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My father is dieing. Advice please

(51 Posts)
maisiegreen Sun 11-Jul-21 07:52:29

I shall try and keep this brief, but , if anyone has advice to give on this I'd be grateful.
My lovely dad has been in a care home for a year or so, as my mum was making herself ill looking after him.
She is at home, which is nearby. I am 2 hours away by car.
On Friday he stopped receiving his medication, on the advice of his doctor, which we accept, so he is dieing. But he is peaceful, and usually lucid and knows us.
I have come up and I'm staying with him, sleeping in the room. But my mum was very surprised that I'm doing it that I'm questioning whether it is appropriate. The home are accepting and caring . My dad is physically strong and this could go on for some time. But, if I was dad, I would want someone with me.
On the other hand, I can't understand why my mum isn't here. She came in for half an hour yesterday .
Dad asks me what is happening and I just say that he's poorly. I don't know if I should tell him the truth . Or how I would do that.

Blossoming Sun 11-Jul-21 10:26:09

I spent 5 days in a hospital room with my dying father. It was both harrowing and beautiful. Only you know your situation x

Luckygirl Sun 11-Jul-21 10:41:16

I stayed in the room at the nursing home when OH was dying. They gave me another room nearby too so I could go and rest properly - unfortunately I was in that room when OH actually died.

Care homes are used to people staying when someone is dying and it is entirely appropriate. But I do think that ideally you need to get your Mum's blessing if possible. And do so without any hint of judgement of her decision not to stay there. We all deal with these things in our own different ways.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 11-Jul-21 10:54:37

Reading your post my first reaction was to wonder if your Mum has not realised, or is refusing to face, the fact that your Dad is dying?

I feel so sorry for you all . Please, try to talk to your Mum and explain that you are staying with your Dad because you are afraid he won't be here much longer.

I wouldn't say right out that you know he is dying.

Your Mum will probably react in one of two ways: either she will say that is ridiculous of you, or she will break down and cry and admit that she knows your Dad is dying and that she just cannot face it.

I hope you can help her to face the reality by being honest with her.

You are in a really ghastly spot. What do the staff of the care home say? Might one of them be able and willing to talk to your Mum. Perhaps phone her and say her husband needs to see her?

Both my parents slipped away peacefully while I was on my way to the hospital in my mum's case and the care home in my dad's, My father certainly knew he was dying and was ready to go - not so sure about my Mum, but neither needed us at the very end, it seems.

Right now I wouldn't tell him he is dying - if he really wants to know, he will ask right out, or like my sister did, say that she knew she was dying and that there wasn't anything to do except accept that.

I hope for you all that this doesn't last too long.

Baggs Sun 11-Jul-21 11:00:44

I don't think you need advice. What you're doing is good. Trust your own feelings and natural instincts. All good wishes to you and family.

greenlady102 Sun 11-Jul-21 11:01:15

Does your Dad know he is dying? What part of the medication withdrawal decision does he understand/agree with?

Cabbie21 Sun 11-Jul-21 11:19:48

You are in a tough place, OP, but I am sure you will do what is best.
When my Dad had a stroke, I stayed with my mum as she needed support. Several family members visited my Dad in hospital, Mum only went once. Dad died in the early hours of that night. Almost as if he knew we had all said our farewells. He was looked after in hospital.
When my mum became ill a few months later she had to go into hospital. She was there about two weeks and we all visited when we could. I last saw her on Friday evening. I got a call at 8am the next morning, but I decided not to go down again( a two hour journey.). She died within two hours, so I would have been too late. I have no regrets about not being there. In both cases, it seems they chose to die alone, but in the care of the hospital.
What I did regret was not arranging for Mum to go into a hospice or similar, for her last few days, where she could have had more comfort and privacy.

jaylucy Sun 11-Jul-21 11:30:04

Maybe it's just that your mum can't accept that the end is nearer than she thought .
You need to have a talk with your mum and by the sounds of it, your dad has not been told of the situation.
Sit down with mum, staff at the care home and dad's GP and decide what to do. I am sure that the GP would be able to explain to your dad what is happening- maybe your mum doesn't want him to be told?
I will say that I sat with my own dad while he was dying. Wasn't planned that way - he had congestive heart failure and had been admitted to hospital with fluid on his lungs. He had one heart attack just minutes before we arrived to visit him and another while the registrar was explaining what had happened and he finally passed away at 7am the next morning.
I can fully understand why you are doing what you are doing and also why your mum only makes brief visits - if that is what he has been used to,and not aware how ill he actually is, she may not want him to see anything has changed in case he "gives up" once he knows.
My thoughts are with you all.

ayse Sun 11-Jul-21 11:39:06

Just a thought. I understand that hearing is the last sense to remain. You and your Dad may find it comforting to read something to him or play his favourite music.

