Dying Man’s Journal – Talking to the Dying

Yesterday, was oneof the worst days I have had. Constantly, feeling like throwing up. Even tried to throw up twice thinking if I could clear my stomach maybe I would feel better. All I could do was gag and cough, making it worse for a while. Vi’s sister Debbie came over, took Vi our for supper and a short visit to thier mum. Then both back to the house here, Debbie spent the night. It is so good Vi has friends and family here, she can get out for a while and have a good time. Even if it is just for a little while to get out and momentarily forget “our” world with the worry and problems. I have really come to appreciate just how much harder it is on my family and friends than on me. They worry constantly about my health, I don’t, they worry constantly about themselves saying the wrong thing or just generally upsetting me, I don’t. They carry this extra burden, I don’t. Sometimes, when I think of it almost seems backwards, I am the one that is dying but they are the ones full of fear and worry. I know it is because they love and care for me. I want to tell them, OK, everyone lets just take at deep breath and relax. We are having a big family gathering in a couple of weeks, maybe I should when everyone is together tell them just relax. But that may put a bit of a damper on the get together, not sure yet. I know some of my family reads this journal, so I tell you now RELAX, lets enjoy our time together.

I want to thank Mrs. Nicklebee who has at different times left very warm encouraging messages. Today, she poses a very interesting question. I encourage everyone to read her comment under, talking to the dying. She describes the sad passing of a close friend. My heart goes out to you, Mrs. Nicklebee and to the family and friends of the person that passed. You describe perfectly, the exact scenario, that I think, while not always, is becoming more like the norm. This is the very last thing I want to happen in my days.

You speak of the sad passing of a dear one, of the many friends that avoided her through fear of saying the wrong thing or even crying. Of missing the chance to say good bye. Of her clinging to the hope right to the end that she may not die, all so sad. This all goes right to the very heart of the purpose of my journal. My hope to help those, in that exact circumstance. You ask an excellent question then.

The gist of which is. If there was someone in my life that knew I was dying and I knew that they knew I was dying. How would I feel if I knew they were avoiding me out of fear of saying the wrong thing or maybe even breaking down and crying? I feel very saddened, hurt and even angry. I would like to be able to say I take the high road and just accept and acknowledge their discomfort and be totally understanding, to some extent I can. Over all I feel more hurt, I thought we have always had a close relationship. In the past we have shared highs and lows, births, deaths, weddings or even just a good friendship, but now that you know I am leaving and you can’t come to even say good bye. I know that may sound like a “poor me”, but I am dying and think I am entitled to atleast a little of that. I even quesion, I thought we had a strong bond, maybe it wasn’t as strong as I thought. Every one is different but those are my feelings.

There is another side to this issue also. Because of my health I am unable to travel as much as I used to. Therefore I am more dependant on family and friends visiting me. I also have the need to say my good byes and express my feelings and emotions. I am counting on you to come and give me that opportunity. Please, visit and if nothing else allow me to say what I feel I have to. Dying can be much more lonely and difficult if done alone.

Now for those visiting the dying or even saying their last good byes. Relax and go with the flow. Say what is in your heart express your feelings and emotions. There is nothing you can say or do that is wrong. If you feel like crying go ahead and cry. I may cry with you, share the emotion, share the feelings and the time together. It is an emotional time for both of you, share it don’t hide it. Rejoice in your time together. Hiding your feelings can have the exact opposite effect on me. How do you suppose I am to feel if no emotion is shown at all.Could I possibly think, WOW, they don’t seem to be at all upset about me dying. I think if you let the emotion out you can move on to a more pleasant visit.

Mrs. Nicklebee, you speak of your friend clinging to hope right to the end. I think that is normal and natural. I know I certainly don’t want to die. Believe me I have exhausted every possible medical treatment available. I not only saw one specialist I saw a second and a third. I have come to accept the fact I am dying, but that doesn’t mean I will ever just roll over and die. I just accept it will happen at some point when God decides is the time. Until then I hope to live and enjoy life with I hope ALL my friends and family.

7 Responses to Dying Man’s Journal – Talking to the Dying

  1. Mag says:

    Thanks for visiting. I’ve read here before, but was speachless. I have prayed for you since Mike posted you on his blog several weeks ago. Thank you for “enjoying the dying process”, for lack of a better term (meaning, not letting it steal from you the life you have left to the extent that you can). Blessings to you and yours. If it’s not too much to ask: Say an eye to eye “hi” to Jesus for me, will you? 🙂

  2. Mike says:

    Bill, your post here reminded me of when I went to see my nephew before he died. The last time I saw him alive was less than 24 hours before he died. He died from muscular dystrophy. The room and the hallway at the hospital was full of people from the family and relatives so I couldn’t really say what was on my heart to him at the time. I just held his hand for a few minutes and looked him in the eyes. His expression on his face and his eyes told me, “I know, Uncle Mike. It is OK.”

