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November 02, 2022


kathy potvin

I have been deeply touched by the effort you put in to caring for your brother as he died. It is the kindest thing a person can do. Good on you. You have reason to be very proud of yourself.


Kathy potvin - it is hard to say if he knew I was there, but there was no one else. I wish I could have done better.


He knew you were 1. with him and 2. on his team when he was going into it.

And even later, when less lucid, he knew someone was there, and knew he was fond of that someone, and that's a big something. He may not have been identifying you correctly, but he had the comfort of a person's presence, and a person he knew cared about him, whenever he was able to be aware of that.

(And also, I mean: if they wait to die until you're out of the room, they are on some level aware, right?)

Hospice isn't something you can do perfectly; things can end up lining up well or poorly, etc., but most of it is out of your control. You did what you could; you cared about him; all the things you did to the approximate degree you were able, yes? So.

(also lots of hugs to you; if a box of snacks or something would help at this time, let me know. I don't like cut flowers and I'm too cheap for Harry & David, but I am a pro at Target gift-snack shopping)


KC - I always believed the theory that people wait to die until they are alone, but now I'm really starting to believe they die because they are alone. My dad died the instant my mom left the house, and its easy to say he waited, but just as easy to say he felt lonely and it was the last straw.
But, come to think of it, when people die they are either going to be with people or alone, and it's nice to think either way is what they wanted.


My mom's father had been near death a lot of times, and each time, he hung on when he heard the news that my mom was on her way (US->Australia) and then rallied just enough to stay alive (even though he was doing poorly and may not have *wanted* to be alive), and then she has a visit and goes back to the US. (she also visited outside of emergency situations, just to note)

Anyway. So the last time, they collectively (mostly my mom, but my grandma agreed) decided to not tell him she was on her way, so that he didn't feel like he needed to hang on until she got there. So she got the news of his death in an airport most of the way there. Would he have hung on again? Probably. Would he have made it out of that round? Who knows. But when someone is *done* but feels badly about how people will feel when they die... I don't know. In that case, giving a situation where that guilt is less present seems like maybe the way to go?

There's also just more life/stimulation in a room with people in it vs. a room without people in it; I could see that playing a role for some people, kind of like when it's easier or more difficult to fall asleep.

(other times, people are just going to die when they're going to die, so there's that. But for all the hanging-on deaths, it's one thing if they *want* to keep hanging on, but it's another thing if they want to let go but can't while there's someone in the room.)(which then makes me wonder if, like some people have "shy bladder syndrome" other people are private about dying? Don't know.)(and presumably there are some Spite Deaths sometimes. Who knows.)


KC - I love the analogy with Shy Bladder syndrome. On that note, I was fully prepared for Dave to have voided before he left, but he did not. Somehow I thought that always happened.

I can see myself having a Spite Death.


Geez, I'm in the middle of catching up on this very sad situation and getting ready to offer my admiration and condolences, and now I'm laughing reluctantly at the concept of a "spite death". Always a ride, this blog.


Allison - there are some specific people in my life and if they are in my room when I am close to death I will flat-line just to guilt them.


And I wholeheartedly support your choices.

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