Talking to your Mum and your sister at this difficult time could benefit all of you.

My heart goes out to all of you at this very challenging time.

3nanny6 Sun 11-Jul-21 11:45:28

I think that when a loved one is dieing they do have some idea it is happening. It is a hard call to be with someone at death although as a loving daughter which you sound it is something that comes naturally.
I would not tell him that he is dieing just let the situation take it's course and tell him he is poorly.
I have sat with several dieing relatives now and do not want to do it anymore. The experience was not too bad the only thing I did not like was the fact knowing they had gone and that was the last time we would have together.
Once medication stops the process is usually quick, although you have not said if your father was already at near end of life care and has his feeding/eating also been cut right back.

3nanny6 Sun 11-Jul-21 11:49:35

Sorry just noticed you say in your post your dad is physically strong so just wondering in that case why medication has been withdrawn?

maisiegreen Sun 11-Jul-21 12:30:01

The trouble is I'm not sure and won't know until Monday when I can talk to the Dr.

Happyme Sun 11-Jul-21 12:44:02

So sorry maisiegreen, the imminent death of a parent is such an emotional time as we try and prepare ourselves for that final goodbye whilst also wanting our loved one to pass away in as peaceful a manner as possible, knowing they are loved. After the death of my parents I have talked to my children as to how I would like my final hours to be as I want this time to be as stress free as possible for them.

As others have said talking the situation over with your mum and sister would be the first step I would take. Each of you will have your own views and feelings to be considered. Both my parents died in our local hospice and at least one family member sat with them throughout the day. The hospice staff were able to recognise once my mother was reaching her last hours and after some discussion my father decided to spend the night with her. Had he not felt up to this I would have done so. As it was my mum died with us both there the following day. Similarly when my father was in the hospice I sat with him each day but returned home each night. He passed away suddenly in the afternoon whilst I was sat holding his hand.

I found it very comforting and restful be sat with my parents at this time, quiet companionship that I hope they felt too. I also found returning home each evening helped maintain some normal routine for us all. Fortunately I live close by the hospice so was able to do this. My brother did not feel able emotionally to be there at the end so made short visits.

In short I think you each need to do what you are comfortable with , hopefully in agreement with other family members. Sending you all best wishes

BlueBelle Sun 11-Jul-21 12:44:22

Well it’s not inappropriate and your mum has found the only way she knows to deal with it and has your sister so that all sounds good
I slept in the hospital overnight with my mum (they were so good to me and I could have stayed as many nights as needed) my dad was in his own home and I stayed with him for his last three weeks
The only thing is you say he is strong and could last a while do you intend living there for weeks could you be a bit early would it be better to daytime visit as long as able and wait a bit until he is nearer to his last days before sleeping there

Shelflife Sun 11-Jul-21 12:56:51

I think Septimia had made a very strong point about people waiting to be alone before they die and have often wondered if that is what my Mum did. Think my Dad did that he was dieing at home , it was Christmas Eve day . Mum was exhausted , he had been ill for a long time. She had been persuaded to make a hair appointment and felt she should cancel. Me and my siblings advised her to go, my Dad said " you go love"
Before she left he said " kiss me " it was said with such conviction. The kiss was given and off she went . He died after she left. Mum felt guilty for leaving him but was reassured when my brother explained to her that he was waiting for her to go before he could let go.

Thorntrees Sun 11-Jul-21 14:07:44

Such a difficult time and certainly no right or wrong approach. My Dad had been in a hospice about a month, we knew the end was coming and Mum and I stayed overnight. She had gone for a short rest when Dad opened his eyes and whispered ‘look after Mum’ then took his last breath. We got Mum back and the nurse told her Dad was still alive but the end was near,a little white lie which gave her comfort to think she was with him. When Mum died she was in hospital after a stroke,I wasn’t able to be with her as was undergoing chemo at the time. She died alone apart from the nursing staff and yes I do still feel guilty about it. The thought that gives me comfort is that whatever happened at the end they both knew they were loved and so it will be for your Dad. I hope you find strength for the coming days.

Witzend Sun 11-Jul-21 15:01:11

*Alizarin’, my father died of cancer, and he wasn’t skeletal, either.
My mother was much thinner, but that was down to advanced dementia and a greatly diminished appetite, not cancer.

M0nica Sun 11-Jul-21 15:10:11

Whatever any one does at a time like this is right and appropriate for them. For you sleeping in your DF's room is whaat you need and is right for you.

