I have a terminal illness, a husband, 2 children (boys, ages 8 and 14), and a very risky surgery scheduled next week...what affairs should I make a priority? [more inside]
My grandma is in her 90s and she broke her neck. I'm not sure I'm getting the story straight from my father so I just want to know what's going on and what to expect. What I know is inside. [more inside]
My partner is going to visit his parent, who has cancer and is in palliative care in another city (and might die quite soon.) Due to my own health, I genuinely can't travel there with him. What are some ways to be supportive of my partner, when I can't be there in person?
Growing up, my family was squarely middle class. But that didn’t make it easy. My father was an alcoholic with a vicious temper. He was incredibly emotionally abusive, and on occasion, he was physically abusive. Think “The Great Santini”, minus the military elements. And minus the supportive mother. My mother – whom my father abused just as much as he did us – put up with every inch of it. What’s more, she basically took it out on us children, keeping herself cold and distant while never once acknowledging his faults. Now they’re dying, and man, are the guilt trips heavy. [more inside]
My mother is mentally ill. I went "no contact" seven years ago to protect myself and those in my life. I have received word that she is dying of terminal cancer. How can I know more about her condition so that I can see her at the end, but not until the end? [more inside]
In one of the world's traditions (or maybe in fiction), there's the idea that death has 3 stages: first, the biological death of the physical body; second=??; and third, when the last person who, as a child, knew you, undergoes biological death. Would someone please refresh or correct my memory of this teaching?
I'm 32 weeks pregnant with my first child. Meanwhile, my sweetie's father is succumbing to cancer (so, by the way, is my stepmom, whom I love dearly). I'm interested in tips on how to cope with tough stuff like this while pregnant, how to both be supportive and get the support I need right now. [more inside]
How much disruption of my life is OK when it comes to caring for a dying parent? What if I just don't have it in me? [more inside]
So, my spouse of 20 years has weeks to live according to the hospice nurse who came today. [more inside]
My husband is terminally ill and probably won't live more than 6 months. We have a 7 year old son. What will it be like for our son to live at home while his father continues to decline and during his eventual death at home? [more inside]
I am having a weird symptom lately that I don't know whether to attribute to depression, anxiety, or aging. Namely, I can't stop thinking about death and dying. I'm 26 and I am constantly thinking about how I could die at any moment and time is running out for me (and my loved ones). [more inside]
As a hospice volunteer, I am often called to sit vigil with those that are dying, and many of them are life-long churchgoers. As I spend time with them, on occasion a friend or relative may stop in and read a verse or two (most often the 23rd Psalm) and it seems to immediately create a sense a peace for the person, especially if they have been agitated and in distress. [more inside]
A friend of the family is dying, and soon. She was diagnosed recently with cancer and given days to live. She is in her home and aware, but under hospice care. Rather than send flowers when she's dead I thought I should send them now while she is alive to know we are thinking of her. What should I put in the card? I'm leaning towards just "Thinking of you" and our names. Any better suggestions for the card?
What can I do to save a large indoor gardenia plant with browning, dry leaves? [more inside]
My father and step-father (both in their seventies) are nearing the end of their lives, and I want to give them books to read in the time they have left. I'm not looking for anything that's necessarily literally on the topic of death, nor anything religious or self-help-ish. I'm looking for books suitable for a person with limited ability to concentrate due to pain/fatigue, that run the gamut from pleasant & not inappropriate, to ones that will provoke reflection and help them come to terms with dying. Please help with your recommendations. [more inside]
Help me talk to my five year old child about death age appropriately. We've talked about Fred Rogers. We've talked his feelings. We've talked about what he knows about it. He's concerned because his great-aunt died about a month ago, and now he wants to make sure we'll always be there. The problem is, in very short time his grandfather, my dad, won't. [more inside]
My mother has terminal cancer, and I don't know how much time she has left. Others with experience losing a parent: what would I regret not doing with this time? [more inside]
The house I live in was flipped and landscaped with these cactuses before we moved in. The largest one seems to be dying. It looks rotten in the center and even has some mold. I suspect the recent heavy rains and lack of good drainage. The question I have is two fold: Is it possible to fix this guy, or is he a goner? If I do replace the plant, what kind of plant is it, and how should i prevent this from happening again? Here are some pictures of the plant.
I just found out my dad has pulmonary fibrosis. He and I are both too young to deal with this. Help? [more inside]
My boyfriend (lets call him Mike) does not know about my ex boyfriend's existence (Lee). I found out his brother died a couple of months ago, and now he has the same disease and may or may not survive as well. I am quite upset about this, should I tell Mike about him or just keep it to myself? [more inside]
Is there anything I can possibly do or say to ease my Dad's emotional suffering caused by his terminal prognosis? [more inside]
I'm trying to go as John Glenn for Halloween (I work someplace with his name on it). Specifically I'm trying to go as this picture. The suit is apparently a light blue as you can see here. I got a navy colored flight suit, but the color is really dark - it looks almost black in some light. Is there a way to make the suit a lighter color of blue? [more inside]
My friend's dad is dying of emphysema. I'm not sure what stage he's in. I don't think he's ready to die yet, but he's not in good shape at all... [more inside]
15 minutes before my mom died she suddenly opened her eyes, looked straight ahead (not at me) and smiled beautifully as if she was seeing the most wonderful thing imaginable. This gave us all a tremendous sense of peace. I once heard about a priest who was on his deathbed and he kept saying over and over "Its so beautiful, its so beautiful.." before he died. I understand his eyes were open and he was, also, looking straight ahead. We often hear about the body's processes shutting down at the time of death and the the lack of oxygen on the brain as its closing down but I'm referring to the hour or so before death - what are they seeing? Is the shutting down process starting early? Even so I don't think just seeing a light at the end of a tunnel was making the two cases mentioned so ecstatic. I always thought that my mother was seeing someone she knew and loved very much - it was that kind of smile - delight upon recognition. I have 2 elderly stage IV cancer patients in my family right now so death has been on my mind a lot lately.
