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my partner passed

AVG

New member
Mar 6, 2022
4
0
My beloved has struggled for about 18 months. A handsome man, relatively young with no underlying problems apart from dementia. Never on any medications. He died last week, and went through the terrible breathing thing - silence, then gasping breaths, silence again. When he died he opened his eyes wide, and you do wonder about life flashing before your eyes etc. It has struck me it is a cliche but when you die, you do die alone. Many of us become used to helping, being an advocate, smoothing their path, but in the end, we need to let them go which is so hard when you are so attuned to help. I'm struggling with that. Our nurses gave him morphine and a muscle relaxant, forbade me from giving him water - and I hope he floated off in a blissful haze, but it didn't sound like it to me. The doctor said he probably didn't suffer, but how do any of us know really? The nurse seemed more honest and indicated he may have been in pain. I suppose it didn't last long in the end - unconscious for about a day, and died early in the morning as seems often to be the case. He didn't really seem to respond when I played music and stroked his head. Like others, I really don't know why they don't permit euthanasia. There is no coming back from that state and it just seems unnecessary suffering. It all sucks - and aroha (Maori word for love/spirit) to all of us struggling with the deaths of our loved ones from this horrible illness. Kia kaha (stay strong).
 

kindred

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
2,837
0
My beloved has struggled for about 18 months. A handsome man, relatively young with no underlying problems apart from dementia. Never on any medications. He died last week, and went through the terrible breathing thing - silence, then gasping breaths, silence again. When he died he opened his eyes wide, and you do wonder about life flashing before your eyes etc. It has struck me it is a cliche but when you die, you do die alone. Many of us become used to helping, being an advocate, smoothing their path, but in the end, we need to let them go which is so hard when you are so attuned to help. I'm struggling with that. Our nurses gave him morphine and a muscle relaxant, forbade me from giving him water - and I hope he floated off in a blissful haze, but it didn't sound like it to me. The doctor said he probably didn't suffer, but how do any of us know really? The nurse seemed more honest and indicated he may have been in pain. I suppose it didn't last long in the end - unconscious for about a day, and died early in the morning as seems often to be the case. He didn't really seem to respond when I played music and stroked his head. Like others, I really don't know why they don't permit euthanasia. There is no coming back from that state and it just seems unnecessary suffering. It all sucks - and aroha (Maori word for love/spirit) to all of us struggling with the deaths of our loved ones from this horrible illness. Kia kaha (stay strong).
Oh I am so very very sorry. My beloved man died in a very similar way. Aroha to you too and strength and love in this terrible time.
You will find friendship and support here. Talk to us, you are not alone. With love Geraldine
 

AVG

New member
Mar 6, 2022
4
0
Thank you Geraldine. Condolences to you too. I know I now have to untangle my life from his - I felt this guilt not being able to save him somehow although I knew the end would come.
 

Linbrusco

Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
1,698
0
Auckland...... New Zealand
Hi @AVG , I’m sorry for your loss.
I’m from NZ.

I lost my Mum a year ago, after 9yrs with Alzheimers, the last 2 yrs unable to walk, talk, feed herself, very little recognition of us at all, sleeping majority of the time.
2 yrs of being bed & chair bound. Not even enough upper body strength to sit in a wheelchair.
One week a bit of a cough but otherwise vital signs good.
One morning, just simply unresponsive. Dr called, pneumonia diagnosed.
I wont go into details but Mum lasted a week. We didnt feel Mum was in pain but by the end of the week, we felt tortured by witnessing her slow death. It was not a peaceful serene passing. In fact Mum passed when I had left the room, my sister and brother were there.

