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At the Death Bed of a Loved One

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posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 09:39 AM
We all at sometime will face the unfortunate situation of losing a loved one.

Sometimes it is sudden.

But, other times, a life winds down in front of our eyes. "They have a few days to live."

This is the situation I find myself in.

And, knowing there are many people on ATS who are educated in philosophy, spirituality, and religion, I'd like to ask for your help.

What is the best way to handle being beside a dying person?

Do you all have any favorite passages from scripture?

Any thoughts/discussion about the afterlife would also be relevant.

I hope that we can put together a collection of material for anyone who ends up in a similar circumstance, the process of helping someone through their last days.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 09:51 AM
I lost my dad about a month ago after a year long battle with cancer. We were lucky that all the family could be there at his passing. We all had time to say our goodbyes and tell my dad how much we loved him.
You really can't do any more than that. It will come and it always hurts to lose one we love.
Still, we had to be relieved for my dad that he didn't have to suffer any more.
It's the survivors we have to look out for; namely my mother who is 81 and lives an hour's drive away. We're going to go help her start packing up some things and finish the inevitable paperwork that comes with a funeral.
Dying people need to know from family that it's ok to let go, that their survivors and affairs will be taken care of after they leave. They need peace of mind more than any of us.
Death was nothing like I had pictured it to be - it was far more peaceful than I had imagined it.
I wish you well in the times to come and hope that your loved one's passing is as peaceful as it was for my father.

Favorite words/scriptures? None, words seem so meaningless at a time like that. Only the memories held meaning for me and it brought back a flood of good times we had shared. Forget the bad times, forgive the wrongs and hold the positives close to your heart. Best of luck to you and your family at this trying time.
edit on 20-10-2012 by Asktheanimals because: added comment

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 10:33 AM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I like to comfort my loved ones by whispering in their ear how everything will be ok. "Let go and know you are going to be more than alive when you transform back to our real home". Words of comfort, love and light is what I offer the "dying" one.

My Grandfather was asked to come to me in my dream and let me know what he is up to. He did.... and it was very vivid and real. That in and of itself comforted me. Shoot.... he actually did more than that but I won't go into that. lol

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I would just like to say the body will pass on but the soul will live on. My dad passed in 08 but I still feel his presents with me. Let your love one know how much you love them and you will look for the signs that they are still around. My near death exp. Showed me there is much love and no pain on the other side. The pain that you and your love ones feel will be matched with great love on the other side. But you have to go though this to experience what true love is. I'm sorry for your loss show your love for them and thank them for the memories.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 12:58 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Favorite words/scriptures? None, words seem so meaningless at a time like that. Only the memories held meaning for me and it brought back a flood of good times we had shared. Forget the bad times, forgive the wrongs and hold the positives close to your heart. Best of luck to you and your family at this trying time.

That sums it up for me pretty well.
More than words.
I truly believe that we communicate through feelings also and that can be more powerful than long winded goodbyes even after one passes a connection of feelings can remain.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 01:11 PM
reply to post by MamaJ

would you please elaborate on what happened in your dream?

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

My step dad had Alzheimers which contributed to his death. I call him my step dad out of respect. I only knew him for 9 years, He in his 70's had married my mom also in her 70's I am 44 and my dad passed away 20 years ago.

Pete was a nice guy, we got along well. He had moments of clarity and he knew he was dying. He had told us that he was ready and willing to meat his maker. People will often go through a period of about two weeks they call "actively dying" . This is the process of the body getting ready to shut down. I was with him at the bedside when he died, mom was not at home at the time. He stirred a little and opened his eyes to look in my direction. Somehow I knew he was about to pass on. (Pete could not speak anymore) I don't know how I knew exactly but I knew. You may have a similar experience. I told Pete we loved him and that everything would be o.k. and squeezed his hand. Pete passed on right after that. I believe he understood me and knew it was time to let go.

