When I look at the obituary page, I always think “how nice” when I read that someone died surrounded by family. But that does not always happen, especially in these times of coronavirus when families are often separated from their dying loved ones. Thanks to Barbara Karnes for sharing information about what happens at the time of death and for making the thought of dying alone less frightening.
Described below is from a hospice nurse sharing her experience with her own mother’s death.
I sat vigil for most of the twenty-four hours. My husband, daughter, and son were with me for most of the time. I sent them home around eight p.m. All the clinical signs of impending death were there, but she didn’t want to let go. She was unresponsive, but at one point, when my family was with me, I attempted to do mouth care with a sponge/stick. From under the sheet, up came her fist, which she shook at me. We looked at one another and laughed. She was still mad at me. That was so Mom. Around five a.m., I had this strong feeling that she did not want me there. It was so clear. I packed up, alerted the nurses, and drove home. I had just fallen asleep when the nursing home called me to say that she passed. I did not feel any guilt. I knew that was what she wanted.What to Do about Mama p. 286
When my daughter decided that we needed to social distance, a morose thought immediately went through my head. “If I get Coronavirus and die, I will never be in the same room, or get to hug my children or grandchildren again.” Do you think I’m being overly dramatic? Read the article below.