I watched my Grandma die last week


#1

Last week my Grandma was moved to Hospice and my parents and my sisters and I were there when she died. It was almost like she waited until we were all in the same room with her.

We were praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet when she just drifted away.

It was a peaceful death, but I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I actually watched someone die (let alone someone I loved so). I miss her so much, she lived with us most of our lives, and I feel bad that I am only able to think of that. Well, of course I am grieving for her, so that isn’t the ONLY thing I have thought of.

Has anyone had a similar experience?


#2

Sorry to hear about your loss. I haven’t lost anyone that I’ve been REALLY close to.

Given the circumstances of her passing, Im reminded of a part of a Litany of Saints which states, “from a death that is sudden and unprepared for deliver us, o Lord”. This was a prayer that was answered to her. She was given the gift of preparation, the gift of family in prayer as she met our Lord.


#3

As a medic, i see it all the time. It is a natural part of life.

you are confusing/being confused by a curiosity about the ultimate unknown (death), which has baffled mankind since day 1, with powerful and sorrowful emotions about the death of a loved one. your mind cannot wrap itself around the 2 concepts at the same time. don’t even try to reconcile the 2, not for a while at least.

i will admit that as soon as i see asystole on the heart monitor, the patients body looks very different almost instantly, not alot of color, the eyes dont look real anymore.

i have gotten called to houses where there was a do not resuscitate order for the patient. the patient was only a little sick when the family was called, but had gone into arrest when we got there. by law we can do nothing except stand there and verify the time of death. at that point, it is really only about being there for the family.

i have said the Hail Mary in spanish and Latin, the Lord’s Prayer in Latin as well as Aramaic for the person, and the family. I quoted the beatitudes once for a lady en route to the hostipal with a DNR order, where she dies holding my hand. I have had people trapped in cars confess their sins before dying to me, not that i am in any way ordained to forgive, but only there to listen.

I have lost it, knocked over trays, kicked the ambulance, thrown supplies, cried, screamed, cursed, and generally fell apart a few times when i cant save someone, the calls where it just tears you apart.

ONLY with time will things make more sense. i will not share some of the thoughts and feelings i have had, some are just too private and weird, but they are NATURAL REACTION to something that your mind cannot comprehend…


#4

Wow, how blessed you were to watch her go peacefully and she was blessed to be surrouded by so many that cared for and loved her.

Once I was in the VA hospital back in the early 80’s and while there an older man was put into my room more or less to die. I don’t know what was wrong with him, but he was oxygen and was in and out of it the couple days he was there. One day I was reading, sitting in chair facing him. As I was reading, I would glance over to him and would see him starring at me and I would smile. He seemed to be so lonely. While I was reading, the alarm went off from his monitor and I called in the nurse, he was pronounced dead. I felt blessed that God allowed be to be there with him even though we did know each other. Because at least he wasn’t alone during his last moments.

Give yourself time to grieve, that is OK and normal.
You are in my prayers today.


#5

I’m sorry for your loss. When my mom was terminally ill, I knew she was in bad shape, but either I was ignorant or chose not to believe that she would actually die. As a result I wasn’t present when she died (at 12:15 am) and found out from a note my dad left us. That night I had said something about how bad her breathing sounded (cancer) and a nurse said that it might be soon, but to me I thought a few weeks, a month, not that night! I’m not sure if I would have preferred to be there. Not that is diminishes the loss, but it sounds like you had a more peaceful experience. Please be kind to yourself and give time to grieve.


#6

My mother, aunts, uncles, and I were with my grandmother when she died. She had a stroke six weeks before her death and was semi-conscious. After she took her last breath she looked so peaceful. I remembered feeling sad for me and happy for her. I also remember some very strange feelings because I had seen her die. It is normal to experience mixed or conflicting emotions when someone you love dies.

My aunt is dying from cancer and my mother and I have chosen to care for her at home with the assistance of hospice. It is expected that she will die very soon. Even though I have been through this before with my grandmother, I still have conflicting emotions about being with my aunt. But I am comforted by the fact that we are caring for my aunt in the way she wanted and that she will die with her family beside her.

Just take it one day at a time and your emotions and thoughts will sort themselves out, but it will take time.


#7

My prayers for her soul as well as for you and your family at this time :gopray2:


#8

My father died at home with his family around his bed, including his grandchildren, and my MIL as well. They died in the midst of prayer and we were consoled by that fsct.

I work two nights per week in a Rest Home/Geriatric Hospital and have been priviledged to attend the passing of many patients over the past 16 months.

I hold their hand, stroke their hair and pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet for them. I ask God to save His little lost lamb, as many are non-Christians.

Your grandmother was truly blessed to have her family with her, to see her off on her final journey home.


#9

My father was comatose and waited until I came home along with his two grandsons. He woke up when my sister said to him " Daddy, Leonard and the boys are here". His eyes fluttered open, the whites of his eyes were yellow, he looked at both of his grandsons, grabbed my hand, and said “Lenny, me boy!” He then went comatose again and the “death rattle” came upon him.

My mother waited for me too. In both cases, I was over an hour’s drive away. And, in both cases, I had to leave before the end came. But I can’t think of anything more comforting than to pass on amidst one’s loved ones.

I actually got to assist as an altar boy for my grandmother’s Last Rites.

