Death and Dying

Death and dying, the though of it causes many emotions, and I can see from a recent post it has caused a great deal replies. I am not going to judge any of the responses as I believe we are entitled to personal opinions, and as humans we are not always going to agree with each other. I also feel that death and dying is not discussed enough amongst those who most need to know our wishes. In fact quite recently when discussing my own wishes should I be near death was accused of being morbid about even considering such a thing at my young age. Death regardless of our status, old or young, sick or healthy is a natural part of the life cycle.

I am not afraid of dying, having been forced at a very young age to discuss my death when my family didn't understand my illness. In recent years I have made my husband aware of what I wish to happen to my remains when I pass, and have told him how I feel about being kept alive when I consider my quality of life to be poor. The only thing I haven't done yet is make my wishes know officially, something I have considered, but not quite sure how to do it.,

And remember the process of dying and death is personal, what one might consider a poor quality of life, another might find acceptable. So what ever responses this post generates, please be respectful of one another, enough upset has happened recently on this community board.

Good night everyone, and have a good sleep Katina aka Daxiemad

29 Replies

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  • Katina so long as your next of kin know it does not have to be cast in stone .The family are told every thing when the time comes and most times our bodies make the decision for us . xxx

  • My hubby does! But I have life experience of this subject that is very close to the heart which makes me feel very strongly about my own personal decisions.

  • Well written Daxie encompasses every thing why aye who could complain.

  • I don't mind death at all. But the thought of dying slowly and in pain is horrific! Anyway when I go I want to leave my body to medical science - especially my lungs.. :)

    Bev x

  • HI bev,

    I have left my body to medical science. You need to contact your local Medical School who will send you the various forms. You need to get this arranged whilste you are living as it cannot be done by relatives once our life has ended.My family are all happy with this arrangement and they are well cared for by the appropriate School of Medicine Can give more info should you need it.

  • Since my original post I have been discussing this subject with fellow BLFer in private. I originally wasn't going to say what my end of life wishes are, but since this conversation going to because they consider what I want to be fair and I would write it sensitively, so here goes!

    I don't wish for my life to be prolonged if it means loss of dignity, my husband has cared for me so much already, and he full well knows all the way I am bloody minded and still try to be independent, even if I suffer for it later. Also I don;t feel it is fair that my husband should continue to care for me at the end for too long when he has done so much for me during life. My end of life time should be such that is quick, but caring and dignified for both parties, as the carer suffers too in my eyes. and the end comes I would rather be remembered for my previous life, and not a long drawn out suffering at the end.

    My immediate family mean so much to me, and as many of you know I am passionate about my dog/s as well as my husband of course. So for me it is important that at the end when my remains are distributed, my dog/s and husband are with me. Now of course I don;t mean if the remaining one has to pop off soon afterwards so that we can be together, I mean that all our remains are placed together and dealt with when appropriate.

    So in my case "Max" my previous daxie is waiting for me in his little box, one day " Lottie" will be waiting for me too, and so on. Then our cremated remains along with the husband or the other way around which ever decides to pop off first will be scattered somewhere, where we all enjoyed in our life times together.

    The actual memorial is something else altogether, I am not one for big expensive affairs, and if there is an estate at the end I would rather the local animal rescue get it than a funeral director. So obviously as you have already read there will be no plot or headstone (Not much point when I am pretty much the last of my line, there will be no one to care for it), hate the idea of a coffin and besides trees look better when alive or when used to make something that can be appreciated by the living, precious waste of resources if it is going to go up in smoke.! I am not a fan of religion but if someone wants to have a service and get up and say something they can, but only if I can have the last giggle and have played Queen's "I'm going slightly mad."

    Finally whilst I have no religion there is one thing that as an animal lover I believe passionately in and that is the poem "Rainbow Bridge." And when my time comes look forward to meeting up with my past dogs rats, hamsters, rabbits and mice. And going onto the next life together.

