling too

  54. Your story is a lot like mine. My dad got diagnosed with cancer August 11th, 2015. As we got some answer, not all we had to prepare for what was to come. I worked a full time job and was there 3 to 4 times a day making sure he got everything he needed. From water to meds. Five weeks later he became worse. He went in a hospice care center. My husband had to leave as his father was diagnosed with cancer 1 week after my dad. So here I am all alone to fight a fight I want ready for. September 17th my dad left his body and went to heaven. There is so much to this story but I know the pain. I am a different person now and will forever be a different person. I can’t explain it. Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs and prayers to you 

  55. I understand completely. I cared for my father and was with him at the end. I could feel his soul leave when he took his last breath. I studied him too. Even took a pic (which some may not understand.) The I combed his hair and removed his glasses before they took him. 

  56. My pops passed away April of 2017.
    We found out he had stage 4 esophageal cancer. He lasted almost 2 years, and did prettu ok with treatments. I am more holistic, and always was searching for the best tests and best remedies. It was almost like a second job to me. I have 4 brothers, 2 younger, 2 older…we are all still close. My parents were still married. My mom never worked, my dad took care of everything. He wasnt always easy to deal with, but he was also a big mushy teddy bear at heart. He worked hard all his life and would give the shirt off his back to anyone.
    We knew his passing was near…he had told us he did not want to die in tbe hospital. Hospice would only come out if an emergency…they did not do daily care. And my mom needed help. We didnt know how long he would last once entering hospice and stopping treatments. I hired a home nurse care company who came out and helped her. He only lasted about a week.
    In the month prior…we had been getting together at my folks house several times a week. As long as my dad was up for it, we had old neighbors by to visit ( and say their goodbyes) my dad enjoyed it but also said…” I dont want it to be a death visit” in other words, he loved the company, but didnt want it to simply because he was dying.
    But…it was. And it was nice for all involved. He spent alot of his time sitting in a recliner in his room…but one day he told my mom he wanted to get in the bed. She knew that day, he would not get out of that bed ever again.
    He got to the point he could no longer speak. He just laid there with his mouth open..but we knew he knew we were all there. His personal physician and a nurse from his drs office that just loved my dad, came to see him. Our pastor came…all my brothers were there, we allsat around his bed with him, sharing funny stories, laughing through tears. Once the hospice nurse told us it woukd be 12 to 24 hours before he passed, all my brothers and I stayed at the house…taking shifts sitting with him, and comforting mom. We had an angel woman who was a hospice nurse, and friend of one of my brothers, who came to our house and stayed with us the entire time. Administering dads meds as needed to keep him calm. She was an absolute Godsend. My mom came and woke me from a nap…and told me I nedded to come…it was about 4 or 5 am. Everyone was around his bed, crying. Praying. It was beautiful and gut wrenching all at once. I honestly do nit think it could have gone any better. If my dad had to choose, this would be what he wanted.
    Make no mistake, he did not want to go. I could tell in the 2 months leading up to his passing, he was struggling with the idea of leaving my mom, and us. He had so much life left to live. That tore me up. But at some point he just had to let go. We kept telling him not to worry, we would take care of mom…and all would be ok. I wanted to tell him “please dont go”…but I had to be strong. It wasnt up to him. No sense in begging him. It still hurts badly. He was the head of our big family. He still is. We all just miss going to him for life advice, he always made us feel that as long as he was around, he had our back. No matter what. He was very loving and protective. When we lost him…my brothers and I reverted back to childhood. Even though were all in our 40s and 50s. We felt like little kids who just got separated from our dad at a large park. It was a heavy sense of loss and panic.
    Like…now what???? Our mom also relied on him heavily, even tho my mom took care of my dad’s every need as far as cooking, cleaning, companionship…he handled ALL the bills…knew ( kinda) lol how to work the computer…knew how to take care of all the electrical gadgets in the house. So in a sense, she was also lost. They had been together since they were in their late teens. My dad was 74 when he passed. Its still hard to this day. My dad sends me white feathers. As a sign. And I did have a dream visitation from him. We were at our old childhood home, we were standing in front of eachother, I was balling my eyes out , my dad had tears in his eyes but was not balling. I put my hands on his face and asked him if he was ok…he smiled and said yes. I took him in the house to see my mom…she was beside herself, crying. He went to her and stood behind her ( she was sitting in a chair) and he stroked her neck. Then I woke up.
    We still have weekly family nights at my moms…we dont always make it every week, but, there are usually a few of us that do. My youngest brother went thru a divorce after my dads passing, so he moved in with my mom, and his kids are there part time. My mom has ahuge house, so plenty of room. I. Just glad she has people there with her now. I used to hate leaving after a visit, seeing her standing on the porch, waving, knowing she walking back into an empty, quiet , big ole house.
    My brother has been doing lots to help her. He fooks dinners and does maintenance around the house. So…its good. We are getting by, but, my pops is always with us.

    Michelle Husken

  57. I did the same with my mom! I took care of her in her home & my 2 grandkids! she had Hospice care which was wonderful! Taking care of her & having no help for 10 months from my brother really changed my relationship with them! It will be 2 years in March & the experience still weighs heavy on my heart!

  58. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I had been a full-time caregiver for my mom the past three years and then in May, for the safety of both her and I, she went into a skilled nursing facility. My relationship with her had been difficult when I was younger but over the years I had come to terms with the fact that she did the best she could with the tools she had in her belt. Now, my father, whom I have not seen since I was 13, is under Hospice care in a different nursing home and I am faced with going to see him, here at the end, to simply let him have some peace before he passes. I have no good advice to offer, but agree with what you have said about doing your best. I think deep down they know their own flaws and in the end, just want to know that it is ok to go and that we will be ok. Forgive them, and forgive yourself, and go forward with your best self for the next generation. ❤️

  59. Ms. Bailey, thank you for sharing your story and please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your Mom. I lost my mother over 20 years ago and I’m still amazed at how often I compare myself to her. I like to think of myself as a mini-Mom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t with her when cancer took her from us. But I know her children were the last thing on her mind.

    I just lost my Dad this past February due to a horrific car accident the prior July (2018). He was never able to fully walk again – and during his many hospital stays, developed complications. He was 87. My Dad has been my hero my Day 1. He lived in Florida; I live in Massachusetts. In our family, it was a given and understood that Dad and Paula (me) were a team. It was a given that I would be there for him – rain, shine, darkness, brightness – and once in a while the “swift kick in the ass” if he was acting like one 😉 I held his hand, I gave him leg massages, sponge baths, fed him, helped the nurses change him and turn him. He once asked if I minded seeing him in that condition (because he knew he was my hero and held in on a pedastel) – I reminded him that he took care of me when I needed him – now it was my turn to take care of him.

    My stepsister and I brought him to Hospice together and stayed with him constantly as he was made comfortable. And you’re right – the hospice workers insisted on she and I getting our rest as best as possible. It was tough convincing them that I WAS quite comfortable sitting next to my Dad, holding his hand, and resting my head beside him on the bed. It’s where I belonged – it’s where I felt the safest (always!) – beside my Dad. I’ll never forget though – a funny little gesture of his. Whenever he would mentally acknowledge something by himself, I always noticed his eyebrows would go down ….. well, i had a confession to him on his death bed. My 43 year old niece, his granddaughter, was tragically killed in a car accident in November – and I insisted the family keep it from him – I didn’t want his physical therapy interrupted (he was trying to best to make progress at that time). While I watched him taking his last breaths, I confessed to him that he would be seeing his granddaughter when he got to Heaven – *eyebrows go down* …..(that made me chuckle a little during my confession) – I asked him to please don’t be upset with me – I thought it was the best decision at that time. I felt the slightest squeeze of my hand – so slight – like a butterfly wing touched my hand – and he took his last breath. As much as I miss him every day – I know I did right by being there for him and with him when he needed me most – and sent him off to be with Mom, Nana, Grandma, Grandpa … Ms. Bailey, please know that you’re not alone. For you to write this article, I feel you and I are kindred spirits. Please feel your inner strength and carry on with love in your heart – our parents would want us to continue to share our compassion towards others when we’re needed. Sending you blessings. <3

  60. As I had always held my mommas hand. I took pictures of me holding her hand. But it hit me my mom didn’t want me there to see her die and this time for good as when she had stopped breathing 3 times earlier in the week. She wanted no one there. She went peacefully I was told. Now she can see and not battling dementia along with my dad and him not battling diabetes and cancer. Both days I will never forget. Wanting to go to their house or calling them, the first of everything that they’re not with us hurts.

  61. Well written, so true.
    I’ve learned many lessons in the passing of both my parents. Death is a process. My father would say, “it took nine months to get into this world I’ll take nine months to get out.”  And he did just that. Nine months after he was diagnosed with cancer he passed away. My mother died  a private death. I watched as she mentally prepared herself, as her body slowly shut down,  it took two months. 
     My mother-in-law died on her terms, she lived her life on her terms and she died on her terms. I have witnessed the passing of these three remarkable  individuals in the past five years and it has changed me!  

  62. I was not present for the passing of my parents.
    My father died when I was 12 years old (1970) and my mother later in life (2006), both to cancer. My mother shielded my brothers and I from my father’s illness as much as was possible. The memories of my dad prior to his passing are still haunting. When healthy, he was a big, robust man. The cancer and “treatment” had ravaged his body and he was so frail. I believe my father came to me when he passed. The night he died in the hospital, I woke from a dead sleep and sensed his presence and knew he was gone. My mom, lived in another state at the time of her illness/passing. My family and I visited her the summer prior to her passing in September. The cancer/treatment had taken the same ugly toll on her body, although she tried hard to mask the effects and pain. I knew in my heart it would be the last time that I saw her, and it was. One of the hardest good-byes of my life.

    Fast forward decades. I married into my husbands family nearly 40 years ago. My in-laws were a huge part of our life. At ages 93 and 89, they lived independently for the most part in their home. My husband and I were the only family members living in the same city and as they aged, much of their limited needs fell upon us. My father-in-law, at 93 years young, had been amazingly healthy until November of 2018. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and was gone 2-weeks later. He passed in his Hospice room after we (myself, MIL and SIL) had stepped out for lunch. My FIL was the primary caregiver for my MIL. Besides being a very “strong” personality, she had numerous health issues (COPD, A-fib, Macular degeneration, arthritis, on and on). After my FIL died, we had to quickly move my MIL into an assisted living community. We held an estate sale selling most of her possessions and family home. It was difficult. She did well for several months but become increasingly depressed and experienced anxiety attacks, and falls resulting in frequent ER and hospitalizations. In July 2019, she passed during the early morning hours while in a skilled nursing facility with no family present. Both passed within 7 months of one another.

    I experienced a totally different aspect of “end of life” with my in-laws. Death is ugly, raw, and hard to watch. I loved my in laws, but differently than my own parents. I was able to help them, my husband and his siblings through the death process. I could NOT have done it with my own parents and here’s why. I truly feel that for some individuals it is easier to transition from this world to the next without loved ones physically present for that last breath…easier to let go if you will. I just want others who were not present as their loved one passed and perhaps harbor guilt or regret to know, it’s ok. I know for me personally, when my time to leave this earth comes, it will be much easier for me to transition without loved ones being physically present, I would try to hold on. I do not want my family to hold my last breath and heartbeat as a memory. But rather, the love and life that we shared.

  63. I had a similar experience 6 years ago. My mom passed away quietly in my home after 18 months of cancer. I felt privileged to be with her at the end as it was the most intimate experience, almost holy. I didn’t want anyone to take my place at her side

  64. I’m sorry for you.I do thank you as I’m watching my mother die slowly of renal failure. this past sat. I sat with her and als put my head in her lap and she stroked my hair– I didn’t cry but I find myself busting out in tears alone -hyperventilating-as I
    feel i’m dying with her..i want to be with her every moment and when i’m home I want to find any destraction I can not to think about her and the last thing is my personal acceptance- one year ago I would Never let her go– now I just want her pain o stop- she’s suffering..thanks for listening– sorry for all the miss spelled words….

  65. I lost my Father a number of years ago, but more recently I lost my husband after a rather nasty battle with prostate cancer. I experienced much of the same and while I felt a bit guilty when all was over I also felt a tremendous amount if pride in the manner I was able to be present and assist my husband in his final hours. He was at home surrounded by things and people familiar and we walked those last miles of his life together. While I sometimes worry if I told him enough how much I loved him, I do know in my heart that he knew this and that I was there fire him.

    Be proud of what you did for your mother in her final hours….that makes up for anything you think you should have done differently in earlier years.

  66. As I sit alone in my kitchen reading your post, the tears come rolling down. It has been 4 months since I have lived the very same experience as you and I am comforted in reading your words, in knowing I also did the best I could. I am grateful for the last week I spent with her in her journey to another destiny. Like you, I observed her face as she slept, her hands, her blind eyes, her legs, massages her feet and her aching stomach, stroked her forehead, prayed with her, sang to her, laughed and cried with her, laid my tired head on her bedside for her to still care for me like the child I still am to her. It was a privilege to accompany her on this journey! Thank you for letting me begin to grief and share my pain and my joys of this incredible experience. 

  67. I was thrust into this train wreck with my moth in law because  of pancreatic cancer … it was so brutal and fast. My husband, an only child, falling apart, gave me 4 fronts to deal with, our mom, his step dad (who had  dementia that quickly became Alzheimer’s ) my husband and my own…the only death I had faced was young and sudden. This was torture… I found the experience   Ethereal … if it weren’t for my God… whew… to have a woman you’ve known for 34 yrs die in your arms… almost too much

  68. I lost my dad 6 months ago on February 25th. The pain is so real and raw. I still dream of the call to come to the hospital. I was in shock, the 2 days prior he was doing so well. I think that was his “rally” before he needed to go. I miss him so much. He was intubated and was unable to extubated and maintain his own airway, I was talking to him in his hospital room and he was nodding to my questions. He had nodded the he wanted to be with his mom, which had been deceased for many years, I was crying and told him that I understood that but that I just wanted to hear his voice one more time, so the next morning he was able to be extubated and back on to regular O2 at 6L. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. So that Friday night and all Saturday he was my same old pops, my cousins went back home to CA, they moved him out of ICU, I was breathing a sigh of relief, I thought we were on the home stretch. I thought he would be coming home soon, but by Sunday afternoon he was a whole different person, he had a horrible night, not breathing well, unable to get a stable blood pressure, hallucinating, I just couldn’t bare to see him like that. I was going home, I knew they were going to send him back to ICU. I had my mom keeping me posted, I knew this wasn’t good. I had worked in adult care for years. I was suffering from a bad migraine, reaching out for prayers from across the states for my pops to pull through this. I was talking to some family members from MO, laying on the couch so I could let my husband get some sleep, then my mom called me and said that I needed to call my siblings and kids if they wanted to see my dad, and that the kids could bring their kids. So I asked my mom “is he dying”? She said yes. I absolutely couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I lost it. I went in my room, scared my husband with my freaking out saying my dad is dying over and over again. Then having to make those phone calls. I still relive that day. I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I got a memorial tattoo just a couple of weeks ago. I think about him every day, wishing I could talk to him. Hug him. Tell him I love him! Of course, I do tell him I love him every day. I have a dog tag that has his picture and a red, white and blue heart with his ashes that hang from the mirror of my car.
    Timothy Phil Conway Sr 3/25/1948-2/25/2019 As Long As I Breathe You Will Be Remembered!

  69. I lost my mom September of 2018. I was just like you described. I was Hard and Ugly and Heartbreaking. But I feel the same as you . We promised my mom we would Stsy with her until the end . And we did!!  As it’s coming up on a Year the bad memories are beginning to Fade and the Giod are working their way to he suface. The death of my father 16 years ago was so different. Each person is different. I Believe my Mom felt our presence and Was at Peace even thought her body fought it. Love to all the Families left to Continue our journey and much love to our parents to are no longer with us!  Thank you for a Beautiful Post!!❤️❤️❤️

  70. I lost my Dad on July 20, 2019. His loss has devastated me. I was able to be there for him throughout his illness and also was next to him as he died. There is never enough time. He knew I loved him and I know he loved me, that is enough.

    What no one talks about is the dynamics of other friends and family who bring their dysfunction into the process. The one dying gets to decide how they want things to go. Remember to make it easy for them which may make it uncomfortable for the caregiver. Keep their boundaries sacred.

    Grieving is exhausting.

  71. I was caregiver for both my mom and dad. I could not bear the thought of them in a nursing facility so I lived with them 6 months. My father passed away December two days before Christmas, my mom passed away the following April. My longing to touch them once more, to tell them how much I love them, to tell them how much I appreciate them, to wrap my arms around them and hold them tight, I feel will never go away. As time goes on I’m missing them more and more and the tears come unexpectedly and uncontrollably. I was alone with my dad when he passed. My cousin was with me when my mom passed. I thank God that he allowed me the strength to care for my parents, that he gave me the strength to sit alone, by my dad’s side and watch him take his last breath. And that his timing was so perfect in having my niece make last minute plans to come from her home in England to spend time with my mom. She arrived on a Wed, my mom passed away unexpectedly the following Monday with her niece whom she dearly loved and myself by her side. In times of grief I also have times of praise because I know God was present and made things right.

  72. My father passed away on Dec. 22, 2018. We knew he was dying. That didn’t help much. He had an infection in his heart and kidney failure. He slowly stopped eating. He asked me to be honest with him when he asked me if he was dying. I was. I told him that he was under Hospice care and was dying of the heart infection and kidney failure. He totally accepted this as he had been ready to die for a year; sometimes praying for death. He turned 92 on the 19th of Dec. We had a pizza and wings dinner for him as he loved that meal. The family stayed with him most of the time (7 children) On the night he died he had been resting most of the evening. Everyone was going home as they felt it wasn’t time yet. I didn’t have a good feeling so I stayed. Mom went to sleep and I sat by dad’s bed holding his hand. I just watched him breathe and noted there were small changes at times. It was raining out- a thunderstorm. Just before 3 AM there was a HUGE clap of thunder. I looked at my dad and he did not seem to be breathing any more. I told him that that was certainly a grand entrance into Heaven. I called for the nurse at the Assisted Living facility they lived at and his death was confirmed. I woke up mom and told her and made the calls to my siblings.

    After that mom ; who had lost her short term memory after a stroke 6 months earlier, constantly asked where dad was. We explained over and over. She didn’t remember his death or funeral.Little by little she understood but still confirmed. She missed him so much. They had been married 69 years and had really never been apart. Mom shared her favorite stories of how they met, had children and what a wonderful husband and father he was. We heard those stories so many times. We would roll our eyes or laugh when she started telling them. What I would give to hear them one more time. She was kept active at the Assisted Living facility. Even though she was legally blind she painted, played BINGO and participated in most activities. She attended most religious services as she felt closet to dad when in Church. Seven months after dad passed I stopped to visit her. I discovered an ambulance in the bay. It was for mom. She had been vomiting the night before and again in the AM. She was taken to the hospital ER and joked along the way. Once she was admitted testing began and her situation changed. She was in a lot of pain in her lower back. She ended up with a kidney stone and infection, pneumonia and sepsis. At one point she told one of my sisters and myself that maybe she would see our dad that day. We told he not yet. Well she knew more than we thought. She passed away 2 days later. We were totally caught off guard. Still seems like it can’t be real. I truly believe dad called her.

  73. Thanks for sharing this. My mother’s last words to me were “ I would have preferred you being at the hospital with me instead of cleaning my house for my home coming”. She had been in the hospital for a month and was to come home on Sunday. No one was expecting her to die. I thought I was serving her by cleaning her house. She died in her sleep Sunday night. I felt like I could never please her. Not in life and not in death. Everyone else seemed to adore her. My daughter named one of her daughters after her, yet I have lived with guilt and some resentment. In the last few years I have chosen to forgive her for all the disappointments she put on me. I am hoping my daughter can do the same, although I have tried to work very hard not to be like my mother. V

  74. Thank you for this beautiful article and I must have needed to read it, because I found comfort and understanding in your written words. At 43 I lost my father to a quick diagnosis of Cancer. At 40 I lost my mother to a long battle with Cancer for 12 years (many of those years she was full of life, worked full time, and lived each day to it’s fullest). The finality of it all to be without parents and to watch life end for the 2 most amazing mentors in your world was and still is the hardest thing I have done. I pray a lot to them, and call upon them for guidance and wisdom. In the back of mind I still can’t stop the final days or moments of their time here on earth. Could I have done more? Should I have said something, were words left unspoken? Did I come through with their final wishes of funeral and burial? Are they proud of me? I am the baby of the family, and always looking for affirmations and kudos and nothing is like having that blessing of joy and “atta boys” from your parents. My mom was my best friend/supporter and I always was Daddy’s girl. Now, I take the place as a 40-something woman with two boys 19/21 and a wonderful husband of 24 years – I know I now must lead like my parents did. Sometimes I still want to be the little girl who knew nothing of death, but seeing what I have seen has changed me forever. I do feel more empowered to use the knowledge and journey as a stepping stone of experience of life and death for myself and to help my family and children.

  75. The first time I helped take care of someone who was dying was 25 years ago, when I helped my husband & his sister card for his father at the end of his life. He was 86 years old & was ready to go to meet up with his wife in Heaven, so knowing he was ready was a big help. We made sure there was always 2 of us in the room with him when his time got close, so there wouldn’t be just one of us when he took his last breath. We all felt we did a good job meeting his needs & appreciated the help we got from Hospice.

    Nine years ago I was by myself with my Mother when she took her last breath. After her 3rd cancer diagnosis in 4 years, I left my job to move in with her & care for her. I was lucky to have a supportive husband & we had saved for me being unemployed, as I was always her caregiver. Yes, there were some difficult times during this, but I will always treasure that time with her. I felt that it was my job to help her get to the other side. 

    Because we knew she didn’t have long to live, I rented a huge house on the beach for all of us to gather in, and she died 3-1/2 weeks after we left that house. Nine years later we still talk about how bonding & magical that week at our “beach mansion” was, as we all sat around reminiscing. We had us grown kids, grandkids, etc in & out for various lengths of days. We were open about her impending death, so even tho it was August I had a “holiday dinner” with turkey,  ham & the fixins for 18 people, with my sister even playing Christmas carols on the piano.

    Each family & death experience is different, so I think we need to accept that we do the best we can at any given time, and not look back with “should have, could have or would have”. Even tho my Mom & I had our differences during our life together & during her time of dying, I know that she loved me & appreciated my help thru those days.

  76. I just lost my mom Aug. 30 and my dad, June 7 this year. Thankfully, before my birthday Sept. 1.

    I’ve been living 24-7 with them since Dec. 2017, while working. In March this year I quit my job to care for them.

    Your story is so fresh and relevant to me, less than a week from losing mom. I have been cleaning house between planning the funeral with my siblings. I really don’t know how to act. The last week mom was alive, my sister and I gave her meds every two hours. I’m still exhausted.

    Anyway, your article hit me between the eyes. Thank you.

  77. As my Daddy passed in June 2019. His last words to me was. I love u too baby. As I had been standing by his bed. Saying over & over & over as I strokes his hair. I love u Daddy. Those words to me are more precious then all the wealth in the world to me. And better then any inheritance he could have left me. He drew all the strength to speak those words to me my two sisters & our spouses. Telling each of us one at a time & by name his love for us. 

  78. Thank you so much for this. So much of what you say in this article rings true with the passing of my mum. I can still hear the way my mum says my name as well…and I too worry that in time it won’t sound like her voice. My mum was an amazing woman whom I loved and adored. I always said that if I could be half the woman that she was,then I would be happy. It has been two and a half years since she passed and I still cry a little every day. I want to talk to her, or just listen to her sweet voice. She had such a gentle soul. People always told me it gets easier with time, I disagree, it’s gets different, never easier. Thank you for letting me share a little of my story. Michelle, the daughter of Susan who left us way too early.

