Shouldn't she be happy?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Shouldn't she be happy?
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Thu, 05-14-2009 - 8:38pm

My great grandmother is 94. Except for being very religious, she's been of sound mind her entire life until very recently. She's having health problems and thinks she is going to die and really I think she's probably right.

She has been having hallucinations about death, interacting with the visions and freaking out. She spent one night crying and saying, "I'm old and I'm going to die," over and over again.

This is a woman who has been extremely religious her entire life. It seems like this would be a happy time for a religious person... doesn't it? I really don't understand. It just seems like she should be excited right now instead of crying and freaking out.

At the moment, there are things I fear so much more than death. I wonder if I will ever feel like she does or if I will embrace the end of my existence.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2006
Fri, 05-15-2009 - 2:45pm

I fear death some. Mainly I fear me dying and leaving my kids. I also fear the how. I don't want it to be painful. The 1% Agnostic in me questions what's "next". I think when I am staring death in the face I might freak, too. We humans have survival instincts. For the most part we do what we can to stay alive. Even at 95, believing fully in a god, she may not want to die.

If she's religious (and if you're comfortable with this) remind her of her religion and help her draw strength from it. She doesn't need to be happy that she's dying, just at peace with it. It sucks to be so afraid.

(((hugs))) to you and her. I hope she passes quickly and pain-free.



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Avatar for sandie5
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Sat, 05-16-2009 - 3:00pm

Maybe instead of happy, she really should be at peace with everything. My grandma (religious) was ok with it. When I asked her at age 75 or so if she was scared of death, she said no because she had done everything there is to do. She married, had kids, grandkids etc. what was left for her to accomplish. When the time came, she was ok with it.

At 95 your grandma isn't looking forward to much, no career plans, no raising kids etc. Maybe she's not so afraid of death as really the dying process. At her age, it'll probably be something quick like in her sleep. Those people who go in a painful way at the hospital already have some morbid condition. If she's already at 95, she won't be getting those.

Perhaps because she's not busy with things, she's dwelling on this and making herself all upset.
Remind her that she might just live to be a good 110. I worked in an old folks home and went to a few parties for 100 year olds. Perhaps get her involved in doing things she might enjoy like card games, social activities etc.


Sandie


Sandie

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2006
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 2:58am

AAAW. That must be so awful for all of you.

I certainly don't have any answers or explanations for the fear of death. So I don't know "why". I, too, think it's a natural instinct to fear death. Hence, the mythologies about afterlives and such. I suspect that, as death draws near, those mythologies don't give much comfort. Maybe they are mostly to comfort the surviving loved ones...

As an atheist, I wonder how I will feel when my own end is near. I do think about that at times. The only thing I truly, actually FEAR about it, though, is leaving my children behind, especially if I were to die early. It upsets me to think that could happen.

ACK. I will change the subject now. It just so happens I was keeping myself awake thinking about that tonight due to some earlier conversations today...So, sorry!

But, when I think about being with a loved one who is in such distress, I just want to hug all of you! It's tough.

Peace,
Karen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 6:58am

Happy to die! NO! Who would be? My Gram passed away last year a few weeks short of 95. She LOVED life and I often feel that is what kept her going for 94 freaking years. IMO your Gram should be happy for the life she has had ( and try to focus on that ) but I think the fear of the end is natural, religious or not. To be happy to die in my opinion would be similar to being suicidal.
I am sorry for this diffucult time.I hope she makes it to 105 and manages not to be fearful the entire time!

Liesl

March
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 7:41pm

I don't fear death. I don't know what happens at death, but what I believe is that we simply cease to exist. I think I'm OK with that.

My biggest fear is becoming a vegetable, severe retardation or becoming quadriplegic. My wish in those those scenarios is for death, but I don't think my family will honor my wishes. Unfortunately in those situations I will be unable to enact a contingency plan on my own and it scares me more than I can express.



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 7:41pm
Maybe you are right. Maybe it is the dying process she fears. I have to admit, that is my big fear. I could die this moment and never know it, but if I was diagnosed with a degenerative disease or cancer, I can already tell you I'd commit suicide before going through with the long slow process of watching my body fall apart.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 7:42pm
I don't think 'leaving the children behind,' really applies here. The children are in their 70s now.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2008
Sun, 05-17-2009 - 7:44pm

To me, it makes since that Christians should be happy as the time of death approaches. After living full and meaningful lives, why wouldn't they desire death? They spend their entire lives worshiping a deity so after passing they get to go to a paradise. While in this wondrous land they will join all their formerly lost friends, family members and loved ones. They get to be with their creator who they spent an entire lifetime worshiping, but never having the opportunity to actually meet.

Why would the faithfully religious ever fear death? That doesn't make sense to me. If I were an extremely religious person, I think my end of life would be a peaceful and exciting time.



Avatar for lola528
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Mon, 05-18-2009 - 11:26am

You can't imagine fearing your own death because you really can't imagine it. The actual death part, I mean.

Avatar for sandie5
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 05-19-2009 - 10:54am

You should also tell her that all people are afraid of death. But we push those thoughts away. Don't dwell on death because it's can overwhelm you. When you start thinking about it, just force yourself to think of something else.

She's not alone with these thoughts but she's got to get herself to stop dwelling on it.

I now wonder, after reading other posts here on this thread, if religious people are actually more afraid of death. I mean for me, an atheist, it will all be over and there will be nothingness. But for religious people, they must wonder if God will be angry with them (he seems angry a lot), or if their dead relatives will be waiting for them and old conflicts will still be played, or worse, they'll go to some bad place first like purgatory or hell. It's quite a big unknown and they must go there alone.


Sandie


Sandie

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