    Thanks for reading another long post, huggles Katina aka Daxiemad

  • Here's a link you will like - goodfuneralguide.co.uk/

  • Stitch - Humanist funeral arrangements?

  • yes - it is something I think all of us can consider, if only to make it easier for relatives. I am a carer, so it is easier maybe - although my thoughts are shaped by nursing my dad with COPD to the end, seeing my father-in-law in hospital at the end with PF - both some years ago, but in some ways things haven't changed. I was with my Mum when she died after a ruptured aortic aneurism, 20 years after a devastating stroke. For all of them you wish a peaceful end; for the two I could influence in any way, that's how it was. My husband doesn't want to end his life in hospital if it can be avoided; we have been talking to the hospice doctor (we have asked for the hospice at home service if possible) and she has helped with completing an Advanced Directive so that Keith can say which treatments he wants refused on his behalf in the event that not using them may be life threatening, for example artifical ventilation, CPR, IV antibiotics. you can't say want you want, just what you don't want. it is witnessed then sent to GP etc. so it is on record. You can also appoint up to 5 people with your power of Attorney - this is in 2 parts, one for health & welfare and the other financial. You don't have to do both, they are separate. This appoints one or more people to make decisions, either on their own or you can stipulate they must all be in agreement, on your behalf about any health or welfare matter, but only when you no longer have the capability to do it yourself. It is a legal document, you can get the forms online, it needs to be signed by someone who has known you more than 2 years who is not related and can confirm you know what you are doing when completing it. It then has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian - and they charge £130 (half that if your income, including Attendance Allowance, is under £12,000 a year). we are currently looking into the POA, as it means the nominated person/people can make decisions on your behalf about treatment but also things like care homes etc.

    I think clarifying your funeral wishes makes it easier for whoever has to arrange it; if someone doesn't like what is done, you can always say it was their wish, thus avoiding family rifts (hopefully). Some of my husbands family are strongly religious, other absolutely not - so it would be a good idea to sort it out - but he's not ready to do that yet. I've been thinking of paying for one funeral, talked it over with the local undertaker, we can both set out our wishes then whoever goes first uses the pre-paid plan. If only this was out in the open more, I think we may be surprised what everyone really wants..........I tried to get it as a topic of discussion at my WI, but there wasn't too much entusiasm !!! i thought we could all anonymously write down something we would like at our funeral (a song, poem, kind of service, no service, etc.) and then take a look and discuss some of the ideas. I feel it's important - we are all going to go one day, not necessarily in the order we think - accidents do happen - and my husband is in no state to organise anything for me should I go first. My daughter would be up to her eyes in looking after him, and our son lives in canada - it would take a lot from their shoulders if everything were already organised. The only instruction my daughter has is that my ashes are to be mostly planted in with all my relatives in our old village churchyard, but she is to sneak some out to a special place in the new Forest, so I can be there was well. In a way I think it can be comforting to know what is going to happen - but breaking the ice and talking about it is difficult. Once sorted out, then it can be forgotten until needed. sorry for the long post!!!!

    Gill

  • A great post Katina. My will contains many of my wishes and my husband knows what I want too. The other thing you can do is to make a 'Living Will' which sets out what you want and don't want when it comes to treatment to prolong life.

    To avoid any confusions or personal views amongst family members takin things over, I think it is crucial to have your wishes recorded.

    Personally, I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered at a local woodland area which is seeking planning permission for such a purpose. There would be no marker except a token of some sort hanging from a tree which would then disappear over time.

    I don't want any family members to feel obliged to visit my grave as I will not be there anyway.

    Lynne xx

  • By the way, I'm not thinking of going anywhjere for a long, long time yet!

  • Thank you Gill.Very informative.

    Richard

  • Gidge thank you so much for your comprehensive reply, I am only 41, so some might think me considering such things is a bit early so have wondered how I would make it official, you have answered so many questions and I really appreciate it.

