life advice – dying relative

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  • life advice – dying relative
  • cynic-al
    Member

    My aunt, 91, is on her last legs. Not ill, just given up eating and says her body is failing.

    I’m not especially close with her or her family but get on fine on the occasions we meet up (last time for her husband’s funeral 2 years ago), she’s too far away to visit. She’s a lovely kind woman of whom I have happy memories.

    For whatever reason I feel fairly awkward around death and never know quite what to do, but I’d like to do something, probably just write a letter (without saying “sorry you’re dying”, or “what a great life you’ve had” etc) – seem reasonable?

    yossarian
    Member

    Go and see her.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Are you doing this for you, or her? Do you feel you ought to go and see her, but don’t really want to (and it does sound like a bit of effort). What do you think SHE would want – would she be pleased to see you a last time or would she be thinking you’re only going to see a dying lady because you feel you ought to.

    Many of us are awkward around death, we’ll only get better at it by confronting it. Sounds like she’s OK with it, having had a good life but now deciding it isn’t fun any more being so infirm, she’s probably quite looking forward to it. I know my wife’s gran was, and we kept visiting because she was still fun to be with and reminisce on what she’d done when she was younger. Do you have any old photos or memories you could talk to her about, rather than sit there in dutiful silence.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Where’s too far away to visit? New Zealand?

    To be honest a letter isn’t good IMO, its not every day you die so could be perceived as not really being that bothered.

    Then are you that bothered? Death can bring out all kind of reactions in people ie the ling lost relative who turns up at the death bed having not seeing ‘x’ for 20 years… Must be after the money ay?

    Do what you think is best, that’s all you can do…

    cynic-al
    Member

    Thanks guys – some of the motivation is for me. Visiting would be odd as I’ve not visited them for decades and only see them at weddings etc. A letter may be okay because as families we do communicate that way.

    brack
    Member

    We are born into this life seeking physical contact

    It is my opinion ( and wherever possible ) we should die that way also.

    Ok a broad metaphor but one that keeps things simple … In my head at least.

    tinsy
    Member

    I would love to travel back in time & spend a bit more time with my nan than I did when I actually had the chance but was too cought up in myself.

    Go see her.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    If possible, go and see her. That would be special.

    If not, then write a letter.

    Either way, do not have regrets that you missed a chance to say goodbye and/or to remind her of why she was very kind and why you have special memories. We can help others pass away in peace and talking openly about why you like/love each other is a key part in this. People “know” when they are closing in on the end of their lives and may be at peace or may be scared. This is our time to help them throught this process in their current lives as they pass to the next in physical and emotional comfort.

    You don’t have a second chance. Make the most of what time you have with her now. You will both be better for it.

    qwerty
    Member

    Skype?

    Most of the old, old people i’ve met have a different view on dying than we do, most know its coming and welcome its relief from a dragged out life.

    Go see her, say goodbye properly, it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience for you both.

    Premier Icon Andy R
    Subscriber

    qwerty – Member

    Most of the old, old people I’ve met have a different view on dying than we do, most know its coming and welcome its relief from a dragged out life.

    Go see her, say goodbye properly, it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience for you both.

    My mother’s 96, so I suppose she could be described as “old, old” but I don’t think that her views on dying are very different to mine or yours. I certainly don’t believe that she considers her life to have been “dragged out” – what age do you consider to be a reasonable life and beyond that excessively “draggy”?

    And we all know it’s coming, that’s for sure….

    Anyway, cynic-al – go and see your aunt if you feel you want or need to. A letter would be a very poor substitute in my opinion.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Go see her. She knows whats coming, so do you. Your visit may just make her last few days a little better for her.
    You may feel uncomfortable, but its a small price to pay for making someone feel loved.

    Premier Icon zippykona
    Subscriber

    If she was emigrating to Australia you’d go and see her.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    A letter may be okay because as families we do communicate that way.

    Not when she’s dying. Go and see her – that will tell her you care more than any words.

    qwerty
    Member

    Andy R – I’ve probably spent too long in old peoples homes!!!

    Premier Icon Andy R
    Subscriber

    qwerty – Member
    Andy R – I’ve probably spent too long in old peoples homes!!!