  79. My mother passed away a year ago this may2018.One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was agree with the doctor to make her comfortable. I watch for almost 24 hours as her heart rate Slowly decreased. Making sure I studied every inch of her face her nose her lips her hands just as you said, I did the same thing. Whispering in her ears “mom I love you!” ” it’s me, I love you mom thank you for being a great mom to me. ” I remember as your heart rate slowly came down to 40 my heart rate went up. I started praising the Lord that he my mother would be with him soon.38 35 29 22 18 as tears ran down my face, I praise the Lord that she was entering heaven. Then 0 and a flat line. I’ll never forget the day you left me MOM. I LOVE YOU FOREVER.

  80. Bless you and Your journey with your mother. I honestly feel very blessed I was able to share this process with my own mother. I was closer to her than any other being on this earth. I would not have survived her death if I could not share it with her! 

  81. Fortunately my relationship with my parents when each of the passed away was good.  My brother and I took turns staying with her at nighttime; but she wanted me in case she had to go to the bathroom .  My brother doesn’t wipe butts-we laugh about that.  But on her last day I went back to my parents house and slept for 8 hours as I was exhausted, while my Dad and brother stayed with Mom.  By the time I got back is was dinner time, and the guys wanted to go eat and wanted me to go with them.  I put up quite a fuss when finally the hospice nurse came in and said for all of us to go and eat together.  She either wants you here when she goes or she doesn’t, and if anything changes, I’ll call you.  So we went to dinner.  The fastest meal I think I’be ever eaten.  We went back to the hospice and she was heavily medicated due to her pain.  Around 9:30 that night my Dad decided to go home, and my brother and I stayed.  At 10:23 that evening my mother took her last breath as she squeezed our hands to say goodbye .  It was the hardest thing i’d Ever done to that point.  Thirteen years later, my Dad was diagnosed with an illness he was unwilling to treat.  He’d missed my Mom so much all those years.  He decided to go on hospice.  For 7 days he seemed like his normal self, just not eating very much.  But those last three days were hard.  He had Stage IV kidney disease and stopped all his meds other than comfort care meds.  We knew it was near the end and he was at home.  He was having trouble breathing so we called the hospice nurse.  She arrived around 11:30 pm.  Around midnight she told us to try to get some sleep, and she would wake us if there was any change.  She came and got us around 12:20 pm, and luckily I was able to be with my Dad as he took his last breath.  
    Both times it was devastating for me and my siblings.  I cried that same cry you described sobbing, hardly being able to catch my breath.  For those 13 years my Dad was my best friend!    I called him every evening to check on him if I wasn’t able to stop by to see him.  
    I miss them both terribly, and I look forward to seeing them again some day, but in the meantime I miss them both!  

  82. Thank you for sharing. This month will be three years since I sat with my Mom for the last week of her life. She held on and I had very little sleep as I sat by her. I talked , I played hymns and played The Sound of Music movie; we watched this every year religiously. It was a time that I will never forget and as painful as it was, I would never wish to not have been there. As you mentioned the roles of mother and child reversing, I know I would never have left her, just as she would never have left me.

    Thank you again!

  83. I lost my mom 6 years ago and as mush as I hate to say it, I don’t remember her voice or her laughter. I was by her side her last few days since she passed super fast. Hate the fact that I didn’t have much time with her but glad she didn’t suffer for a long time. Thank you for sharing this with the world. And I cried the whole time as I read it.

  84. Your story is my story, I enjoyed reading this. Sometimes you feel like no one understands but now I see that I am not alone

  85. I am a nurse, but more importantly I am a daughter. As I was with my dad making the final decision to put him on hospice, I struggled between the nurse and daughter roll. I knew as a nurse, that it was time for hospice. But as a daughter, this hurt deep into my soul. We moved forward with hospice, and had to pit him in a hospital bed soon after. One of my brother’s was in prison, and as hard as I tried, I could not get him home before my dad passed. You see, he went on hospice on a Wednesday evening, and he passed on a Friday night. It was December 23 and we were facing the Christmas holidays. There was no way I could get him home in time. It broke my hard to sit with my dad and have to tell him I couldn’t get him home but I had talked to him several times and his heart was breaking but that he loves him very much. My ither brother is a preacher and respiratory therapist. I had to leave my dad for a few hours for work and let strict instructions on his medications. I got back to his side as soon as I could, disappointed that his meds weren’t given. I didn’t leave his side again. I was the one to administer his morphine and other medications. I was called out by my brother and referred to as “Kavorkiens assistant”.  That hurt deeply and I will never forget those words.  Still, I stayed by my dad. Just sitting there as he slept, or holding his hand. I rubbed his forehead and told him how much I loved him and that his wife and I will be ok. I assured him of that over and over, as I, at 49 years old, was still daddy’s little girl. He held on longer than I thought he could, but everyone had left the room except me. He wasn’t responsive, but I know the hearing is the last to go. I administered his last dose of medication and told him again that it was ok, my (other) were waiting for him, that he could let go. He took his last breath and it was over. In an instant, the nurse in me left and I was his baby girl, holding the hand of my deceased father. I lost it. The pain was unbearable and I ran out of the room crying out for my brother to tell him. I couldn’t breathe and all but crumbled into my nephews arms. I was exhausted and hadn’t slept in almost three days. I just couldn’t bear to leave him
    . I had to call my daughter followed by my brother in prison. That was one of the hardest phone calls I ever had to make. 
    I did talk with the officials and we were able to get my brother home for the memorial service. It was awful to see him come out in shackles and it broke my heart. But at least he was there for that. I can only imagine what horrible guilt he felt for not being there before:during his passing. 
    I’m not sure why I felt composed to tell my story, as I certainly have never shared it like this before. Maybe someone will read this and know that they are not alone in this big world as they are struggling with a parent dying. Stay with them if you can. Listen if they talk. Talk if they are quiet. Be strong for them. And tell them you love them as many times as you can. May God bless each of you that took the time to read my story. 

  86. I lost my dad over nine years ago and my mom five years ago. I could barely read this as I knew everything you just talked about.  As time goes by, the loss still feels like yesterday.  I celebrate them a lot and think of them just as much. Grief never goes away you just learn to live with it. Don’t dwell in it  but live with it.  My dad had a beautiful death, the experiences in the end were amazing and I wrote it all down.  My mom a peaceful death and I cherish being there for her last breath as she was with me for my first.  

  87. Thank you for sharing your journey.  My mother passed away from stage 4 lung cancer that spread tumors throughout her body.  She was not able to walk 7 days after her diagnosis.  She had been in horrible pain for months, eating ibuprofen like candy for pain relief.  Her doctors missed the diagnosis even though she kept asking them to check for cancer.  She was terrified of cancer, many of her siblings died of it.  Her brothers’ raised tobacco.  Everyone smoked back then.  I was able to take off work and stay with her, about 6 weeks.  My mom was 82 when she passed.  She was a little firecracker.  She had been taking care of her husband too, who used a walker.  She helped him shower, she fixed the meals and cleaned the house.  She was also working part-time, driving an hour each way, 3-4 times a week.  She was the hardest working person I’ve ever known.  She’d been through some really hard times but she never gave up.  I miss her so much..  Your journey brought back several memories of our last days together.  

  88. I think the hardest thing about watching my mother die was giving her permission to leave us.  My siblings, their spouses, my father, my husband, and I were gathered in her hospital room.  I had prayed for our Heavenly Father to show her the way home.  No one was telling her she could go home, she was hanging on for us.

     I was crying as I went around the bed and laid my head next to hers.  I couldn’t bring myself to tell her she could leave directly.  All I could force out as I whispered into her ear was,  “I know you miss Grandma and Grandpa.  I understand.”  I just couldn’t get “you can go” out.  I don’t know if she heard me, but if she did I hope she knew I was doing my best to tell her she could go home, that we would be OK.  Within 6 months my father would join her.  On one hand I wish I could have had more time with them, on the other I am grateful neither ever had to be sent to a nursing home.  My father was 69 when he died, my mother was seventy two.  This year I turned  48, my parents have been gone for 12 years now.  More than half of my life is behind me and my end is looming.  I am not afraid of death, I am afraid of my children going through the pain of losing their parents.  Someday my children may have to work up the courage to tell me I can let go.

  89. This was a comfort to read. My mother passed away not quite two weeks ago.   I am divorced and have no children. I never knew my real father, but have a stepdad who trying to be on the grief of the sudden loss of my mother. Your story is inspiring and giving me the strength to seek help and move on. Thank you.

  90. That was so beautiful! I lost my dad in 2002, but still have my mom. I love her so much,and she’d say the same, but I wish we had a real mother/daughter relationship(whatever that may be) I was with my dad when he passed and remembered wishing our relationship had been more. Both my parents did their best, their parenting skills was learned behavior. From that I chose not to have children and that is so wrong or just sad..thank you for sharing!

  91. It has been just shy of one year since my mother passed away. I was ever so thankful that we were given the notice that she had months to live due to her stage 4 lung cancer. It gave us the real chance to pour our love into her as best we could. I was lucky enough to be her shower girl every other day for months, that was until the day she became much, much weaker. I didn’t know at the time that it was, in fact going to be our last shower; instead, she just seemed a bit more short of breath and it was harder for her to even lift her feet. She tried to be so strong and I tried to be so calming and soothing, reassuring her this was just a temporary phase. I am truly so grateful that I was not only able to help her in her time of need, but that she picked me to be her helper. She would reminisce a bit about how I always tried to make everything fun. I will never forget her compliment. She was also funny, commenting how in her day, they didn’t make underwear very cute like mine were. I loved seeing her cute hands and fingers, shaped much like mine with her cute little nose and cheeks. I do not want to remember how awful her teeth started to look like in a matter of days.

    As the year death anniversary nears, I was thinking how most people do not witness their mother’s last breaths. Nor do they walk their father through watching the love of his life, pass on. I feel like I am always going to want more time with her and wish I had spent more time with her when she was healthier. There are going to be random unanswerable questions pop up in my head. I will continue to be curious about her thoughts or the little details that we don’t think to ask about on a day-to-dat basis.

    Her death definitely made me feel destructible and like all of days are absolutely numbered. None of us make it out alive and my goal was to make her as comfortable as possible. I think we achieved this, but it wasn’t less painful for us. I will attempt to keep her alive inside of me for she taught me how to be strong, independent, educated, passionate and to live my life while I am still breathing.

  92. My dad passed away 10 weeks ago. My story is much like yours. I had 3 siblings at the time. Since Dad passed my youngest sister died from a brain aneurysm at age 49. Anyway, we took turns staying with him. He had pancreatic cancer. The last time he was able to communicate was on Father’s Day. He died 3 days later. But I started a journal about the time we started staying 24/7. That was in March and he passed in June. We made some great memories in that time. It sounds crazy but we are a close family so on the weekends the house was packed. I jotted down all the things he would say that I knew one day would make me smile again. We took turns staying with him but I was there most of the time. Sometimes for days without going home. I was the only one that didn’t work so I stayed all the in-between times. When the hospice nurse said he had started to transition and would be gone by the weekend I decided to stay still the end. On Wednesday night June 19th around 9:30 everyone said their goodbyes and I live yous. We even cracked a few jokes about my aunt meeting him at the gate. We told him she was going to light up the sky to start the party when he got there. Well everyone nwent home, it was just my dad and myself, his oldest child. I had his music playing, pulled my chair close to him and just kept talking to him and watching and listening to him breath until it stopped. With his hand in mine he left this world so peacully. I had heard horror stories about being with someone when they die. It was nothing like I expected. He was finally at peace the pain was gone. And in that moment my mother list her husband of 61 years and I lost my Dad. But just like we told dad my aunt started the party. He passed at 11:43 pm and within 15 minutes it was thundering and lighting but it never rained. I guess he made it to his destination. Sorry it was so long but that’s my story.

  93. I had already gone through losing daddy at my home. But mom was by my side. Now a few years later, I was losing mother in the same bedroom. This time I would be alone. Mother had several strokes and couldn’t speak or move. One night I bent over and hugged her and started to cry for I knew the end was near. I told her that I loved her so much and didn’t want her to leave me. As I held her, I felt a tiny arm reach around my back and patted me gently. All those last weeks, she understand and know I loved her. She left for heaven the next day.

  94. My experience with my dad dying was something that I carry forever in my heart. The first time my dad got sick, he was told that it was just back pains and that once his medical insurance kicked in he could go see a doctor and get it taken care of. As a couple of weeks went on he fell in the hospital again and I of course was there with him. As we were in the emergency room it hit midnight and I said happy birthday to him and as I sat there with him all I could think about was that I can’t call off from work and let me tell you that’s one of the guilt I carry with me was leaving him there alone. He told me to go home and me like a dummy went home and left him there on his 57th birthday at the ER. My stepmom picked him up and took him home when they were done with him and in less than a week it came to the point that he couldn’t get up from the sofa at all, he lost weight and he had no appetite. He ended up in the hospital and I was literally the only one who took care of him. I took time off from work and I went to the hospital every single day and took care of him till it was time to leave at 8pm. My stepmom really didn’t help much with him and she didn’t take time off to help with him, but that’s her story to tell. When we thought it was the end for my dad, the hospital sent him to another hospital to get emergency surgery because the blood was flowing out of his body. When he got the surgery done he was doing much better getting up and walking around and then all of a sudden again he couldn’t get up. The hospital finally sent him to the hospital he needed to go so he could get a liver transplant but when the doctor came in the news he had for us threw us off bad. He came into my dads room and said that my dad had liver cancer and due to the previous surgery he had the cancer spread all over his body and he only had 3 months to live. They sent my dad home under hospice Saturday and my dad died Friday that very week. The pain of loosing my dad and not being there for his last breath haunts me and it will forever haunt me. My dad was my best friend and it’s been 3 years since his passing. I miss him everyday, I think about him from the moment I wake up till the moment I fall asleep. That’s my experience with my dying parent.

  95. As I read this it was pretty much exactly the way it was with my mom, who I lost December 4,2018 at 8:44am. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with let alone waking up to find her gone even when I sat in the recliner next to her. I went to work and worked 40+ hours a week and still went back to her house and took care of her, I always said that I would take care of her no matter what even if it meant changing her, bathing her, wiping her after she went to the bathroom I made that promise to her and I kept it but it still doesn’t make it easier on me. I was so bad and missed her so much that I couldn’t accept the fact that she was gone , I was about to leave my fiancé because all I wanted was my momma back. I would call her everyday no matter what even if it was just to hear her voice and to tell her that I loved her very much. I have a lot of my momma in me, the hard working woman that she was I have that and everything else I have a lot of memories with momma but it still doesn’t fill the gap that I have in my heart. I was afraid to ask for help because a part of me just wanted to be next to her in the grave. I was afraid that if I asked for help they would lock me up thinking I was crazy I cry every day and night wishing my momma was still here with me I hear her laugh and the way she said things. The biggest thing I always hear is Missy you need to stop working so hard and so much you’re going to wear yourself out and it’s going to make you old faster lol. I never have listened to her about that I feel if I work harder than I can try and keep my mind at ease but it doesn’t always work. God bless you all. 

  96. Well I guess I can say that you’re an angel they came into my phone just happened to pick it up get the latest news and read your story I don’t know what to say I lost my stepdad last week and lost my mother this week was prepared for one but not the other yes I feel the same way and I was a disappointment wasn’t good enough to my parents thank you for that story your story about your mother

  97. I lost my Gram last September to stage 4 brain cancer. She was a second mom to me. I was her caregiver from the day she came home from the hospital after being diagnosed to the day we put her in hospice. She was given 3-6 months. She was diagnosed May 1st and passed September 1st. She was given 3 big doses of radiation In 3 days rather than having her do it in 5-6 weeks. That’s the biggest thing we regret about her care. The doctor made it sound so good that she’ll regain mobility in her left side and she’ll be walking again and she’ll live to see her 95th birthday. It was all the complete opposite. The radiation sped up her death. As the weeks and months went on it was more and more challenging to care for her as I was doing it myself 99% of the time since my mom has her own house to take care of. We had home care coming a few times a week but all they did was take her temperature, blood pressure, half ass bathed her, and ask how she was doing. They didn’t cook for her, give her meds, give her a full wash down, or change her, I did. By the middle of August, we realized home care wasn’t necessary anymore so we stopped it. That’s when hospice stepped in. Gram wanted to die at home and we tried to grant her wish but in the last week she was home it was pure hell. She stopped eating, she was sleeping about 22 hours a day, when she was awake she was yelling out during the night and was saying things like “I wanna go home” Since Gram had her own house, I was calling my mom in the middle of the night asking her to come over to help me change her cause it was too much doing it alone cause Gram was yelling at me and crying out in pain. Finally my mom packed a bag and stayed with me to help. Gram was on hospice at home for a few days before we realized we just couldn’t do it anymore.  It was too exhausting. The day we put her in a hospice facility, she was in so much pain you couldn’t even lay a finger on her without her crying out, even after giving her liquid morphine. She went in on Monday night and passed Saturday night. The night she passed we stayed as long as we possibly could. The extended family came to say their goodbyes, reminisced and wrote memories in a memory jar. Before leaving we all stood at her bedside telling her it was okay to go and we’ll all be okay and we all love her. We got home, got settled in to relax and about an hour later we got the call she passed. I believe she didn’t want us to be there when she passed so she waited until we all left. We figured she saw us go through enough pain of caring for her that watching  her go take her last breath would be unbearable. Being her caregiver, the only thing I regret not doing is not being more patient with her. We would have big arguments over little things. I didn’t realize at the time that it was the cancer making her say things that would frustrate me enough to start an argument. I wish I could take that back. I miss her every day. I was with her 24/7 while she was home with the exception of going to see Taylor Swift 2 nights in a row but she understood, she knew how much I love Taylor. This past Sunday was the first anniversary of her death. We had a mass said in her honor, went to her favorite diner for lunch and went to her grave. Your story definitely hits a little too close to home. Thank you for sharing. 

  98. That was a sad story but good to hear the story if your mother passing away.my dad pass away and my mother pass away years ago .I felt so guilty for her death because I was not there for her and I would be so mad and over whelmed in taking care of her.That story of yours brought back so much pain and I think about my mother Every Day I miss her and wish I could go back and I would of change so many things fory mother.I Love her so much and wish I could have been more patient with her and helpful and understanding.I went to a priest and he said we can only do our best that w can and help me some put that pain is still in my heart tucked away and lots of the time and comes out like right now when I read your story .Your story helped me realized other things .Thank You for your story of your mom!!….Lucy

  99. Wow. Apart from a few small differences here between your story and my experience, this is very similar to what I went through nearly 5 years ago with my mother. 
    She often would look up towards the corner of the room and ‘chat’ with her dad and others and would say she wasn’t ready to go yet, then snap out of it and return back to me and our conversation. I believe she saw something that our human eyes don’t. 
     She also mentioned many times, of her disappointment of not doing certain things in her life and this really resonated with me to the point where people noticed that I had changed a lot after her passing. 
    I too held her hand and helped her wash, bathe, brush her hair, dress and fed her, just like you mentioned and it really felt like the cycle of life has reversed for us. 
    She was always a strong woman and we only cried about her dying once together, then she wiped her tears and said to me ‘it’s gods way, there is nothing else we can do but except ir’ Wow. 
    After 7 days in palliative care, and me not leaving her side and loosing 6 kegs that week, one doctor told me to go home, and she wasn’t dying in front of me and that I should let her go. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do but knew I had to do. So once I packed my bag of belongings I have acquired over the past week I told my uncommunicative mother it was time to go and see you on the other side. I left to go home and sobbed my heart out.
    5 hours later I got the call from the hospital that she had taken her last breath and was gone.
    Returning back to the hospital I saw a beautiful light above her and she looked so peaceful, no longer in pain and in heaven finally. 
    Thanks for sharing your story, yes I cried like a baby once again and it’s been a while since I did that. Thank you. 

  100. This sure hit home for me..my dad passed away when I was 10 on Christmas eve from a massive heart attack the last words he said to me and my brother was I Love Yall. I’m now 58 and my mother was diagnosed with cancer the early part of November 2018 she was put in the hospital for a week I had a trip planned to dahlogna ga for a few days after Thanksgiving mom kept asking me when was my trip I told her not to worry about it I wouldn’t be going she said yes you will you have been looking so forward to that trip I told her I can always go next year I took her home on friday from hospital and by monday she had gone down so fast all I could do was cry she would tell the hospic nurse she just worries so much and cries alot I ask her where I got that from she said not me I stayed up with her durning the day and my sister in law would stay up at night I never left her those last 2 weeks I had with her i would run on maybe 3 hrs of sleep aday my mom was my best friend we did everything together the day came on Thanksgiving it was only hours away I sat there and held her hand and rubbed her forehead told her I would take care of my stepdad and everything else when shes ready to go just go mom took her last breath about 10 minutes later.i miss her so much I’m just thankful she didnt suffer longer and went peaceful.

  101. I have read this and tears are falling down my face . I stayed with my Dad when he was dying 20 months ago . I felt no one understood how I was feeling and how sad I still feel now . You do think you could have done more my Dad couldn’t speak in the end though he tried too. I hope you knew I was there x

  102. I am amazed at how many of these stories included incidents of “visions”. When my mother began her journey home, we weren’t even aware she was near the end…I happened to see her doc on her floor in the hospital so I approached him to ask how she was doing. He said she was failing and that we should get the family together…I wonder when he was planning to tell us? The following evening, I was standing next to her bed when she look up at the ceiling and asked “who are all those people?”. I jokingly asked if she recognized anyone. This was my first experience being with someone near their end, so I thought she was hallucinating and didn’t take it seriously. She was gone the next morning. It was a shock because she had been totally lucid and carrying on conversations with all of us the night before, but she was a very private person so maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised.

    Three years later, Dad, who had dementia, began his journey. He got shingles, which made him weak and he began falling…he broke his hip and had surgery. He seemed to be recovering well but suddenly stopped swallowing, which is common with dementia, and because of his “advanced directive” he just received palliative care, no interventions. He entered a seeming comatose state and lingered for about a week and at the very end, after a week of absolutely no awareness of his surroundings or the people around him, he opened his eyes and staring straight ahead, smiled the most glorious smile, then closed his eyes, grimaced once, and was gone. I know he saw everyone he loved who had passed before him, including my mother, whom he always said was the “love of his life”.

    I didn’t get to be with mom when she passed but I will always cherish those last few moments with dad. These experiences have opened my eyes to the possibility of life after death, and have alleviated my fear of dying. I’ve also been “visited” through a friend who has a unique gift and freely shares it.

  103. This popped up in my news feed yesterday which is exactly 32 year since I lost my mother to bone cancer. Thanks you so much because even though it has been so many years this is exactly what I felt during that time. Even now I sometimes wish there was more that I could have done. I was pregnant at the time, and my daughter was born 3 days later.

  104. I had the honor of being with both my parents as they passed from this life (separately). They both died peacefully – my father of cancer 6 years ago and my mother of a stroke/hemorrhage 2 years ago. I will never forget the hours I spent watching them die – looking into their eyes – stroking their faces and hair – sensing the peace of what was to come. Death can be beautiful and is certainly a natural part of life. I am not afraid of my own death. I only hope that when I go, someone can enjoy the honor of being with me, whether that person is my husband or my children or maybe the grandchildren I don’t have yet. Thank you for sharing your story as it moved me and reminded me of my own experiences. I treasure those memories.

  105. Oh my God I cried the entire time I was reading your story. It was like I was reliving my father’s death all over again. Thank you so much for sharing!

  106. My mom past August 15th, 2019. I lived out of State, I was going back a fourth for 4 months, a week home a week there. I had just gone back home on a Sunday and I get a call on Thusday morning, that I need to come back that she will be leaving us soon, I made my flight arrangement to leave that day, with in 2 hours they called me again and said she has passed. I didn’t make it back. I keep going over things I should of done. I did tell her I loved her when I last seen her knowing this may be the last time I see her. Her memory also was going though the months, sometimes she knew me other times she didn’t. I still cant believe that she gone, every little thing reminds me of her, and I break down in tears. I believe she is in a better place, but I still feel lost. Was so use of her just being a phone call away.I will miss my visit, our talks and disagreements. What was she thinking days up to her passing. Defafently the worse pain I have felt.

