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Grandad about to die but won't accept it

(23 Posts)
SuperSheepdog Sun 28-May-17 08:09:58

My grandad is in the very late stages of advanced cancer. He has never accepted that he will die. He has spent the past few weeks varying between being sad and crying, trying to find a doctor to 'cure' him (he's actually phoned doctors) and getting angry and accusing doctors and his family of trying to kill him. sad

It is very hard to be part of. Not only am I devastated that he is likely to die in the next couple of days, his final weeks have been horrific and the accusations are heartbreaking. We have tried to get him as much treatment as possible but sadly the chemo/radiotherapy stopped working and every oncologist has said he's beyond treatment. He's no very thin and not eating or drinking.

I'm worried my lasting memories of my beloved grandad will be of him saying we're all conspiring to kill him sad

Whileweareonthesubject Sun 28-May-17 08:19:50

It sounds as though he is going through the stages of grief, to me. Sadness, anger, desperation, not wanting to accept it, are all things we do when we are grieving, most often after the death of a loved one. Sounds like he is going through all that and without the knowledge that once we get through it, a new, different, 'normal' life resumes. He doesn't have the comfort of knowing that the end of his grief will bring that new normal.
I don't know how to help you, it must be so hard for you all. I can't promise you won't remember how he is now, but I can say that, ime, as time goes on, it's the memories of earlier, happier times that come most naturally.
flowers

SuperSheepdog Sun 28-May-17 09:10:00

Thank you flowers I think the difficult thing is that I don't think he will have reached the acceptance part by the time he dies. He's been mostly stuck on anger for the past few weeks and now he's mostly sleeping other than occasional confused consciousness where he still suggests we want him to die. The nurse expects him to pass within 48 hours.

So hard.

barrygetamoveonplease Sun 28-May-17 09:15:10

If it is his way, let him go with it and don't be too upset. Each person travels their own path.

hesterton Sun 28-May-17 09:16:34

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


My dad raged too. I do feel for you - and I agree with the poster above who said we remember the better times best after a period of mourning.

alreadytaken Sun 28-May-17 10:06:23

When you are with your grandad you don't have to talk about dying and his illness. He doesn't have to accept this. Talk to him instead about the good memories you have of being together. If he wants to talk about how you'll do such things again "when he's better" let him. If that helps his last few hours then lie to him, it won't matter soon.

SuperSheepdog Sun 28-May-17 18:32:34

Thank you! It's so kind to have these replies it really helps. flowers for everyone

user1492287253 Wed 31-May-17 20:02:35

your lasting memories are unlikely to be these ones. my dgrandad passed peacefully but my grandmother not so. now i just think of them with happiness

elevenclips Wed 31-May-17 20:05:57

It sounds like he might have another condition as well as the cancer? Perhaps he also has early stage dementia or something along those lines? I think maybe think of it like that, that it isn't really him talking, it's an illness.

yayayahey Wed 31-May-17 20:17:49

No body knows how they will feel but I imagine myself to be raging more than anything else.

I'm sorry. sad

yayayahey Wed 31-May-17 20:18:29

It's easier to feel angry than scared. When I'm scared it ALWAYS manifests it's self as anger. It's how I cope.

wewentoutonsunday Wed 31-May-17 20:20:42

Hesterton what an amazing post.

dahliaaa Wed 31-May-17 20:34:04

I think we sometimes expect too much from terminally ill people. My DH sadly has advanced cancer and the Dylan Thomas poem regularly goes round in my head. It's 'nicer' if people are accepting but in reality I think I will be raging too.
It must be so hard for you flowersbut try and accept this stage for what it is - a man who doesn't want to leave you. Overtime your happy memories will overtake this horrible time. Look after yourself x

Polyanthus Wed 31-May-17 22:44:12

Nothing to add but flowers flowers flowers.

lougle Wed 31-May-17 22:48:29

He doesn't have to accept it. If it's better for him to think he will beat this, let him. His nurses can work with that - I would willingly. We see it all, and it's our job to help our patients deal with their illness however they they feel they best can. If that means total denial for him, fair enough. Kindness and painkillers are still effective whether he acknowledges his condition or not flowers.

Poudrenez Wed 07-Jun-17 13:53:25

I've also nothing to add, except to say that this must be so, so, hard to deal with OP. I'm so sorry.

P1nkP0ppy Wed 07-Jun-17 14:51:16

It's so, so hard for you and your family, and I've nursed many terminally ill people who are apparently in denial of the situation despite being well aware that they're dying.
If that's the way they can rationalise or cope with this stage then all anyone else can do is to be there and do your best to support them.

When I nursed a very dear friend she said that she couldn't 'give up' whilst she was capable of trying her hardest to stay alive. She knew how distressing it was for some relatives but she had to hang on to hope for as long as she could. Perhaps this might be how your dear grandfather feels too?

She was a very perspective person and I miss her.

My granddad did this exactly and it was heartbreaking. He was so incredibly weak and skeletal at the end, but still saying he was hanging on and that he had so
Much to share... I think he was a bit scared to die because he didn't really believe in heaven, and the little bit of h that did worried he wouldn't go there as he did cheat on his wife a couple of times. But he was such a great man and it just broke our hearts watching those final weeks drag on.

After he finally passed, it was just traumatic for us to think about. Then one day I read a poem and it described a strong willed man - too strong to accept death without a fight. It made me realize he was so strong to the end and was proud of himself for that. It helped me to realize he wanted that battle - because he couldn't just let go or he would feel he let us down.

It took two years to start grieving for him properly because for so long his death was a relief - an end to the pain he was in. But it has finally started and I can cry for him a little.

You will get there. I'm so sorry it is so hard. But your granddad is a fighter too. He has to let those demons go himself - you can't fight them for him sad

FinallyThroughTheRoof Sun 11-Jun-17 03:54:35

It's human nature to want to live.

Sorry you are going through this awful situation though flowers

WellThisIsShit Sun 11-Jun-17 04:04:15

"I think we sometimes expect too much from terminally ill people"

This.

YellowPaisley Sun 11-Jun-17 04:15:37

Hesterson that was lovely.

OP I can't saybgrom experience but I empathise from your feelings and your grandads. flowers

SuperSheepdog Thu 22-Jun-17 22:45:13

Thanks everyone. He died the day after my last post and never 'accepted' death. He had a morphine driver for his last days but kept trying to pull it out (often with success!) But he seemed to be asleep or heavily drugged when he died.

I realised from your replies that it's ok not to accept you're dying and I'm proud he fought so hard to live - he loved his life.

Wolfiefan Thu 22-Jun-17 22:47:58

I'm so sorry for your loss. You should be proud. And I bet he would be of you too. flowers

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