Over the past while I have written of Vi’s mum Nellie being in the hospital. That Nellie is a smart lady in the past couple of months she has been hospitalized twice, each time she has waited until she was in the hospital before having a heart attack. Currently she is at home and doing as well as can be hoped for.
While she was in the hospital I had a chat with her. There are a couple of things that she said that just keep running around in my head making my heart just ache.
To set the stage, it was right after the last heart attack and she was being given a lot of medication. Most of the conversation was just a nice little visit but her mind did on occasion wander off to some far past time and she would ask to see long gone friends or relatives. Then suddenly she was “back” and the normal conversation just carried on. Through our the entire time it was obvious she was struggling with memory. Then the conversation went something like this:
Nellie: Does everyone know I am here?.
Me: I think so.
Nellie: I am in the hospital, I am dying, doesn’t anyone care enough to come to see me!
Now at this point her eyes had welled up. It was heart breaking to see
Now this was just one of her “memory” moments. There are many that care and many that visit her. It was just that at that moment her memory was failing her It is just at that moment. I think she was feeling hearty broken that no one cared enough to visit, lonely and afraid. I was sitting there holding her hand and reminded her of who had been then and who would be coming. Just hearing that seem to comfort and reassure her making her feel much better. She was tired and I left shortly after that.
Her words: ” I am in the hospital, I am dying, doesn’t anyone care enough to come to see me!”
I just ask all to think about those words
I think it’s very sad but a lot of people feel awkward and shy. Wonder if the person would like to be seen with tubes/bald/unkempt/whatever. I have always offered a visit, when the situation has arisen. Some people do say they’d rather not but I think it’s only right to give them the choice.
Love is an action word. It’s too easy to say loving words, to buy gifts, to donate to a worthy cause, to write a letter, to offer sympathy, etc. Love requires DOING. And love costs. Not financially. But love costs in time, effort, peronal sacrifice, perseverance, patience, convenience, etc. Love without action is not love.
Thinking of you often. Praying for you always, Wiseman.
I totally agree with BC. If the individual is wanting visitors I would certainly be there for them. Personally if it was me preparing for my final farewell I would most likely only want the closest of family to visit and possibly a best friend. I am a fairly emotional person and would use all my strength to keep those emotions hidden and my spirits upbeat. However, I would also like to be honest and be able to share love and memories with those closest to me. I was in this position several years ago but fortunately recovered…so I know what I want when the time really arrives and so does my family.
Just to clarify my comment relates to final days or very sick. I would definitely visit and want visitors over the long term if diagnosed with something terminal.
We should always visit the dying. I had that experience when my uncle died a few months ago. It was a very spiritual moment for me. But also visiting those who are still alive and well is equally important. What we shouldn’t do is wait until the person is gone to then visit the grave.
That had to be a really tough moment with Nellie–I’m glad you were there to reassure her and bring some things to her attention that fell out in the moment.
I’ve lived this one with my step-mother and I’m glad I did. It’s left me with a peace I didn’t have for the other losses I’ve experienced. It’s worth every moment of uncomfortableness, every moment of feeling at a loss….there’s a bonding that happens in those final days that’s really difficult to explain in words.
But I’m a bit like Betty in that I know what I want surrounding me, where I want my eyes to light and what I want for company on that final leg of the journey. Earlier — that’s a different situation with different desires for me, I guess. But in those final days, I know what hand I want in mine, yaknow?
Thinkin’ it’s time for another visit with Nellie–go let her know how loved she is and what an awesome mom she’s been to that woman you love!
This topic of visiting the dying is bring up memories of relatives who have passed. One recently, another some years ago. I was expected to visit one relative but did not do so because I knew the relative was going to use the situation to try to elicit promises regarding taking their place and being obligated with other relatives. Promises I was not going to make. Obligations I was not going to to accept as now my responsibility. The other relative, a younger brother, and I had not had a relationship for some 30 years. No hard feelings, it was just he had his opulent life, I had my way less opulent life, and he had no need for me in his circle. All of a sudden, 30 years later, I’m getting messages he wants to see me before he goes because he felt like, my being the eldest, I was a substitute for our mother. Feeling he was feeling sorry for himself and now needed me, I felt no obligation to oblige. Don’t think my actions make me a cold person or a bad person. I’m a realist and I feel the dying sometimes feel sorry for themselves, become manipulative and have unreasonable expectations. I myself would not feel sorry for myself, nor would I expect or want or need a visit. If fact, if I had a visitor, the shock would probably kill me.