    Stitch a dear late friend of mine didn't want the works either and his final request was for his ashes to be chucked in the bin and be removed with the rest of the household rubbish via the rubbish collectors. Whilst I knew he was really sure about this, I wondered if his dear partner would carry it out, but bless her she did. My friend did the most important thing, which I think everyone who knows that their life is going to be over with a certain period, should do! He followed his heart and did everything possible while he could and enjoyed as much as possible whilst living. I think all of us would rather enjoy if possible our loved ones enjoying their final part of their life cycle, than be left with the death at the end.

    Maybe rather than going to a wake, those who have the choice and wish to do so should celebrate their life whilst they can with all those that mean so much to them. Gosh this post has given me food for thought!

    Hugs Katina

  • Lazerus, am so pleased you left this post. Although i am an organ donor (well, I will be!), I didn't know you could do this. The family can have a little service if they want and let's face it, when you see the coffin at a funeral, it rips your guts out knowing your loved one is inside. So, yes, am all for cutting out the middle man and am having a look at it straightaway. Thanks. Libby

  • What a great forum this is! It is so difficult to get most folks in my family to have this discussion, and here I can see all the thinking on all sides of the subject, have other people's experience put in front of me, and get reliable information about forms, organisations, choices etc as well. Naturally I have copied & saved the entire blog - thank you folks.

    My own feeling is that a black bag on the tip would do because I won't be there to see it anyway and I have no religious considerations, but the living are more important than the dead, so they can do whatever brings them comfort. I wouldn't mind if they thought of something which would give them a good laugh, but I don't suppose they will. Oh, and if there's any music I think the chorus(?) bit of Amazing Grace has a good reason to be sung.

    Frank

  • Ha ha, my ex used to say he would just put me in a bin liner and leave me out for the dustmen!

  • My husband died of IPF complications last year. We did the funeral ourselves and I used the goodfuneralguide website as a useful guide and although had been looking at cardboard coffins we ended up with a beautiful willow coffin produced by a charity for the homeless called Winter Willow. This was perfect, my husband had often done Crisis at Christmas in London and would have loved the idea that his coffin, although not cheap in the end, was helping to support those that are struggling to live out their lives in very difficult circumstances. And it gave me great comfort to see him in such a beautiful object of creativity that had a living purpose which embodied so much of what he believed in right at the very end of his life with us.

  • I very strongly object to the ridiculous prices charged for funerals, not just the coffin. At this rate folks will not be able to afford to die! I do have a belief in God but have no yearning for a religious service. I would love to be quietly wrapped in a shroud and put under the rose bushes in my garden. Unfortunately there are 'elf and safety' rules and family members to consider. So the funeral plan is in place.

  • Very sensible discussion,as many others have mentioned if we start talking about it people say we are being "morbid"one thing is for sure the sooner we start thinking about it and planning for it,the easier it's going to be for those we leave behind.

    May be a good speaker subject for breathe easy groups most hospitals have a hospice or similar who may provide a speaker.

    woody

  • I do not feel discussing death or end of life as a morbid subject and Pete and I have done this over the years most recently when he was diagnosed with copd. I would have a humanist funeral for him as he is not religious and he would do the same for me. I consider myself to be a spiritual person and I believe in myself, my husband and family. I do think that being in poor health at any age makes you think about how your life may end and when, though I am determined that Pete is not shuffling off anywhere just yet. He is only 61 yet when he is having a bad day, I really fear for his life but we carry on. We do not talk about this with our family as it does not seem right just yet but it will come to that one day. Death is a part of life and as Pete says "it is the only certainty in life." Pete has just gone to pick up his mother who is nearly 81 and suffering from dementia which seems so cruel, but that is another story. Thanks for bringing up this subject Daxi and making me think. You take care and wishing you many years ahead. xxxx

  • I have read all of the above with interest as I often think and talk about death.

    After living a blessed life for many years and only having a couple of deaths of people close to me to contend with, in the last 5 years my husband,son-in-law,father,daughter-in-law and mother have all died in that order and their ages ranged from 34 to 86 and not one was from an accident. I have come close myself a couple of times too BUT I am still here and have no intention of going anywhere until I have done skiing.