In the event that I have any control over it whatsoever, I want to die well. Recent family events and yesterday's NPR segments (1, 2) on end-of-life issues raise a fresh wave of questions about how to plan now for the best possible end later on. Is there anything in the works that looks like a living will but allows us in our younger healthier years to document the preference "if a, b or c happen, just guide me to the light with morphine"? I want to be able to die as peacefully and (perhaps almost as) easily as my pets can. And perhaps I should reserve this additional loaded question for a separate post, but what the hell: why do people care so much? [more inside]
Can you recommend a Christian book for men, that contains a humorous collection of short stories? [more inside]
For the last 6 or 7 days, I've been fixated on death, and not in a suicidal context. How do people normally handle constant thoughts about their mortality, and how can I stop this from crippling my ability to "live?" [more inside]
Recently I had a California Advance Health Care Directive drawn up (free when you buy a Will!) Whoa... this is a tough question! End of Life Decision: A) Choice not to prolong life B) Choice to prolong life Which one should I pick? How do I go about picking one? More details inside [more inside]
My uncle is dying - the doctor says days or weeks. I haven't said anything to him, or his wife, or his kids, since they got the cancer diagnosis a few months ago. Our families have had a historically fractured relationship, so it all feels very awkward to me. Please help me figure out what to appropriately say to them. [more inside]
It appears my Dad is in the process of dying - I'm mostly okay with that, but really struggling with the rest of my family. Could use some words of wisdom. [more inside]
Labor of death much like the labor of being born? [more inside]
Elderly mom is ill. If it looks like she's not going to make it should I tell her estranged daughter (my semi-estranged sister) despite the risk of an ugly scene ensuing? [more inside]
I have a early 2008 Macbook Pro that has just now come down with the dying logic board problem. I bought it outside the 4-year period (so no free replacement) and have a new MBP anyways, so how can I get rid of it such that maximize my return value? [more inside]
I bought a heavy light grey cotton sweatshirt with a plastic-y large round decal on the front. I want to dye the sweatshirt black but not mess up the decal. Any advice on how to do it? Complication: the sweatshirt is used and older. [more inside]
I need suggestions of fictional or non-fictional books or films that deal with illness or dying in relation to humor/the absurd. [more inside]
My mother is going to die, probably very soon. How do I deal with waiting for it to happen? [more inside]
My 90 year old grandmother is barely conscious, rarely eating, and is losing her mental faculties. I visit her every lunchtime to try and get her to eat. My mother (her daughter) takes the evening shift for dinnertime. I'm not coping well. Any suggestions to help me make this easier, so I'm not sobbing my heart out every day? [more inside]
My husband has a few more months before cancer takes his energy, and then his life. We have a 17 month old son. My husband plans to write some letters to our son, but beyond that, I am not sure what to do to help my son know his father. Any ideas? [more inside]
I have a little cactus on my desk. I don't know what kind it is. For the last several months, it's looked just fine. This morning, it's turned a brownish-green and started wilting. Is it just dead suddenly, or is there something I can do to save it? Here's a picture of it.
My mom died. Now what? (In the abstract, existential sense.) [more inside]
In the last year on our road into town in rural Vermont, we have seen the personal effects of 3 people who have recently died packed into dumpsters at the side of the road. In one case the family had a tag sale and sold all the valuable stuff (her crystal collection) and tossed the rest in the dumpster. For some reason this creeps me out big time and I don't want it to happen to me. Are there best practices for disposing of the personal effects of family members?How did your family dispose of the stuff of the deceased that you didn't want? Yes.... I know about a will and have one.
Why do I care so much to know the cause of my friend's recent, unexpected death? [more inside]
What documentaries accurately depict the dying process? [more inside]
Hospice and palliative-care providers often tell patients' families and friends that as people die, hearing is the last sense to go. Is there any science behind the claim? [more inside]
How can I comfort the loved ones of a dying person I don't like? And the dying person themselves? Snowflake details inside. [more inside]
A 5 foot tall tree I planted last year looks almost dead (leaves are dried up) but there are two foot tall healthy shoots coming out of the base of the tree (at ground level). Now what? [more inside]
Why is this privet hedge dying? [more inside]
There will soon be a death in my family. I'm worried this one's going to be especially hard and I'm not sure what to do. [more inside]
Help me find a career working with the dying and/or those close to them. [more inside]
Funeral Question: So my grandmother died. The wake is on Thursday and the funeral is on Friday. I've never been to a funeral before and not any Catholic services before. What's expected of me? What can do to help? Or at least not make things worse? [more inside]