• Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders
    Health Guide
    September 05, 2010
    Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders
    Health Guide
    September 05, 2010

    Vernon and Jean,

    Thanks for the posts. Vernon, my condolences to you. I, too, however, remember my parent's last weeks/days/hours as sacred. Attended deaths have been some of my most intense spiritual moments.


    Jean, is your dad on hospice care? They can give you a very good idea, though even doctor can't say how long the death process will take. When the body can no longer process food or liquids, as generally happens as they shut down, hand holding, physical comfort, loving words, prayers, joyful memories all help. My mother's heart took days to quit, even though her limbs were mottling and her other organs dying off. Hospice kept her comfortable as she gradually let go. Dad died more quickly, as his body was not as strong.


    This is, for most of us, a time of grief and also a time of relief, as their suffering will be over. It's part of the cycle of life - painful but precious.




  • Joseph September 06, 2010
    September 06, 2010

    Jean and Vernon,  Like Vernon's mother, my mother passed away while decreasing her liquid intake a few weeks after being unable to swallow any solids.  Each day, I would spoon feed her and at the end, I used a big syringe to squirt mostly water into her mouth.  The swallowing reflex had even stopped for liquids.  She lasted two days in that final condition and passed away on August 31st.   --  Joe  --


    Vernon, you have my condolences and I can honestly say that I know what it's been like for you.  I'm glad for my mom to be in heaven away from the perils of a failing mind and body.  I miss her a lot already, but we'll meet again on the other side someday.  Knowing that makes it easier to go on with life.  The healing for both of us has begun.  Hang in there!  --  Joe  --


    Just a brief comment... On the day that my mother had passed it had been raining all day.  A Muslim tenant of mine explained "The rain is God cleaning the sky for your mother."  I thought that was a beautiful sentiment.  The next day the sky was blue and stayed "clean" until the day after her funeral.  Pretty nice, huh?  God belongs to all of us.  We belong to him... however and wherever we worship.

  • Vernon September 05, 2010
    September 05, 2010

    Particularly today, I am extremely sorry you are now facing this very real concern.  I say particularly today because my Mom loosely entered such a dilemma about two months ago, took another lack of food/water dive two weeks ago and another two days ago.  For the last couple of weeks I often had to feed her liquids by means of an eye dropper.  She'd only accept an ounce or three a day and usually, that was it.  She died six minutes shy of five hours ago.


    I am ever so thankful I was able to identify the last two days and especially the last two or three hours for what they were.  A friend has identified the circumstances around her death as a 'Sacred Moment'.  That, not because of my kissing, hugging and soothingly speaking to my Mom during her last five minutes, but about the gift given me to witness her becoming free of her bonds and knowing she was instantly discovering unspeakable joy in Heaven.    I think the 'Sacred Moment' description fits things to a tee. 


    What a tremendous blessing for me to have had that final experience...  but only because from a Biblical standpoint I know she went immediately into Heaven and became instantly free from all the crud she has tasted over the last few years. 


    Really, rather than sadness, my joy is near complete knowing she's in Heaven...  and observing that during those last few hours she wasn't in any physical pain nor mental or emotional turmoil.  Especially, of course, knowing she will never face the difficulties of Alzheimer's ever again.  She's good...  that makes things well with me.


    I hope this in some way helps you...



    • jean
      September 05, 2010
      September 05, 2010



      Thank you for sharing these intimate feelings with me and the community.  It helps to know other people understand what we are going through.  I am happy for the peace you feel, now that your mom no longer suffers.  Personally, as a mom myself, I was very touched by the relationship you obviously enjoyed, with the woman who gave you life.  I have come to believe very strongly that you ultimately receive the love that you have given. Your mother must have been a wonderful woman.


      I wish you peace,


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  • NC
    September 05, 2010
    September 05, 2010

    Jean and Vernon,


    I am so sorry for your loss, Vernon, I am sure she rests in peace.


    Jean, like what Carol said, check with the hospice about that. My father-in-law had eating problem this past spring (now he is OK eating with the group in the nursing home.) The caregiver told me it depends on his metabolism. How well it will go in the body. So it varies. Obviously if it is too little in the last few days, the end is coming.

    You two have my prayers. I know it is hard. We are lucky that my father-in-law has bought some time now to eat -we never know how long this will last.


    Take care,


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