I will pray for you in this time of need for your comfort. (I encourage others to do the same)

The best we can do is reassure that loved one that we love them and thank them for being part of our lives. I believe they will know and understand this even if they cannot communicate. Hang in there. Peace be to you and your family.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 02:08 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

Talk to them - whether they can hear you or not

Don't be afraid to say the things you want and need to say - you will regret it later if you don't

But more importantly than avoiding regret - you have no idea how beautiful these last moments can be having been there with them and saying these things out loud

I've been through this a few times - one time I said what I needed to say - another I didn't because I was overwhelmed by it all

Hold their hand

I wish you and yours the best - I know it's not an easy thing

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 02:36 PM
No one can tell you what to say or how to feel.
Sit with the one you love hold their hand and talk of the good memories you shared with that person, share only the good thoughts you have of that person, love, respect. Your not on your death bed so don't confess to your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Be happy and positive and enjoy the time you have left and make it pleasant for them.
Best wishs and prayers to you and yours.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 06:21 PM
If I had know that my sister was going to die in the hospital, I would have spent my time with her telling her how much I appreciated her being there for me, like a 'second mother' and a confidant. How, when we were younger, she took me places and bought me lunch. How she, as a teenager, would spend time with me, her little sister, brushing my hair or playing the guitar so we could sing. How, when we were older, she drove three hours at the drop of a hat to be with me in the hospital when I had a late-term miscarriage, and cried right along with me as she held me. How her smile always lit up a room, and her laughter would be something I would never forget. How she was the glue that held all of us together-- planning gatherings and making everyone feel so much a part of. How touching that letter was that she sent me after I graduated from college, and what a really truly beautiful person she was all the way around, and within.

That's my advice-- tell him while you still can, all the wonderful things you will keep with you for the rest of your life.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 07:14 PM
I would let them take the lead go go where ever .... Some might want to remissness or think about good old times and laugh while others might be more Biblical or philosophical in their beliefs. I would say it depends on the person.

I always think of my brothers wife when I hear about loved ones passing away... Alexis lost her mother; then sister; then father to cancer in like 2 1/2 years then her husband (my brother) dies of a heart attack ...... Then to beat everything she came down with MS six months after Wesley died.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 08:09 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

Losing a loved one is the worse thing to ever experience in life. In such a situation we feel and are helpless. Tell them you love them and touch their hand one more time before the sunsets. Remember that Sunset forever.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 08:13 PM
First of all sorry to hear about your loved one being close to passing,

I lost my grandmother about 3 years ago to breast cancer, and she was like a mom to me. I lived with her from ages 7 until I was 15. She was basically my mom. I was very close to her, however near the end she was suffering a lot. I didn't know how I would be able to handle it, but surprisingly when she passed I didn't feel sad, and I didn't cry that much. Don't get me wrong though, I still felt devastated and emotional knowing that I wouldn't be able to see her again, but to more importantly I felt a sense of relief knowing that she would not suffer anymore.

She was a very active lady, always woke up at 6am to drink her coffee and do stuff around the house. I know inside she was suffering being stuck in a bed the whole day.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 08:28 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

Patrick, I don't know what I could say that could bring you comfort, other than I care and will pray for all of you.

When my brother was dying people thought he was in a coma and could not them. His 18 year old daughter came in from college and said" "Hi, Daddy." and he put his arms behind his head and crossed his feet. So talk to him even if you think he can't hear you.

My brother made a video for a retreat group at church since he knew he could not be there for the follow up meeting. All my brothers, sisters and my parents got a copy. It was sad. I only watched it once because it broke my heart.

His main, perhaps, only concern was for his family. How would they make it without him? This passage brought him much comfort and was able to let go of his fear and hold on to his faith - trusting that God would take care of his family.

Luke 12:22-34

Do Not Worry

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The only positive thing he saw in his dying was that he would get to see the face of the Creator.

Like the above poster, I really believe that it is important to reassure them that you, the family, the dog or whoever he/she may be worried about will be fine. Tell them you love them. I guessing you already have, but in some families these words are never spoken.

edit on 10/20/2012 by sad_eyed_lady because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 10:20 PM
I've experienced death from two vantage points. One as a student in the respiratory care field and one as the grieving relative.

My dad passed from cancer before I went into healthcare classes. I have always said that I learned more in those few weeks than I had in my whole education combined. Spending time with Dad in his last days taught me a lot about the man he was and the woman I was becoming. We became closer and it was interesting to watch how each family member played a role in helping him to pass. I had just began to attend church, so he asked me hard questions about God and heaven that helped me grow as I attempted to find answers to help him. Since I always had been interested in medicine, he had me looking for anything that might help him and he shared details about his disease and how he was feeling with me. After the docs discovered that they could gauge the spread of his lymphoma by looking at the tissue on the inside of his eyelids, he took the time to show me so that I could maybe save someone else if I ever noticed the same in a patient.

