February 21, 2010
Death rattle happens when secretions gather Read more
February 4, 2010
As a person nears the end of life, there are some very basic similarities that may be seen which crosses the type of illness or ‘reason’ for dying. Below is a list of some of these behaviors. Usually, the closer to death the more pronounced the symptom. Simple to complicated, easy to difficult, know there is always something that can be done Read more
February 7, 2009
When someone is dying a natural death, there is a breathing pattern that usually happens. It goes something like this: a deep breath or 2, then holding it, followed by a shallow breath or 2, and so on. It is an uneven pattern of inhales and exhales. It can be scary if you don’t know it is coming.
Another thing that happens is as the person gets closer to death, the time between inhales widens. When breaths are towards
February 1, 2009
When a person is dying, she is retreating from everything outside of her. She has little energy for anything outside of what is going on in her internal world.
She cannot respond the same to conversation. It takes much effort to answer questions. To engage someone in the normal back and forth conversational style can be overwhelming for her. Instead, tell a story.Â
Tell her what you did today or whatever is on your mind. But donât ask questions. What she has energy to tell, she will. Do not be concerned if she does not respond to you the way she used to or even with a hint of a smile. She cannot.
It is not about you. Just keep talking to her if you want to verbally connect. Otherwise, your presence is enough.
January 25, 2009
Saving a life or prolonging a life, is it only semantics? Read the following article by Craig Bowron, in the Washington Post, 1/11), âThe Dying of the Light: The Drawn-Out Indignities of the American Way of Death.â
I have experienced it in my own life and have seen it in my professional lifeâthe feeling of
October 24, 2008
Within a 12-day period, I had the privilege of sitting next to two women as they took their last breaths. The two women were mother and daughter.
Together they represented two of the most important women in my life, my own 72-year-old mother, Irma Jeanne Chatelle, and her mother, my 95-year-old grandmother, Faye Farley. My motherâs death was expected. She had battled cancer intermittently Read more
August 26, 2008
The funeral was in the hill country, west of Austin Texas, on a very bright and hot Thursday afternoon. She had lived a long and loving life with many children and grandchildren and was devoted to various charities. She outlived a husband about which the kids still love to share of his goodness.
She had fought the battle with cancer that ended with an acceptance of defeatâin time to prevent Read more
July 20, 2008
The following is an excerpt of a letter Edgar Allen Poe wrote on January 4, 1948 after his wife died:
âYou sayââCan you hint to me what was the terrible evilâ which caused the irregularities so profoundly lamented?â Yes; I can do more than hint. This âevilâ was the greatest which can befall a man. Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a Read more
July 2, 2008
Jeanne is a woman I have known for years. There is a quiet kindness that emanates from her;, side by side a fire that fuels her fiddle or cello or whatever she puts her hands on. She has brought me to tears with her music and has made me want to dance.
She told me about her experience with her momâs death some time ago but until I learned about home funerals, I didnât really understand the depth of it. I asked her if she would share her story. Enjoy. Read more
April 29, 2008
I often think about the walk I’d take in the morning before my mom woke up each day.
My mother lived in Tampa, FL. In 2005, she was taken to the hospital on Mother’s Day and was dead the Wednesday before Father’s Day of cholangiocarinoma. We found out Mother’s Day week that she had this cancer. I went to stay with her 2 weeks later. Read more