    Yes there are times when I wonder what I am doing and then I look around me and think that even after everything that has happened life is still worth fighting for and I enjoy attaching more and more post it notes to my will :)

    COPD is my illness not my being and I am bu****ed if I am going to let it become so.

    Janet

  • My main concern is with living and taking the decisions as needed it, therefore it would not be a morbid discussion that may bring some matters into consideration at the time when the personal choices are put into a patient plan for the care pathway that is of my choosing.

  • death seems to be on my mind all the time as of late, not just Richards, he's in the care of drs, nurses, and now the hospice, who all discuss such matters, but of my own, if I have an accident or sudden death, what happens to him, all that has to be considered and talked about. It does frighten me, nobody wants to go anywhere, but we all have to. I have been assured by the medical support that he will not be allowed to suffer, and the heavy duty drugs are already here in place to make sure, and that is a sort of peace of mind. I tell him jokingly, you're ok ya got me here to look after you, what happens when its my turn, I say it jokingly but the worry is still there inside me. Th hospice have a wonderful outlook on death, its called life and living it, they concentrate on the living and death is just a sideline,

  • Hi amagram, just wanted to say that you, Richard and the family are in my thoughts daily. sending you love, xx

  • Since my husband received the booklet about dying from the BLF, he has taken to his bed. He had always put the thought of dying to the back of his mind, and as long has he had me to run around after him, he was going to live forever. Now he talks about selling the car and not having much time left, in other words, he has given up, he has always been a grumpy old sod, long before he got this condition, but we have never talked about what we want when we die because to be honest, we are not that bothered. It happens to everyone in the end.

    We will deal with it when the time comes and our sons will sort it all out, they know where everything of importance is and that is all we are bothered about. We don't want to live our lives thinking about dying even though my husband is giving me a right run-around and I often feel like throttling him with his oxygen tube, I even threatened to stick his Oxygen cylinder where the sun don't shine.

    I am grateful we have lived as long as we have, I am 70 my husband 67 and have seen our sons married and settled and our grandchildren born. My sister died at 47 years of age and never saw her son and daughter get married and have a family.

    I have had a good life albeit with a miserable, bossy old git who likes his own way too much, and have travelled all over the world, so when our time comes I have told my husband that when he gets to the Pearly gates, he has NOT to wait for me. I refuse to be at his beck and call up there as well.

  • My mum is 89 and lives in a care home. My dad died 4 years ago. I told my mum that when her time came she might see my dad again. She looked horrified and said I hope not! :)

    Bev x

  • I spoke to my dad the other day about what he wants wnen the time comes and i'm so glad that i did, its something i've felt we've needed to talk about for a while but never found the right moment. There was no huge discussion just a few things said and we actually managed to have a little giggle. I know that probably sounds a bit strange but it helped.

  • Doesn't sound strange at all. Sounds as though it was done the way it should be done; with love and respect and care. Well done. xx

  • truth is your death bothers others more than it bothers you!!!!

    I wrote a will prior to being diagnosed with COPD and it was all giggles and laughs and lokes about what i was likely to have put in it, since diagnosis i realised i needed to update my will ( or the eldest of my grandchildren got the lot) and suddenly my death is a scarey prospect for everyone -

    i have 2 benefits when it comes to the understanding of death - the first is i am a spiritualist so my belief is that i do not die, i go onto a better life, i am a like a nut, my shell is disposed of as i no longer need it on death and my soul,the part that is actually me, goes on, possibly to be reincarnated later. ( very intense)

    the second is i used to deal with parents when their baby died from cot death, i have befriended a lot of parents and am proud to say i managed to help a lot of mums and dads through the worst expwerience of their life, even down to doing hand prints and taking a lock of hair from their darling baby.

    when i was young i used to be petrified of death, i would not even go near the graveyard and used to have horrific nightmares if i did.

    We all have different opinions of death, but its part of life, its those we leave behind that the pain hits.

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