My Dad also had mixed dementia. He was at the same care home as Mum but still had a good quality of life.
10 weeks later he passed also.
Aortic aneurysm which we knew he had. It was during the night alone and he would have been in incredible pain. He knew how to ring the nurses for help, that night he didnt maybe it was too quick.
Nurses on the hourly rounds found him on the floor, they attempted CPR.
A year later mum & dads deaths still go round and round in my head.
Both suffered in different ways.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
66,663
0
71
Dundee
My husband’s passing was very similar to yours. Sending my condolences and wishing you strength.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,448
0
South coast
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))))) @AVG I am so sorry for your loss

Watching someone die from dementia is harrowing as they die slowly, their body shutting down gradually and the breathing the last thing to go. The breathing you describe is called Chayne Stokes breathing and is a sign of the very end. That is how mum went too

It sounds like everything possible was done for your mum with the morphine and muscle relaxant and Im glad she is now at peace. Please be at peace yourself - it will all be so raw at the moment
xx
 

AVG

New member
Mar 6, 2022
4
0
I'm sorry for both your losses so close in time. I do think the 'dying peacefully with loved ones around' is a bit of a myth. But things haunt me about my partner - D. would look confused in the months before and in moments of lucidity try to ask me with his few words about what was happening. I would be bright and breezy and change the subject to something trivial as what can you say? But those moments return as I wish I could have explained somehow, But his decline was pretty quick. He was a good eater, always had been and the nurses loved him for it as he was never picky. I would go in to help him with his lunch right to about 4 days before he died (except during lockdown which was hard). He had been falling, losing his spatial sense and then just stopped understanding how to walk so was moved from a dementia ward to the hospital perhaps like your Mum, alternating between a reclining chair and bed. But then one day, last week, at lunchtime, I could tell he wasn't asleep but unconscious in his chair so they put him to bed and he never regained consciousness. His favourite song was Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door which was a bit close to the bone, but he liked the jazz classic too Take Five, so I put that on Youtube repeat and waited. Our son who is quite young couldn't cope but I had Don's niece with me which was really helpful as I had such an urge to intervene. I tell myself he had a good life, which he did in fact - but still, we are left with an emotional aftermath and certainly in Anglo cultures have very little spiritual buffer. Take care and thank you for your note.
 

Lilac Blossom

Registered User
Oct 6, 2014
600
0
Scotland
So sorry for your loss AVG, what you describe is very similar to my husband's death two years ago. Aroha - what a lovely Maori word - may Aroha help you to cope at this difficult time. x
Lilac
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,826
0
Victoria, Australia
I think we all die alone though the room could be crowded with people. No one else can do it for you so you must be totally on your own.

I have this funny little thought that when we are born , our mothers push us out but then take us in their arms and coddle us till we set off on own our, not realising that we are heading inevitably towards being on own at the end, the final end.

My exhusband died peacefully after a few days of sinking but from what I saw, he had sufficent morphine to kill a bull, to help his breathing and his pain though all of us understood that the morphine would eventually kill him. Nobody disagreed or thought that it was inappropriate .

I think we could well learn from other cultures about coping with death because most Anglos don’t. We are afraid of it so the times when we have to confront it, are scary experiences.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,198
0
High Peak
My mum was pretty well till her final week, then got some sort of infection (never identified) and was a bit 'off-colour'. I saw her 3 days before she died and there was a definite decline, though hard to say what exactly. In fact, I think she had started dying. On her last morning, a carer had a conversation with her as she was awake about 5am. Two hours later she was dead. Just stopped living.

One point about morphine - they can chop your legs off whilst on morphine and you won't feel pain, so I don't think you should worry that he was in pain at the end.
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
3,139
0
North West
My beloved has struggled for about 18 months. A handsome man, relatively young with no underlying problems apart from dementia. Never on any medications. He died last week, and went through the terrible breathing thing - silence, then gasping breaths, silence again. When he died he opened his eyes wide, and you do wonder about life flashing before your eyes etc. It has struck me it is a cliche but when you die, you do die alone. Many of us become used to helping, being an advocate, smoothing their path, but in the end, we need to let them go which is so hard when you are so attuned to help. I'm struggling with that. Our nurses gave him morphine and a muscle relaxant, forbade me from giving him water - and I hope he floated off in a blissful haze, but it didn't sound like it to me. The doctor said he probably didn't suffer, but how do any of us know really? The nurse seemed more honest and indicated he may have been in pain. I suppose it didn't last long in the end - unconscious for about a day, and died early in the morning as seems often to be the case. He didn't really seem to respond when I played music and stroked his head. Like others, I really don't know why they don't permit euthanasia. There is no coming back from that state and it just seems unnecessary suffering. It all sucks - and aroha (Maori word for love/spirit) to all of us struggling with the deaths of our loved ones from this horrible illness. Kia kaha (stay strong).
My grandfather died completely alone but only by some slim chance as everyone had left for a brief moment. A neighbour knocked at the door and my grandfether got up and answered it, he asked for cigarrete which the neighbour gave him, he went back upstairs to his bed, lit the cigarrete and in that moment passed on. This was by all accounts an amzing fate as my grandad was at deaths door with advanced pneumonia but it turned out to be completely true. My gran had only left the house for a few moments to pop round to another neighbour and when she returned my grandad was gone.

