I have come alongside many people who were dying in my work over the past forty years. I want to mention a few things about caring for people who are actively dying in a hospital or long term care setting. Sitting at the bedside of a dying person may not always be pleasant. The things I am going to mentions are real.
Some people I converse with, especially after they know the kind of work I do, have a romanticized view of the reality of dying. Family members may sit at the bedside and hope relief will come for their loved one by death. They can be fighting their own tiredness due to the long hours of sitting and waiting. Waiting for the “end.” When death finally comes some family members immediately burst into tears. Some just sit as if in shock. Others talk to the loved one as if trying to rouse him or her from sleep.The finality of death brings many emotions to the front that people express. Dying and death are no joke!
I have sat with dying people during times where not so pleasant things happen physically. I remember sitting with someone who lingered.The person was not comfortable much of the time. She consistently issued a form of sputum from her mouth. The room had the smell of coming death. It was not pleasant sitting close to her. Her hands were curled up as if like a claw.She remained in a fetal position.
The situation this lady experienced was at the end stage of her life. Now and again she spoke but she was difficult to hear. When death finally came she passed quietly.