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Experience of a dying grandparent needed

VaBluebirdVaBluebird 3411 replies241 threads Senior Member
My mom is in the end stages of her life. She lives a distance from all her immediate family. My youngest son and wife plus nephew and wife + two kids plan to visit her during the Christmas holidays. I don't know whether to tell them, warn them that their beloved grandmother is just really not well at all. I know they will be shocked to see her. She is pretty incapable of receiving visitors in any meaningful way. Nephew is 41, youngest son is 32, they are adults . They are adulting. I don't know whether to intervene, that it's just going to be a part of their life experiences to see her like this. I completely admit to seeing these young men as the boys they were when seeing their grandma for Christmas. 25-30 years ago.
What would you do?
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Replies to: Experience of a dying grandparent needed

  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17251 replies163 threads Senior Member
    I don't think you should interfere in their visit, but I don't see the harm in giving them a heads up. If they are thinking they are visiting Grandma as they remember her, that might be a shock. But I think it's great that they go see her. Who knows if they will have another chance?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8382 replies71 threads Senior Member
    Death and dying is a part of life. Be honest with them. It's painful to lose love ones but there is peace in being able to say goodbye and being emotionally prepared when you are able.

    Hugs and prayers for you and your family.
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  • houndmomhoundmom 325 replies11 threads Member
    This is a hard time. I just went through it with my mom who passed recently.

    Give your family a "heads up" before they visit - it is best to be prepared, not just for their sakes, but for your mom.

    Speaking with hospice workers, family visitors can help with a sense of closure and bring peace.
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  • sevmomsevmom 8490 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Absolutely tell them . They are adults and it is part of life. My kids were much younger when bad things started happening to loved ones like grandparents and they were informed as things evolved. All the best.
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  • collage1collage1 1859 replies72 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry your mom is toward the end of her life, @VaBluebird. It sounds like this might be the last time your S, his wife and his cousin's family might be able to spend time with her. How nice that they are able to make the trip. If it were me, I would give them a heads up about her deteriorating condition and, if you're aware of any way they can help her, whether it's purchasing groceries or aiding her on the stairs, I'd mention that too (assuming they're they type that appreciate those kinds of suggestions).
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2695 replies58 threads Senior Member
    I've found loved ones' passing to be easier when I've had the chance to say goodbye. It's okay to warn them that Grandma is nearing the end of her days. If you don't think she'll make it until they come home for Christmas, you might want to warn them of that too. At their age they should have an emergency fund set aside should they decide not to risk waiting.
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  • ClassicMom98ClassicMom98 196 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Agree with others. Give them a heads up on her condition, but let them go.

    When I was pregnant with older S, on a whim H and I drove the 2 hours to see my grandparents who had recently relocated from PA to be closer to the rest of us. When we were there, my Grandpa showed us his scrapbook from WWII. Sounds nice, but nobody (my mom was an only child) knew it existed. My grandmother never let him talk about the war. It was too upsetting. 6 weeks later he caught an infection and died. I somehow think he just knew it was coming and wanted us to know. A couple of other odd things happened during his passing, and I firmly believe he and my son are forever connected.

    So yes, let them go. It might be hard, but it's a good thing.
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  • wis75wis75 14230 replies64 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    It is a good idea to give a heads up about her failing health. Very important however, is her mental status. It can be a great last visit for all involved if she can interact.

    My father is now 93 and his dementia continues to increase. We (sister and I) have warned the grandchildren that he no longer remembers any of them- he had their photos removed from his house. Even a few years ago I told my brother's D who lives locally not to feel any guilt for not trying to visit him like they would several years before then. My sister sees him every month, out of town but instate. I saw him this fall after a few years when I was instate for another reason. Shocked at how his face is gaunt- one of these days his body will catch up to his brain and he will die- months/years- who knows. I will continue to call him intermittently and get asked where I live three times in one minute, repeat of the weather likewise and nothing to talk about. Useless to mention son or any of his other grandchildren- all in their thirties. Can't do anything for the stubborn et al old man so have made my peace with that.

    Some of you have elderly relatives who were and are a delight to visit with- by phone or in person. Some are on a downhill course -physically and/or mentally- and seeing them becomes a now or never choice. I like post # 9's suggestions.
    edited December 2019
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  • HImomHImom 34876 replies395 threads Senior Member
    My H’s relative had a recurrence of cancer. A cousin called us and suggested we visit ASAP, so we moved up our planned trip and visited that weekend instead of waiting until D’s spring break in a few weeks. We had a good visit even tho we could tell she was very tired. Sadly she didn’t feel up to talking so we just sat together and watched a movie she had liked so much she had given our kids, “Finding Nemo.”

    We also asked her if she was interested in having an estate planning attorney come to her home and letting her know the options and helping her have her preferences carried out. She was very interested and it all got done that weekend. It saved her heirs over $100,000!

    She had many of her family members who love her present most of the weekend. She died on Tuesday, with brother and beloved cousin at her side. We were all grateful we had that weekend we all shared.

    I agree with preparing loved ones that the Patient may have low stamina and not be the person they remember, in that their condition has deteriorated.
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  • conmamaconmama 4567 replies329 threads Senior Member
    I would tell them. I see no reason not to. Do you think they would pass on the visit if they knew? Also, it might annoy them if they go and are shocked. They will ask you why you didn’t give them a heads up.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5098 replies23 threads Senior Member
    Listen to the above advice. They are adults even if we see them as children. To my 90 year old mother, I am still her youngest.

    They will regret you if your not honest plus it's better emotionally so they can prepare themselves instead of being caught off guard.

    Best wishes to your family.
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  • mathmommathmom 32666 replies160 threads Senior Member
    Hugs. I agree with everyone else. Give them a heads up, but they should be given a chance to say their goodbyes, even if she's not all there.
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 3285 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I was 20 when my mom died from cancer. I had no reference point for what the end of life could be like.

    I think I would have benefited from a little heads up re: what to expect.

    For example, I knew she had about a month or so to live, but I didn’t “get” that the last month she’d be on pain meds and loopy and just not herself mentally.

    That, in addition to the dramatic change in physical appearance.

    People who have experienced a loved one dying already know this, but it was a shock to me at the time.

    Wishing you the best during this difficult time!
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3669 replies37 threads Senior Member
    I think letting them know what to expect since they haven’t seen grandma in a long time is a good thing to do. Hugs to you—this isn’t easy.
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  • readthetealeavesreadthetealeaves 767 replies14 threads Member
    @VaBluebird So sorry your mom is in the end stages. I agree a heads up is in order. Not intervening just advising is in order. They (your kids and nephew) are bringing kids that may need to be prepared. It can be very shocking to think you are just visiting an older relative and enter into a difficult emotional situation where visiting is not easy. The more they know the better it will go
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