In the very final days, he shared with me the visions he was having. He would stare off into the distance and his face would just glow. Whenever I asked him what he was seeing, he shared with me that he understood exactly how the universe worked and everything at once as well. I questioned him about it and he tried very hard to explain, but just couldn't find the words. Sensing his frustration, I told him not to worry about explaining, that my mind was too small to comprehend it all anyway. And I really do believe that! He passed very early in the morning with my mom at his side. She had told him it was all right to go and that his mother was waiting for him. She said he went peacefully during sleep.

As a student in Respiratory, I was privy to many deaths. I have witnessed the death scene similar to my dad's with the family waiting at the bedside. I've heard patients speak of stairs in the corner of the room that the rest of us can't see and people we can't see too. I've also witnessed the almost soulless deaths where the person appears to be just gone and that is it, no fanfare, no visions- like the light was on and it just went off. Then there was the young man who had been in an accident. He was hooked to a ventilator which was why I was there. His family was having to make the difficult decision whether or not to let him die. The docs did tests and determined he was brain dead. He looked like he was sleeping.

The family took much time making their decision. I know it's a very difficult choice, made even harder by the fact that we have the ability to keep a body alive in a state that makes it look very much alive. They finally decided to let him go and we went into the room to disconnect the vent. It's a sobering experience to remove a body from the only thing maintaining it's necessary functions. After the vent was disconnected, we joined the family for a few moments(we had been his caregivers the whole time he had been there), watching his respiratory rate stop, oxygen saturation drop to zero, and his heart flatline. His death lives within me, maybe more so than any other besides my dad's. He was already dead and we kept his body alive. Watching his body die immediately, I knew the man who his family loved so much had been gone way before he came to us. I remember thinking about my dad on the way home that day and how death actually happens whenever the soul leaves the body, not when we decide the body has had enough.

Working with death takes a toll on a person after a while and it didn't hurt my feelings much to give up medicine after being injured in an accident. Sometimes I miss the rush of a good "save", but I don't miss the hurting families, pain, and suffering. I am thankful for all the "real" learning I picked up along the way.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 11:28 PM
Just simply being there is sometimes enough. If the dying person wants to talk, be a good listener. Let them know how much they are loved and appreciated. Maybe a little book of inspiring sayings would be a nice little gift. Just let them know that if there is anything you can do, to let you know.

When I was first having tests to see if I had cancer, people were always calling or stopping over. When I was diagnosed and fighting for my life, they were still there for me. Someone might bring some soup or a book or an angel pendant just to let me know they were thinking of me and how much they cared. Some would share their humor and make me laugh even when I felt like crap. Sometimes it's just the little things, a simple phone call that would bring a smile. It is truly the simple things in life that matter most.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 11:32 PM
Oh forgot to mention that I don't believe that death is an end, but yet a new beginning to something else, something better. There are far too many compelling experiences of life after death. These people never want to come back, so how bad can it be? We are all made of energy and energy does not die.

posted on Oct, 20 2012 @ 11:38 PM
reply to post by PatrickGarrow17

I am not sure if you have children, OP, but in my opinion, as a person nears death,
what they need is comfort. They need the same things a baby would need.
Someone to hold their hand, to keep them company, to reassure them that they are not alone,
that you are there to the end, no matter what.

I wish you the best, and hope you find the strength to do what you must.
It's sad to read that you are going through this.

About death:
Death is one of those things I can't stand. Not the dying part, really, although that's so sad to see.
I watched both of my great grandparents in kentucky pass away in their farmhouse (separately).
What I didn't realize at that time was, that WAS my chance.
They are gone now, and no number of daydreams or memories can change that.
I was not a very empathetic child.

But thank you for the reminder that we as the living still have the chance to help others.
I hope that you are able to help your loved one to the next place in peace, peace for you both.

posted on Oct, 21 2012 @ 09:22 AM
Thank you everyone who has posted so far, your advice and experience is greatly appreciated.

Since you've all shared so much, I'll share some more too. I'm next to my grandma right now, shes home with us in hospice care. They've given here a few days. I'm only 22 years old, so this is the hardest loss I've ever faced. She has lived with us for almost ten years and we were very close.

Once again, all of your help and well wishing means a lot.

posted on Oct, 21 2012 @ 09:29 AM
I'm sure that your Grandma appreciates your being by her side more than you know. Please keep us posted.

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