  107. Having always looked up to your Parents remember how much they loved you…

  108. Omgosh, I’ve worked in a nursing home for 41 years and have sat beside many a bed side holding hands with one of my resident friends and watched them take their last breath. So I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. It was quite different when it was my own mother. A year ago this past June, I found myself sitting beside her bed. I have five siblings and four of them were there, as well as many grandchildren and neices and nephews, but I was the one who did the majority of the changing and medications. I slept beside her and held cloths to her mouth to catch the drool. I ate , lived , slept in that room for six days, only leaving to shower or when someone else wanted a quiet moment with her. I would not trade those six days for anything. All of us sitting by her bed, laughing, crying, talking about memories. Even though it was one of the worst things to ever happen to me, it is also one of my greatest memories. Every single day I see something, or say something that reminds me of her. I wish she were still here, but I also know that she is happy, pain free and finally with my father and her own parents. Thanks for the article, for putting a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye!

  109. Here is my story.

    (Side note: I wrote this September 14 2016, I have not changed the dates or my age)
     
    I had a Mom, once.

    My name is Janice. I am 42 years old. I had a mom once. She passed away five years ago on September 14, 2011.
    I didn’t have the best relationship with my mom. Don’t get me wrong, we got along and we talked but she annoyed me… a lot. She bitched at me, nagged me. Some days I thought she hated me. Some days I thought I hated her and that I’d be fine without her.
    About three years before she died, My mom was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease, that without a lung transplant is terminal. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is about 2 to 5 years.
    After finding out her diagnosis, I did some research online, and I went on some support groups and I educated myself on this disease. I knew that my mom was probably going to die. It did upset me to think about it, but I guess I thought that was life and just what happened. Besides, I’d lost some great people in my life that I got along with better than my mom so I figured that when the time comes it comes, no big deal.
    My mom was OK for a while. Then she started to need oxygen and her health was declining. I’d visit with her and have tea. Most nights I’d send her a plate of whatever we were having for supper, usually delivered to her apartment by my son Brandon. She seemed to enjoy that – except for the “Alpo” dog food she accused me of sending one night, that was actually Puritan stew from a can.
    As her health declined more and more, she required assistance with almost everything. She had some PSWs and a nurse helping her. My brother James started staying with her. She was declining fast and I knew it but in most ways I think I was oblivious to just how fast death was approaching and what it would actually mean.
    On August 25, 2011 I was irritated with my mom. She wanted to go to coffee time in our apartment building but needed help to get ready and into her electric wheelchair. I went to help her and when I got there she had to go to the bathroom. Well, when you can’t breathe, just moving from a chair to wheelchair can take everything you have, then you need to wait 5 minutes to 30 minutes or longer until you can get your oxygen level back up to do your next task. So mom got to the bathroom and I did not want to wait for her because I knew it was going to be forever before she was ready. She wanted me to wait but I didn’t want to. I told her I’d come back when she was ready. I was irritated with her so I probably wasn’t as nice as I should have been.
    In the meantime her nurse came to see her. The nurse saw her condition and ended up calling 911. My mom was admitted to the hospital. Mom wanted to go home but I felt that she needed more care than we could offer her. I felt she needed around the clock care from a health professional. I am not a nurse or doctor and I had no idea that she was in such bad condition that she needed to go to the hospital. What if this happened again?
    Then the doctor told us that she had weeks to live, not months. We then tried to get her into Hospice Niagara. But that did not happen. Mom was moved to shaver hospital for palliative care.
    I visited my mom every day. She had some good days and some bad days. Some days I stayed longer than others. Some days I visited a few times. On September 12 she had a good day. My cousin and his girlfriend visited her, I brought my kids up to see her like she asked and we had a nice visit.
    Then when I went to see her on September 13 she was having a bad day. I sat with her for a bit talking to her but she kept falling asleep. Her pulse seemed to be very high. I told her I’d let her sleep and come back the next day.
    I think it was about 5:30 AM on September 14, 2011 when I got a phone call from the hospital saying very gently that my mom was gone, and that we could go see her if we wanted to. Some time between 2 AM – 5 AM that morning she passed away in her sleep. As much as I was expecting this day was coming, I was shocked.
    When we went to see my mom, she didn’t have her oxygen mask on anymore and she looked so peaceful. Somehow there was a single tear on her cheek.
    She was gone. I let her slip away without knowing myself or being able to tell her how much she meant to me. I didn’t get it then but I get it now.
    The reason that I am sharing this is in the hopes that I might reach some son or daughter out there who feels like I did. A son or daughter who has a good mom but hasn’t shown their mom how much they love and appreciate her. Please show your mom how much you love and appreciate her before it is too late.
    You see, I had an OK mom. We didn’t have much growing up, but we had what we needed. My mom and my stepdad did the best they could to raise my brothers and I right. That’s what I would’ve said about my mom back then. After she passed away that changed.
    I love my mom more than words can express. I miss my mom so much. Much more than I ever thought I could miss anyone. I think about her all the time. Sometimes when I speak I hear her words coming out of my mouth. I have come to realize that she was an awesome mom. I couldn’t have had a better mom. Even though we didn’t have much, she did her best. She loved us so much more than I could understand. She was always there for us. She never let us down, or turned us away. She taught us everything she could. She would do whatever she could to help us. In all of her nagging, she only wanted what was best for us. She never steered us wrong. Mostly though I have finally realized that she was my biggest fan. Sadly I realized this way too late. I just wish she was still here. I wish that she was still here so that I could tell her how much I truly love and appreciate her and all that she ever did for me. But I can’t. It’s too late. If it’s not too late for you, do it now.
    It has been 5 years and today has been a very hard day. I worked all day, I cried all day and I wrote this message all day. I wish I could have my mom back.
    Mom I love you.

  110. Thank you for sharing your story. I read this though tear filled eyes as I and my sisters are going through this with our mother. She is currently under hospice care at my sisters home 3 1/2 hrs from me. I go up there every chance I get to spend time with her.  

  111. My mom became critically ill on vacation in Costa Rica. I received a phone call and was there the next day. She was unresponsive and in septic shock. Doctors were surprised that she was still alive when my sister, myself and my husband arrived. She was so ill, they refused ICU treatment and were keeping her in an observation room. I was horrified but when my mother heard my voice, her heart rate decreased and b/p increased. I am a nursing instructor and I understood the critical situation. I begged for treatment (she was in renal failure) and then was able to transfer her to a private hospital. They did a better job keeping her clean and well taken care of however, they did not do any renal replacement therapy on her. Each day, she became more and more fluid overloaded. I would sit at the bed side and sometimes, just lay across her and pray. We finally made it back to the USA via ICU jet after 8 LONG days and landed in New Orleans. My mom did wake up and we were able to get her off the vent. She was starving and wanted to know what happened. There were a few complications but we did make it out of the ICU. Prior to getting out of the ICU, she would speak to her mom (who was not present). We would let her talk and then reorient her but I was not realizing this was part of the process. (I should have but I was so close to the situation that I did not even recognize it). My mom was moved to the medical surgical floor and died the next day. She had the worst night on the medical surgical floor the first night so I worked to secure a sitter for the time that I could not be there. I was not there when she died, but the sitter was. When we were in Costa Rica, I knew that my mother was dying and that did continue in the hospital in NO but I was trying to keep the faith. Her birthday is coming up in October and it is a very difficult time for me. She left this world in March 2016. I know she is with me every day.
    Thank you for your story. I related to it on many different levels

  112. My mom passed 6 months to the day of her diagnosis… Lung cancer with mets to the brain and bones… The fastest 6 months of my life I worked nights and slept very little taking her to nearly every appointment except a few. She kept telling me I was her angel and she didn’t know what she would do without me… And I kept telling her I didn’t know what I would do without her. And in the end I had to tell her to please go… How  much I love her and how badly I would miss her (and still do).. But that I would be fine… Hardest words I’ve ever said in my
    life Because really, I hate life alot of days… Without her…. Then my Dad passed 2 years and 10 days later…. Another hard one to deal with.  All I can say is be good to your parents… They’re the only ones  you have… And it’s lonely without them… No matter how many people you have in your life.

  113. My dad and I had an up and down relationship and we didn’t speak for 4-5 years until I found out he was sick. He was in Florida and I was in Illinois, my brother and I took a trip down and talked about him coming to live with us and eventually a few months later he did. He seemed ok for the first few months and then he slowly started stumbling when he walked and then could barely walk and move around was always dropping things. Went to the Dr and the cancer spread to the brain so we started radiation and one day as we were getting him in the car he fell to the ground and we went to the emergency room, the cancer had spread to his spine and spinal nerves and the doctors said there was nothing they could do so we got the house set up like a hospital to do hospice at home. He came home to us on his birthday and couldn’t do anything on his own, we had to feed him and change his diapers, he couldn’t even smoke a cigarette on his own . His appetite became non existent and he would pretend to eat but really feed his cat or the dog. Two days before he passed he made me go buy him a new TV and the next morning was the first time he asked for the morphine and like clockwork every four hours he got the meds so he wasn’t in pain. The day he passed I went to work and as soon as I got there I burst into tears and went back home. I sat next to him for a bit and went upstairs and came back a short time later to give him his next dose and when I was about to he took his last breath. That last breath haunted me for weeks, I barely slept, now his birthday is in 4 days and he would have been 70 this year almost two years gone and I miss him more than anything.

  114. Thank you for sharing this.  I lost my mother a month ago.  My daughter also passed in my arms 7 years ago after a 5 month battle with leukemia.  Both deaths as so very different but the pain is the same.  What is helped me with my daughter is trying to make a difference through her memory.  I hope I can do the same with my mom.  Warm wishes to those who have lost.   

  115. The last words my mom said after my husband brought me food and was leaving “thank you Ray” what was strange about that you may ask. They were like oil and water. I came home from work often with my mom crying because of something he did or didnot do. The lat day mom and i held hands continuously. The only way i knrw she was gone was that i looked down and her chest wasn’t moving. Thete was mo difference in how she held my hand

  116. I took care of my mother while she was dying . I too felt I was never good enough . I still feel that way . I went to see John Edward a couple of times hooding he would connect with my mother just so I could hear her say I’m proud of you your doing a good job as a mom , he never did and I still have never heard those words that I long to hear. I want with her when she crossed over . My then husband stayed with her because I could no longer sit in a room and wait for her to die. I said my goodbyes the night before and told her it was ok . She passed the next day as my husband (now ex) said I held her hand but your dad held it tighter ( he had
    Passed 4mo the earlier )  that was 21 years ago and the pain never goes away . I still long to call my mom long to hear her say I love you one more time 

  117. Oh wow amazing to read. Last year I lost my mum and dad.Mum had Parkinson’s and dad died of a broken heart. In between all this I lost my father in law. You could definitely say it was a very hard and trying year.
    To watch a parent die is hard but 2 parents. 12 mths on still coming to terms with the fact that both parents have now passed away. NO REGRETS. I was there everyday watching them slowly deteriorate but knowing there was nothing that I could do. To be with them, to talk with them was comfort for me. To know they weren’t alone gave me great comfort in being there. I’m saddened for my loss, but happy that they have both found each other once again.

  118. I just went through losing my husband of 65 years. My 4 children were with me to the end (2wks) and we went through a lot of what you described.  My husband was so happy that all his children were here with him.  He too also saw and talked to people that we could not see, he kept saying he wanted to go home.  Along with my children we felt a lot of pain watching him die but I would not have been anywhere else.  Thank you for your personal story.

  119. My dad passed away in May 2000 and mom in June 2002. They both died at home in their own beds. They both had the company of their 5 children, their spouses and their grandchildren revolving around with them and my mom had her sister there with us as well. Both times were very peaceful. Dad fought non-hodgkins lymphoma and lost that battle after only 12 weeks. He was in treatment and we were all taking turns at our parents home juggling our jobs at same time. He was in pain and would not acknowledge that to us, my sister (2nd born) asked him if he would like a little breakfast, he nodded and said sure, an egg. She went to get him and mom’s eggs prepared and came back in a few minutes to inquiry what toast he preferred, he was gone. Mom, had emphasema and COPD and was diagnosed with an inoperable bowl obstruction. She wanted to be home, and we brought her home. We were literally all there with her every day for 5 1/2 days. At 6:30 pm on that Friday, she whispered “what time is it?” We told her and she sighed very heavily. We asked what she wanted why did she want to know the time, did she want to watch “Wheel” on TV? (She did every day). She shook her head no and said “I’ve got to make it midnight”, why we asked, “I don’t want you to have to send my social security check back to the government.” Her oxygen saturation was at 70 and she was lucid enough to know what the date was and what that meant. She took her last breath at 11:45 pm. I was at her side on the floor, sisters were on bed next to her, her sister was on chair next to me, our brothers, spouses and grandchildren were all sleeping in various rooms around the house. Only sister #2 and I were awake. we held each others hands and moms and waited for midnight. Then I called 911.

  120. Thank you. 
    I lost my Dad a week ago, and it’s still too raw to write about my experience. Your words remind me of some of the emotions we continue to deal with. 

  121. Thank you for your story. I connected to almost every word. The memories of my Mom’s last days came flooding back. I looked at all her features constantly for the fear I may not remember what they would look like. I slept in the same hospital room in a geriatric chair as close to her bed as I could. I didn’t want to let go of her hand. I would brush her hair after the nurses did, the way she liked to wear it. The tears are rolling down my face as I’m typing this and remembering.

  122. I was with my mother-in-law, my father and my mother when they passed away. God Bless you!

  123. My father passed away in our home after ten weeks of hospice care.  It was a difficult time for both of us but we managed with love.  The day he died my brother and I were sitting with him trying to decide if we should cancel our overnight care aide.  As we sat there my father opened his eyes, reached his hand to the heavens and smiled.  Surely the essence of those who went before him came to greet him.  He smiled and left his earthly body.  We were in awe to witness such a peaceful death.  It was almost hard not to be happy for my dad, he was finally home.

  124. I have a photo of my father and I holding hands the week he left my world. I cherish it! I printed it on canvas to share at his funeral but decided to keep it to myself. I really wanted to share it but just couldn’t. I guess it was because it was my moment, our moment. One of our last moments of smiles, nods knowing time was passing quickly. It was about us. Daddy and his little girl. Moments that were all about him but totally effected my life and gave me my time to say I love you and sing with him, dance with his hands while he layed in bed and tried his best to sing with me and lead the dance. It is all about them but it will totally effect you! Give them your full attention, do what makes them happy! It is the simplest things like brushing their teeth, combing their hair, wiping their face and smothering their dry, frail arms and hands with lotion that will give you both the “know” that love is at its rawest yet most beautiful form of healing while letting your loved one go. 

  125. Thank you so much for this writing! My father just passed a little over two weeks ago and I am struggling. The worse for me is the depression and bursting into tears in the worse places! I’m going to seek counseling but any advice would be nice tx

  126. This couldn’t have been more perfect as I sit here and watch my mom slowly slip away from me.  The duo of Ativan and morphine keeps her from pain and agitation, but it also keeps me from hearing her voice ever again.  I lie in the hospital bed next to her when she gets anxious, and the tears stream down my face and onto her pillow.  She doesn’t like it when I cry, but I just can’t help it.  

  127. I LOST MY FATHER FOUR YEARS AGO ON 8/4/15 & IT WAS THE WORST PAIN I HAVE EVER FELT IN MY LIFE!!! HE CHOSE HOSPICE SO I BROUGHT HIM HOME TO BE WITH THE FAMILY. MY FATHER WAS SUCH AN AMAZING MAN HE RAISED ME & MY OLDER BROTHER HE NEVER LEFT US & I WAS SO GREATFUL WHEN I HAD MY CHILDREN AT A VERY AGE HE STOOD BY MY SIDE & HELPED ME RAISE THEM. HE WAS NOT ONLY A GRANDFATHER TO MY 5 CHILDREN HE WAS THEIR FATHER FIGURE. I REMEMBER WHEN HE SPOKE TO THEM TO LET THEM KNOW HE CHOSE HOSPICE WAS THE HARDEST FOR OUR FAMILY THEY ASKED HIM WHY & HE SAID HE WAS TIRED TO HEAR MY FATHER SAY THAT BROKE OUR FAMILY!!! HE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH C.O.P.D , PNEUMONIA & INFLUENZA HE WAS TIRED OF GOING BACK & FORTH TO THE HOSPITAL SO THEY TOLD HIM ABOUT HOSPICE. HE LASTED ONLY 4 MONTHS AFTER CHOOSING HOSPICE BUT I DID TAKE CARE OF MY DAD THE WAY HE TOOK CARE OF ME. I REMEMBER HIS LAST WORDS TO ME HURT SO BAD SEE 3 DAYS BEFORE HE PASSED HE LAID DOWN & JUST NEVER OPENED HIS EYES HE WOULD SAY LITTLE THINGS WE ALL KNEW IT WAS TIME!!!! I SLEPT IN MY DADS ROOM BUT THE NIGHT BEFORE HE PASSED HE WAS SAYING I WANT TO GO HOME & I RESPONDED U R HOME BUT HE KEPT INSISTING HE WANTED TO GO DEEP IN MY HEART I KNEW WHAT HE MEANT!!! I ASKED HIM IF HE SEES HIS PARENTS & HIS SISTER & HE JUST SHOOK HIS HEAD YES TEARS JUST CAME ROLLING DOWN MY FACE…. I TOLD HIM I WONT BE SELFISH NOMORE BUT IF U REALLY WANT TO GO U CAN I WILL BE K & HE RESPONDED NO U WONT THAT WAS THE LAST THING HE SAID TO ME !!!! I WOKE UP AROUND 2 A.M HE WAS STILL BREATHING BUT 4 HOURS LATER MY DAD WAS GOING I HAVE NEVER FELT SO EMPTY IN MY LIFE… I ALWAYS WONDER IF THERE WAS ANYTHING MORE I COULD’VE DONE TO KEEP HIM WITH ME JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER!!!

  128. I remember, crystal blue eyes, like a doll.. her hands were so beautiful,,, she spoke to my dad for hours the night before she died, she asked, she answered, she giggled. Dad died in 1988. Love of her life. She died from a hereditary kidney disease, declined dialysis. She wanted to die at home in her bed, her pillow. Hospice came once a day. When she could no longer use a bathroom or porta, I came 24/7. Held her, cleaned her, etc. She knew what she was doing. She accepted it. It was not an ‘easy’ death, even with meds. Some days it makes me sad, some days angry. My brothers told me I was stronger than they would ever be…. When she was semi conscious, hospice offered to move her to facility. I said no. My father was in long term facility from a stroke. I feel blessed I was there for him when he died. Maybe it speaks of relationship,,, hmm, I do not know. Loved them and miss them still.

  129. I love this..I always felt guilty..my mom died with out me next to her..she was in her last days as she held my son…I remeber her saying..hes perfect and she was ready to go…yet I could not be thier the moment she died..but maybe her holding my newborn son was how she wanted me to remember her.. hes 20 now and yes I never forget those last days ..and I always will

  130. try watching your child die. its 100 times worse than your parents

  131. My mom passed 8 years ago after a battle with cancer. My biggest regret is not being there when she passed. I had two children at home and my dad insisted I go home and tuck them in bed. The Dr. had told us it would be at least 48 hours before her passing. I kissed her and told her goodbye. Walking to my car I had this horrible feeling I would never see her alive again but I talked myself in to going home. I really think she waited on me to leave because she knew how hard it would be to see her pass. She even waited on my dad to drift off to sleep. I left at nine and she passed at 11.  I just wish I had been with her. 
    Thank you for sharing your story. 

  132. Omg! I can so relate..I have watched both my dad and Mom die and I’m only 48 years old. But my moms death was harder on me..its been almost 3 years and I cant get over it. I think back did we do the right thing letting her go. Her survival rate if she lived through the first surgery was less than 10% and for the first time in my life I couldn’t help my mom on a decision. She had to make the decision and she choice death. She said to me she didnt want to leave us but she didnt want to live life in a nursing home or worse where she couldn’t do or know anyone. I had to respect her decision. My dad had cancer and gave him a year and he lived 11 months. It was hard but I could prepare myself a little. With my mom she got sick at my house on Thanksgiving and the following thursday she took her last breathe as I was sitting there watching her.

  133. I lost my Mom 5 years ago this October. She was 65 when what started out as breast cancer spread to her lungs, spine and finally her brain. I have 2 sisters I’m the middle child. We took shifts with my dad and 3 of her sisters. My Dad wanted to take her home when the Drs said there was nothing else they could do but he never got the chance while they were getting hospice set up she died before the hospice care was set up. I watched her go from wide awake eating and drinking to unresponsive in a matter of 3 days. While sitting next to her bed I held her hand and made sure her lips stayed moist. The care team would come in and tell us it would be any minute now. My last evening sitting with her I told her I loved her and I would kiss the grandkids for her, my Dad would come and take the overnight shift giving my sisters and I time to go home and take care of our families. My guess is she didn’t want my sisters and I to have to carry seeing her take her last breath because she died in the early morning hours while my sisters and I were scheduled to relieve our Dad. I’ll never forget the call and turning the car around to meet my sisters at our parents house.  It was 5 years ago but some days it feels like yesterday. 

  134. My father had major health issues on and off for 27 years, most of my life. There were more than a few times that he went in for surgery (2 quadruple bypasses) when my mother and I knew the seriousness of the situation and he may not come out the other side. He was a Vietnam veteran and said every day after the day he left was a gift and he wasn’t afraid to go if it was his time.
    He was in the hospital 7 weeks after my daughter was born, we got news that he had liver cancer and because of his heart issues there wasn’t really a treatment that would make a difference. We had always discussed his wishes and he would not have wanted treatment. Quality over quantity. He was still with it, but he had been hallucinating and the only person he would listen to was me. I was his person. I’ve been his person for a while. My parents were still married, but I was his rock.
    My mother and I worked to find a comfortable facility for him because we knew we couldn’t take care of him on our own. We had done it too many times and just knew this would be too much. We found him a place with good care. He was himself the first couple of days, but then he just started to lose it. One of his last days he was in and out, I was there. He sat up and hugged me and said “I love you more than anything on God’s green earth”. That was the last coherent thing he said to me. It’s all I needed to be at peace with what was going to come.
    He passed on veteran’s 2017. He was surrounded by the women who were most important to him. Just before his last breath his eyes moved like he was looking at someone, I told him it was ok to go with them. We like to hope it was his parents and his sister and his son he lost at birth.
    Having watched him suffer for so long with mental and physical demons probably made losing him a little easier, but it still sucked. He didn’t get to walk me down the aisle, or see my sister graduate. But I am happy, for lack of a better term, that we had a few days to say what we needed to say to him, and make sure he was never alone.

    That’s my story, thank you for sharing yours.

  135. I lost my dad 21 yrs ago to cancer, it nearly sunk this daddy’s girl. 2 months later my mom was diagnosed with it too, I could not believe it, I felt dizzy and like I could not get my breath in that Dr’s office, how could it be happening AGAIN. So soon. What the hell God!!! I helped her fight it the best I could, but the big fight was really just hers, I did all I could. And, SHE MADE IT. She beat the beast. We have been mother/daughter, and best of friends. I adore her, and her me, I know that, thankfully. Now the beast is back, after so many years, and it is more wicked. This time it is not the beatable kind. I am losing her. Slowly for now. We asked, or more truthfully, she asked not to be told a time frame. I accept that, I am too scared not too. I want to live in the moment with her. Blissfully ignorant, and scared to death. I love her so much…………….how do I do this……………how do I say goodbye for good. How do I become an orphan on this earth…..

  136. Very beautifully written and so true. I was caretaker to both of my parents when they passed from cancer. Nobody understands unless you have been down this road. God bless you!

  137. Very beautifully written and so true. I was caretaker to both of my parents when they passed from cancer. Nobody understands unless you have been down this road. God bless you!