You do not need to excuse it it by saying But, if I was dad, I would want someone with me. is unnecessary and actually you do not know what your DF would want. You are doing what you are doing because it is right for you and that is entirely acceptable.

Similarly, your mother is dealing with everything in a way that suits her and you should honour and respect her choices and not judge them.

But as other's have said, if your father dies when neither you nor your mother, one or both, are prsent do not blame yourself.

On his last day of his life my sister and I sat by our DFs bed for 5 hours without a break and without refreshment, we then nipped out for 10 minutes to go to the loo and grab a hasty cup of coffee. When we returned we found he had died in our absence. One of the nurses said this was not an uncommon occurence, it was as if the person dying, did not want to die in the presence of others.

I am truly sorry that you must now go through the grief of losing a parent, but do not overthink your response to this sad period of your life, nor judge your mother. Just be content with being with him in these last few days and do not concern yourself wth anyone elses reaction.

3dognight Sun 11-Jul-21 15:35:32

My sister has nursed the dying for years, and she admitted to me a lot of her patients do die just when the person sitting with them has gone to make a cuppa.

The dying person does not want to upset/ frighten their loved ones, so they take their last breath on their own.

You sound a wonderful daughter- look after yourself, your sister and mother.

Sending you hugs and flowers

Dwmxwg Sun 11-Jul-21 16:39:39

Hello Maisie. I am a hospice nurse and we so want to get it right for families but we don’t always. Do what you feel is right for you and your dad and mum.
If he asks questions, ask him what he thinks, most people know when they are dying.
Sending my thoughts to you as a family and I do hope that you will be there at the end but please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t, death, as in birth does not always happen as we expect

Oldbat1 Sun 11-Jul-21 16:42:03

Sad times I’m so sorry. My lovely Mil is currently on end of life care and has been for many weeks. She still accepts liquids ie couple spoonfuls of soup. My Husband unfortunately isn’t able to travel as he is on chemotherapy but other family members nearby do visit her but she isn’t aware. Difficult times.

Dinahmo Sun 11-Jul-21 17:23:57

My father died of cancer. He was meant to be at home, cared for by my mother and sister (a nurse) with the help of MacMillan nurses. For some reason their doctor sent him back up to UCH. I went to visit him and whilst I was with him he had a fit and they moved him into a side room saying that they didn't think he'd last that long. I called my siblings and my mother and the hospital gave us a family to stay in. We weren't in the hospital all together - we took it turns to go home.

He lasted for a week and in the end I think that they gave him an overdose. On his notes a doctor had written "Family TLC" The staff were very kind to us all as we came and went but there was always at least one of us with him.

My Mum had Alzheimers and again I got a call on a Friday evening to say that she'd got pneumonia and didn't think that she'd last the night. I went over and stayed with her and my sister joined me the next day. We stayed with her all the time, apart from snatching some sleep in the day room overnight. She also lasted a week and the staff in the home were also very kind to us.

My sister and I talked to her and about our childhood. I was with her when she died and my sister had just gone outside to meet her OH who had brought a change of clothes for her.

In both cases I like to think that they sensed we were with them.

Maisiegreen I think that as long as you Mother as your sister with her then I see no reason if you want to stay with him.

It's quite strange reading the different opinions on here because during lockdown we only heard of people upset because they couldn't be with their dying family member.

maisiegreen Mon 12-Jul-21 17:32:01

Thank you to all the kind posters who have responded, and I feel it is only fair to let you know what has happened (even though it makes me look a bit of a fool)
Yesterday the care home said to me, very kindly, that my dad wasn't near enough to the end for me to be staying, so I came home. I was actually very relieved to have been told that.
Today my sister went in and he's sitting up in a chair.

Blossoming Mon 12-Jul-21 18:18:13

maisiegreen that’s good news. I hope this has helped you to deal with things when the time comes x

Whiff Mon 12-Jul-21 18:32:37

Maisiegreen that's good news. You are not a fool but a daughter who loves her dad. And loving your dad is never foolish.

Grannmarie Mon 12-Jul-21 18:42:38

Hello, Maisiegreen, thinking of you and your family, as your dear Dad approaches the end of life.

When the time comes, be with him if you possibly can. I wish I had been able to be with my dear Dad when he died. The hospital phoned my workplace to let me know that he was deteriorating, but in the time it took me to drive to the hospital, he was gone. I'm so glad that my Mum was able to be with him.

It's good that your sister is there for your dear Mum, so if it is at all possible, I would advise you to ask the nursing staff to contact you when they recognise that the end is near.

Look after yourself at this sad and emotional time. ???