Share Your Story
Hearing about others' experiences can be helpful when dealing with death and bereavement. Do you have a personal experience that you'd feel comfortable sharing with the campaign? If so, let us know...
I don’t know where to start with this, so here goes.
I think the main thing when you know someone you love is going to die, is not to plan how it will go.
My Dad was dying of lung cancer and he was adamant that he wanted to stay at home, so we agreed to do this. Between my mum, sister and me we cared for him round the clock.
The end came a lot quicker than what we expected. It was my turn to sleep over at mum’s, so my sister went home for a good night’s sleep and to look after her family. My mum went up to bed and I slept on the sofa. We had a baby monitor fitted in dad's room so if he became distressed we could hear him. It was noises from dad that woke me, and I went up to him.
I had pictured in my mind how it would be when he died. I pictured holding him in my arms and kissing his cheek... the reality was much more distressing. As he lay there he started to bring up small amounts of blood, which gradually got bigger. It spurted down his lips and chin and onto his vest. I panicked and rang the nurses to come as fast as possible. They said they would be ten minutes - it felt like hours.
While I was waiting I would run into dads room to be with him, but would then become so distressed I would run out again. I wanted to hug him and say, "Dad, I’m here, I love you," but I couldn’t hold him because of the blood and I didn’t want to cause him anymore pain or discomfort.
I stood at the bedroom door, whispering to him as loud as possible (because I didn’t want my mum to wake up and witness this), "Dad I love you, I’m sorry Dad, I want to hug you and hold you, Dad I love you!" It was awful.
When the nurses turned up, the first one rushed up to Dad while I was still at the front door letting the second nurse in. As I turned round to go upstairs, the nurse coming down said: "I’m sorry love, he’s gone."
I’m still not sure whether he died when I was in the room with him or not, as his breathing was so irregular. I had to ring my sister and tell her to come, and then I had to wake Mum up and tell her Dad had died.
Don’t make plans, just be as strong as you can be.
Dad, I hope you heard me and I hope you felt my love in the room for you. I miss you every day and if I could have that night back again I would. I would hold you and kiss you and never let go xxx
The Dying Matters Coalition is led by the National Council for Palliative Care,
the umbrella charity for end of life care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Freephone 08000 21 44 66