    After he died, I went to the the funeral home. Just me and my brother. This was my brother’s son who had died. My brother was ranting and raving about … not his son’s death … but about how the funeral home was taking care of things and he was also very angry at some of my relatives for some reason. I guess that was his way of dealing with it all.

    I don’t know why I said this, but standing there beside his coffin, I said, “Good night, little brother. I’ll see you in the morning.”

    That is what I wanted to say to him before he died. But I think he still heard me anyway.

    Thanks for allowing me to share this. I think I had some healing in my heart take place just now as I was writing this. Tears are in my eyes.

    Thank you, Bill, for giving me the opportunity to express these feelings.

    Love in Jesus, Mike

  3. hudds53 says:

    Dear Mag. Thank you for the visit and especially the prayers. I am trying to live my life the best I can. It has become a day by day process. You can never know how comments such as yours lift my day, have even become the high light of my day. I thank you. I will say hi to Jesus for you, I am just not sure when.
    Bless you

  4. hudds53 says:

    Dear Mike
    Thank you for your comment. You comments and your way with words never fail to touch my heart. My heart goes out to you at the loss of your nephew. I am sure he heard your words” good night little brother, I will see you in the morning”. I am sure he was smiling down at you feeling the love and being appreciative for having you as an uncle.
    Mike, it is as I said in my comment to Mag, I thank you for leaving your comments. Reading the comments is definately the high light of my day.
    Bless you, Man

  5. Wow, it has been a really tough week but I did finally make it back! Thank you for your post, Bill. I always appreciate your insights.

    When my friend was ill, even her husband wouldn’t allow death talk because she didn’t want to talk about it. I was raised to rush to the side of a person who might be dying and to say everything that needs to be said, including, “I love you and I’ll miss you if you go.” In this situation, my friend didn’t want to hear about the possibility of her death. We loved that woman very much. She was like family to me.

    It wasn’t until a couple of days before she died that I finally beat around the bush to tell her good bye. Mr. Nicklebee and I were visiting her and her husband. She was bedridden at that point and because of the cancer and pain killers, she was out of it. She didn’t seem to know who we were and yet she did. I was afraid to cry because I didn’t want to upset either of them, but I couldn’t help it. Before we went home, I said, “I’ll see you later.” Whether in this life or the next, I will, so I wasn’t talking about death but I wasn’t leaving expecting her to be there the next time I came over either.

    When I said, “I’ll see you later”, she said something unintelligible. I put my head down on her pillow and told her I didn’t understand what she said. She just looked at me with her beautiful, middle-aged, dark brown eyes, weakly reached up and touched my hair and said, “So pretty.” I was trying not to cry so I said something flip like, “Oh that straw?” (My hair is coarse and somewhat blondish in spring and summer.) She said, “No.” Well, I broke down and cried anyway and said, “I’ll miss you.” She couldn’t really say much but she said, “Ooooh…” If she had been in her right mind, I think she would’ve said, “Ooooh, I know. This is hard. I don’t want to go but it’s okay.” She had said something to that affect a few days earlier before the pain got so bad she required constant heavy doses of medication.

    When she died around 3 a.m. a couple of mornings later, we were expecting it but it still felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. The last time I had felt that awful, gut wrenching ache was when my Grandmother died when I was in high school. I didn’t see how a person could hurt so much and not also die. I thank God for the Living Hope that I will one day see my friend and my Grandmother again, healthy and whole, when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and make all things new.

    Thanks again, Bill. May God bless you and your writing, friend.

  6. Merna says:


    I’m going in about half an hour to visit a friend who is dying from advanced pancreatic cancer. He has very little time to live and knows it. He also knows Jesus and is at peace with his situation. His main concern is taking care of things before he goes so his wife and kids aren’t stuck with the details during their grief. He even told me he’s working on his bucket list. He’s quite a guy.

    I was looking online for some samples of how people feel when they’re dying and what we should say when we visit. Your posts are most helpful. I have heard that there are many people who are avoiding calling or visiting my friend because they don’t know what to say. But I’m sure that it’s interpreted that they don’t care.

    So I’ll take your advice and go with the flow of the conversation. And I’m going to tell him how much I love him and will miss him when he’s gone. Just like you said.

    I’ll miss you when you’re gone too. Your blog is most encouraging.

    In the meantime, I wish you peace in the midst of it all.
    In Jesus Name,

    hi Merna. I am glad you are going for the visit as I am sure your friend is as I know also you will be. If I was able to help you in any way I am so glad.

  7. Merna says:

    I just realized that the prior posts were from 2006 and that Bill is probably already gone. But nonetheless, his posts were encouraging to me and I will use his words of wisdom when I visit my friend today.

    hi Merna, I thank you for the kind words and I do hope my words were of at least some help. Yup, I am still here to the suprise of many.

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