  138. My Mom passed away this past Thursday afternoon. I was with her Wednesday night and when I left her bedside I told her it was ok to go and be with God. I was leaving for a short vacation the following morning with my daughter which we had planned well before my Mon was placed under hospice care. I wanted to cancel but my entire family and the hospice team told me that I had to go. Mom was so excited that I was going on this vacation so I went. One hour after my plane landed all the way across the country Mom breathed her last breath. I was mortified that I wasn’t there but again everyone assured me that Mom wanted it that way. The next morning I stood on the beach of the ocean watching the sunrise in all its splendor wondering what it looked like to my Mom now in heaven. It was so amazing. I knew it was Mom showing me that she was in a better place dancing with the angels. See….Mom suffered from severe dementia and was so confused and filled with angst for quite a few years before she passed. I now know she has all her memories back and she is in a happy place. I miss her like crazy but she was, by far the best Mom anyone could ever have. My brother passed away earlier this year and Mom didn’t even know that he preceded her in death, but now they are reunited and back to whole again. Thank you for sharing your story. It helped me more than you’ll know.

  139. I am just beginning this journey with my mom. Thank you so much for this. I live several hours away, and am struggling with how to be there for her. 

  140. I am there with you in some of the aspects of the death of a parent my mom was my best friend bar none. I discovered early on that I was gay there was never a change in her or my dads feelings toward me . I did all the same things you did we had long talks. Its was the best and the worst of times miss her so much her voice smell touch. But I will remember everything till I die . Love your story Love to you Kevin

  141. This is one of th ed hardest things to do set and watch them pass …I lost both parents on 2017… may some peace be we ith you.

  142. I just lost my dad july 13th. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in march 2019. I livednext door to him so i did everything for him too. We crossed all kinds of personal boundries. He mived in our house 3 days b4 he passed. He died coming out of tge bathroom after shouting, “hey dale”. Im comforted that i was who he thought of for help when he knew he was in trouble but troubled by the thought, did i do all i could. I know i did. It felt good to see you had tge same concern. I relive that night every day, the emts, firemen, my wife, i just cant get it iut of my head. I miss him so much. He was 86 and i had been with him since i was 11, a rear after the divorce. It was always me and him. Thank uou for tge article.

  143. Thank you for sharing your journey.  You allowed your Mother to leave this world with peace and dignity.  I only hope that I am able to do the same for my Mom.

  144. I can relate to do much of your story. My mother passed away 4 months ago. With the help of 2 sisters and 3 granddaughters and hospice we were able to keep  her at home. I am so glad that I was able to spend those last few months with her but at the same time, much of that time was the saddest watching her fade away a little each day. She had numerous health issues but the Dementia caused her to sometimes be very combative, sometimes spells of crying and not knowing why or crying for her mother. Those were the hardest times because we were not able to comfort her and it breaks your heart. You just want to take all of the pain, confusion, and suffering away but you can’t. You give everything you can but, in the end, you ask yourself if you could have done more. You wish you had been sometimes more patient, sometimes more assertive, sometimes just more “there”. 

    It has been a very hard time for all of our family and we are still trying to figure out how to move forward without her. She was such a big part of her children and grandchildren’s lives. Taking care of her during the last year of her life and especially the last 3 months before she died was an honor for us all and , as hard as it was, we  wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We miss her so much every day. 

  145. Thank you for sharing. I lost my mom almost 17 years ago – 3 weeks before giving birth to my second daughter. To say the stress was overwhelming is an understatement. I hadn’t even chosen a name for my unborn daughter when my mom passed and had to come up with one while writing her obituary. Kelsey was named after my mom because in Gaelic kelsey means “brave”. The first two maybe three years were a complete blur having by then three kids and no mom to guide me. Many hugs to others who have lost their moms – it’s still heartbreaking. 

  146. My dad died twelve years ago of a massive heart attack. Very unexpected, he passed quickly. One minute here…the next minute…gone. I screamed in agonizing pain. There were no goodbyes, no “I love you” or “it’s ok.”  Nothing. What’s interesting is that two weeks prior to his death, he was sitting across the room from me and we locked eyes. His gaze met mine and I knew. I happened to be eating lunch and it shook me so bad that I got choked. My mother literally came and had me spit out the food so I could catch my breath. Daddy told me to come to him and I crawled on my hands and knees to get there. And I wept. I fell at his feet and wept. I begged him not to go. He stroked my hair and said, “it’s gonna be ok. I don’t know when it will happen. But don’t be afraid. I am excited to meet the Lord.” And then he quoted that verse, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, what God has in store for those who love Him…”. Two days prior to his death I went to visit him in rehab where he was recuperating from a wound that didn’t heal correctly. He had just had a shower and smelled of that cologne, “Paul Sebastian.”  It was heaven. I snuggled up next to him and we laid there watching Gunsmoke.  No words. Just pure love between father and daughter. 

    Twelve years later and my heart still aches for him. And I am taking care of my mother now who has Alzheimer’s. I know I have this road to walk with her. And there are times when I think I cannot do it. I just can’t. But then I realize I must. This is my best friend in the world. And yes, the parent has become the child. And yes, I sit by her bed and watch her breathe. Her pain is great. And it breaks my heart. 

    Thank you for sharing such a real and poignant story. You are right…we all have it to face. I hope and pray I learn from this experience so that I can communicate with my children and spare them at least a little bit of heartache. 

    God bless you. 

  147. On September 25, 2018  it will be a yr that I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer. It happened very quickly one day he was fine driving his semi truck from California and 5 weeks later I made it in time to for him to give me 6 amazing hrs of conversation in which I did not realize would be our last . The final stoke took this from us as I was talking to him. So all we had left with on him this earth was one week as I I held his hand and talked to never leaving his side. My father was an independent man and never wanted fuss we decided to tell him it’s ok you can go dad we will leave so you can and we did we went home and exactly 2 hrs after we left he passed so I know he was there and he heard us all week he didnt want to leave us while we were there . As I’m coming up on the year it’s been rough all the first without him and it still feels like yesterday and how I miss all those calls from the road thank you for sharing you experience 

  148. I was with my mom 2 months ago as she went to heaven.  She waited until I had gone to bed, and I was called as she took her last breath.  She was calm and restful.  Thank you for your story.  I was blessed to be with my father when he left this earth as well.  Peaceful times.

  149. I walked this road twice. And I thought my heart couldn’t break the same when my father was dying less than 5 years after my mother but I was so wrong. It broke worst than the 1st time because I realized after it was over I would be parentless. Many days I felt like an orphan (truth is many days I still do). My mothers death was after many many many years of suffering due to a massive stroke and aneurysm so honestly i prayed for death at the end because I hated seeing my mommy suffering. My fathers death was after a quick bout with Cancer there was less than 6 months from me being told about his Cancer to his death. I’m the youngest of 3 and each time I felt my parents were not letting go trying to stay in this world and suffer for their children and grandchildren. Shortly before both of their passings I went to visit them alone and “gave permission” for them to leave this earth. My mother was comatose for 10 months before passing so there was not much of a journey other than her health slowly declining, but my father I watched and went with him through every phase of death. Sometimes I question if he ever really accepted it. The night before my fathers passing he began speaking to people who had already passed on and it was then I knew that his time here was coming to an end. I did not have perfect relationships with either of them but when the end was near none of that mattered to me and I hope it didnt matter to them. On January 22 2014 I became motherless and on October 3 2017 I became parentless. I cant tell you how your walk will be but I can tell you that you WILL walk this sad but unavoidable road. Until then please cherish your parents. If they call you for small or minute things make the time because one day those calls will indefinitely cease.
    Renee L Smith and Willie J Smith Jr I love and miss you two so very much and I pray that I am making your proud. Please kiss my granddaddy for me and save me a spot
    Love your kid (the perfect one lol)
    Nadene

  150. This is all true! I stood by my mother day&night feeling the same way. Then it got so painful for my mother with a brain tumor, I ask God please release her pain&cried for days. Then one morning mom was at ease, told her dad would be taken care of! Then 2minutes passed, seen my mom with the most beautiful and amazing smile I will never forget! I lost my best friend in life my mom!! On Thanksgiving day!! Then 2months later my dad had stage 4 cancer, then I was staying with him then he told me that he would not make it to Father’s day! Was every quick for him, he passed on Father’s day! My heart hurts everyday & nothing is the same!!

  151. I lost my mom 2 years ago it was very sudden my aunt just called me and told me thay my mother passed away… I was not able to see her on her lst breath… Until today it seems that it just happened yesterday…

  152. My mother died when I was 19. (I am 56 now.) I used to panic when I could not remember her voice, and then I would have a dream and she would speak to me in it and I would remember again. But when I became more secure in my life, who I was and where I was headed, I stopped having dreams about her. I feel like it is because she knows I no longer need her and she let me go. I don’t love her any less, but her teaching and her love is in me. Deeply. And I have moved on. Best to you and thanks for this essay.

  153. I cared for both my parents until doctors insisted they be moved to a facility. Separating them broke all 3 hearts. I still can see my mother laying there the day she died. It’s an image I will never shake. My father past 1 year and 1 day later. They both past within 1 day of their wedding anniversary.  I still feel as if I could’ve done more but what I do not know. My brother never helped me, my sister shared a lot of the work and to her I am grateful. I no longer have a relationship with my brother. Although he loves less than 1 mile from me. Watching your parents die is horrible. 1 year after dad died I had a stroke. It was due to too much stress between the dying and my brother. Thank God for my husband and grown children or o can honestly say I wouldn’t want to be alive. The loss is unmeasurable.

  154. Just lost my Dad two months ago and we had an estranged relationship for years after he and my Mom divorced.  I spent weeks by his bedside and all night the last night on this Earth.   
    And I wouldn’t trade for anything. 
    I could written a better description about experience than your article. 
    It brings me some comfort to know others have experienced the same. 
    God bless you and watch over you. 

  155. I can relate to everything you talked about. I lived at home and took care of b my parents, and worked full time. It was a welcome relief when the Hospice care taker came to help! (She was a gift from God.). My Dad had dementia and said things that made me cry…not knowing he did it. I didn’t like the person that terrible disease made him. He also had blood cancer which is what caused his death. My Mom had emphysema and COPD. She would cry because she couldn’t help me take care of him. It was a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The last memory I have of each one of them is something I could never forget. My Dad passed on 1/11/11 and my Mom passed on 8/8/11. Two of the most painful days of my life, but I know they are with me every day.

  156. My Mom loved Jesus and Elvis too. Sometimes I wondered which was first in her book. Lol. She was an Okie and would have done the same if she saw Conway eating BBQ. She died 2 years a go this December at 74 from Alzheimer’s. We were the best if friends until the last 10 years of her life. Now I know it was the disease, not her. She always thought I wouldn’t take care of her in the end. I did my best. I had to put her in a nursing home the last year and a half. But it was one I used to work in so everyone knew me and they watched over her. I went there often to check in her. She finally forgot how to eat. I wouldn’t put a feeding tube in her. Why prolong her suffering. When she became imminent I didn’t leave her side. I watched as her respiration’s became less frequent and told her it was ok to go. Even though I miss her dearly I am happy she is no longer living in the hell that is Alzheimer’s. 

  157. It’s been about a year and a half since I took that same journey with my mom. 3 weeks of hospital hell then barely 6 days at home before she left me. I did the same as you scared I would miss those last I love you’s. My heart is with you even though I don’t know you because losing your parent especially your mother is a bond that crosses most others. Bless you on your journey. ❤

  158. I lost my mom 3 years ago this month and not a day goes by I do not think of her. I took a leave to be with her and my sister helped me. My dad is so lonely after this. I would not trade it for anything in this world. She was bed ridden most of the 8 weeks I was there. She suffers so with liver. Cancer that came on without a sigh and it was too late. I remember the late night talks and all the things you spoke of.My heart breaks for your story as I know all too well some of the things you went through. I went to sleep because I had not had any with my 3 other sibling,  not knowing it would be the last time I seen her. But  she was a peace with us all finally being all together in the same room. Thank you for sharing you heart felt story. May you find peace with all that happened. As for me,not for sure I am not sure I will ever be the same again but my peace is knowing I was their when she needed me most ❤️

  159. I could barely get through this, as I did, I relived my mother’s passing of each moment, and it was just as hard as it’s always been….Thank you for sharing your story, I wish I had this to read before my mother passed…again, thank you.

  160. Thank you for this. My mom passed in December and she was my best friend. When she was in the hospital and they told us she was coming home on hospice I remember she was crying because she wanted me to be happy in my marriage when she knew I wasn’t. It was hard to see her crying when she knew she wouldn’t be here to help me through everything even though I was 30 years old. She’s still had the mom urge to take care of me. Taking her home for that week and knowing she was leaving us forever is still the hardest thing I will ever do. 

  161. We talked… we laughed…. we remembered… we loved … At last we opened the window… the moon was full that night… so he would have an easy voyage home… the one he lived all his life to get to and finally did.

  162. 5 weeks ago… I took care of her for the last 3 years, 7 days a week for the last year. Every morning I was there bathing and cleaning, feeding her, giving her her meds. Every afternoon I was there to do it all over again. My daughter slept there at night. Until the last night when both my daughter and I were there. Doing her nails, watching her favorite shows even though she never woke up long enough to see them the last 48 hours. Thank you for this article. I haven’t grieved yet. Hell, I don’t even think I’ve gone to sleep yet for full night. I’m just completely lost right now but trying to find my way because my father, who was married to her for 62 years, is drowning in the same pit as me and I’m trying to hold his head up. I’m also taking care of him. I promised my mom I would, but I was gonna do it anyhow because he’s my daddy. I also promised my mom that I would take care of her sister . I’m so tired & I really miss my mother.

  163. I am going through this with my mother and it is so hard, physically, emotionally, …. I pray for peace for her and strength for me because she is my best friend! I miss our talks and errands that we did daily. I worry what will happen to me and to our family. She holds us all together. God will get us through this in his time. I know there is a reason she is still with us physically but mentally she is where she needs to be ❤️ Thank you for sharing this!  

  164. My Dad passed away June 26, 2019. It was a long journey we thought started Saturday, March 2 3019 but while he was in the hospital we (my sister and me) we would prob be find evidence his disease had started much earlier. Will the doctor was right. Dad was diagnosed with Progressive Dementia. Dad was a hard worker, loved his family, advid country music lover, MU Tigers, KC Chiefs and garage sales. He very rarely missed a game of any type at the local high school SW Wildcats. The school even considered him their #1 fan. With more hospitals stays and and two nursing homes hospice was mentioned. My sister and I cried and held each other. Dad was changing before our eyes. We seen him (at least one of us if not both) most each day. The disease changed how did things, said and seen. We went with it even though it didn’t make sense to us. Hospice called us to his bedside around noon on June 26,2019. We sat with Dad along with other family members who showed up to be there for us girls. I took my sister out in the hall and said “I know you don’t want to hear this but I am going to give Dad permission to pass over”. Her reply was “I already have”. We held each other and cried for what seemed like forever. After entering the room again we each sat on one side of the bed holding Dad’s hands. I could tell the end was near but he was resisting for some reason. I said “Dad I love you and don’t want to give you up but if you think it is time to go be with Mom it is okay’. Shortly after that Dad was in his Heavenly Home joined up with Mom again. I know it made him happy but dang we were and still are said. Dementia is an awful disease.

  165. Lost my dad almost 40 years ago to pancreatic cancer. He was only 55, it was a 10 month battle and he died on Mother’s Day. My mother battled Alzheimer’s for 10 years. She was a narcissistic mother. I was never good enough, it still haunts me. The Alzheimer’s somehow changed her personality for the better. She became the mother I always wished she had been. I was there for the end for both parents. I can still, unfortunately, remember each event in detail. And, as my mom passed on New Year’s Eve 2017, I am still trying to come to terms with lots of conflicting emotions.

  166. My 4 sisters & I were with my mom as she asked us to be she had contracted yet again another infection. My younger sister was her main caretaker & we (7 kids) would take turns  to give her a weekend break.  I cherish the times I was with her at the hospital. That last week was the hardest time of my life. But I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. Rest In Peace mom. I miss you every day. 

  167. Dear God!! I can relate to you one this, my Mom passed away a month ago and I went exactly the same thing you went to. Can’t even make a comment because of my tears…

  168. I held my mother’s hand as she slipped quietly away and the pain and hurt I felt was overwhelming! My mother and I were very close, in fact she was my best friend. It’s only been 3 months and I still break down and cry. But one day we will meet again. Now I’m going through this again with my dad and it’s almost more than I can take! MY Only comfort is knowing I will see them again.

  169. My Mom passed on Aug 19, 2017.  We had an estranged relationship but out of 5 children I was the one she called and demanded I take care of the current emergency (sometimes real, sometimes perceived). When she passed my husband and I were the only ones there because they had to go to breakfast instead of going to see her. I think she waited for one of us to be there with her as she passed away just minutes after we got there. My first biological grandchild was born on Aug 19, 2018. God has a way of making good out of bad as only He knows what a mess I would forever be on that date if she wasn’t here. I’m blessed. 

  170. August 6, 2019 my Momma had a massive stroke. 10 days later she passed at Hospice. I rarely left her side during those days. About 2:15 on Friday August 16, my Momma was surrounded by her family as she took her last breathe. That was one of the most difficult , yet most beautiful moments God allowed me to experience. After seeing her in the state she was in, it was a relief to see her relaxed and at peace. I have never known such heart break, nor did I know it could exist. 
    Thank you for sharing your story. 
    My best advise is share your emotions, either with your spouse, your person, or a counselor. This isn’t a time for pride. Let down your walls and let others help you. There definitely is no loss like losing your Momma

  171. My mom just passed away.   I spent about two weeks on and off at night at the hospital.  I knew the night she was dying.   I sung to her.  She wanted me to run her legs and hands.   I am so glad I was there.   Thank you for your story. 

  172. Watching a parents demise has proven that no matter how big and bad you think you are it will tear your heart to shreds when reality finally hits.  When it does it’s an irreversible sunami of recant memories that flash before your eyes like a movie that runs 24-7. I too took care of my mom. Who was one of the sweetest nectar off the tree of life al sys keeping her head together her loyalty is beyond words that b sent the best daughter I’ve made my share of bad mistakes just like my other four siblings. 5 of us to be complete. The family wall was crumbling down the strongest build block was deteriating and those seditsry bricks that mane he’d have he tine where staring to crumble fast fir mom our strongest foundation was delivering her last sediments  her solid teachings her kind heart her genuine nature where during slowly away into the vast universe.  I also took car of my mom in her great embarrassment telling her mom let me powder your little bum bum as the tears rolled down her face. It came very natural to me to take care of her meds. Eating cleaning and just watching her looking at her so deep starving to see her look st me  in her own way but her glass w. Was dimming and god was merciful Sami sat with her in her last days. I told her how very sorry I was as and how much I love her o played all he favorite music and wouldn’t let go of her hand I couldn’t bare the thought of losing our glue pot who kept all of us together.  As soon tears are running down  my face as I type this in true so real moment of the lifeline severs all the ties  in human form the truth is it is just a vessel the body body so true the spirit lives on to infinity I smell
    Her perfume and miss her more every day that I’m alive. She’s always around me.   I’m truly blessed. To still see her face her beautiful caring hands that I can never reach for again.   I  miss you ma. I love you

  173. I can relate on alot of your story, I lost my mother March 21 2019 seems like yesterday. I was so close to my mom she raised my brother and I by herself, always thinking about us instead of herself working to jobs to make sure we had what we needed. As I grew older I let my brother get in my way if my relationship with my mom she helped him up to only hurt him getting him out of trouble all the time paying for his way and never letting him stand on his own two feet. I became angry and Wonder why she couldn’t see and quit he pulled her and everything about her she pushed us other kids aside because we would tell her he was no good! I sat beside my mom in her last days, holding her hand and telling her how much I loved her but still she waited until he arrived to take her last breath. I now have no contact with any of them they all used my mother I tolerate them for her and often wonder why she didn’t love me like she did him she always said he needed her and she knew I didn’t. To this day I cry I miss her more than any words can say if I could go back I would never let any reason or anyone keep me from my mom. Losing my mom I can’t seem to get over I’m 57 and I just guess she would always be here she was 98 when she passed God let my mom stay her long enough for me to be able to lead her to Christ. I’m blessed but I love and miss her so much broken can’t seem to not just cry I just feel so empty and lost I need your prayers. Thank you for sharing your story may God bless you. TK Morris

  174. My mother had to be center of attention. If I didn’t talk her at least once a day, she would say things like, you love your father more. She was difficult but I always caved to her demands. She was my mom. She loved me and I hated to disappoint her.
    She had cancer but she refused to give into the disease. Hospice dropped her after 12 months for refusing to die. They called it an FTD. Because of her volatile behaviors, especially after dark, we put her in a long term care facility. The guilt of doing that never left me.. After 2 years there, she was put on hospice care again.
    Feeling a need to get away after 3 years of being with her several times a week and on the phone struggling to communicate at least once a day, I booked a vacation. Her condition was stable so I felt it okay to leave for a few days. I cancelled the stay at an island resort for fear she would check out and I’d be too far away. So, we traveled to a warm state on the US.
    I never called her in 9 days, and she never called me strangely enough. On the day before coming home, I got the call, she was dying. And I wasn’t there. I took the first flight I could get, even though I was led to believe it would be too late. But, as true to her refusal to let go all those months ago, she waited for me. I arrived 16 hours later. To a room filled with family . She had been unresponsive for 17 hours. I had called twice in that duration, had the phone put up to her ear, told her I was coming home. Now remember, she was very deaf, but i believe she heard me. When I came into her room, I kissed her, she opened her eyes and told me she missed me. The unbelief in the room was staggering. We all had a few hours to talk to her before she fell back into her deep sleep.. I stayed with her for 2 more days. Left only to shower and change on the 2nd day. She didnt like that I had left, she was waiting for me to return and send her off to be with the Lord. When I did return, she was holding on with every bit of life she could muster. Temp over 107°, but she could hear me. I gave her the okay to let go. She did, in less than 3 minutes.
    I know now, and cant stress enough, keep talking, they hear you because hearing is the last to go.

  175. Reading your story has helped me to realize that I am not alone in my grief.  My story is slightly different, as my major loss was my grandmother.  She passed of end stage multiple myeloma January 29, 2019.  She was my mother figure, my best friend, and the reason I am me.  I always thought when the time came for God to take her home, I would be ready, I would be strong, but in reality it has been the most heartbreaking thing that has ever happened to me.  I was there to feed her, bath her, hold her hand, and to assure her that she wasn’t alone.  As I watched my best friend begin to leave this world, all I could think was what am I supposed to do without you? There is no guide book that tells you what to do in the time after your loved one passes. It’s been a little over 7 months since she’s gone, and what I try to do now is do at least one thing every day to make her proud.  May God bring peace and healing to all of us. 

  176. This has tears rolling down my cheeks. Not because I was there when either parent passed. Because I wasn’t I live in the midwest and they lived on the West Coast. Which leaves one with so much guilt. Knowing..y siblings were there does not help ease the guilt. I am thankful that in 1977 I was with my youngest brother when he passed. But had some issues that it was my fault not being able to do the bone marrow transplant sooner I was pg with my first child when we found out I matched.

