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(38 Posts)
MayBeMaw Thu 09-Sep-21 23:04:11

MayBeMaw Thu 09-Sep-21 22:59:54
A friend who sat with our Phoenix when she died sent this to me.

Those of us who have been at the bedside as a loved one has slipped away, setting out on that next journey and even those who have not, will I hope find it gives food for thought
✨ Expected Death ~ When someone dies, the first thing to do is nothing. Don't run out and call the nurse. Don't pick up the phone. Take a deep breath and be present to the magnitude of the moment.

There's a grace to being at the bedside of someone you love as they make their transition out of this world. At the moment they take their last breath, there's an incredible sacredness in the space. The veil between the worlds opens.

We're so unprepared and untrained in how to deal with death that sometimes a kind of panic response kicks in. "They're dead ! “

We knew they were going to die, so their being dead is not a surprise. It's not a problem to be solved. It's very sad, but it's not cause to panic

If anything, their death is cause to take a deep breath, to stop, and be really present to what's happening. If you're at home, maybe put on the kettle and make a cup of tea

Sit at the bedside and just be present to the experience in the room. What's happening for you? What might be happening for them? What other presences are here that might be supporting them on their way? Tune into all the beauty and magic.

Pausing gives your soul a chance to adjust, because no matter how prepared we are, a death is still a shock. If we kick right into "do" mode, and call 911, or call the hospice, we never get a chance to absorb the enormity of the event.

Give yourself five minutes or 10 minutes, or 15 minutes just to be. You'll never get that time back again if you don't take it now.

After that, do the smallest thing you can. Call the one person who needs to be called. Engage whatever systems need to be engaged, but engage them at the very most minimal level. Move really, really, really, slowly, because this is a period where it's easy for body and soul to get separated.

Our bodies can gallop forwards, but sometimes our souls haven't caught up. If you have an opportunity to be quiet and be present, take it. Accept and acclimatize and adjust to what's happening. Then, as the train starts rolling, and all the things that happen after a death kick in, you'll be better prepared.

You won't get a chance to catch your breath later on. You need to do it now

Being present in the moments after death is an incredible gift to yourself, it's a gift to the people you're with, and it's a gift to the person who's just died. They're just a hair's breadth away. They're just starting their new journey in the world without a body. If you keep a calm space around their body, and in the room, they're launched in a more beautiful way. It's a service to both sides of the veil

grannyactivist Thu 09-Sep-21 23:12:42

As someone who has been in this position many times I can attest to the beauty and truth of what’s been written here.

Thank you for sharing it MayBeMaw.

Shinamae Thu 09-Sep-21 23:20:59

I was with my brother when he died of cancer in 2003 at the age of 49……thank you MBM….

Redhead56 Fri 10-Sep-21 01:11:22

It is an honour to be beside a loved one when they pass.
A disappointment if you are not. Thank you again for this MayBeMaw.

Whiff Fri 10-Sep-21 06:37:50

MayBeMaw lovely words. Some of which happened after we watched my husband died. In fact I told him to stop struggling we would be ok . He died a few minutes later.

I am and our family atheists so part doesn't mean a thing to me. But there was no beauty in my husband's dieing he died in agony fighting to breath on full oxygen.

If it gives comfort to people I am all for it. But I have watched 3 people die and each time was just as horrific as the the first time .

If people die peacefully in their sleep then it can be a comfort to those who are with them. But unfortunately not in my case.

Also I think it depends on the age the person is when they die and what they die of. Also the age of the people who are with them.

What she wrote is beautiful but I don't want people who are facing the death of a loved one to think it's always like that.

I don't mean to de track from what she wrote as she wrote from the heart and what she wrote is beautiful.

But I am a realist and my experiences of death have been brutal.

Hetty58 Fri 10-Sep-21 06:58:31

Having 'been there' it makes no sense to me, personally. The assumptions about the transition and next world apply only to believers in a magical something else.

To me, death is the natural end to life - but the person is gone entirely and there's no grace or beauty in it, just huge relief that their suffering is over. We are left with just a body and memories.

Grammaretto Fri 10-Sep-21 07:21:55

I was with my DH when he took his last breath and had been told by our GP I did not have to do anything immediately.
I found that such a comfort. All our DC were there too.
It felt right.
Sometimes doing things slowly is best.

Allsorts Fri 10-Sep-21 07:28:53

No one should die alone, unfortunately a lot of us will. With my husband to the end, worst moment of my life losing him, but glad I was with him,

tanith Fri 10-Sep-21 07:32:43

What wise words I did make a cuppa and sat with my husband I’m not sure how long before I picked up the phone when he died. I was alone and treasure that time.

Urmstongran Fri 10-Sep-21 07:35:27

As a Humanist, this doesn’t resonate with me at all. If you keep a calm space around their body, and in the room, they're launched in a more beautiful way means nothing to me. I sat with both my parents at the end of life. I’m with you on this topic Hetty58. To each our own.

