Word for the dying? October 24, 2016 10:26 AM   Subscribe

My grandfather is dying. I am on my way to help my uncle and grandmom take care of him. I knew this day would come and at some point in the past I thought I had favorited a comment about how to help the dying let go. I cannot find the comment. Can you all help me find it? It was something along the lines of "it is ok. You did good. We will be ok."but I think there was more than that.
posted by procrastination to MetaFilter-Related at 10:26 AM (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

"A former supervisor once said that there are four things people tending to dying loved ones should ideally go through with them:

* I forgive you.
* Do you forgive me?
* I love you.
* I will miss you (e.g., talking about the impact the person has had on your life)."

My condolences to you.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

I said to my mother as she was dying:

You are loved.
You are not alone.
You are safe.

But she was unconscious. It would have been different had she been conscious and had we had actual conversation.

Ira Byock, one of my hospice heroes, says that the four things are: Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you."
posted by janey47 at 2:52 PM on October 24, 2016 [7 favorites]

What is wrong with, "Grandpa, I love you so much, you rest easy, I will miss you.

Then when you say that, you have forgiven him, if you needed to. You have released him to the universe, with well wishes. If a grandparent hasn't forgiven you by the time they are on their deathbed, then it is their lingering problem, not yours.
posted by Oyéah at 6:37 PM on October 24, 2016

If a grandparent hasn't forgiven you by the time they are on their deathbed, then it is their lingering problem, not yours.

Apologizing to someone before they die can help make the grieving process easier for many people.
posted by lazuli at 7:53 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best wishes to you and your family.
posted by gt2 at 9:47 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have always found comfort and acceptance in the Conversation between a Man and his Ba (one of the types of soul in Egyptian cosmology) from the Middle Kingdom period of Egypt.

Death is before me today:
like the recovery of a sick man,
like going forth into a garden after sickness.

Death is before me today:
like the odor of myrrh,
like sitting under a sail in a good wind.

Death is before me today:
like the course of a stream;
like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house.

Death is before me today:
like the home that a man longs to see,
after years spent as a captive.

posted by Deoridhe at 11:25 PM on October 24, 2016 [12 favorites]

This one or something in here?
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:45 AM on October 25, 2016

Recently lost my mother. She was pretty far gone in Alzheimers. Non responsive at the end. I wasn't there when she passed. But the last time I was with her I held her hand and repeated in her ear, I love you, mom. I knew I had made some kind of contact when tears started in the corners of her eyes. I hope that made the end easier for her. Shit. Sorry.
posted by Splunge at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2016 [7 favorites]

I can't help with the link to what you're looking for—just wanted to say that "We will be ok" is one of the things we said to my dad as he was slipping away, to assure him that we had been paying attention to all the instructions re taking care of the house, the cars, Mom, etc, that he had been going over in the preceding weeks. If this applies to your grandfather, these words may be especially helpful to him.
posted by she's not there at 6:53 PM on October 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I can see at least one impending death in my family on the horizon, and I have been thinking on these things for a while.

I don't know you, Procrastination, but I wish you well. Even if you feel bad because the right words aren't coming, your presence is a good thing and you are where you ought to be -- and this will still be of comfort to everyone.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sometimes word are good. Sometimes they don't work so well. The squeeze of a hand, the cool hand on a hot brow, the simple presence... Sometimes these are the things. A damp towel brushing a face, closing the curtain, to be more intimate. Any number of simple things. But words are good. If not for the recipient, the for the speaker. Speak your love. It can't be a bad thing, can it?
posted by Splunge at 2:07 PM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the links everyone. I made it when he was still lucid and found that all I really needed to say was "I love you" and that was all he had to say too. We shared enough when he was well that there wasn't a need for much more.
posted by procrastination at 4:23 PM on October 26, 2016 [10 favorites]

We shared enough when he was well that there wasn't a need for much more.

seriously, that's how you do it.
posted by philip-random at 11:33 PM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

(on re-read/preview: - good for you, and the following blather may only be for someone else.)

I lost my father this year.

I think the thoughts upthread are good, and every family processes this a bit differently (we're all pretty damn stoic) but if your grandfather is able to talk and at all lucid also be prepared for just a lot of talk about anything and everything. Same kind of stuff as if he weren't dying. Don't feel like you have to correct him or pull him on-point if he starts talking about some trip he wants to take with you next summer. He may be focused on the pearly gates or he may be trying to keep up a conversational front as if things are normal, but he almost certainly *knows* he's dying and you'll find a way to inject those more significant-seeming points into the conversation.

If you think about how we convey our feelings to each other when things are "normal," we also tell our relatives that we love them and that we have forgiven of them of any past tensions when we talk about a football game with them, or discuss what car we're driving now (all my grandfather wanted to talk about when he passed away years ago), or how we're doing in school. Men, especially of the old school, are often in their "comfort zone" when they're talking about things. If he's able to talk and wants to talk about "things," let him talk about things.

My dad, on his deathbed and on a couple of earlier occasions a year ago when he might well have died, wanted to talk about a tenant in a building he owned, making sure things were squared away in his business (even though someone else was perfectly able to take care of those things). It may seem sad, but those things were his life and that's what he wanted to talk about.

All of the above goes for whatever other relatives are in the house. They will be more likely to want to talk about his life and his imminent passing, but there will be long stretches of mundane talk about you, and them, and that's likely to be a lot of what you remember.

If he's not lucid, still spend time in his presence. I got very banged up in an accident a few years ago and was half-asleep on morphine and the like, but I was still very aware of who was around me, and it helped a lot.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:20 PM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

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