Rolling on a number of years my gran finally succomb to her COPD as was admitted to hospital, on the last day I saw my gran I felt a need to stay with her but was pulled away only to find she passed away in the early hours of that night.

Still further my dad died from a very agressive cancer which gave us three weeks in total from diagnosis to death. We got him to the hospice finally and I wanted to stay and so did mum, but we were persauded to leave that night and again my dad passed away.

A year ago my sister took the same fate as my dad and guess what? Exactly simlar things happened with her hubby and children, they left to home for an hour and have something to eat in which time my sister passed

There is always pain in death, its not whether that pain is absolutely removed but that it is for the person concerned treated as best it can be. My sister and my dad writhed in pain for days before finally they were free but that was through the hospice and its ability to treat the dying. I don't think there is a need for euthanasia as such, although I agree there may be cases for it. What I do think is that recognition of ensuing death and its management could be far better accomodated in todays world that knows far more than it ever did before at the end of someones life.
 
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AVG

New member
Mar 6, 2022
4
0
My mum was pretty well till her final week, then got some sort of infection (never identified) and was a bit 'off-colour'. I saw her 3 days before she died and there was a definite decline, though hard to say what exactly. In fact, I think she had started dying. On her last morning, a carer had a conversation with her as she was awake about 5am. Two hours later she was dead. Just stopped living.

One point about morphine - they can chop your legs off whilst on morphine and you won't feel pain, so I don't think you should worry that he was in pain at the end.
Thank you for your last comment, reassuring - I tell myself that morphine would have helped but hard to get his death out of my mind.
 

millalm

Registered User
Oct 9, 2019
246
0
@AVG I'm so sorry to read of your husband's passing. I understand not being able to get his death out of your mind. I have to agree that we Anglos do not deal well with death, not the approaching of death, or the event or the aftermath. We don't talk about the experience of joining a club that no one wants to be a member of . Those of us who have witnessed the death of a loved one who did not pass 'peacefully in their sleep' are left with sounds and sights that are not easily forgotten. My much loved Dad also died from a leaking aortic aneurysm , it took 7 days , his last 12 overnight hours spent with an error in pain meds order that gave him one tenth of the prescribed dose. Believe me, I could tell he was in pain but could get no one to take my concerns seriously because no one else thought he was dying.

My Mum is in her third year of late/end stage mixed dementia and I believe that she is suffering. She cannot walk, talk or feed herself, has eyes closed most of the time, hasn't known me for ages and goes through scary breathing changes every night during my time with her. She has no life but her body continues to live. Ironically, I am now hoping for her death and hoping I will be with her when she does!

The comfort I hope I can give you is that as the years pass, I think about those last days with my Dad less often, usually only when confronted with discussions around death and dying. I am sure the passing of time will help fade those traumatic memories for you too. It sounds like you were a caring and loving partner and you shared a good life so you will have those good memories to help see you through.
 

Sheelagh7

Registered User
Feb 25, 2022
59
0
Condolences @AVG, hopefully you can start to heal & look to the future after you've got through the funeral.
 

GillP

Registered User
Aug 11, 2021
1,426
0
@AVG sincere condolences. Try to find some solace knowing that your loved one is finally at peace. Remember to be kind to yourself as you have been through this with him and need time to heal.
 

TryingToRetainGrace

Registered User
Aug 23, 2019
10
0
@AVG sending sincere condolences to you. If it would help, do you want to tell us a little bit about your partner, so we can celebrate him with you? What made him laugh, what did he like to eat, did he have any hobbies, what was your favourite thing about him?

If it is painful that is fine, no need to answer.
 