Oopsadaisy1 Fri 10-Sep-21 07:35:56

Sorry but there was no ‘beauty or magic’ when my father died, it was awful and I had nightmares for months, I missed my Mums death by 10 minutes and still feel guilty about it.

I hope others have better memories of loved ones passings.

Marydoll Fri 10-Sep-21 07:39:05

Thank you Maw for your post. That is my fear, dying alone.

When my father died during the night, my mother didn't contact me until morning, thinking she was protecting me, because I was seven months pregnant.
I only lived five minutes away, but he had been dead for hours, by the time I saw him. ?

Peasblossom Fri 10-Sep-21 09:14:18

“my experiences of death have been brutal”.

I share that with you Whiff.

They are good words for a peaceful death, but like you, I wouldn’t want people to think that it always happens like that.

I think I have only witnessed one where the person I loved slipped quietly away into “a sacred space”.

Just wanted you to know you are not alone?

GrannyLaine Fri 10-Sep-21 10:07:54

Maw thank you so much for sharing this perspective on being present with death.
Others may have different experiences: death, like birth, can be calm and ecstatic or messy and distressing. Or somewhere in between........ I have had the privilege of being there and holding space for many, many of both experiences. Your friend has expressed beautifully the need to accept and most importantly, take time flowersflowers

merlotgran Fri 10-Sep-21 10:32:19


As a Humanist, this doesn’t resonate with me at all. If you keep a calm space around their body, and in the room, they're launched in a more beautiful way means nothing to me. I sat with both my parents at the end of life. I’m with you on this topic Hetty58. To each our own.

Me too.

This doesn’t take into account the feelings of others in the room and I had no wish to prolong their agony any more than I wished to put off what needed to be done.

annsixty Fri 10-Sep-21 10:42:43

It does not resonate with me either.
It seems an almost romanticised view of death.
Although expected, I was shocked by the moment of my H’s death and needed confirmation that he had actually gone.
I was alone with him and frankly needed someone with me at that moment even though it was two nurses I didn’t know.
Would also like to reiterate for the hundredth time, people die, they do not pass away.
Just a little “thing” of mine.

Blossoming Fri 10-Sep-21 10:49:18

Not for me either, sorry.

Anniebach Fri 10-Sep-21 10:55:44

If I had been with my darling daughter when she died, she wouldn’t have died.

Nortsat Fri 10-Sep-21 11:08:54

I am sure this post will give comfort to many.

As an atheist, it does not offer me any.

I have been alone at the peaceful death of a loved one and believe we must all find our own way of dealing with it.
My concern was telling the rest of the family, in the best way possible.
Putting the kettle on was not a priority.

Though as I said, we all cope differently and each death is different. I am glad that other GNs are finding the words helpful and comforting.

Georgesgran Fri 10-Sep-21 11:17:36

Sorry, not for me either. I was with DH when he died, but it was only a relief that he’d gone so quickly after the final diagnosis.

Marmight Fri 10-Sep-21 11:21:28

This is fine if the death is expected and I envy those who have that opportunity to take in the moment. In my case, by the time I got from my bed to the bathroom where my DH had collapsed, he was dead. How I wish I’d had the luxury if time instead of spending 25 minutes giving him CPR until the paramedics arrived and told me what I already knew. There was no sacredness or comfort in that bathroom, no last words or telling to let go, just sheer panic, shock and disbelief.
(*annsixty*. I’m so with you on ‘passing away’)

seacliff Fri 10-Sep-21 11:21:41

I suppose it is like birth. So many different experiences. Some horrendous, others good.

So far I have been lucky, if that's even appropriate, in that my Dad and my Uncle slipped peacefully away, and they had known I was with them.

In fact my Uncle had been with just my cousin, his only child, at deaths door for several hours. I got there as soon as I could, and he smiled at me. Within 10 minutes he'd gone, so very quietly. I think he was waiting until his daughter had someone with her.

rafichagran Fri 10-Sep-21 11:24:02

I found what she wrote beautiful, but I also understand that many people have a alful death, and not everyone feels like that.
I think it said alot about Phoenix herself, she was calm and prepared, and slipped away peacefully, and not alone, leaning her friends and loved ones prepared.

Beechnut Fri 10-Sep-21 11:26:47

It doesn’t sit right with me either.

sazz1 Sun 10-Oct-21 11:14:12

My sister is dying at the moment. She was on a ventilator after being resuscitated last week. Its not Covid but heart failure and infection The doctors brought her off ventilation and put her on oxygen. Then she had a massive heart attack. They found her heart is seriously in need of urgent surgery but the anaesthetic would kill her so can't operate.
Today she's sat up eating breakfast, off of oxygen and appears to be recovered. Her daughter thinks she's better and will be fine. But she has heart failure and several other medical problems so doctors have put DNR on her notes. It's just a matter of time really.
Can't relate to the OP as people I've been with haven't died peacefully and I don't think she will.