  177. I lost my mom 20 years ago I was with her when she took her last breath and as she did she squeezed her eyes and a tear fell.  My mom had a heart attack and she was in a coma for two days before she passed    I lived out of state I had to fly home   It was her wish not to be kept on life-support however the doctor wouldn’t remove it until I got there it was so hard let her go and it still hard to do this day she was 66 years old the same age that I am now not a day goes by that I don’t think of her       I was also with my husband when he passed away as well from cancer at the age of 57    I was just caregiver for a year    It’s a different experience from losing a parent but still  The pain and the grief follow each one is unexplainable to someone who is not been through it

  178. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I cried as I read it because I can relate. My 63 year old Mom was sick for 16 months before she passed. She lived in WI. for half of the year and in FL. for the other half. Us kids (my sister, brother and I, & her beloved Grandson) live in WI. I would fly to FL. to be with my Mom and take care of her. I thank God to this day that she had my Aunts and Uncles in Florida to take care of her as well. I was able to go to almost all of her doctor”s appointments. I remember my Mom telling her doctor that I was “mothering” her. I asked a lot of questions and demanded good care for my Mom. I really was mothering my Mother. She was right. It’s a position I wasn’t prepared for. I cried privately when I saw her have to take a few naps a day because she was tired all the time. And when she was too weak to open her water bottles. My heart was broken for my Mom and would have done anything to make her better. Before my Mom got sick she was very athletic. She would ride her bike over 5 miles a few times a week, take nature walks and did artwork. She always joked that she would probably out-live all of us because she didn’t drink, didn’t smoke and ate super healthy. You can imagine our family’s shock when she was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. We were in disbelief. Not Mom! Even her 8 siblings were shocked. I need to get rid of my guilt that I couldn’t stay in FL. with my Mom longer than two weeks at a time. I wish I would have moved in with her in FL. Also the guilt of being a horrible teenager. The day and a half before my Mom passed us kids were in WI. I got the call that our Mom was in the ICU in Florida. I called my siblings and my son and told them that we need to get on a plane ASAP. We all flew in the next morning. My aunt and uncle picked us up from the airport and brought us to Mom. I will never forget walking into her room and barely recognizing her. This is not the Mom I saw a month ago. I left her room immediately upon entering because I didn’t want her to see me cry and breakdown. I knew that it was the end of her time with us on Earth. God Bless the hospital for letting us stay with our Mom in her room and in the waiting room. We watched her every breath and sadly her final breath. When it was her time, she knew it before we could wrap our minds around it. In the hospital Mom told my son that if she died on my birthday, to not let me make it a sad thing for the rest of my life. My Mom did in fact pass away on my birthday. For obvious reasons I don’t want to celebrate my birthday, but instead celebrate the day my Mom’s spirit went to heaven and got to reunite with her parents, sister and niece. My sister said it best… “The day Mom brought you into this world is the day you watched her leave this world.” So April 4th is a special day I guess. Our Mom took of her children and grandson right until her final breath. She wanted and asked all of us if we would be ok. The last thing she said to us was “I’ll miss you.”

  179. My mom had a major stroke out of nowhere and had always been fairly heathly. While in the ER the doctor said he thought she was going to be just fine. She still had not come to. He said they were going to do a CT scan just to be sure. That seemed to calm me a little bit. An hour later the doctor comes in and says my mom had a major stroke and its effected 80% of her brain. My world came to a screaming halt. I thought she was going to be ok. My father had passed away 7 years prior to this. My mom was my best friend. She had signed a DNR and she never came to again. I sat with her day and night in her room beside her for almost 10 days before she quietly passed away. But watching your mom die and you can give her food, water, or oxygen just broke my heart in too. I would watch her urine output in her bag get less and less everyday. I keep hearing her voice from a few weeks before she had her stroke. It was our mom and daughter night at her house. Every Thursday I would bring supper and would bake brownies or make something sweet and yummy that I liked. After we ate we would sit at the table and put puzzles together. Then we would watch Wheel of Fortune. I love Thursdays with mom. But this one night she hugged me super tight and said “I don’t want you to ever go”. Broke my heart because I had to work the next day. We buried her on what would have been her 83rd birthday. I gave everyone balloon’s and we sang Happy Birthday to her. This was in March of 2014. Ever since I’ve had nightmares all the time that my mom is dying and I can’t help her. The nightmares are never happy like I wish they would be. Mom or my father is dying or I am at their funeral. I woke up a week ago in a complete panick attack and couldn’t breathe or move. It was really scary. I wouldn’t wish on anyone to watch their parents dying.

  180. My dad passed away at 56 years old. He was strong he was healthy as a horse, yet at 52 years old he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Less than 3 years later we were told that he was dying. I was 36 years old and the mother of 2 children ages 9 and 10. How to tell them that they were losing their poppa. I am a nurse a caregiver by nature. Sad moved back to our hometown as that is where his kids and grandchildren were. We took care of him as he lost his ability to walk or talk. My brother was due to have his 1st baby dad was looking forward to it. Baby was to come March 26 on March 25 dad started having violent seizures and his brain herniated and he lapses into a coma. Baby came the next day and within hours of his birth we had the baby laying in dads arms. Dad didn’t actually pass away until April 1st, I sat at his bedside and helped the nurses with his cares. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I miss my dad terribly but will never regret all the time we had together and the memories we made.

  181. I sat with my father as he took his last breaths in his room at home. I held my six-week old baby on one arm and held his hand with the other. It was the most profound and difficult privilege of my adult life. I am looking forward to being with him in heaven one day.

  182. Thank you for sharing.  My mother passed away two months ago and the things you said are pretty spot on.  There are things I wish I had done better and things I wish she had been able to tell me.  I wish she was here for me to sit next to, to take care of, to talk to, just for one more hour, but that would never stop.  It would always be one more.  When the cancer finally took my mom it was a relief as much as it was heartbreaking, and that sense of relief is heartbreaking in itself.  It makes me feel guilty.  Tremendously guilty.  I miss her every moment of every day.

  183. I lost my father on 2/29/2016. He lived a full life even right before his death. He had survived, colon cancer, double knee replacement, skin cancer, quadruple heart bypass, and had congestive heart failure in the end. He died gracefully in the last 6 month of his life. He never complained and always tried to keep us is high spirits. In the last week of his life his hospice team said my mom couldn’t be alone with him. So I was there till the end. I wouldnt give that up for anything in the world!! I consider it a privilege!❤
    My mom and dad were always fighting when I grew up and never stopped as I moved out as a adult. My mom didnt always treat my dad kindly. Not even in the last days of his life. I truly think she was dealing with the fact of him dying with denial. Anyway, I think she has TONS OF GUILT now and wants to die. So since 2016 I have been trying to deal either who has had depression her whole life, but will not medicate. I have a sister in AZ and 1 in Iowa. I am 1 he away so have done all the running for them when they needed it.
    It is just So So Sad that she is living her last years/days in such misery of her own doing. I go every other weekend and listen to her complain. I dont talk back as that is how I was raised. It is called respect. I know I will miss her greatly, she is my Mommy!

  184. I was my daddy’s caretaker. He died of heart failure 5 months ago. The very few quick days of his passing seem like it is still yesterday. I watched, stood watch, slept and didn’t sleep or rest all the times I should have bc I was worried I would miss that moment. We still have my mom and enjoy my time I have now w her in a different way. We mourn our losses separate and together. 
    I go to counseling and chooses not to. For now, wounds are still raw and sleep is sporadic when I can relax but I don’t go one day without my thoughts being of him, about him, his life and my life as his daughter which is all good memories but I don’t want to forget. We shall all heal together somehow. 

  185. Thank you for sharing your story. I was with both of my parents when they passed, holding their hand, hoping they knew how much I loved them. It was the least I could do for all their love and sacrifices on my behalf.

    Both my parents died of cancer. Dad went quickly once us kids were all there. He began slipping into a coma on a Wednesday, Thursday was given his last rights, and Friday night, a few hours after we all were there, went on to his next journey, as we surrounded his bed, I held his hand and laid my head on his arm. He knew we were there and had one brief period where he spoke to us, and I was so grateful that he knew we were there.

    Mom went much slower and my younger sister and I worked with hospice for days before calling our older, out of state siblings to come. She still hung on for a few days, long enough for us to open our presents on Christmas eve. It was the last time she was lucid. After that she slipped into that place where she walked between worlds, seeing loved ones who had gone before her, packing her suitcase for her “trip”, then coming back to let us know she still knew we were there. We took shifts in pairs watching her so that we could all get 2 hour stretches of sleep, if sleep would come. Again, I was holding my mom’s hand and resting my head on her arm as she made her final exit. I remember the guttural cry that came from somewhere inside me as I realized when each had taken their last breath. The excruciating pain. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, and would do it again if there was another parent. I still miss them every day. I see in the mirror how I am looking so much more like mom as the years pass, and see my dad in my oldest brother’s, youngest sister’s, and even my daughter’s features. I love and miss you always, mom and dad.

  186. This was me. My mother passed on July 4, 2019. It was swift. From her diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer until the day she took her last breath was a short 2 months. There were moments I sobbed. Whwn I wasnt there she would ask how I was holding up… still the mother concerned about her child. She was an amazing woman and I truly miss her.

  187. Wow. That was so heartfelt and so very true. I lost my mom 14 months ago and she was my best friend. I miss her everyday. Thank you for your words. So articulate and on point

  188. Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. Here is my story of losing a parent. I could also tell of the amazing events surrounding my mother’s death, but I will stick to that of my dad’s.

    My sister and I took turns caring for my dad in his last days. My dad was the most meek, modest and loving man, I have ever known. He was a Southern Baptist minister, who had a very strong faith. He had taken care of our mother for the 5 years she had breast cancer, with having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s during the last three years. Dad never ever complained about anything, therefore did not let us know that he was really ill (if he knew, himself). It wasn’t until he was already terminal, when we found out. Since I lived 6 hrs. away, I would go stay with him for 1-2 weeks at a time, while my younger sister lived close by and cared for him between the times I was there. We were blessed to have been together with him in the last few days of his life, and there when he took his last breath. While this was the hardest experience of my life, it was also the most rewarding. I felt God at work in the whole situation, just as I did in my mother’s last days. Knowing my dad’s future is what kept me focused on the beauty of his leaving this world. As he sang, “Oh How I Love Jesus” and spoke of how much he missed our mom, his mom, dad, brothers and sister, I could not help but be happy that he would soon be reunited with his Lord and loved ones. Even with all the agony he physically experienced and the exhaustion that I experienced, I would not have traded those last weeks with him for anything! I was blessed to be back home with him those last few days to not only experience the most disgusting and heart-wrenching times, but also the most beautiful times. Lying in bed with him, caressing him, stroking his hair, scratching his back, holding his hand, and laying my head on his chest, all while he repeatedly told me how much he loved me….that was heaven on earth, to me! I will end on this last note of blessing…As dad took his last breaths and prepared to be ushered into the arms of Jesus, I was blessed to sing the song he had been passionately singing every night the past few nights…”Oh How I Love Jesus”! As, I ended the song, dad softly closed his eyes and took his last breath.

  189. My dad passed 27 years ago. He went from a young 62 year old to a very old man almost overnight. They didn’t know what it was at first – thought it was a blood clot in his brain or something, so they did surgery – but it was an old clot, so that wasn’t it. After over 3 months they decided it was cancer and that he had about 7 weeks to live. Mum asked when that started, 3 weeks ago? (She was a bit of a smart @ss.) And 4 weeks later dad passed. I was in the room. I knew he wanted mum there, so when mum told me he was gone, my first reaction was “was it ok that I was there?” – and she told me it was. Dad & I had a difficult relationship due to his alcoholism, but the last month or so of his life when he was at home still, and when he went into hospital and was “there”, he was a joy to be around. I have had a lot of anger about why I didn’t get THAT dad for longer… that was the dad I should have had. My mum passed almost a year ago now. And that has been MUCH more difficult. Her health was iffy the last while, and quite a few years ago she had a stint in hospital that was 9 months long, and we weren’t sure how she’d be, or if she’d get out or go to a full care facility. Well, my amazing mum was discharged to go home on her OWN. (Take THAT doctors!) Anyway, I did all her groceries and helped her out, took her to some appointments, called her every day, sometimes more than once. She ALWAYS thanked me for calling, and it was ALWAYS my pleasure. And we said so many i love yous… She had more hospital stays, more surgeries, more struggles… and I was there with her as much as I could, usually there every day. Her last stay she’d decided she probably needed to go into a partial care facility when she got out, but then the docs were saying she should feel better, and she didn’t, so she refused to go. She was getting weaker. And finally they discovered a bleed but she wasn’t strong enough to handle the endoscopby or any other treatment to make it better. So her decision was to be kept comfortable. And she probably had at most a week left. She said 3 days. She was good to her word. Though she did ask me why it took so long. She was ready to go. Left on her terms. She had a few moments of laughs & visits with loved ones in the last couple days. And when I sat with her myself, I did tell her it was ok to go. She didn’t need my permission, but I know she appreciated it. Even though she was sleeping or not responding to me at the time. I miss her so much. Want to call her every day still. Not sure how I go on without her. I guess I am though.

  190. I watched my mother and father die of cancer within a few months of each other I took care of both of them… it’s been 7 years and I’d like to say I’m ok, but I’m not, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same person again

  191. This hit close to home for me. I lost my dad on Dec 9, 2017. We were very close, he raised me. The last couple years of his life were difficult for him. He was also a healthy independent man. He came to rely on my sister and I for a lot of things. He was able to stay home alone up until the last week of his life. Although I went to his house daily to help with things. The last week my sister or I were with him 24 hours a day. He was coherent up until the time he went to sleep the last night. I still miss him daily. If you still have your parents make a point to make time for them. Spend as much time with them as possible because some day they will be gone and you will regret not having time for them.

  192. I love your story, just wish I could have read it before my Dad and Mom died. I think it would have helped me be real with them, and say what I was feeling. I wish I would have said “I love you” more.

  193. I went through this twice, once with my mom-in-law, and 6yrs ago with my own mother. you have captured it e xactly like I felt at the time. it was the worst time in my life, and also the best time in my life. I have memories none of my siblings and sibling-in laws will ever have. sitting beside them was the most educational experience about life and death one will ever have. watching them go between this world and the next world is unbelievable! I also told her things she wanted to hear, whether they were true or not’ I kept a day by day journal on both of them, and I still get them out to read. it may not seem like it at the time, but it will be the most rewarding thing you can ever do to the one who brought you into this world. gently help them find their way to the next world.

  194. Thank you!

  195. I too lived this exactly.  Miss her unbelievably 

  196. Thank you. My mom past the day after Christmas last year. She told me God was with her on Christmas day. My family kept telling me that I needed to tell her it was ok to go but I had told them I already did. One day she asked me if I would be ok when she left and I told her yes she said “you promise? ” I said yes. She lived with us for 18 years. We had good times and bad but wouldn’t have changed it for nothing. I visit her often at the graveyard, my brother’s think I’m crazy but that’s how I grieve. She told me when my dad died I had to be strong for her and I couldn’t cry. I did as she requested. I asked her if I could cry at her funeral and she said no so I didn’t. I loved my mom and dad and still do. They were the best parents. Thank you again for sharing.

  197. This article is very true. Unlike the author I had a very special and close relationship with my Mother. Though others tell you to sleep, most care givers will not, you may get a wink or a brief nap but it’s similar to our parents caring for us as newborns, not much sleep, don’t complain just pray and suck it up. My Mom was lucky enough to be at home, where she wanted to be, surrounded by love, no hospice aides but a nurse a few times a week, she was a very private person, we were her aides. I will say we never left my Mom alone, at night 2 of us ”slept” on the floor, one on either side of the hospital bed and one sat in a chair. Yes there were periodic tears but we comforted each other. We listened to all of her words, Mom was sharp as a tack until it was time during her last days of hospice to transition onto Eternal life. We knew Mom’s every need and we ensured her dignity, we applied her favorite skin lotion, massaged her feet, had Irish music or oldies from her era playing. We continually applied chapstick to prevent cracking or drying of her lips, combed her hair and would spray her favorite perfume on a tissue and dab her wrists, and behind the ears, the scented tissue would pass over her nose and she smelled the aroma of her perfume which would result in a small smile. It’s important to always listen, I took notes on my IPhone transcribing my Moms words, I reflect on those words often. Most important of all besides utmost hygiene and administering medicine is to talk, share your feelings, your love and appreciation of your parent for the life they provided you. The hearing is the last sense to go so talk, smile even though it’s very hard, sing some of their favorite songs and hug/kiss them and hold their hand.
    The author asked readers to share their stories and that is mine, one that I treasure more than anything in the world and that no one can take away from me. This took a lot out of me to document but in a small way I hope it assists others in the future. If you have lost your last surviving parent I recommend reading the book Midlife Orphan, it allows self reflection and helps answer some questions while detailing journeys/challenges of other families.
    To all the Caregivers… be there for all the future caregivers after all there is no handbook, provide strength, tips, support and kindness as they experience this journey.

  198. This is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

  199. Your story made me cry , so sorry for your long loss , I
    I had the same experience with our mom , she had 
    Her 7 kids around her when she pass , but most of the time was myself and my sisters , we also experience our
    Mom having visitors that we could not see our loved ones that pass , the last thing she told us or ask us was 
    “What day is it “ more than once. My brother had passed away oct 30 th 10 years before , finally she pass oct31 
    2009  she raised her arms and smile  then she was gone 
    She lived with me and my husband her last years of her life 
    It took me 5 years for me to go in her bedroom and not cry 
    She still had her robe she hang behind the door before we took her to the hospital for the last time ,  thank you for sharing your story and letting me share mine God bless 
    You 

  200. Wow! This is exactly what I went through 4weeks before my mom passed on March 12 of this year.  I’m an only child and we were close. That ordeal was the HARDEST thing I’ve ever gone through. Cancer is what took her and it hurt to see the most important woman in my life go through what she endured. Thank you for sharing. Death is inevitable but I’m glad I was there in her last days as she has been there with me since day one.

  201. This is all so true, it’s just like looking at my mother again in her transitional hours. She became my child. I enjoyed every minute of it and taking care of her. Mother spoke of all the loved ones that had gone on before her. She had conversations with them. I slept with mother every night. We held hands and slept together. She would run her finger thru my hair when she thought I was sleep. I would massage and comfort her all day. I was so privledge to have the strength and mindset to do just what I did. I would sing everyday to her. I would pray all day with her. I would hold her so close to me. I wanted the feeling to last forever. My mother was a very independent woman. She was a giver6 and now it was her time to be served. As I would hold her hands which I thought was safety reason… As long as I held her hand she wouldn’t leave me is what I had convinced my self. On the early morning of her transition I could see her body turning colors and feeling a little cold. I would get more blankets and I would lay my body next to hers to make the blood warm. I did this continuously. I had said to God I don’t know what I will do when she leave me. Would I be at peace.. will I scream… Will I lose total control?? Then finally I was Getting tired really tired and sleepy. My daughter who was her caregiver as well said mother just lay down for a moment, I’ll watch grandma. So I did. .y intent was not to go to sleep, but to just lay for a moment. I was awake by my daughter in what I thought was . Oments yet it was over w hours. My daughter said mother grandma is gone. I asked where did she go, and my daughter said she transitioned. Look like a piece came over me. As I walked over to looked at her sjeooked just like she was sleep. God took her at the time he put me to sleep so that I wouldn’t Scream lose my mind and he took her because she was ready. I miss my mom everyday of my life. I wish I could say how much I love her to her. What a perfect motner5 she was in everyway. How. How she never complain inside of her sickness. How brave and courageous she was until the end. How she loved me with every fiber being and oh how I loved her. It’s been 4 years almost and it’s just like today. Iove you my Queen. I miss you mother.

  202. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt ‘story’ about your feelings and thoughts during your time with your mother. Many of the things you felt during that time, I can identify with myself. I consider it an honor that I was able to stay with, comfort, and cry with my mother for her last years. And in her last days she still, graciously, tried to help ease me into my new “life” without her. Because, that’s what it was and is. A new life. Two years, and I’m still learning things, her wisdom and love are still molding me into what I am yet to become. It’s a journey. As she was dying, she told me that I would be ok without her, that I was stronger than I knew, and smarter than I ever gave myself credit for. And she was right, as she usually was! But what I wouldn’t give to be able to shower her again, get her ready for bed, and watch her as she sleeps .
    Thank you for sharing. And for loving your mother. She knows the love you feel, dont ever doubt that.

  203. I too have lost my mom. I was 2 years old when this happened so I don’t remember who she was. Thankfully my dad married the most awesmazing new mom. Dad wrote my sister and I a book about our mom and who she was and their life together when I was about 21. Fast forward 24 years, to November 2018, this was the time when I learned that my daddy was sick. I flew home to be with him, not knowing that it would be so important for me to be there. I had always thought of my dad as the indestructible rubber man, from things that happened to him that could have been so much worse, if it hadn’t been for his superhero image to me.
    The day I flew in, he was in the hospital and he looked so frail. We got him home and I was unaware of the seriousness of the situation. Being the youngest, my family shields me from a lot of things, even as an adult. We had dad home and he seemed to be getting better. Despite his diagnosis of lung cancer. He was in and out of doctor’s appointments and trips to the hospital for other appointments. I drove him and my mom everywhere. It wasn’t until an appointment that we had to drive 2 hours to a special doctor in a bigger city, that I began to think something was very wrong. That was the first time I heard that his cancer was stage 4. I didn’t really understand what that meant. It can’t be that bad… dad is indestructible… he will be here forever!!! That night, my mom said that we should all sleep near dad and I was unsure why. I remember not sleeping much that night. I kept thinking, why are we doing this… he’s not really dying is he?
    The next morning, the in home nurse came to give dad his meds through a permanent iv that we just had to push a button to give home more meds. He was being silly with the nurse… just like normal daddy.
    We got his bed and got him comfortable. His birthday was the next day and we wanted him to be more relaxed than he was in his recliner. My mom said to make sure to say what you want to say because she had a bad feeling. Daddy had quit eating and hadn’t been drinking either. I had to go pick up my mom’s friend and the round trip would take me a couple of hours. Before I left, I gave my dad a kiss and said I love you. He replied with “Love you too Baby B!” (My nickmame) We got home and she said hi to my dad, who was not very responsive by now. About 25 minutes later, my mom said “It’s time!” And we all rushed to his bed side and told him we loved him. Daddy took this horrible breath and he was gone. That was truly the hardest thing I have ever had to do! I don’t remember the next week or so as I couldn’t function. It was 3 weeks to the day, from diagnosis to death. 8 months later, I am still not well, however, I am trying to move forward. I still have very bad days but thankfully I have my family to lean on and them the same for me.

  204. I just spent 6 weeks watching my dad die. He also said at one point in his dying process that he had one regret…that he has not been more grateful. He said he always wanted more. This from a man who always made you feel better after he greeted you. Conversations with him were never about him. Always about the other person. I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. Dad was a decent, good, hard working man. He was mom’s protector and it was very difficult for me to find a mate who could live up to the kind of man my father was. He did not want to die. I believe he did not want to leave mom behind. 9 hours before he died I we spoke. I asked him if he had been happy. He said yes. I asked him if a good meal made him happy. He said yes. I asked him if his work made him happy. He said yes. I asked him if mom made him happy. He said oh yes. I asked if he had regrets. He said he didn’t know. I told him I had regrets, but that a long time ago a therapist told me that I was human. Human’s make mistakes in life. It is called learning. My Dad let out a sigh and said. Really? Oh my God. Then I asked him if he had any advice for me. He sighed again and he said not now. I said I love you dad. He said I love you. Those were the last words he spoke to me. This conversation was held over the course of an hour. I remember a day earlier he said who are all these people on the plane? I asked if he recognized anyone and he said no. You are so right. You need to write down everything or you will forget. It is the most fatigued that I have ever been in my life and I watched my husband die also. I remember being tired then too, but nothing like this. My husband chose to leave this world when I fell asleep for 15 minutes. My dad did not take his last breath in front of me either. I guess both men were protecting me even at the end. I do not think I could have taken that.

  205. A year ago, my sister and I spent our last week with our mother.   She was sent home from the hospital to die.  They call it hospice.   I call it euthanasia.    I started as a bad back, turned into COPD, then she got a blood clot in her lung.  It wasn’t COPD.   It was heart failure because of a blockage.   Can’t fix that until the clot resolves itself.   Send her to rehab/nursing home.   NIGHTMARE!    Weeks pass, no improvement and finally an honest ER doctor says, she’s dying.   Nothing more we can do medically.   Palliative care people tell us she needs Hospice.  Ok. When would the best day be to bring her home, and where do we deliver the equipment and drugs you will need?    WHAT?    We’re taking her home to die, to help her die?   WTF?    She was delivered via ambulance on a Friday night.   Her street full of cars and people heading to the neighborhood high school for the weekly football game.   
    She never woke up again.  My strong, wonderful sister was with her 24-7.    Changing her diapers, trying to give her water and food.   She also gave her the meds that helped her pass.    Liquid morphine delivered with a syringe into her mouth, along the inside of her cheek.   I took care of mom’s arrangements.   We both did what we had to do, and what we were capable of doing.   I could not have done what my sister had to do.   She was calm, patient and understanding.  We were given a booklet about hospice that we finally picked up and read.   It had the steps of death.   By the time we actually read it, we realized we had just days left with our mom.   The hospice nurses came more frequently as did the amount and frequency of her morphine doses.   On September 13th, before noon mom took her last breath.  We had both stepped out of the room for a quick break.  The hospice nurse was there and called us back to tell us she died.   It was surreal.    Still is.   
    She was just 78 and 6 months before she died she was babysitting, going to the casino, Walmart, living the life she wanted to live.   
    I still have not resolved my role in her health care, or her death.   I get anger about it at least once a day.   Her regular doctor failed her,   The specialists failed her.   The ERs failed her.   The money grubbing nursing home failed her.   And I failed her.   
    I can’t change any of that now.   It my shit to live with.    I can say that I was there for her in the end.    Unfortunately I was fighting with her to keep her alive.  To keep her fighting to live when all she wanted to do was “sleep”.    
    I loved my mom.   I miss my mom.  And I am so thankful I have my sister.  