Origano

New member
Mar 26, 2021
9
0
My husband is in hospital and I am not sure what position he is in at the moment. I learn very little from the nursing staff , although they are taking such good care of him and atell me nothing happens in a hurry (their words) . I know his mobility has virtually gone although he was sent to a community hospital to try to improve it. I try to go almost every day to be with him, talk about home, bring fruit which he loves and watch something interesting on TV which I can describe, although he dozes most of the time. He is happy to see me when I arrive, but does not converse at all. When I ask, he says he is fine and I believe him, as he was always easy going and easy to please. I missed two days recently but I don’t think he was aware of this at all. I think my visits are largely for myself, as I have taken care of him at home for so long and do not want to break away..

I am very frightened as the future progresses and it is so helpful to learn from all the other correspondence. I try to remain practical and calm but of course it is the fear of the unknown. I have to remember that he has had a good life and we have both been very happy for so many years and that what he is experiencing now is not his life.

i send my understanding and good wishes to all those who are, or have been in this position..
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,059
0
Kent
It is the most difficult time @Origano and there is no way of making it easier even if you would want to. In a way it is as near as you can get to sharing the suffering.

Your visits are not only for yourself. When I used to visit my husband in residential care it was to make sure he was being cared for as I would wish because I know he could never have been able to speak for himself.

It was the least I could do to keep him safe.

The fear of the unknown is real but because we never really know what the future will bring and how we will adjust to it, it is often magnified tenfold, simple because it is the `unknown`.

Take care. Make the most of your husband while he is still with you.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,826
0
Victoria, Australia
Recently at my environmental group, there were only a few of us as the weather was foul and we lingered over coffee and chattered. One of the group had lost his wife to cancer two years earlier, another’s wife had died suddenly, another has prostate cancer and as occasionally happens, our conversation turned to those we knew who were currently ill or having health problems associated with getting older.

We all had a similar response, that there are worse things in this life than dying, that the prolonged suffering some of us experience is quite tortuous and that most of us would much prefer to die quickly. We understand that it is so hard on those who stand and watch, sometimes for months or even years helpless to do anything we may see as constructive.

I don’t think any of us should feel remorse or guilt that the person died while they were absent. I think that their loved has often reached a stage when the world around them is no longer as we know it, but removed and probably almost nonexistent.

My son in law’s father died a few months ago and I admit to being shocked when I heard that the family gathered at the hospital to say their goodbyes knowing that he wasn’t going to last the night and then they left him there and went home to wait for the phone call to say that he had died. They are of Mediterranean ancestry so perhaps it was a cultural thing but it highlighted for me that people really do have different expectations of what is appropriate at the time of losing a loved one.

I think after giving this a lot of thought I don’t think I want my family around either when my time comes.
 

Teddy1960

Registered User
Oct 24, 2018
53
0
My beloved has struggled for about 18 months. A handsome man, relatively young with no underlying problems apart from dementia. Never on any medications. He died last week, and went through the terrible breathing thing - silence, then gasping breaths, silence again. When he died he opened his eyes wide, and you do wonder about life flashing before your eyes etc. It has struck me it is a cliche but when you die, you do die alone. Many of us become used to helping, being an advocate, smoothing their path, but in the end, we need to let them go which is so hard when you are so attuned to help. I'm struggling with that. Our nurses gave him morphine and a muscle relaxant, forbade me from giving him water - and I hope he floated off in a blissful haze, but it didn't sound like it to me. The doctor said he probably didn't suffer, but how do any of us know really? The nurse seemed more honest and indicated he may have been in pain. I suppose it didn't last long in the end - unconscious for about a day, and died early in the morning as seems often to be the case. He didn't really seem to respond when I played music and stroked his head. Like others, I really don't know why they don't permit euthanasia. There is no coming back from that state and it just seems unnecessary suffering. It all sucks - and aroha (Maori word for love/spirit) to all of us struggling with the deaths of our loved ones from this horrible illness. Kia kaha (stay strong).
Hi there, so sorry for your loss. My husband is too in advanced stages. The pain of impending grief is so awful and raw. I love him so much and we have been married for 38 years. He has started to struggle now with foods he is losing the ability to walk and coughing more. This illness is just so awful