Why isnt there a more dignified way to die?

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Please don't read if you have a sensitive nature as I'm going to call a spade a spade.

I've looked after three family members (two of them close) who lost their lives to cancer, and as much as I loved them, 'it weren't a pretty sight,' and that's an understatement.

Am I unusual in that, when my time comes ro shuffle off this mortal coil, I would rather take myself off for the last week or two and pay to have a compete stranger look after me during my final week or so?.

 I don't want loved ones seeing me gurgling and talking jibberish and dribbling and possibly crying out in pain.

I remember when my gran died, she kept trying to push all the covers off, (I think it's called terminal agitation)  I kept trying to pull them back up to protect her dignity, as they had her on incontinence  pads.  She was a very proud lady and  I know if she were fully conscious she would have been mortified at the thought of visitors seeing her in a state of undress!

When my father was dying, despite being a good looking man, he looked awful as they insisted on taking his teeth out, so his face had a collapsed sunken look.  His eyes were sunken as well.

I think that's the reality of dying, and all this 'they died peacefully with loved ones at their side' doesn't convey the brutal reality of the dying process.

There should be another way of doing things, for people like myself who is horrified at the thought of my family seeing me like that. 

 Maybe have a party or gathering where you say goodbye to loved ones  and then go off  for the last two weeks to die with dignity and spare them the grim side of things

Also they will remember you how you are.

Am I unusual in thinking this way?  Prepared to be told I am.

  • I don't think so - BowelBabe went away from the family home to her parents house.  I'm sure the kids, her husband and other family were round to her parents, but her motivation was similar to what you articulate above,  

  • I would be willing to pay money to be nursed privately, on my own, for the last week or so.

    I'm not sure if my family would be happy about it though.

  • Loved BowelBabe, such a beautiful soul.

  • Hi Harebelle,  no you are not unusual. Because of my job I have sat with many people as they pass.

    I have always said we would not let a dog go through  end off life some people have . I do believe in assisted death. I have always said I want a living wake, to say my goodbyes and let my guests remembered that way. Then a quiet cremation close family only. But I do intend to keep going for quite sometime.  XX


  • How does one answer this,

    Every one does what they think is best for them. I have to be honest my hubby was in the hospital for 6weeks i was there every day 10am till 9pm. He same home and i did nurse him and for two weeks, and in all that time, i did not or i had shut my mind of from it, never saw any change in him. 5 days in hospice where i spelt night and day  so was there all the time.

    Held his hand as he gently passed and if could say it was lovely for me it was.

    It was only after when my son had been taking pictures of his dad, i could not believe what i was seeing, i ,just did not recognize him, i did ask who is that.

    So some times love ones, are there with their dearest and they are still the same to them, for me it was a blessing, They say love is blind, well i was blind.

    Found it hard to express myself on this situation

  • My sister and I sat with my mum through her last hours when she died with ovarian cancer. She was deeply unconscious and we saw nothing distressing. My cousin described his wife's passing in such beautiful words. ' I gently closed her eyes and told her it was ok to go'. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared of my own coming death, but I can only hope for a 'good death'.

  • Hello Harebelle, Thankyou for articulating these thoughts. I think many of us think similar things and maybe have come to different conclusions.

    I know that my husband and my daughter would be very upset if I were to try in any way to keep them at 'arms length'. I know that many people want to distance themselves from the dying process, but I feel that this is a mistake. It is much better in my view if family and those close others are able to participate in your death. They participate in your winding down and see you change and everybody notes the changes. But if they love you they will need to be included in that. In bearing witness if you like. Being upset is part of life. In the old days your loved ones would wash you and lay you out with love and care. Relatives did not flinch from this.

    I think that what's more important is, if you can, to be able to put in place arrangements we all hope for and that make your dying the easiest of possible transitions - this is for yourself of course, but also for their benefit, so that everyone is spared the things that many of us may have witnessed for past generations and which tend to stoke our present fears.

    My daughter is a Funeral Director and the fears she once had have been disipated by experience - some of which was deeply personal and extremely distressing - but she understands death and dying now and is not afraid of death itself anymore. So, I totally understand your sentiments but think that isolating yourself and having a lonely death is not the way for me - and I think not the way for many. Much love. Rainie x

  • I have to agree with everything Raine has said.

    If i had only realised that he was dying, though i never,

    Though i have read a lot since, on the stages leading up to this end.

    What starts to happen, as your body starts to close down can start quiet a few weeks before, i am normally quiet good on these things, though when it was in front of me i did  not see or i did not want to..

    Perhaps because he got diagnosed after me,and  i thought he was going to have a good out come, like i had.

    Ignorant is bliss sometimes.

  • We can’t have assisted dying because the church says it’s god’s decision when we go. We have ended up in a country where if I am screaming in pain 24/7 with nothing to look forward to other than waiting for my body to give out and I die.  If I was a cat or any other animal then the religious people would agree we need to end the animals suffering as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    what I want is the same dignified choice to be dispatched when there’s no way for recovery and no quality of life to look forward to. we are considered cruel if we suggest doing it to a person and cruel if we suggest not doing it to the animal.  It’s messed up. Assisted dying will not lead to more deaths it will lead to more people not suffering unnecessarily 


    be safe, be nice, be you 

  • My husband and I knew and worked with the man in the following article. It was typical of him to deal with his Parkinson's disease in this way. Some of you here may find this of interest. You will find quite a lot if you Google 'Andrew Tyler, obituary'.  I do think that this option should be available to those who wish it in a hospice setting. I hope though that the current palliative care renders a similar sort of experience - albeit longer than 15mins.  Rainie x