  206. I lost my mother 5 months ago
    As I read your story I could picture it everything in my head. I could see my mom open her eyes but not looking at us I could see her taking her last peaceful breath. I could hear her say only thing that hurts when I die is leaving my girls behind. I could see peace on her face but feel the hurt in my heart. Will it get better with time yes it will just like when I lost my father. This is final no more parents no more glue that kept is together. It will get better the aching pain but will never be forgotten. Love you mom we were blessed having you in our lives for 92 years. Thank you for all your love to your 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

  207. Sitting here waiting, watching, listening (not sleeping) now!  

  208. Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings. I lost both parents within six months of each other – Dad died 7 years ago and I wasn’t with him.  He had fallen, broken his hip and then chronic arthritis affected his hands, feet, and knees.  I watched a proud, independent man become frustrated and angry that he could no longer do things he enjoyed.  He was difficult to care for, but I did what I could whilst working full time but I know he felt he was a burden – he wasn’t. He knew the end was close and the massive heart attack that caused his death happened whilst I was at work  so I found him on the kitchen floor, at peace, but I never held his hand or said goodbye.  My guilt that I have worked through. Mum? Her dementia developed slowly but with determination.  The bright, intelligent, active woman became a demanding child with frequent hospital trips.  She was in hospital when Dad died and had no idea what was happening, though she enjoyed the food at Dad’s wake.  She became worse and though coping with the hallucinations were sometimes amusing, it was serious and frightening.  I arranged for transfer to a nursing home as she was rarely lucid, never ate, rarely drank, just clawed and kicked at the air.  My pretty, proud mother looked at me one afternoon and I said, “ It’s ok Mum, if you’ve had enough just let go, it’s ok I love you.” So she waited till I had popped home for a meal cooked by my youngest daughter.  The nursing home rang to tell me she had died peacefully – but without me being there.  So within six months they had both gone.  It’s taken me a long time to work through this and feel less guilty for not being there at the end.  Life carries on but the memories are mine forever.  The sun still shines, I laugh with my family and friends, I reminisce and grandchildren ask questions and ask for family stories, so Mum and Dad live on and life is good again.  Life is bittersweet, but that sun goes on shining and so will you.  Massive hugs to those who are hurting at the moment – it’s a tough journey but you can do it. X

  209. I’ve lost two fathers – my birth father 16 years ago and now my stepfather who raised me a month ago. Both experiences were very different – both were very similar. 

    I thought I knew what to expect this second time around, but surprised myself in my ability to remain strong for my mom but then completely break down the minute I ran to the cafeteria or phone break. Unfortunately he lived outback his final days in iCU with congestive heart failure   The hospital finally told us we should move to the hospice wing to spend quality time with my unscinscious dad. However by the time they moved him, got him situated and sat by his side, he had had enough. He decided to pass on his terms rather than make my anguishing Mom make the decision to take him offense his breathing assistance apparatus. 

    Again with my birth father I saw his struggle and breathing fade. I was sadder than possible but knew what was happening and when. With my stepfather the stupid machine robbed us of knowing. It clouded the noise in the room, it hid the shallow breaths and it robbed us of quality time.  We will forever be haunted knowing he left this world with an uncomfortable mask on his face that he would have hated. 

    That said, I’m thankful I was there. He was the most honorable man I know and is missed dearly. Once his spirit left what was left behind didn’t really even look like him. While hard to leave the room and leave home behind, I try not to remember how he looked at that moment but remember the vibrant loving dad I’d always known. 

  210. All true and well-said.

  211. Reading your journey made the tears start flowing that haven’t stopped yet. It brings back all of it. I don’t think you ever get over the loss of a parent. January 4, 2006, I was so young to lose my mom. I was only 32 when she passed, and there were so many more days, for the rest of my life that I would need her. I think about my brother, he was only 24. I had gotten to have her in my life for 8 years longer than he did and then there were my sisters, they got to have her for 8 and 10 years more than I did.
    I miss her every day. I also feel like I was such a bad daughter. It helps really, to know I’m not the only one that feels that way. Maybe I can try harder to let that one go
    I had packed a book bag full of my mom’s favorite children’s books to take with me. I was so glad that I did. I read to her. She would get restless and I would read her a book and she would instantly be calm. The last book I ever got to read to my mom while she was still alive and within minutes of her passing, was her all time favorite children’s book- love you forever. ‘I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, My mommy you’ll be’. It was by far, the hardest book I’ve ever read, at that point. I made it through the book, having to force the words to form as I got closer to the end of the book. I could literally feel myself having to tell my voice box that these words needed to be formed. I can’t explain it really, I just knew I had to get through that book. I needed her to hear those words from me.
    My moms death prepared me. 6 years later we lost our middle daughter. I wasn’t there for her, holding her hand, like I was my mom. I wish I could have been, but that isn’t always an option, especially when it is unexpected. The biggest thing that got me through, was knowing my mom was there for Kaytea. Wherever ‘there’ actually is, they are there together.

  212. I held my moms hand as she passed away on April 17,2013 it broke my heart ! Her last words on this earth were “Bonnie Jean I love you so”  my life with my mom was a challenge with me forgiving her many years before and guessing at why I was the one she always wanted to hurt? But finding out 50 years later why she felt she couldn’t show me love! This was not the reason I had put on it and would have never guessed why it was so hard to love me! But I will tell you I find dimes and I hear my mom say in my heart I LOVED YOU TEN TIMES MORE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT I DID! I forgave many years before and I am so thankful that I did. As a grandma raising three grandchildren I know I made mistakes the first time around and I am diligently working to not make the same mistakes the second time around! If you want to hear more shoot me a message! Life is about learning and forgiving can be our hardest challenge but have the biggest reward!
    Bonnie Dekay

  213. Thank you so much for this.  I am a caregiver for my terminal father. Was told 2 months ago he has 6 months. Maybe a year left with us. I took care of my Mom before she passed and made her a promise that I’d care for my Dad.  It’s a very emotional experience.  My father doesn’t want hospice or any outside help so it’s just me.  I also work a job.  I can relate to watching them sleep and making sure they’re breathing.  I’ve done that with both parents. Grieving them while they are still alive.  I’m glad I’ve done it.  It brought me closer to them.  Hearing stories & secrets. Although, exhausting and it taking a toll on your own health it is a very bonding experience.  I never went through counseling after my Moms passing.  I had my Dad to take care of.  I think I will be seeking grief counseling after my Dad passes.  To heal the loss of both of them.

  214. Thanks for sharing this. My mother died this past January after a 7 year battle with cancer. She died after 6 days of being in hospice which she went into rather suddenly. I took care of her that entire time along with my father & sister. I also gave her the medications and helped her to the bathroom. A lot of the way you described the experience was similar for me. I was not estranged from her. She loved me dearly and had confided in me her deepest concerns.
    She was honest with me about her fears. She’d told me what she wanted. We’d said all we needed to say. Still one is never prepared for such a trying time.

    8 Months later I still can’t believe she’s actually gone. I only had one moment of lucidity with her during the 6 days. She looked directly at me & smiled and said, “Aaahh, now I see where I need to go.” I knew she meant heaven in that moment. I’m certain she’s  there & in peace. That brings me peace but I miss her dearly. Thanks for sharing & encouraging others to share. 

  215. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face because I too sat in that chair beside my mom. Making sure she was still breathing. Remembering the last time she was lucent and took hold of my face and told me how very proud she was of me and how much she loved me. She asked “you going to be ok?” My answer yes….but I knew it was going to be NO. I asked her the same..”you going to be ok?” She smiled and said yes even though I knew her heart was breaking to leave us behind. I didn’t know how much it was going to hurt at the time or how I would long for her every day!! Even after 10 years it’s still so fresh and I still long for her. Therapist…YES!!! I did  that and it helped with the impact and loss. I highly recommend it!! You will never get over losing your parents! Never! But I am so grateful for the memories even in the dying!!! Thank you again for taking the time to write this. My hope is it will allow others who still have their parents to make beautiful memories. 
    God Bless!
    Janet

  216. Thankyou for this.
    2 years this month I lost my incredible mum and I am helping nurse, at the end of her life, my Mum in Law. 
    2 things, it was obvious that my mum was visiting the spirit realm as she kept seeing her mum and shouting for her….
    also, I thought I was being morbid to be consumed with my mortality and how many years I have left now I’m the matriarch…..Thankyou for pointing out the first and making me realise that my second point is normal. Oh, yes, we are exhausted…. ❤️

  217. Thank you for posting this. I was at my moms bedside for 7 weeks while the cancer took her from us. I never left her side unless my brother was there in my place. My mom told me to not leave her alone so I respected her wish. My mom told me she was ready to go as the days got shorter , that she had a good life and told me I was a good daugjter. These are words i will never.forget. My mom was only 59 when she lost her battle with cancer. I miss her every single day.

  218. My sweet mother passed from this earth on July 9, 2019.  Hardest day of my life.  I am only 36 with 3 young children.  My mother was my best friend and my go to for everything.  I was with her as she took her last breaths.  She passed from chemo induced cardiomyopathy.  My heart is shattered and I will never be the same.  I miss her so much.  Thank you for the great article.  

  219. My Mom didn’t know how sick she actually was. She had been in the hospital for 4 days, and that’s when we found out she may have cancer in her lungs. Over the course of the next couple days, they discovered more cancer in her liver.
    On day 7 of her hospital stay, she passed very early in the morning. My Dad and I were the only people by her bedside, and I know she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
    It has now been 1 year and almost 1 month since she passed away. Nothing could’ve ever prepared me for losing her, so quickly, and unexpectedly. However, I will keep her memories vibrant in my mind, her bible with notes living in my heart, and her love with me wherever I go.

  220. For me, when I got married I found my Dad so to speak because my biological father was there in my life, I lived with him, but; in reality he didn’t want to take away time in his own life to be a dad. At the end of my FIL’s life I watched him die of congestive heart failure. He was in the hospital his last few days and the family had to meet with the doctors. I was asked to stay with my FIL. He asked me if he could hold my hand. I said yes. He told me that he saw himself dances with the nurses in the hallway and did I see him. I decided to just say ‘yes’. He asked me if it was raining outside. I said ‘no, just dirty windows’. He laughed. We were both silent then. The family came back in. My FIL and I were still holding hands. They talked awhile. I had to return home. Three days later he passed. I will never forget this moment because it was the only time I had really been with someone close to me when they passed. He and I had a special bond. I will always remember.

  221. Your words were my words, I couldn’t sleep or take a shower, I needed someone to watch his chest rise and fall and couldn’t leave that responsibility to anyone else because if they missed it how would they live with that or how could I forgive them. I finally got a nun to come and do just that all night long. I finally slept and he passed the next morning in mine and my sons arms. I was there when my mother took her last breath at 49 years old from a brain tumor and was there when my father took his. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m only 45 and an only child. I don’t think it’s fair to not have a living parent at this age but some have it worse then me and for those years I am grateful. My only worry is for my son who lost his dad when he was 40 and now his second father in my dad. I always soothe myself knowing that I have two guardian angels looking over me and my son at all times. But I miss them every moment and still want them here with me. Thank you for your post. So sorry for your loss. 

  222. I lost my mom in August of 2018. She had been battling lung cancer for 4 weeks when she had a massive heart attack that put her on life support. For three days we sat by her bed in ICU talking to her and letting her know how much we love her. On the third day my sons arrived to spend time with her before we removed her from the machines. She had tears roll out of her eyes as we took turns loving her one last time here on earth. My dad, sister, oldest son and I were by her side as the nurse turned off the machine. She struggled a few moments, her final tears rolled down her cheeks, her eyes opened for the last time as we sang and prayed over her. I fight with my own guilt daily as I was the one who made the call to turn off the life support. Her last words to me were I’m sorry and I love you before she was put on life support. I’ll always have that conversation but it doesn’t take the pain away of losing my mom. 

  223. I lost my mother 2 1/2 years ago. She was to turn 99 in a month.  She lived with my husband and I for just short of 10 years. She had living alone – my dad had passed away 30 years prior – she fell due to an undetected UTI but was in great shape and broke nothing. However, she went to a nursing/ rehab center where she contracted C-Diff and it took her down to a very weakened state due to serious mistreatment.  I fought so hard for her, as I always did since my fathers death, but she was 89 and couldn’t return home.  We had home health care and physical therapists come daily to help with her care. She was a hoot and loved family visits and holidays  She was extremely hurt by my younger brother who estranged himself from her and the family for the 10 years she was with us. He never even came to see her when she was dying. She kissed his picture goodnight every night and I despised him. She buried her first born son, my older brother, 4 years before she passed. She was absolutely the strongest person I’ve ever known. Three years before she passed she fell twice and things began to go downhill from there. She had a perfect mind, thank you Jesus, up until she drew her last breath. The live of her life was her great grandson, Eli, who was so devoted and faithful, and whose name she called repeatedly until she passed.  Here’s how it happened: on mother’s day 2017 I went to get her out of bed – we had no help on weekends-and she said Oh Kathy I can’t walk and I I barely got her the 4 feet to her recliner where she spent most of her waking hours. I said Mother  you have to walk…how can we care for you if you can’t walk?  I promised her no nursing homes and no hospitals and I think she knew her time was at hand. We had lots of family for mother’s day and she stayed in her chair. That evening my son and my husband went to lift her to get her into bed and in doing so broke her arm. Palliative care said she’d have to go to the hospital and she said no. She stayed all night in her chair and the next morning the aides got her into bed where she remained until the next Saturday morning when she passed.  During her last week with we were able to have all her grandchildren and great grandchildren here to say goodbyes   It was so beautiful. That Friday night before she passed I slept in the guest bedroom next to hers and her breathing was very labored.  I got up to hook up  the oxygen they’d brought that day and my husband helped. Next morning she was still breathing heavily so I called my son who was in town from Florida and is a pharmacist and he came immediately. I wanted him to administer a tad of the morphine the nurse had left. He said he didn’t think it was necessary that her color and circulation were good. He left to get his youngest brother who couldn’t drive due to a DUI   My husband had left to get a bag of ice because we expected people again that day. I went in to talk to her and wipe her forehead with a wet washcloth. I told her see mother – no hospitals and no nursing home.  Suddenly she grabbed my hand and sucked on the washcloth. I was so excited and said Di you want a drink and in that second she gave me a “hateful” look; which haunts me to this day. I wasn’t angry with her, but confused and hurt. I went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and my husband had returned and was in the basement putting the ice in the freezer. It was literally five minutes  max .  I went back into her room and she had passed. I wasn’t there to hold her, comfort her, pray with her in her final moments.  I just can’t come to grips with that ending. I didn’t expect her to die at that time and I just can’t forgive myself; even though I know I did everything possible for her from the time my father died 40 years prior. Thanks for allowing me to share a very special tribute. 

  224. Thank you for being so real. I helped care for my mother in her fight against cancer for 3.5 years. She was on hospice at home for the last 4 months of her life. So so so much of your words ring true. She passed away with her hand in mine and I still have the vivid memory of the light leaving her eyes as she passed. She passed on august 15, 2018. It seems like yesterday and years ago at the same time. 

    I feel like I’ve lost my mom, my best friend, and so much hope for the future. I won’t have her for planning my wedding with me if I ever get married and she won’t be here to see me become a mother someday and hold her grand babies.

  225. After reading this, I feel the pain all over again, watching her sleep, talking to her when ahe was coherent, explaining to her that I had to put her on hospice and the look on her face saying why, watchung her talk to people that weren’t there and reaching for the sky, wishing that her pain would end, not knowing she would pass that day and then not being there when she passed like I so badly wanted to be. The pain is still there and never seems to end. It is a constant battle between my heart and my brain, knowing she is in a better place and no longer suffering but the pain in my heart keeps asking me why I chose to put her on hospice, why did I let her die. I miss her so much, sometimes the guilt over powers the mercy….

  226. how can I get a reprint of this article – Caring for a Dying Parent in Their Last Days.

  227. Tears are flowing. I lost my Dad March 1 this year….there are so many things I wish I had done differently. He made things so difficult at times or maybe it was just me …..not having enough patience….I don’t know……I do know I was in denial…..he lived with me a little over 2 years so I could take care of him…..so I saw him every day and did everything for him….after he passed I was looking at pictures wed taken and it hit me like a ton of bricks on how sick he really looked. I was so tired and exhausted…..but I’d give anything to have him back…..my mom passed 22 years ago and I suffered PTSD afterwards…..I feel like an orphan

  228. My mom passed In October of 2017. This was her second battle with cancer. My brother and I were by her side  consistently. For the last two weeks of her life. There were days we only got 1-2 hours of sleep. My brother would beg me to sleep and I would tell him no you go I will sit with her. The last 3 days of her life. The hospice group put her on a strict pain medication routine. So every 30 minutes like clock work my brother and I were up giving her medicine. 

    My mom was very clear with us all her life. Do not let me suffer and if I do pull the plug. She had also said under no conditions were we allowed to hold a funeral or memorial service. Turning off the  oxygen tank was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was so worn out but I knew she wanted it this way. She donated her body to science. 

    It took me a while to not feel dead inside. I shut down. I did not let my husband or kids know what I was feeling till I officially had a mental break down. I think the no funeral or memorial service did not give me the full chance for closer. 

    But God has really helped me and given me a reason to function again. My husband and kids have also been able to minister to me also. 

  229. Excellent read.  I took care of my mom when she was dying. She also was going between this world and the next.  There were people in the room with her that I couldn’t see.  She was so beautiful and kind.  I miss her terribly.  She saved my life in 2013.  She kept coming to me in a dream saying “get that fixed.  I didn’t know what she was talking about.  I went to the EE for a weird tremor in my hand.  Turns out I had a large brain aneurysm.  After the diagnosis, I never had the dream again.

    Took care of my dad for 13 years.  The last few years were rough.  I always feel like I didn’t do enough.  But he was surrounded by family and friends and lots of love.

    I’m changed forever.  But I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

  230. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I helped my mom/best friend pass over to the other side on August 23. I am so lost without her! I wish I knew where to from here. 

  231. Thank you so much for sharing. My brother passed away 9 yrs ago and then it was just me and my parents. A month after my brother passed, I split from the father of my children and moved closer to my parents. My dad and mom have always been disabled so now I could be closer to help them. It was great. But then a little bit more each year my dads health declined a little bit more, then a little bit more and so on. By 2015 my dads health was real bad and was confined to a scooter as he just could not walk anymore. He had been in the ER almost every week. My mom and dad were both disabled but did their best to take care of each other and then I became their caretaker on top of a f/t job and my own family. In November 2017, my dad was diagnosed with sepsis. He had to have emergency surgery to remove 3 feet of intestines. A week later, sepsis was still present. He then underwent a second surgery to remove the rest of his intestines and then get a colostomy bag. I thought I lost him twice because his overall health was bad and the dr said he may not survive. But he made it, he pulled through. He then went to an inpatient rehabilitation to recover and then was told that he would live with that bag forever. He cried like a baby. I told him he and my mom will move in with me and I would care for him. He refused. He said “my daughter will not be the one changing my poop bag for the rest of my life.” Then he signed some papers to put himself in a nursing home. That broke me. My mom was already with me because she needed care and could not be alone. So later that month I started packing up my parents apartment and moving everything in with me. I cried the whole step of the way. My mom didnt understand any of it as she has mental disabilities as well as early onset Alzheimer’s. I went to visit my dad every single day just as I did when he had both emergency surgeries. Some visits I just held his hand as he slept. He was now my child. In April of 2018, the day after Easter I received a call from the nursing home at almost midnight that they were sending my dad to the ER that he was not himself. I then met him there. He was not the dad I knew. His words to me when I arrived at the ER were “why won’t they just let me die? I want to die.” My dad had a horrible time at the nursing home full of neglect and pain which ultimately let him to the ER that night. He was severely dehydrated and kidney failure. The dr’s spoke to me that it would require another surgery and dialysis. Right then and there, I had to make the most horrible, unimaginable, hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. I told the doctors no more, he has suffered so much, he does not want anymore surgeries, no more tubes, no more bags. Please just make him comfortable. He was then placed on hospice and they said it would be about a week. I was by his bedside every single day, sometimes twice. And sat there for hours talking to him even if I wasn’t sure he could hear me. And I always held his hand. Then one day he was awake. His last words to me before he slipped into a drug induced sleep were “I’m sorry I’m a pain in the ass.” I will never forget those words. He always thought he was an inconvenience. And I carry my own guilt around to this day. The guilt that if only he would have let me take care of him, maybe the outcome would be different. Or maybe I should have done research on a better nursing home. 3 days after my dad was put on hospice, he passed. When my brother passed, it hurt bad,but when I lost my daddy, his death took a piece of me with him. Now my mom still lives with me and I care for her and I refuse to even consider a nursing home for her.

  232. I have lost both parents, my mom was sudden and I was not there. My dad, I sat at his bedside for 4 days, only leaving to go to the bathroom. My nieces and husband would bring me snacks when I refused to leave. On the 4th day, they finally talked me into going to get some dinner. My dad passed before I was out of the hospital. I was so upset. My family consoled me that he did not want me there. I went back to the waiting room while everyone was sayings their goodbyes, the dr and nurses that had been there those 4 days came to give me a hug and let me cry on their shoulders. It is tough, but Ms Bailey hit it on the nose with her article.

  233. I to, cared for my mother until the end. It was the hardest and most challenging job I ever had but would do it 100 times again. She was my best friend and my everything. I am forever changed with her loss. She’s been gone 8 long months. 

  234. My mom just passed away. I said her ulogy. 
    She was – besides my dad. Loved m unconditional. 
    I’m single at 62. No one Dan take her place as a human. Kids, husband, friends, siblings

  235. I was with my mom when she died, and everyday before that day, and I held her, talked to her and shared memories. My mom suffered from dementia…some days she knew me and some days she wasn’t sure who I was. I came in her room every day and said “Hi Mom…it’s your daughter, Pam”….The day she died I held her in my arms until the light left her eyes….we were looking at each other as I talked to her to the very end. My last words to her were “you brought me into this world and I am going to help you leave this one with grace and dignity”….I gave my mom’s eulogy at her funeral service because I knew it was the last thing I could do for my beautiful mom.

  236. Thank you for this. So many similarities. My sisters, brother and I were with dad as he passed. We washed him. Gave him water and meds. Lotioned him and made sure he didn’t get skin breakdown. Emptied his catheter and noted the changes. Changes in his breathing, his urine. Did our best to manage his pain. His was a peaceful death. I wouldn’t have missed seeing him start his new forever journey-finally pain free. But, yes. It was so difficult. Yet I wouldn’t have wanted a stranger to do it. After all he did for all of us, that’s the least we could do. Prayers to you❤️

  237. The accuracy of this brought me right back to being with my mom and my dad when they passed. Even though my mom died almost 27 years ago and my dad died 7 years ago, while reading this the pain is as raw and real as it was the day the passed. The thing I remember most was the completely helpless feeling of not being able to stop what was happening, as if I wanted so badly to stop time right then and there or to somehow make each and every second I had left with them count more. Thank you for this article it seems to help knowing others experienced similar emotions.

  238. Thank you so much for posting this. My dad passed in 3/2013 and my mom in 4/2016. My mom lived with me the last few years of her life. She passed away in my arms. Reading your article left me in tears and my heart aching. It was like a step by step memory of what I lived through when my mom and dad passed. But especially my mom because she was here with me. Thank you again for sharing.

