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What do you do when someone is dying

(14 Posts)
grannysmiff Fri 27-Oct-17 06:06:55

My aunt has had cancer fpr many years now.

Now they have said it is over, and she has just a few weeks at the most.

I am not close to her but we had a warmth between us when we met at family gatherings.

My mum said to write or call or send photos or...I just dont know what to do or say.

Does anyone have any ideas?

And what to do for or say the husband qho has cared for her and loved her all these long years

MrsDustyBusty Fri 27-Oct-17 06:10:30

You could visit. Maybe sit with her for a while and give him a break?

grannysmiff Fri 27-Oct-17 06:12:33

We live in different countries but i will investigate flights today

picklemepopcorn Fri 27-Oct-17 06:27:44

Ask her husband. It may be that a succession of visitors effectively saying goodbye would make them uncomfortable.

zebedebe Fri 27-Oct-17 06:32:19

Speak to her husband about what he feels she would be most comfortable with. If you weren’t that close, a goodbye visit may not be so suitable, but you could write her a nice letter talking about happy memories shared etc.

Eslteacher06 Fri 27-Oct-17 06:33:37

I would write a card to her giving her a happy memory of your time together and if you can-visit her. My dad has just died from cancer and I am so glad I did the above. I miss him terribly but at least I got to tell him how much he meant to me. Family is more important than anything.

MargaretTwatyer Fri 27-Oct-17 06:42:51

Can you Skype if you can't go?

Normally it's best just to be led by the person dying. Some will just want to say hello briefly. But some will want to reminisce or talk about their relationship with you or other family members. Or they might want to give advice or impart wisdom.

It's really best to follow their lead so you are doing what they feel comfortable with.

NotNowBernard1 Fri 27-Oct-17 06:49:33

This article by the late Kate Gross might be of some help

No doubt your aunt is older than Kate but it will still provide insights on what to say and do.

Vitalogy Fri 27-Oct-17 06:53:56

If you can possibly visit then I think that would he nice, then just sit and talk, if not write a letter. I'd definitely mention to her that whenever you met you felt a lovely warmth between the two of you. I think that would me a lot to her, it would me. Best wishes to you at this sad time.

Charolais Fri 27-Oct-17 06:58:54

I wouldn’t want to be bothered with visitors if I had just a few weeks left. Write her a nice letter and send flowers.

lizzyj4 Fri 27-Oct-17 07:10:25

As someone who is currently terminally ill (few weeks) I can tell you that I've found the sudden influx of visitors from far and wide really stressful, at a time when I really just want to focus what little energy and time I do have on my (adult) children. It's often stressful for carers too.

We've done our best to deter visitors without offending them (that in itself is exhausting) but some still arrive, and it's not just the visit - it's travel advice and hotel recommendations. And having to try to plan a visit around symptoms/medical issues. And worrying I'll fall asleep/vomit, etc. during the visit. Sorry to be so graphic but that's the reality.

All my children are here a lot, we've had some amazing conversations and I feel we've said the important things we needed to say each other - I'm very grateful to have had that opportunity; at this stage, it's all that's important to me. I realise everyone is different, but I really don't feel a desperate urge for a visit from Cousin Angela who I last saw in 2003; even though at the time we got on like a house on fire.

What has meant most to me have been some of the amazing phonecalls/email/facebook message/letter correspondence I've had with old friends/distant relatives. Sometimes it's just a 'thinking of you' and sometimes we've had really long, wonderful conversations, reminiscing about the past. But in a way I can manage, around my increasing tiredness, etc., These have left me feeling loved and supported in a way that a short, stressful visit cannot.

I realise that everyone is different, but don't assume that a visit is the best/only way to show love and caring to your Aunt.

shhhfastasleep Fri 27-Oct-17 07:11:39

A lovely old school letter with a photo would be a great idea. If you have children, a brief scribble or picture from them - if it is appropriate .
It’s boring being really sick and it would give her something to talk about or be talked to about. My Mum died recently- I know she appreciated it from friends and family far and wide. I miss her so much. It was nice to see her smile when things were getting so awful.

GoldenKelpie Fri 27-Oct-17 07:18:57

When my dad was at a hospice and it became clear he was going to be dying within a week, us family members spent the last days with him but what was wonderful for him (and us) was the visitors who popped in to see him and reminisce a while about shared past experiences. They didn't stay too long but some travelled quite a distance to see him and it is that that I most remember about such a traumatic time and it gives me great comfort to think about it.

OP, dad also got letters and cards from people which we read to him, old friends wrote of special memories they shared with dad, it made him smile to hear them. If you can't visit in person, a special letter from you to your aunt will be appreciated. flowers

annandale Fri 27-Oct-17 07:18:59

I sent a letter to a relative who was in this situation. No idea if it was a good thing or not but I felt the family could always bin letters if they weren't helping her, and if they were something she could enjoy, she could do it in her own time. In her case I put in an up to date picture of my child doing something that she used to do as a child, we'd talked about it in the past.

After she's gone, another letter to your uncle is always a good thing.

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