We came across this article and felt that it posed a compelling argument why our medical directive is so important. It is not just for those leaving, but those left behind.
After spending hours at the bedside of my precious Grandma Daisy, I stepped out of her room to make a brief telephone call. At that moment, Grandma Daisy died.
For years thereafter, guilt nagged at me that I had abandoned her to die alone. When I began working in hospice, I witnessed similar experiences as family members took a quick coffee break or stepped outside for fresh air and returned minutes later to find that death had arrived.
My perspective changed after I had a conversation with a veteran hospice nurse who suggested that many dying people seem to choose the moment of their death to coincide with their loved ones leaving the room.
Private people often die privately. Perhaps they want to spare their loved ones the pain of witnessing the moment of death. “Or,” she added, “maybe the person was saying, ‘I’ve moved on; you move on, too, until we meet again.”
After nearly two decades of working in hospice, I have come to believe two important things: First, many dying people appear to choose the moment of death. I truly believe that was the lesson Grandma Daisy taught me. Second, I believe no one really dies alone. People who are close to death and cannot talk will often focus on a corner of the room as if looking at a presence. Many raise their arms, reach out, smile, and try to speak by mouthing words. Those who are very near death and can communicate often report a sense of peace and joy as they are visited by deceased loved ones, pets or angels. That was Leesha’s experience in hospice.
READ FULL ARTICLE