  239. My mom passed 11 years ago. On 4th of July she wasn’t feeling well. I took her to the ER. She was admitted. The next morning the Dr came to tell us she had cancer and it was all over. There was nothing that could be done. He didn’t say it in front of my mom. I let the dr know I wanted to tell her. When all my brothers got to the hospital I let my mom know that she had cancer. But I still asked mom if she wanted to do the surgery, chemotherapy or any type of treatment. She looked me in the eyes and said “no, I’m tired and ready to go to my heavenly home” she also said ” I don’t want to die in the hospital please take me home”. We got her home the next morning. As she was in and out she told me ” please don’t have any regrets you did everything for your dad and I. Take care of your dad ” As I sat with her holding her hand I watched as she took her last breath. I just thought she saw as I took my first breath and I saw her take her last.

  240. As I read your story, I felt that I had written it.  My story was exactly the same.  My mom passed 2 years ago and everything you wrote resonated.  Thank you.  

  241. I was with my mother as much as humanly possible during her last 18 months here on earth. Her health, both physically and mentally, had gotten to the point where we (me, [oldest] sister, brother [youngest]) could no longer take of her at home. Plus each of us still needed our jobs. Unfortunately, we, therefore, had to admit her to a nursing home. It was one of the hardest decisions I was ever a party in making. Once that became done deal, I spent at least part, if not all, of nearly weekend at the nursing home and whrnever possible, one evening a week with her. At that point, I worked an hour away and live 90 minutes away. I worked 45 to 50 hrs most weeks before going to the nursing home for the weekend. Fortunately my sister lived only 10 miles away so I could stay nights at her home and days/evenings at the nursing home. As long as Mom was able, we would take some type of outing on Saturday and/or Sunday. I’d take her to church when she was able to go. I’d get her some type of outside food for meals. She didn’t care for the home’s meals. Sometimes I would cook begore going and take dishes with me. However, Taco Bell was a favorite–soft taco, no tomatoes, add sour cream. As her health deteriorated, we didn’t talk all the time, but she enjoyed having me sit by the bed next to her. Her entire life she had been a friend to scores of people, many of whom visited. That got harder the last few months because she couldn’t always remember names or from where she knew them. We had an agreement–I’d say something like “Mom, look who visiting you, (xxxxx) from (xxxxx).” Usually that was enough. If not, I’d continue on with the conversation till her light went on. We would also talk about she was child, when I was a child, when I was in college and she’d fix Saurday lunch for up to a dozen of my friends. She became Mom Mert to several dozen students who went to school with me. She loved those times and could talk about them as if they had happened last week not more than 35 years ago. The last 10 days of her life she was in the hospital, DNR. I prayed the hardest prayer I’d ever prayed, “God, if she can’t be the person she wants to be, please take her home where she will be the saint in the mansion you have waiting for her.” During those ten days she was able to tell everyone in the family individually that she loved us. That was so important to her and to us. She passed fairly peacefully in her sleep as I was sitting by her reading the Bible outloud to her. Many lessons remain with me that she taught and lived each day of her life. There is one I think of more than any other. One day a particular hard to get along with person had a “confrontation” with Mom. Believe me, Mom was no saint here on earth, but she had special gift of not holding grudges, getting angry with or simply ignoring people that were complete idiots! I asked her on this particular day how she did it–how could she just not smack the idiots into next week. Her reply that I will never forget, “I can’t do it on my own. I do want to smack them into next week. However, I remember that God probably wants to smack me into next week many times a day–but He doesn’t. He just loves me. And that’s all I have to do, just love them like Jesus loves me. That’s all you have to do too, Xxxxx, just love them.” Mom has been gone 19 months and I miss her as much today as I did the day after she died, maybe more. But anytime someone gets to me, anytime I want to smsck sometime into next week, I remember, “All you have to do, Xxxxx, is just love them, just love them.”

  242. We watched my Mother die over a six week period. There really is no way to put it into words. It was 10 years ago and I still feel it.   Death is scary, debilitating,and crushing to the loved ones.  It steals the dignity of the dying.  My Mother was a graceful southern woman and she did the best she could.   But she couldn’t say goodbye so she just shut down for the six weeks it took for her body to shut down.   My heart goes out to anyone that has to watch their parent suffer.  My father suffered in silence for the eight years after her death.  He took his life 2 years ago.  The devastation he left behind is unbearable.

  243. My mom passed april 30th 2018 …she was my mom my best friend …I took care of my mother for 10 yrs ..she had a stroke do lost all control on left side left her in wheel chair ..so I did all for her ..she did not want to go to a nursing home ..and I didnt want her in one either …took her the bathroom bathed her ..dressed her …I also worked full time …so would get her up in the morning ..and I worked close to home so I would go home on my breaks …make her something to eat and give meds ….and in 2016 she had a major heart attack ..she pulled through ..doctors were all surprised ..I took my mom home again …she now needed 24 hour care …so staying home with her for a few months we hired someone to stay with her well i worked but i still came home on breaks and did my things for her …in 2018 she had lung cancer gave her 3 months to a year …she was short one of 3 months …for 2weeks I was by her side I didnt really sleep for those 2 weeks …but I struggle was a good daughter …we had are days in the pass where we didnt like each for a few hours or a day …I feel I could of done more or did I do the best I could….I just miss my mom so much ……

  244. I have taken care of my dying dad who succumbed to pneumonia… I was working at night shift and I will go straight to the hospital to check on him and he was so caring always saying that I should rest first and eat breakfast… But that was my mistake then I heed his advice and then he suddenly went coma!
    22 years after my mother followed him.
    But it took her ten years suffering from dementia… Until again same.pneumonia claimed my mother…
    Still both gave me hardest part of moving on speciallybtaht of my mum whom I thought could go home with me healthy since she had show improvement for 10days of her confinement… But then just the last 3 days in the hospital made me decide to bring her home since she wanted too…
    I missed both my parents…

  245. Had to stop reading…I will finish later and let you know.
    Flashbacks!

  246. I enjoyed this so much. I was alone in caring for my mom when I was 24. I was not good at it. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty as I got older, because I was so unprepared, but there was nothing I could do. Thankfully I got older and wiser. When my dad lived with me for 14 years, I did better. He kept apologizing for being a burden and I reassured him that we were both lucky to have the time together. But he was tired of living and I felt bad for him. When he died, the feeling that he was simply gone as his body remained, was so simple. You know the moment it happens. I wonder how I can make it easier on my kids and grandkids. The scariest thing for me is wondering if I will remain kind. I want to stay me.

  247. What a beautiful story and well told! I lost my mom 11 years ago September 2nd. She had a brief illness and multiple surgeries that she just was unable to heal from and so many infections, she ultimately decided on her own that she had just had enough and wanted to be made comfortable until she went. I struggle with that, I wanted so badly to ask her how she decided that what was she thinking after she made the decision and was she scared but all of those things I also felt I couldn’t ask her. My moms twin sister insisted that she get saved and baptized before she was no longer able to speak and comprehend things so the Hospitol preacher came and did all of it from her bed my mom was never into too much religion and all of that and I can still see her in my mind rolling her eyes just about everyone the pastor asked her something and when her put the holy water on her to baptism her. But the love she had for her twin my aunt was why she did it, it made her feel comfort knowing that because she was saved and baptized she would be welcomed into heaven. My mother never had religion or believed so much in heaven and so often I heard her say things like I’m going to hell so I might as well…. but shortly after the pastors visit she slipped into a coma and was given high doses of pain drugs to make her comfortable. We had her transferred to a closer hospital on hospice and my sister and I stayed with her day and night if one of us would leave the other was there.my moms twin would come every morning and leave late at night the three of us would sit around her and tell our favorite stories that concerned my mom as she slept making her way to where she was going we hoped she could hear us and know we were always there.  She hung on for three days after we brought her back “home” but my sister and I felt she was hanging on for our benefit like she didn’t want us there when she finally took her last breath. The third and final day just so happened to end up being the first day of school for our kiddos so as my moms twin arrived that morning bright and early my sister and I gave her a kiss and whispered in her ear, which I found out later ended up being very similar to each other we both said we loved her and that we were leaving but we would be back in a few hours that her sister was here with her and she wouldn’t be alone but also that as much as it hurts to say goodbye to her that if it was finally time for her to take her last breath and complete her journey that we didn’t expect for her to wait our return.  35 minutes after my sister and I left the hospital as I was pulling into my driveway my cell phone rang and it was my sister who told me that our aunt had just called her and told her that mom had passed away shortly after we left the hospital! We whole heartedly believe that she waited for us to leave and for it to be just her and her twin. We returned to the hospital as soon as we could after sending the kids off and said our last goodbyes and held her now cold hands and kissed her forehead one last time. Grieving was so hard and as the years have passed it’s gotten easier and less on the surface but I still grieve losing her if I see something that reminds me of her or something she might of done or said my heart breaks and I cry. She’s missed so many things my kids were all little when she passed that they don’t really remember her but I show them pictures and tell them stories but it’s not the same! I still wish she was still here every single day!

  248. My aunt and I took care of her mother ( my grandmother) for over 8 years. I will be forever grateful for the time we all spent together. My Gran sometimes would recite a poem just out of the blue or burst into song. She loved her cryptograms and Jeopardy. We had some rough times and sometimes tempers would flare or feelings would be hurt, but overall we all got along well. She’s been gone a year now and the adjustment has been difficult. I will miss her forever.

  249. I cried reading your story, I did hospice with both my parents last year. First my mother who had brain cancer,a fast cancer, then my father he had a Afib heart and had congestive heart failure. My boyfriend of 25 yrs, he was 56, I found passed away the day before my father died of congestive heart failure as well. I could not believe all I went thru. I had been the caregiver for years to my parents, uncle, friends. All you talked about, I experienced. My father was a quiet man, never really said things about anyone ever, he was a good father. One night he said to me “your mother & I are so very proud of you and I want you to know that”! It was the last real thing he said to me,and I cried because he never spoke his feelings. I asked my sisters if he said anything to them and they said no. I experienced many unseen things as well that I knew they were really experiencing. After they have now passed, I wonder when will I go…..I find myself making arrangements for my death to come so my son’s burden will be lightened( I’m only 58). All you talked about, i have been in those moments and had those thoughts. I have been forever changed since they all left to live again. I am alone and have no regrets because i spent years being there for my parents,spending time doing their yard work, taking them to doctor appointments, hospitals, ect., my 2 sisters lived elsewhere,living their lives,taking vacations,going with friends out. I did not, I sacrificed all to be with and there for my parents, and it made letting them go, and saying goodbye, the most painful heartache I have ever endured! Thank you for sharing your pain and story, I’m sure you will touch many with the wisdom you shared, God Bless you!!!
    .

  250. The story is very familiar and still very fresh in my mind. You spoke it well.  If I could add anything at all, I would write about how other members of the family would give their opinions on her end of life.  I had an aunt that felt she needed a feeding tube…

  251. Watching my Mother die was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was there when she took her last breath and my voice was the last voice she heard. As weird as this sounds, I will treasure it forever. I don’t have any regrets and I know that I was there to take care of her in her last days. I can rest knowing she is not in pain anymore and is with my Father. I want to say if you still have your Parents, visit them and tell them how much you love them and give them the biggest hugs you can give. One day you won’t be able to.

  252. This was so beautiful. I watched my mom pass 21 years. Seems like yesterday.

  253. I too took care of my mom for 13
    Months in my home before she passed in Oct 2018. I can relate to everything you said. Her being in places , and purring my self there acting like nothing was wrong. My family learned to do the same. We were never close. My first husband passed in January 2014. He was an alcoholic and I was a young widow at 53. We began a relationship then. But the bond we had when she moved in, I can’t put into words. Since she has gone, she comes to me happy and dancing and I know she is at peace and finally with my dad. I smile, mostly when I think of her now, but there are still
    those moments that I cry. Or I forget and I want to pick up the phone to tell her something . Thanks for sharing your story . I know it well. 

  254. My mother had a heart valve replacement which didn’t take. She declined in three short weeks never leaving the hospital.  After two weeks she had given up and was ready to die. My sister and I stayed by her side taking turns. It was during one of my stays that she had a quick procedure that put her into distress. She had signed that she wanted no action taken if she was to die. I held her hand and told her she could go.  She dropped my hand, raised both arms to heaven then died.  It’s been 4 years and I see everything just like it happened 4 minutes ago. 

  255. Nothing can EVER prepare you for a loved ones death. I was my mother’s caregiver and actually turned my dining room into her room with in 30 minutes of her coming from hospital to my home ( her choice and my pleasure) I was at her side 24/7 unless she had me run an errand for her but had sister or my children stay at her side while I was gone.
    This is so hard to write about , my mom has been gone since February 10, 2010 then October 1, 2010 my only sibling past away without any warning so I’ve really not been able to really fully grieve either one , they were my best friends.

  256. I too watched my Mom pass. She was so young. She was 57, and didn’t have nearly enough time with her grandchildren. I had to be the one tell her that her only son had a heart attack and didn’t make it. She died only 7 months later. He lungs had failed, she wasn’t a candidate for a transplant because her heart was too weak. Just a few months before my twin and only brother passed mother had a stroke that weakened her heart. My three sisters wanted to keep mom on the vent another 24 hours but she was suffering. We promised we wouldn’t let her suffer. She lived less than 3 hours after my best friend of 20 years and the respiratory therapist, removed the vent! She was ready. I ask her if she was tired she shook her head yes. I ask her if she was ready to meet Jesus again she shook her head but the look in her eyes told me she was more than her movements. I’m still in therapy. Losing my twin and mother in less than 8 months is something I don’t see “getting over “ any time soon. It’s been 2 years for my brother and one for mommy. Love them hard and with all that you have. Let them call 700 times a day and listen to the stories over and over again.  Look at them and take in their scent. I haven’t had a dream of my brother still but would love to. I woke myself once begging my mommy not to go. Love with all that you have in you!  Be sure to tell them you love them. Be happy and angry and laugh and cry. Be TOGETHER! Be FULLY ready to let got. NEVER have regret. Never leave things unsaid EVER!

  257. Us 4 kids moved n2 the house & hospital to spend the last days with our parents..daddy died at home with all 4 of us kids with him & mother died 5 yrs b4 in the hospital with all 4 of us kids by her side also..I will never ever regret those 2 times I was with my parents..it’s the least we can do for them..& we are a very close family even though we live 1200 miles apart..when a sister r brother is going through anything the other 3 gather with them…..thank you for sharing..

  258. Thank you. I lost my 92 yr old Dad a week ago today. I too was there during his last day, waiting for the Lord to take the rest of him, as Alzheimer’s dementia took most of him 10 years ago. I am so heartbroken & sad, but try to remain strong for my 91 yr old Mom who, thankfully still has all her marbles. They were together for 75 years!! A lifetime of eachother, eight children, 5 grandchildren & 2 great grandchildren. I know I’ll stop crying eventually, but for now, it feels good to have a good, good cry & a sad cry too. So very much to be grateful for, all he taught me & who I am because of him. Love you Dad. My sincere condolences to you and your family. Xo

  259. I lost my mother years ago and it still feels like yesterday. We were super close, she lived 20 miles from me.
    It’s a pain you can’t describe and a void you can’t fill.
    She survived breast cancer only to die with lung cancer.
    Stage 4
    I thought I was fully prepared for what was coming, I was so wrong. You can plan for the funeral, help get their affairs in order and it still shocks you out of the surreal fog you’ve been stumbling through.
    I spent every minute I could with her for several months.
    I never minded being an only child until then-
    Fast forward to Hospice Care- I was working full time, two young kids at home with my spouse, going to my moms daily after work and staying on wknds.
    Closer to the end I took off  a few weeks. I wouldn’t leave her bed side, I was afraid to.
    I can’t imagine doing alone.
    I was there when she took her last breath it was the most painful experience of my life.
    I can close my eyes and still see her slipping away.
    For some time after I would still dial her number, wanting to share a story.
     Id smell a scent or pass someone that resembled her and it would all come flooding back.No it doesn’t get better/easier with time… You just adapt to the loss and learn to cope and function.
    A few years later my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer as well. ( They we’re divorced ) 
    He and I weren’t close, strained relationship resulting from him being absent in my life until adulthood.
    I was at his side when he passed. The hardest thing to hear was him whispering he was sorry for not being there- Now he was dying. I was filled with mixed emotion but was able to tell him I forgave him before he passed that day.
    Losing a parent close or not is difficult, emotionally exhausting and will shake you to your core.
    I found strength I didn’t know I had.
    You want to curl up like a child and just cry.
    You can’t… you have to go on.
    I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
    There’s no time limit on the grieving process.
    It’s different for everyone.
    Strength and peace to those going through it.

  260. Haunting, and beautifully thought provoking.  Thank you for letting us into the most intimate (and painful) milestones in life.  

    Much love to you and your family,
    Sarah Kim (MPA ‘86)

  261. I know exactly how you feel I lost my wife August 3 of this yearWe were together for 55 years . At times it been tuff . Very nice article 

  262. This brought me to tears. I just lost my dad 2 weeks ago today to stage 4 colon and liver cancer. I was able to bring him back to my home on hospice as I had been his caregiver. He was diagnosed in June and didn’t live long or suffer long thank God. He passed in my home with all his children and grandchildren present. Thought I was prepared for his passing but this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Thanks for sharing your story.

  263. I experienced having my mother go in walking to a hospital for a scheduled surgery. She had a stroke during recovery had half of her body paralyzed. and We had so much hope for her to recover but she didn’t. We spent 1 year and 4 months in s  nursing home. My sister and I were there every day and we lived to see her eyes to communicate. She was with a trache and peg and urine catheter. We cherished every day with her. We thatGod for allowing us that time with her.

  264. I read this with tears. This was me with my mom. I was at the nursing home all the time. Now I wish I had talked and asked more questions about her life. There is a lot I will never know about her and that makes me sad. I watched as she took her last breath at 3am. It was the only night I ever slept at the nursing home I just knew I had to stay she was seeing all her family and talked to them I knew she was close. I don’t regret one minute I was there for her. Thank you for your story. Theresa

  265. Thank you for sharing, I’ve not been sure I’m doing all I can, but I think just maybe I am. 

  266. I’m sitting with my Mom watching her struggle with each breath.  I have been taking care of her for five Years.  I did not do it on my own i had wonderful caregivers to cared for her in her home.  Just about a year and half i brought her to my town in a wonderful small facility that was nothing but the best.   I have been tired and stressed and worried  for her.  I will have to say as hard as it’s been it has been amazing loving special time with my Mom.   As she  is now starting the dying process my tears are many She always wanted me to be the best i could be she put a lot of pressure on me but through my life i have been able to overcome many obstacles in my life so fo that I’m thankful. She is heading to the most wonderful place she has longed to go to see her precious JESUS

  267. I was with my Mom every day the last 2 mos she was alive. I was with jer the moment she passed and I coulsnt breathe I cried so hard! It was easily the hardest thing I have ever done to date. i wouldnt change it dor the world.

  268. I went thru this as well, some words that will always remain with me she said was one night as I was preparing to leave her room for the night another sibling had arrived to take over being with her. As I gathered my things I said goodnight to her as I kissed her & asked her if she needed anything before I left her. She with complete clarity reached her hands out to hold my hands and gently whispered just my daughter. Leaving that night was the hardest thing I have ever done.  My beautiful Mother passed the next day.

  269. As I read this I too sit by my Dad’s bedside as we wait for him to leave this life. He too stares at the ceiling and reaches out but is too weak to tell me what he sees, who he sees. It was the most difficult thing to tell him to leave us and to be with his heavenly family.
    Thank you for your words, all is so true. I am so afraid to leave his bedside for fear he will die alone. But my family forces me to leave, sleep and eat.
    We prayed several weeks ago to save him, we pray now that the end will come soon.
    Your words were divinely brought to me at this exact yime.
    Thank you for your words!

  270. Wow,seens like my experience with my mom,she was a potter all my life and her love for creativeness and livin in the moment was her style, but life gets long and she could no longer do want she loved, i watched her chest goin uo and down my life is just a time frame,live all u can tell everyone that u love them every time you see them,she was big on graditude sayin thank you always, askin how are u doin,she passed into heaven and i know she is waiting for me there i have no worries i will hug her again, i see her signs every day that her lov lives on ,mainly in shadows i see the letter A for her name is Audre love u mom!

  271. It was heart breaking loosing my mother. It was all on me. Others couldn’t handle it. Later I hadn’t done enough. I miss her

  272. Im crying my eyes out this is so true ive been in bembo with her im scared to say things im scared to ask cause she gets angry i no this is not herself as we speak shes in hospital with kidney failure again for the 9th time in 2half months i know her time is coming im so scared

  273. My my Mom passed on my birthday in January 24,2000 from a brain tumor. She had was bed ridden after her second surgery of April 15,1999 so it was long term death and you hate to see your loved one (with left side neglect paralysis) who was so independent being dependent on everyone for EVERYTHING! She was still mentally sharp but didn’t have the left side of her body to cooperate.
    We wasn’t always an I love you bunch of people,  but once you get a death sentence that kinda changes things! I told my Mom on Thanksgiving night that I would be away for a long weekend but not for her not to worry that I hadn’t forgot about her and that I loved her!(I Worked nights and would go and take care of her when I got off from work, my Aunt would do the afternoon shift, and my sister did the night shift. While we had a friend that lived in the house that did the cooking. My Dad was bipolar but that’s another story!) she replied back “I love you too even though you are a pain in the ass!”  I said Momma why do you say that she said “ YOU JUST ARE!” We laughed and said ok I guess you got me on that one.
    When I got back from my trip first week of December she was wasn’t responding eating or drinking or having any output so we had to take her back to the hospital and her and I was in the room and a gentleman from hospice came in looking for my Dad wanting to talk to him,  I told him that they had stepped out. He ask if me if I knew what hospice did  and I said kinda so he elaborates and starts telling me that my Mom needs hospice and that I need to tell her that it’s ok to go and that I’ll be ok without her,And to give an open apology and to ask for one!  KEEP IN MIND MY MOM HASN’T BEEN RESPONDING TO US AT ALL VERBALLY OR PHYSICALLY and I’m having this conversation with this man in her room next to her.  I told him telling her those things was easier said than done but he said it was important to ease their mind!

    So this guy leaves the room and my Mom ask who were you talking to? I was shocked dumbfounded I said do what? She said,that man ..that man that was in here. I said you heard us talking she said yes so I asked her if she knew what hospice was and she said “YES AND SHE WAS READY TO GO“  she asked me to take care of my Dad and I told her I would if he would allow me to help him..I told her if she was ready to go I was ready to let her go and that I loved her and told her I was sorry for not always being appreciative and that I would miss her
    Something my sister did that was nice she recorded conversations with her asking her how she came up with our names asking different questions. We did videos of my Dad asking him about dating my Mom telling stories and we played it back at his funeral..

    I’ve held both my parents hand as they took their last breath, if you can handle it no loved one should ever have to die alone.  I have a friend at work who’s lost both her parents and she asked me do you feel like an orphan? Thank goodness someone else does too.

  274. By age 33, I’d lost both of my parents. Funny, I’m 39 now and the feeling of being “lost” really doesn’t go away. I tell people I’m an orphan because….I am.
    My dad died in 2010 from cancer. So I should have expected it and “at least he was sick”, right? Wrong. I recommend grief counseling because as much as you expect it, wait from the call from hospice in the early morning hours (oh I have an infant at home so I was unable to stay…he wouldn’t have wanted me too anyway) and want relief from their pain for them….you still don’t expect the feeling when it happens. The loss is huge, deep, a big black hole in your heart. I was finding myself inconsolable at the worst possible times..on the train coming home from work, at a red light, often times my husband would come home and I’d be in the fetal position sobbing in my bed. No way to live. Counseling helped. My mom’s passing 3 years later? Very sudden, terrible and on Mothers Day. The walls I built around myself emotionally were indestructible. I feel like there were silent alarms going off in my psyche. My brain just trying to keep me level headed so I didn’t lose my mind. Have you ever had to tell someone they were actively dying? I did. I would play this ICU shit show in my head from beginning to end, guilt ridden on what I could have done differently and that gets you no one where quick, just a lot of sleepless nights. I don’t wish losing a parent on ANY ONE. As unrealistic as it sounds, I pray that people don’t have to deal with the pain I have but it’s life I suppose. hmm and saying that doesn’t help either……

  275. I lost my mother at 10yrs. old, and my father at 12….i miss them so, and I’m 58 now. But I know God has them, and they are safe and happy. God IS good

  276. My Mom passed this June one of the hardest deaths to deal with for me. I did take good care of her. She taught me that. I miss her so much it physically hurts. Our last conversation was….I laid in bed with her and she looked me right in my eyes. I said Mom I love you and thank you for being such a good Mom. She said I love you more and thank you for being a good daughter. Then we had to give her morphine. She passed a few hours after that. Man I miss her so much.

