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Old 01-28-2011, 11:33 PM   #1
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My father in law passed. His image is in my head

My father in law passed away two days ago. He lost his very short (dx middle on November) battle with colon cancer (it had started somewhere else but he never told us. I don't think he wanted to upset anyone). I saw him about a week and a half ago. He had just gotten a hospital bed and was in that most of the time but still did get up about once a day. My husband visited this past Sunday and watched the NFL playoffs with him. He was fine mentally just very weak and thin. He started to vomit anything he ate. Then he stopped eating. Thursday morning my mother in law said he got a burst of energy and walked unaided down the long hallway to the restroom and back. (I've heard that happens sometimes before someone passes) She went to pick up a prescription for him and a friend from church sat with him. My sister in law showed up and the church friend said he had become unresponsive and was moaning. My sister in law said his eyes were open but he wasn't looking AT anything. My mother in law got home and called the hospice nurse who said she would be on her way. And I guess from there his breathing got less and less frequent until it stopped. Unfortunately my husband was not there with him. He left work and went there. I dropped our son off at my parents' and went there.
I had never seen anyone that had passed away except at funerals after they had been made up. I don't mean to be graphic but I feel like I need to get this off my chest.
His mouth was open like he was gasping for air. His eyes were so sunken in that I actually didn't realize they were open until my sister in law told me later. It's very strange to see a person not move and be so frozen. Even when someone is sleeping, they still move. I know it wasn't him anymore. But like I said, I had never experienced this before. And I can't get the image out of my mind of him lying there with his mouth gaping wide. I wished they would have covered him up but at the same time, I wouldn't have wanted to see him like that either. It would have seemed disrespectful I guess. I guess I was expecting to see him the way they show people who have died on tv. Peaceful and sleeping. He looked like he was in agony. I don't think he was, from what my sister in law said, but he just looked horrible. And I saw that my husband kept looking at him lying there and he would tear up. I feel so morbid that his face keeps flashing in my mind, but I'm not doing it consciously. I'm sorry I'm rambling but like I said, I need to get this off my chest.
I'm glad he didn't suffer anymore than he did, but a somewhat sudden death isn't any easier either. We had time to prepare but that didn't make it any easier.

 
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Old 01-28-2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

Sorry, for you and your family lost, my condolences go out to you all.
God Bless and may the lord keep you all strong, in this very tough time.

 
Old 01-29-2011, 06:24 AM   #3
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

Sorry for your loss. My mother-in-law lost her short battle with cancer in October. We were with her as she took her final breathes too. I have put a favorite picture of her out in the living room on the TV stand so this is how I remember her not on her death bed. Maybe this would help you.
Peg

 
Old 01-29-2011, 07:33 AM   #4
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

Thank you. I think maybe in a few weeks I'll get a picture of him to hang up. It's too raw now and I think it would just upset my husband more.

 
Old 01-29-2011, 08:17 AM   #5
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

Zipity,

Sorry to hear of your loss...

Maybe it may help you to see him as he was to overcome how you saw him last...

a friend.

Last edited by MANup; 01-29-2011 at 08:17 AM.

 
Old 01-30-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

I can relate to what you are experiencing. My father died of complications of Parkinson's disease on December 26, 2010. He could no longer swallow and did not want a feeding tube. We put him in a nursing home and hospice came to care for him and inform our family what to expect. I wanted to be there until the end. It took two weeks from the time that he was put into the nursing home until he died. It was nothing what I expected. He was a diabetic and I thought he would go into a coma and pass on. He was alert and in lots of pain until the end. I watched him take his last breaths and listened to the labored breathing for hours on end. At the end he had lost a lot of weight, his mouth was opened and eyes partially opened. It was a horrifying sight and this is the man that I loved, my father. It is a memory that I cannot get out of my head and even find myself at times hyperventilating with I think about it. I am seeing a therapist but also starting to go to a grief support group next week. I am told this is a normal part of the grieving process. If you can find a support group or speak with someone who has experienced this traumatic experience it can also help. Right now it is still fresh in your mind but time will help. Take care.

 
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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Re: My father in law passed. His image is in my head

Thank you everyone for your responses. His funeral was yesterday. My sister in law and I got together and picked out old pictures of him and made a big collage that we framed and displayed at the viewing. That really helped a lot to see him young and happy and healthy. His handsome high school pictures, playing baseball, fishing, golfing, him playing with his kids and smiling. The image of him at his death is starting to fade.

 
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