My DW was barred by a judicial decree. She and my two sons were not allowed to see her mother/grandmother. Very long story for which my wife’s brother will have to answer. Bottom line on that was that my MIL went to her death without seeing her only daughter and her two grandsons. That is a far greater trajedy.


#10

I pulled my husband from the bottom of the swimming pool. It was many years before I realized what a great gift it was from God for me to be there when he died - but when I did ‘get it’ my life began to change - eventually bringing me ‘Home to Rome’.


#11

I am so sorry for your loss. I was with my maternal grandmother when she died almost 2 years ago. She was under hospice care, but still in my parents’ home where she had been living. I had tried to get a priest come and give her last rites, but she died more quickly than expected and the priest didn’t come, so I was actually beside myself worried about my failure to provide the sacrament for her (she was a lapsed Catholic). Minutes before her death, rather than holding her hand, I was in the other room, trying to call another priest to come. Unfortunately, this all happened during the Sat. 5pm vigil masses, so I couldn’t get ahold of anyone until I actually drove to a nearby church just after her death, waited for the priest to come out of mass, and asked him to come then (in between sobbs, and I’m sure to the bewilderment of all the massgoers who were watching the scene). Thankfully, my parents were there with her, holding her hand, and in the last seconds, we were all with her praying some hail marys. But you’re right - it is very hard to wrap your mind around death, especially the death of someone you love. I kept repeating the mantra “in the beginning it was not so (Christopher West uses this phrase, although I think it is biblical),” reminding myself when God created us originally, and before Adam and Eve sinned, He didn’t plan for us to have to suffer this way. For me it was comforting, because as much as I had been taught that “death is a part of life” all I could think of was that death s*cks. So it helped me (still does, since I recently lost my other grandmother) to know that my feelings make sense.

I will pray for you and your family, and of course the soul of your grandma.
TKC


#12

My mom died last summer a few days before her 77th birthday. She’d been very ill for many years, and in constant pain for about 3 years. She died at home, under home hospice care. My sisters were there during the day while I was at work, and my Dad was there all the time. She died on Saturday about 5pm. That morning, I decided to go to confession for the first time in about 35 years. I was going to receive Communion at her funeral, and do it right. I’ve gone several more times since then, and I’ve found a wonderful priest. I wish I’d known him all my life! Mom was a fallen away Catholic too, but a few days before she died, before we realized this was the end, she told Dad she wanted to start going to Mass again. I called the priest the last day she was in the hospital, and he annointed her. I felt so good about that. We had a wonderful funeral Mass with beautiful music and we were invited to speak at the end. Then we had the big party she’d always wanted as her final send off.

I miss her everyday, but I know she’s in that better place. Not seeing the constant suffering is a big relief for us. She’s with me in my heart all the time.

I’ll pray for you and for your family. You’ll always have your grandmother’s love. Deb


#13

Thanks LynnieLew for sharing a very intimate, precious, and holy moment in your life. When my time comes (which could be tomorrow or in 50 years) I should be so fortunate to be surrounded by family and prayers. May your grandmother console you from heaven and may your prayers enfold her in your love. God bless!


#14

Lynnie Lew to be with someone at the moment of their death is to be consumately close. To be priviledged. To be able to pray them into eternity is something that is irreplaceable.
Its OK whatever you are feeling at the moment. The only feelings not so good is guilt because that implies some error. but apart from that to be confused and all over the place, and sad, and at times a bit angry and lonely and missing her, these are manifestations of grief and grief is good. It is one of the emotions which are graced.
I would encourage you and your family to speak about nanna, dont pretend that her death has not happened. Speak about anything and everything and when the tears come, accept them. This is “soul” sorrow. Tears are the response of someone who has lost a loved one. So be happy that you were able to be present and thank God for giving you the opportunity to be with her when she exhaled her last breath.
She saw you “inhale” your first breath and you saw her “exhale” her last. It is as it should be.
God Bless
Grace Angel.


#15

I agree with Grace Angel insofar as it is a ***huge blessing ***to be with someone at the moment they face Jesus Christ, and to perhaps aid in praying them through!
I was alone with my father when he died. I hadn’t left his side for the 48 hours prior to, and I told him I would not leave him to die alone.
My relationship with my mother and sister had deteriorated over a serious betrayal against my father and me, and I always felt that Dad letting me be the only one there was his last gift to me, a gift mom and sis couldn’t take away. BUT, more importantly, it was pointed out to me that that gift was actually from God Himself!
We must take these great sufferings and losses and figure out how God wants us to grow more towards Him from the trial. In my case it was marriage. I needed to be like my father was in marriage, dying to himself, a quiet, steady presence, etc. By nature I am more like my mother, volatile, cutting, unforgiving, etc, which is how she treated Dad.
Your grandmother was a beloved part of your family, take those things of her that you loved and admired, and make them part of you. She will live on and you can tell the future generations about her through behaviors and stories!


#16

Lynnie Lew, my heart goes out to you. I have not been in your situation so I do not know much about losing someone but when I imagine losing someone much sorrow fills me. May God bless you always and may his peace always fulfill you.

-Alison


#17

Hello exiled, that is a beautiful story and you have been graced enormously. However, now you must needs turn your face towards the people who have been hurt by their absence at this time. You have been grace now let that grace flow to those who also need it.
Graceangel.
(by my name you must see that I have a great deal of love for that word-grace)


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.