  277. I totally relate to your story. My mother passed almost a month ago and it was exhausting trying to protect her from family who I know she would not want to see her so close to death. She was very proud and had a high standard for herself and the others around her. I also have a different experience than my sister. She has all these wonderful peaceful memories and I don’t. Very complicated. 

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  278. I too set by my mothers bedside and watched her breathing.
    But my mom had plans of her own. It was a Wednesday
    and my sisters and I stood vigilant by her bedside. It was the day I went to have my hair done so my sisters told me to go it would be what mom would want me to do and they were going to the cafeteria for coffee. Mom waited until we were all out of her room and she left with Jesus. I always felt guilty because I wasn’t there but it was what she wanted for none of us to see her go. I did tell her I loved her before I left and that I would be back soon. She did it her way just like she always did.

  279. I lost my dad in June 2012
    He was a hardworking devoted Dad.
    Lived right and kept the good book in his left hand.
    By 74 he kept losing weight and didn’t understand why.
    Went to the hospital in November 2011 which we don’t do. Found out he had 4th stage pancreatic, bone, kidney and prostate cancer.
    Sent home with hospice June 1st.
    Hospice in Mississippi refused liquid pain meds for 8 days. He felt every bit of dying.
    Thanking God he was still in his right frame of mind!!!
    He was an Airforce veteran.
    I was there taking care of him till his last breathe.
    My life has NOT been the same since.
    X Daddy’s Girl.

  280. I read your story and it makes me cry. I lost my mother at the end of last March. It has been the most difficult thing to let her go. She was 98 but was well until one night her blood pressure was not normal and she was sent to the hospital where she caught a virus that attacked her heart. She was hospitalized for about two weeks and she died the last Friday….To this day I still do not believe it. She was an amazing mother and we never left her alone on these two weeks. We are 6 kids and 5 were in this country. We were all there with her on her last day. It was important for all of us to be together. She had the most beautiful blue eyes and such abundant and beautiful hair. It told her every single day how much I loved her and that she was beautiful.  She was moved in a beautiful old age home two years ago because we thought it was too hard for her to be in her home. For those two years she was never alone, we had a calendar and one of us would be with her every day.  We each took our turn.  I wish, and I guess we all do, that she would still be with us. Miss seeing her smile when I told her I loved her……I understand your pain, we are never prepared for this. It makes us realize that life is short and that we should never  take anyone or anything for granted.  I wish you love xxxx

  281. I was at my mom’s bedside when she died 6 yrs ago and it was very very hard I’m just grateful to God I was there. Again a month ago I was at my father’s bedside when he died. I almost missed it because I fell asleep in a cot they put up for me but I just happened to wake to see when he passed. I am grateful the staff called me and told me to come back after I left for the night. I will never forget their kindness. Yes they say go eat, sleep etc. You don’t.

  282. I watched my Dad and Mom both suffer an die, in fact we had to decide what day our Mom was to die because of a botched Heart Surgery. I can relive both of their deaths every Little detail even though it has been 24 and 15 years since their passing. I remember my Husband’s death too he was diagnosed with ALS and died January 2018 again I remember everything, it is hard to live with

  283. I have walked this journey with my parents and a dear friend. It is never easy, but is gratifying. There is no right way nor wrong way to walk this path. I will say that the big plus is that your loved one passed away in their own bed and we could look back and have no guilt. Your story is well written. I will add that hospice did advise us that our loved ones will choose who will be with them when they pass. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true.

  284. A friend sent this to me as I’m dealing with losing my father who I’m extremely close to. It’s only a matter of days. I’m scared to death. I lost my mom last year on Mothers day and I’m still grieving her loss. Now I have to re-live this all over again. I’m in so much pain and heart ache. Broken. I have three kids and a husband who need me and I can’t figure out how to continue on for them. I will need to seek help for sure. I’m sorry for everyones losses. And thank you for sharing your stories. It’s so hard to watch your parent die.

  285. My mom has been gone for almost a year. 
    She fought breast cancer and worked all the way through her chemo as a salad ‘girl'(!) at a local restaurant. Three months later she started tiring more, and then she collapsed. It had metastasized to her brain. Emergency surgery and rehab hospital and radiation. She came home! 
    And got weak again. Back to the hospital for tests and found out she had cancer in her spinal fluid. 
    Hospice. We thought we’d have three months. 
    We had less than a week. 

    We had visitors! I’ve learned, don’t turn anyone away because they will tire your parent out. Your mom and dad need to know that they mattered to those people who want to come.

    Her eyes closed a day and a half before she passed, but she could hear us. 
    Her final hours, from 9:00pm to 6:30 am I sat with her, singing hymns and reading scripture. 
    She would have left us sooner, but I had called my brother and dad back, and told her she needed to wait till they got back.  She struggled to take two great big breaths and kept going for three hours after they arrived. 

    People will say call if you need anything. Do it. 
    Make that call that says I need help cleaning today.
    The one that says, can someone pick up the kids from school this afternoon?
    The one that says, I’m supposed to lead the Bible study/book club/PTA meeting but I’m not up to it. 
    Let people help. Let them provide meals and goodies. 
    They want to make your grieving process easier 
    but they are grieving too, either because they knew your loved one, or because they care about you. 

  286. I was the one who she wanted all the time. I am one of seven, and no matter what I had to be there. In the final days when we knew the battle was over she said to me ” I don’t want to die alone”. Even writing that my heart hurts so bad. I made a promise that I would not let that happen. And my momma passed away peacefully in her sleep with my hand in hers. I woke up and she was gone. I am thankful that I kept that promise, but I am dealing with a lot of what ifs. I miss her everyday. I will miss her until the day I get to be with her.

  287.  I sat with my dad the best dad in the world and I had him for over 58 years. His illness only lasted three weeks and he was 85 years old. Up until a month or two before he was happy, eating well and still getting out and doing things. I was not ready for him to go but the last week and a half I knew he would not return. The last thing he said to me was I love you son. Five months later I still miss his voice, his laugh but most of all his wisdom. Yes talk to your parents listen to the stories because once they’re gone you will crave them more than anything in the world. I was blessed to have a great day and I still have my mom at 88 she’s  healthy and wise. You have watch the pain in her face of losing her partner and 62 years.  Enjoy them but most of all love them the way they have loved you. I love you daddy 

  288. My mother slipped away on the night I went home to have some rest,after spending countless hours with her in the nursing home I usually slept on a little chair at night and I kick myself for leaving her alone that night.☹️

  289. Loved Your post. My mom died from MSA (multiple system atrophy) a year ago. I am 32 and  my youngest kid just turned 2. It was impossible for me to take care of her 24/7 so she had a full time nurse (my dad passed 8 years ago) Ill visted her at least 3 times a week and stayed over as much as I could. For me every time my phone ring from her house made me so nervous and axious, felt like I had to always be near my phone.
    Thanx for shearing ..  

  290. Mom’s been gone 4years now but it seems like yeasterday. You wrote every that I went tought with her. Sne talked to her parents who had been gone for. Maney years. Tellingthem to wait IM comi ng. And we talked about. maney things late into the night. I will always remember how young her face looked just before she pasted. She was so peaceful And I had seen many people past and had never seen that before.

  291. Hello my name is Debbie, my mom passed away 4 months ago today. I miss her like crazy. We had a great relationship she called me her “perfect daughter”lol. Mom had so many heart issues mostly from smoking for about 30 years, she quit in her late forties after her 1st heart attack. After that she more heart issues come about. She was a very happy person for the most part but I knew she missed how close we use to be, I married my 2nd husband and things just got really busy for me (that’s my reasoning) we talked less and saw each less but she knew how much I loved her and was always the 1st one there when something happened. Her finally month was so up and down, we thought we lost her and then she got better, she went home from rehab for a few days and ended up back in ICU.
    I kept telling my brother she wasn’t herself and now after reading your experience that is what was happening, she thought my husband was in the hospital and said “are they taking Mike to surgery” I was like mom Mike isn’t here…she insisted she saw him. She couldn’t feed herself the last couple days so I feed her. She only last 4 days, we got the call in the middle of the night she coded but they brought her back. We knew she would not want to live on machines so as a family we said our goodbyes with heavy hearts. 5 of her 7 grandchildren were with her as she was removed from the machines. She was the strength of our family and I don’t know how we will keep connected. I’m the only girl with 3 living brothers.
    Thank you for sharing your story and I’m sorry for your loss.

  292. First of all, my condolences. May your mom rest in eternal peace.

    So touching & I can so relate. I too cared for both my mom & dad. My mom passed first & a year later my dad. I still remember everything about both of them. Let me start with my mom. She suffered a good 9-10 months before God called her home. Yes, I was there with her every step of the way. Sleepless nights, every holiday spent at her bed side whether it was at home or at the hospital, I was there. Watching her sleep, watching her battle her pain, her anxities, watching her transform into someone I didn’t know at times because of her dementia, was the hardest thing I had to face but I did it because of the immense love. I had for her. I slowly watched her deteriorate befire m uhh eyes & all I could do was keep her comfortable. A couple of days before her passing, she called me over to her & asked me to go to the store to buy her some of her favorite foods & snacks, which I did, but she never touched any of that. I knew she wouldn’t because she was on a feeding tube & wasn’t taking in any solids. But just to see her smile when I showed her was priceless. My mom passed a day after Easter, her look in her eyes met mine & I knew she was trying to tell me something but couldn’t. To this day, how I wish I could know what she was trying to tell me. With my dad, was watching get depressed knowing his lifetime partner was no longer by his side was devastating to watch. At one point, I & two of my brothers had to stay vigilent at his bedside because he talked about ending his life. Watching him at this phase was so emotional given we were still mourning my moms passing & somehow getting prepared to mourn my dad as well. This happened in a course of 6 months after my mims passing. In & out of Drs offices, admition into hospital stays was just a normal day of life for me. Remember on a Friday morning, my brother called me into my dads room, he held my hand & said to me “it’s time” but in spanish. He looked flushed & very much agitated that I gave order for my brother to call 911 to rush him to the hospital. My dad never returned home. He was almost pronounced dead that Friday when rushed to hospital, Dr advised all family that he wouldn’t make it through the night to get prepared. So immediate family was called & we were all there at his bedside in the ICU when Drs were impressed how good he looked & was responding to all of us. He wasn’t out of the woods but transferred out of the ICU unit into a regular room. Saturday crept up on us & again we watched my dad going through different episodes because he also suffered from early signs of Alzheimer’s. We asked that everyone be waiting in the lobby while his children stay at his bedside. We sang songs to him that he wanted to hear. We shared stories. We cried. We laughed. He told us he loved us. At some points he would start talking to my mom, we let him, but it was hard to see & hear. I left for awhile that evening to return at night. That night, I took my dads hand & asked him if it was ok for me to leave because I was going to church the next day to pray over him, then I was going to visit mom at cemetery given it was going to be Mother’s Day. He squeezed my hand & affirmed with a nod that he gave me permission to leave. Promised him I’d return as soon as I was done. My brother texted me early in the morning to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day & to let me know dads vitals had improved & Dr had given them a positive outlook. He then told me, go sis to church & pray. I’ll see you this afternoon. I felt at peace knowing my dads vitals had improved but still had little doubt. Nonetheless, I & my little family got ready for mass. We arrived & sat down in church. About 20 minutes into the mass, I got a heavy feeling, started feeling like an anxiety attack was to abrupt, I couldn’t help the feeling that my daughters asked me if I was ok. Told them, I don’t know, just have a weird feeling something happened & I need to look at my phone. They pulled my phone out of my purse. When I looked at it, there it was. A message from one of my brothers that my dad had just passed away. He died peacefully in his sleep that morning. What a glorious present for my mom to have him home on Mother’s Day. It hasn’t been the same. My heart still aches for them. Miss them more each day. My consolation is that they are both together & resting in eternal peace.

  293. My mom died when I was 16. It was a few weeks before I went into my junior year of high school. I called the hospital everyday to get an update and make sure she was okay. I went to see her as much as I could. It was only me and her all my life. I remember the day she died so clearly it hurts me..I was eating lunch in the cafeteria at the hospital and the nurse came down to tell me my mom was going to die soon and she was waiting for me before she did. I rushed to her room and as I held her hand and begged for her not to go, the monitors just beeped and she was gone. For almost two weeks she was in a medical induced coma so I was not able to talk to her at all. 11 years later and I’m still not over it and it kills me..there’s so many things I wish I could of done to help her and I would of done anything just to hear her talk. I don’t remember what her voice sounds like anymore and I wish I did. There’s so many thoughts and emotions we go through and it is hard to talk about and express. Thank you for writing this. 

  294. Tha last words my dad said to me were “love you more” as I walked out the door to run errands. Little did I k ow those would be the last words he’d ever say. Later that evening, he took his last breath with mom and I in the room.
    This past year has been so difficult for me, mom and I took care of my dad…my brothers stayed away. As we come up on the day of his passing, each day is like reliving those final days all over.

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    God Bless

  295. Just lost my husband. The experience is not that different. Hurtful and never feeling i was doing enough.

  296. Your story really reminds me of mymothers and mine I went threw the same story and the hardest part was that Iam pregnant and seeing my mother pass has been very hard for me I just pray that when my baby is born I have a little bit of her in my child and thank u for seeing ur story feeling a little bit not so alone thank you

  297. Very moving & honest account of your Mum’s passing..
    I was with my Mum during her final journey & as hard & emotional as that final 10 day’s were.
    I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else, but at her side.
    Holding her hand, talking to her of times past, of times ahead. Promises made, to care for my Dad, keep an eye on him & make sure he ate properly..all the thing’s she was worried about & I could do my bit to dispel..
    Bizarrely, due to tge cruelty of Dementia, my Mum hadn’t known who I was for three year’s. I hadn’t been able to call her “Mum”, as she would become confused, saying am I your Mum..
    Or I haven’t got a Daughter..& start crying..
    Or asking for her own Mum..
    So to ease her mind, she had been Jo..
    But during her last 10 day’s in hospital.
    Bought about due to neglect in her Dementia Specialist Nursing Home..
    Which we had only discovered, due to bringing her back to her marital home, to celebrate her 61st Wedding Anniversary with my Dad.. w hadn’t been able to rouse her, so had telephoned for an ambulance.
    Her emergency admission to hospital broke all of our hearts. To hear this wonderful & defenceless lady was suffering from septicaemia, was in renal failure & basically drying.. had gone a minimum of 48-72 hours..without food or fluids.
    Just broke us..
    She had received my Father’s devoted care for 14 year8of this awful disease & it was only due to my own hospitalization & then a a deterioration in my Dad’s health. That Social Services decided my Mum’s nursing needs, would be best met in a 24/7 home.
    It broke my Dad to agree to that, even more so.
    When just 5 months later, we realised the extent of the neglect she had been exposed to.
    We were visiting daily, but her sudden sleepiness & lack of response was explained away, as tiredness due to tge weather & poor sleep the night before..
    She had always..just had a cup of tea..or sandwich..so we had foolishly believed their lies & things deteriorated further, until the sad day or that home visit.
    Part of me is still thankful, we bought her out of the home that day.
    So we at least had chance to say goodbye to her.
    Her nursing needs were met.
    She was pain free, kept clean & had her dignity restored.
    I still wonder about the way she suddenly rallied, became alert & really got that spark back in her eyes..
    That although she wasn’t able to speak.. her eyes expressed so much.. she knew each & everyone of us. Clutching our hands hard, squeezing in comfort in return & silently sheading a tear or two, as I reminisced with her. Tge day my eldest Daughter, asked permission to bring her two little one’s onto the ward, stays with us, to this day. She had both babies..18 month’s old & 5 month’s old..
    Nestled into the crook of both arms..
    Her hands alternating between stroking their chubby arms & legs.. or holding their hands or lil feet. She had looked at me, back to them, snuggled either side of her.. so confused..?..
    It wasn’t until I said, ..
    Mum..they’re not my babies.. they’re Aimée’s..
    That the biggest beaming smile crossed her face.. lighting up her eyes with wonder & she filled up with emotion..
    Clearly realising, she was holding her great Grandchildren, in her arms..
    Not for the 1st time..
    But for the 1st time with her full faculties & full knowledge, of who was who..
    Within day’s, that special time was gone. Drs had admitted their Hope’s for turning things around, kick starting her kidneys was gone.
    Mum’s organs were shutting down, she was leaving us, so care moved to more palliative care.
    Keeping her comfortable, pain free & sadly that also meant she slept more.
    We still took turns, sat by her bedside. Holding her hand, listening her lips & telling her often how loved she was.
    I had been weeks away from getting married..
    My fiancee had sat with me one day..
    Suddenly deciding to tell my Mum our plans..she had given both our hands a squeeze & he had used the words my Mum had so often said..after my divorce so many year’s before..
    I hope I see you settled & sorted before I go..
    I used to tease her & say..
    Why, where you going?..
    Never thinking, there would be a time, .y wonderful Mum, wouldn’t be there at my side. To put the world to rights over a pot of tea & a cream cake..
    The morning she passed, my Dad & I were holding her hands & she was fighting so hard to stay with us…
    We in the end, just pleading with her to rest, go to sleep & let go..
    That we would see her again one day..
    That we would all be together again.
    When she finally passed, it was with a quiet sigh..
    Her face relaxing & the year’s of pain through her Osteoporosis.
    The confusion of Dementia..
    Just faded away & the Mum I knew was there ,at that moment..
    That day, will forever stay with me.
    The wonderful woman, who was my rock.
    Who always had time to chat, a kind word. Reassuring & strong..
    So losing her, two month’s before my wedding.
    At such a special time in our lives was hard. But my Dad was adhement, nothing should be postponed.
    My hubby to be & I should go ahead with our special day, that Mum would be with us in spirit.
    Which I truly believe she was..xXx

  298. My folks moved across the country to be near my growing family in the 90’s. My dad passed suddenly of a heart attack in 2004 – we said that’s just the way he would have wanted it, short and sweet. We had dinner with him earlier that day, and we believe he lived his life with no regrets.

    My mom passed of lung cancer in 2010 – she never smoked. She had several months to deal with it, but always hoping that she would be healed. We were all in denial — almost until the last week, when they told us to take her home for hospice care.

    She told us she wanted to see her grandchildren and Christmas. This was the last week of November. I flew my daughter home from school for thanksgiving week, and my brother flew down from Washington… and we all encamped around her hospital bed in the tiny living room. We put up a Christmas tree. We had thanksgiving dinner sitting around her, and she even had pumpkin pie.

    She was hooked up to oxygen tanks, and we kept blowing a fuse in the house because of the extra pull on electricity. She didn’t want to take the morphine, because she thought she might get “addicted”… even though the nurses explained it would also open up her passageways.

    On Sunday, she was aware of all of us and rooted for the Chargers on TV. We watched a movie. The hospice folks had left, and a doctor was scheduled to stop by on Monday.

    Sunday night we took my daughter to the airport and I went upstairs to get some rest. My husband came upstairs after midnight and said Mom was breathing loudly. The death rattle… I woke up my other daughter, and my husband and brother and I sat beside her. We prayed and held her hands, and told her it was ok – that she would soon see my Dad.. and Jesus. It would be beautiful.

    I remember her saying “I don’t feel any pain … no pain” – I think up until that moment, we thought she was going to have a miracle, and suddenly get better. But this was getting real. Within a few minutes, she took one last labored breath. And we all sat in astonishment as she crossed over.

    My mom and I were very close. She was such a blessing, and i miss both her and my dad every day. I only hope that I can carry on whatever goodness they imparted in me through my own kids. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

  299. I cared for my Loving Mom for 13 months before her passing 2 months ago. It has left an empty space in my heart. My Mom lived alone since my father’s passing in 2007 she was an out going and independent person until she was diagnosed with a blood disorder. Mom still has so much life in her she still wanted to take care of her plant and do her crafts until her blood started clotting. Watching her die a little each day was extremely painful for me. When she took her last breath I felt like I took that last breath with her. I am not the same person that I was before she passed. I hurt today just as much as I did the day I lost her.

  300. I did everything the same as you as you did and I was 19 when she passed and 43 years later , I did the same for her sister who actually was my mother for longer than my own mother.. they both passed from breast cancer.  My mother lasted Five years with constant pain and surgeries.. it took its toll on a teenage kid .. but like you I wouldn’t have it any other way . When her sister got breast cancer it was heart wrenching for me but she lasted twenty years and lived a wonderful twenty years and never left my brother and I. She stepped into my mother’s shoes like we were her own children . Our children considered her their grandmother .  We were very lucky to have her. So when she got sick the second time at 76, it didn’t hit me right away that this was going to be my second time around.  She no where near suffered as much as my mother because technology had gotten better.  When taking care of my mother there was no hospice so it was me giving the morphine shots to her for pain .  Yet that was really the only thing that was different. I
    Had to do it all over again.  I was more prepared as an adult to do the care taking both emotionally and I guess physically but the feelings at me end were the same another part of my heart was taken . My fathers death was sudden so there was no care taking and no time to prepare emotionally. Somehow that was harder. I think being a care taker to
    A a loved one gives a better sense of closure knowing you had done all you could do .. I’m still in morning from the loss of my second Mommy but I still mourn all three of them .  With my Dad I never got the chance to say how much I loved and appreciated him one last time . Thank you for this article because it makes us feel that we are not alone and only another care taker knows what it takes to be one . I was exhausted emotionally and physically after my aunt because I was older . With my mom it took me a long time to get out of the denial that she just was never coming back.   My mother’s last words were so different than my aunts my mother told me she wished she could take me with her but she knew that wouldn’t be fair .. and that I should live my life to the fullest .  My aunts last words to me were Kathie it’s time and I’m scared my sister left me alone and way too soon but I thank God she left me with her beautiful daughter to take care of me .. and then she just started calling to Jesus .. and I closed her eyes as she took her last breath because she passed with her eyes wide open in fear .. in my arms . But as I said it gave me closure ❤️

  301. Think the worst part is not being with your mother on her last day especially when your told she will still be okay for a couple days and my brother talked me out of going to be with her when she came out of ICU because I worked third shift and should sleep then come to hospital. So I did but within a few hours after being taken out of ICU to regular room she passed and I didn’t get the last moment with her. She and I were so close and always taking care of her needs. Still this day it haunt me I wasn’t with her for her last breathe. Love You Mom!!

  302. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I lost my Daddy last year. My Daddy had been sick but he didn’t tell anyone. He was always a strong healthy man and within one week he was gone. We took him to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing and within 24 hours he was gone.  We had to place him on a ventilator to assist him with breathing, everything went well and they were coming to get us and he suffered a heart attack. As promised we did not place him on life support. My mother sat on one side of the bed and climbed in bed beside him wrapped his arm around me and lay with my head on his chest until he took his last breath.  The hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. 

  303. Thank you for sharing this. I lost my dad 7 years ago, he died suddenly, did not have any good by or closure, it was a horrible struggle, filled with doubt and blame and maybe if…. My mother just passed a month ago and I was by her side over a week, I watched her slip away a little at a time. While I had the time to say good by to my mom it was so very hard watching her go. Every thing you wrote about here is exactly what I experienced. Bottom line is that no matter how it happens, when you lose your parents a part of you will never be the same.

  304. YES, going through this right now with my dad and went through it in APril with my mom. My son and I have taken care of them for the past five years and now we are going through their deaths this year.  So thankful for my son who has been through this journey with me and the two of us are taking this last journey together as well.   Very hard but such a blessing as well.