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DigitalBlue's avatar

Do you feel it is important to give loved ones "permission" to die?

Asked by DigitalBlue (7072points) February 1st, 2013

I think that it is fairly common when someone that we love is close to death to say something like “it’s okay to go.” But, do you think it could be important?

I have worked in hospice for years, and it seems really common that once a person has been given “permission” to let go, that it tends to happen very quickly. I often wonder if that is a vital part of the process for certain people at the end of their lives.
Do you think that it is possible that an internal fight to hold on might keep people alive longer, even if they are physically dying?

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16 Answers

MadeiraBoo's avatar

I believe that a person will try to hold out for as long as humanly possible until they feel they can let go. Maybe we need closure of sorts before we go. There are lots of stories of what people say on their deathbeds. Maybe it’s a final thing, knowing they’ve let it all out, given their all and possibly wondering about their offspring or those they leave behind. I don’t know, and I won’t know until I get there and by then, it will be too late to tell you about it.

cookieman's avatar

Having been through that exact scenario with my aunt, two uncles, and my father – I have to agree.

In the case of my father, we all assured him we would be okay and he could rest now. I placed headphones on him playing his favorite music, and soon after – he was gone.

Also, thank you for what you do. It is such an important job.

Bellatrix's avatar

I haven’t ever been in a position where I have had to do this but I have heard people talk about how their loved one hung on until they said it was okay to go or until they left the room. I think it is important for the person who is dying but also perhaps for the person left behind. I also absolutely agree with @cookieman‘s final sentence.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@cookieman you could not have said anything sweeter. Both you and @DigitalBlue are truly blessed souls!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If it’s been a long and painful fight it’s okay to let them know it’s okay to go. At a certain point when the prognosis is definately bad it’s good to let them know you love them and let them move on. The mind is very strong, but when the body is done, it’s okay to let them go. It doesn’t hurt in your heart any less, but they’re not hurting any more. I think letting them know you loved them is very important.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Some people yes. My dad yes. My husband didn’t get the chance. But I do think it would of been important to him had he of had the chance.

Mariah's avatar

I think it is an incredibly selfless thing to do. After enough suffering, a person probably doesn’t want to live anymore, but she doesn’t want to destroy her loved ones either. To give her the permission is to put her above yourself and say yes, it will hurt to see you go, but it hurts more to ask you to stay and suffer. I would want my family to do it for me if I were dying.

lookingglassx3's avatar

I really do think it is important. My grandmother recently lost her battle with terminal cancer. She was diagnosed six months to live, and lasted a year, even though she was confined to her bed for months. I do think she was waiting for some sort of closure. My dad was with her when he died. He said to her, “We all love you, Mum.” Moments later she took a deep breath and died. I think him emphasising the fact that we love her made her realise that we had accepted she needed to die, and that we would still love her after she died. But yes, I really do believe it’s important in the case of death for loved ones to give their dying relatives/friends/etc ‘permission’ to die.

Shippy's avatar

I think they do that. My mom did that, she was in a coma. I kissed her forehead and said I love you, she had that funny breathing, I said bye. Then I walked to the lift to go home and they told me she died when I had walked out of the room.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think it’s very important, too. My grandfather was in hospital dying and kept hanging on, then that Friday, with a full moon, he finally let go. I whispered a few things, then said “You’d better go, grandma’s waiting for you, Papaw” and he went within a minute.

Sometimes I think with the drugs and illness, they may be fuzzy headed, so it just felt like the right thing to do, so he wouldn’t suffer longer. I also think the moon cycle plays an important part based on my own observations, no data to back it up.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

My Mom waited until she saw the last of her 7 siblings. He was the one whom she was worried about (alcoholic). When he showed up (and the rest of the siblings were around her hospital bed), she woke up from her coma and said “I love you all” then back into a coma she went. She died the next day.

Sunny2's avatar

My mother-in-law wanted to die and often said so. Her body had given out, but she was still alive. We suggested that she could stop eating and just drink liquids to speed up the process. She told us she tried that, but she’d then forget and realize she had to eat because it was good for her. I stroked her hand and softly suggested she just let go. She died the next afternoon. Did I have anything to do with it? I don’t know, but after reading all of the above, perhaps I did. I knew she was at peace and so was I.

rooeytoo's avatar

I had a friend who had told his mother it was okay to go but she kept hanging on. He felt she didn’t want to go while he was still there. So he told her again it was okay and then he told her he was going out to feed their dogs. When he came back shortly thereafter, she had died.

MadeiraBoo's avatar

Wow some of these stories are quite sad.

For those of you who have lost loved ones and shared your story in your answer, I am very sorry for your loss. And I agree with what @cookieman said. You do a very important job, thank you very much for helping to look after these people until the end. I couldn’t do what you do.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I couldn’t do it anymore, either. I quit. It got to be too heavy, but thanks for the nice words, jellies. (Should have said had worked?)

Paradox25's avatar

My dad passed on in front of us at his house. The hospice nurses were taking care of him during the last days of his stage four colon cancer, and they told my mom to tell him she would be alright. When my mom told my dad he could move on to heaven he finally stopped strugging and passed on with a smile on his face. The hospice nurses told us this scenerio was common.

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