    Yes, I suppose that might make one feel that way. My mother still lives at home though and, although she can’t walk too well now, she still gets on with cooking, washing, sewing, reading – all that sort of stuff and her mind is as sharp as it ever was.
    She would be the first to admit that both she and my father (who died at 93) have been very fortunate in this respect.

    iolo
    Member

    Go and see her, Hold her in your arms, Give her a kiss, Tell her you love her. Letter? You have got to be kidding right?

    pebblebeach
    Member

    Does she have a mobile phone, if she does send her a text.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Most people I have met in their 90’s (various grand parents, great aunts etc have reached 90+) are well aware of their own mortality and are much more comfortable talking about death than we are necessarily listening to the same.

    I remember my granddad saying that whilst he didn’t want to die in the next week or so he was very happy with the fact that he was near the end of his life, he had been fortunate to have led a good one and in any event he was now very tired and was ready for a long sleep.

    If you don’t go and see her and she dies will you feel any regret? If the answer is yes then go…

    Go and hold her hand. There is no need to feel awkward about it. Dying is really normal. Who can regret living to 91? She’ll be pleased to see you.

    rossatease
    Member

    buzz-lightyear – Member
    Go and hold her hand. There is no need to feel awkward about it. Dying is really normal. Who can regret living to 91? She’ll be pleased to see you.

    This.

    Why everyone somehow thinks old people are somehow different to young people, they’re the same, just been around a bit longer, imagine what you would feel and act accordingly I reckon.

    sweepy
    Member

    When my Dad, and best friend died I made sure I saw them and spent time with them, and I’m so glad I did. When my Grandad died I didn’t bother my arse and I have no regrets, there was nothing wrong with him, we just never really enjoyed each others company before so why suppose he wanted to see me then?
    Just do what feels right to you.

    Squidlord
    Member

    How far away, exactly? It might sound heartless, but you could think about combining a visit to her with something else. (eg: Is there great riding nearby? Other people you’ve not seen for a long time? etc) This might reduce the awkward factor, as you could then say (to yourself) you were going there anyway.

    Better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t… Might bring you closer to her family too, which could be nice. Surely they’d appreciate the effort.

    Failing that, maybe just call her for a chat? Maybe keep it casual with no dramatic statements? She might like that. And she’ll surely guess what’s motivated you to do so.

    chewkw
    Member

    She’s a lovely kind woman of whom I have happy memories.

    See her.

    Thank her for giving you happy memories.

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
    Subscriber

    Thanks guys – some of the motivation is for me. Visiting would be odd as I’ve not visited them for decades and only see them at weddings etc. A letter may be okay because as families we do communicate that way.

    A good friend of mine died this year. When I found out he was terminally ill and in hospital I kept putting off visiting him because I didn’t know what I’d say, or what I’d do. I regret it almost every week.

    I’d say go and see her even if you feel awkward. You can always leave, but you’ll never know how it would have transpired once she passes away man.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Subscriber

    If I was your auntie, I would like you to come and say a hello/goodbye. Old people love young people visiting and will remember kind words, even near the end of their lives.

    Everyone is on the money, make the effort to visit and reap the rewards~ you’ll have a warm feeling inside and so will she, which is just what we’re all looking for in life.

    bullheart
    Member

    Be brave Al. It takes great courage to confront your fears around death. It will help you grow as a person. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting with those near their end, and it’s always been of value to them and I.

    Best wishes,

    BH

    chewkw
    Member

    Sometime we would say to the dying person to go in peace. (we don’t use the word “rest” in peace). If the person is worried then we would assure him/her that everything is taken care off.

    When my aunt (she was the youngest amongst all my aunts) was dying that’s what my mum (her eldest sisters) and other aunts (her older sister) said to her.

    Premier Icon simmy
    Subscriber

    My Great Aunt is 91 and has slowed up in the same way, lost weight not eating much and last week gave me a real scare when I went in and found them spoon feeding her as she was on the verge of dehydration.

    To the OP I would go and see her. It’s difficult knowing what the reaction will be as it could trigger thoughts with her of “why’s he here am I at the end ” or she could know and be grateful to see you. It’s the same with my Great Aunt, I want to see her as much as possible but don’t want to worry her as to why I’m going more than normal.

    One things for sure, at least when people reach that age we know its inevitable, I can think of a few people who died suddenly at a young age and I wish I’d spent more time with. I know its morbid but no one knows what’s going to happen in life.

    b r
    Member

    I remember my granddad saying that whilst he didn’t want to die in the next week or so he was very happy with the fact that he was near the end of his life, he had been fortunate to have led a good one and in any event he was now very tired and was ready for a long sleep.

    +1

    This happened with two of my grandparents, but Nan’s body had given up before her mind (she was 97 and still lived in her own house), whereas Grandads’ (70) mind had just had enough.

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