Grandfather is nearing death and depressed - Talk About Marriage
Dealing with Grief and Loss The grieving process is difficult. When we lose someone close to us, we go through many different emotions.

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Grandfather is nearing death and depressed

The doctors are saying maybe a few more weeks. I went with some family to visit him, i knew it would be hard to see him in such a bad condition but was worse was his attitude. He was depressed, angry and bitter.

He was mad that we only came to visit him since he was dying. It made me feel terrible, i know dont visit as much as i probably should but i work long hours, live in a different state and am struggling with my marriage (hence the reason im on this forum) i barely have enough time to get the lawn mowed most weeks let alone take a road trip to see grandparents and other relatives.

When i left i said it was good to see him and would see him soon, he replied "the next time you see me it will be in a box in the ground" how the heck am i supposed to respond, no one else heard what he said, i just smiled, squeezed his hand and left in shock.

I always looked up to this man and was proud to carry his family name, he raised a wonderful family, was a physically and emotionally strong man. It just hurts knowing that my last memories of him might be of him being so angry and bitter.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 07:49 PM
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Re: Grandfather is nearing death and depressed

I'm sorry you're going through this. You're doing the best you can for your family, the same as he probably did. He's looking death in the face and I'm certain that's pretty scary stuff. He might be excused for saying hurtful things. He's left you lots of great memories of how he was when he wasn't dying. That's the real him and the one you should remember. In a way, it's a blessing that some of us are taken out of this world by surprise; otherwise, we'd poison the memories we leave others by expressing sentiments common to those who knowingly face execution. People who die suddenly and unexpectedly have the luxury of appearing brave. They weren't brave, just caught by surprise. Your grandpa was tough when his family needed him to be. Now, he needs y'all to be tough. Guilt and regret never breathed life back into anyone. We're all doing this "life" thing entirely through on-the-job training. All we can do is the best we can do. A man who has kids and grandkids doesn't entirely die. Your grandfather's stories, lessons, jokes, and influence will be around as long as they are shared.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 10:56 PM
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Re: Grandfather is nearing death and depressed

Toshiba, I agree with Unbelievable that it would be a great mistake to judge your grandfather based on his behavior in the last several weeks of his life. My experience is that elderly people are on so many powerful medications in the last year of their lives that they typically become paranoid or very resentful.

My mother, for example, periodically wanted to cut my sister out of her will because she became paranoid about the way the family was treating her. I talked her out of doing it several times, reassuring her that my sister truly loved her.

My sister's crime was that she lived a few blocks away from my mother and thus was the one who was always taking care of her. In contrast, I was favored because I lived a thousand miles away and thus was blameless. My mother's perception of our intentions had become distorted by her failing health and the side effects of powerful drugs.

Similarly, my favorite aunt turned against her only child -- her son -- three years ago when she was dying from cancer. I flew back to the Midwest to be at her side -- together with her son (my cousin) -- when she died. For several months, she had become increasingly paranoid about her son.

Her paranoia got worse just two days before she died. She told the nursing staff not to allow him to enter her room because he was just after her money and he wanted to control her. He was so devastated by what his mother had said that he went back home and decided to stay away. He actually thought she did not love him.

I called him and explained that his mother was not in her right mind -- due to the powerful cancer drugs and pain killers. I also explained how my own mother had turned against my sister during her dying days -- also due to the drugs and fear. He was so relieved to hear that that he came back to the hospice the next morning and spent the next two days with me by her side.

He and I therefore were there with her when she passed. Of course, he now is extremely thankful that I was able to persuade him to return to the hospice because he loves his mother very much. And she adored him too -- when she was in a clear state of mind.

What has happened is that modern medicine has allowed people to double their life spans -- at the cost of making most of them die very slow and unpleasant deaths. Until antibiotics and other modern drugs were discovered, most people died very suddenly, within just a few days. They could be perfectly fine and then, three days later, be dead from a flu or other disease.

In contrast, the elderly today typically live long lives in the advanced countries and end up on heavy drugs for years at the end of their life spans. Hence, the gentle, loving farewells you see in the movies are more the exception than the rule, if my experience is any guide. I therefore join Unbelievable in encouraging you to remember your grandfather for what he was throughout his lifetime -- not for what he was during the last two weeks of his life.
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