We nurses have to handle many things, one of which is death and dying. I know that I have seen my share of people at their end of life, and worked with awesome hospice nurses to make peoples last moments here as peaceful and dignified as possible. I have learned many things from them, and my own personal 'take' on the process of dying...and for once it really paid off in a beautiful way!
You see, I give advice to folks about nice things they can do for their loved ones as they pass...talk to them even though they may not respond, massage their arms and legs (if not contraindicated for some reason), provide gentle music (if HOH I have suggested those pillows with speakers in them), and be there! When they pass, cleanse the body as your last gift to them (family) so that you too can feel cleansed knowing your last gift was one of respect and love! However...despite talking about this to patient families...they rarely listen, rarely care about what we tending to the patient have to say unless it is an exact time of death (yeah right)...and little do we get thanks for our pain and compassion....some people do, but in my experience...not hardly at all.
Well...My grandmother died today at 0234 from a quick battle against uterine/breast cancer. I asked my mom and her sister to please please get her on hospice the moment we found out..and they did! I gave them advice on the process of greiving..they listened. They got the speaker pillows for nice music for her, a night light so she didn't open her eyes to complete darkness (that would be scary...know you are dying then waking to see nothing but blackness! EEKKK!), provided many massages, did her hair, picked her outfit for the journey to the funeral home, and the one for her cremation with her involved in the choice, and both were THERE when she passed holding her hand. They also alowed hospice to give medications for pain without any complaints and even said "nothing is going to stop the process of death, feel free to use whatever you need to to provide comfort as she passes...don't worry about the respirations too much..she is already drowning in fluid (she had the gurgle at this point).".
I taught them well...I did well by my grandma. And lastly...they both cleaned her and put her into the outfit she chose to travel to the funeral home. They called me and said there would be no way they could ever thank me for all the advice, and for doing the ritual of cleansing the body! That is was a beautiful experience...and although it didn't sound appealing before death...it was the most wonderful thoughtful thing they could have done!
I lost my grandma today...but thanks to hospice and some loving advice from me...my mom and her sister are not as sad as they are at peace and a little joyous to send Grandma into heaven in the best possible way!
So a small gift to all of you...THANK YOU for all you do to help families to deal with the loss of loved ones! I can't make up for the lack of people saying it...but I can say from the bottom to top of my heart...THANKS to you and keep it up...I will
Dec 21, '06
Thank You for enabling your family for give your grandmother a beautiful gift. Thank You being a sensitive observer, for in doing so you have learned what a dying needs. Thank You for giving back the gift those patients gave you.
And Thank You for eloquently articulating so well this experience.
Last edit by prmenrs on Dec 21, '06