Last Moment

Mom died this morning (February 20, 2015).  I was so fortunate to be able to be by her side at that moment.  My flight arrived yesterday night at 10:30PM, Dave picked me up, and we drove like bats out of hell directly to the hospital. We got to there about 11:15 and I got to talk with her and tell her that we all loved her and that it was ok to go. Under best of circumstances Mom had a hard time hearing. She didn’t have her hearing aids and I don’t know if she could hear me or not. I like to think that she did, on some level.

I was watching the monitor that charted her vital signs. Everything was steady, which was understandable since the respirator was doing her breathing and the pacemaker was prompting her heart to beat.

However, as I was watching, her heart rate dropped. I asked the nurse how that could be if the pacemaker regulated her heartbeat. She said that the pacemaker will stop working if the heart doesn’t respond.

At 12:41 AM, Mom’s heart rate dropped to zero.

Photograph: Mom's Last Moment

The Moment
Digital Photo

This was the moment Mom died.

12 thoughts on “Last Moment

    • Thank you so much for that, Frangipani. Also thank you for liking this post. Perhaps your dealings with dementia has helped you to cope with sensitive life/death issues. I appreciate you kind words and your bravery.

  1. I have never been in the room with someone as they passed away, but I imagine that the person passing away would have to feel safe and trusting in the people being in the room as they do. I may not be expressing this very well, but I hope you understand my meaning.

    • This is the first time I have been present when someone actually died. I have seen people who visit very sick relatives who have conversations amongst themselves without paying attention to the one who is dying. The way I feel is, just like conscious people with whom you can have a conversation, an unconscious or dying person need to be paid attention to. It seems a matter of respect and, as you say, trust. I think I get what you say. Thank you for saying it.

      • I think because we have people we love with Autism in our lives, we have more sensitivity to people that are not able to physically speak for themselves. I completely agree with you – attention and respect needs to be given to the person that is passing. Everything else should be conducted outside of the room. I am sending caring thoughts your way. Didn’t realize you were also in CA – so you should feel those thoughts will reach you even quicker, my friend. I am sorry that I have been offline and could not offer my support until now. I am here if you ever want to write/talk… we have been blog friends for a very long time. 🙂

        • Thank you very much. I did receive your caring thoughts quickly, even though I am currently still in the east. Yes, we have been blog friends quite a while. Thank you for that, and thank you for being there.

  2. Thanks again. The more I’ve read of your blog the more I can relate. I held my grandmother’s hand as she died. Death is a concept that will divide us all … scientist from spiritualist, etc. There is a full and unalterable reality in the “truth” of the experience itself – one you’ve been lucky enough (with modern technology) to document. Going back, at age 15 … given the chance to photograph or keep a chronological journal like this … of those last hours and moments … my personal decision would probably have been to leave myself completely in the moment with her. I can fully appreciate what you’ve give us with this effort – it is invaluable to all of us who have an interest in death; not fearing it, not understanding it … it’s part of life. Our heart beats the first – and it beats the last. You – myself, all of us. Thanks again.

    • ‘In the moment’ is a struggle for me. What is the difference between a moment of one second and one composed of 100 years? Of course there is a difference, but what is the passage of time if significant events are not recorded in some way, technologically or in a person’s memory. I do recognize the value of being in the moment, but it is easier said than done. I must have something to tell me that the past really happened.
      Thanks for your comment, Michael.

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  4. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. Both of my parents are gone now too. You were lucky to have a mother until the age of 62. I was 41 when my mother died. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have her around for another 21 years! I’m envious of people in their 60s that still have living parents.

  5. I guess that’s the way it goes most of the time. It’s sort of expected that the man will go first. In my case though, my mother passed away first (1923-2006) – although my father was a little younger (1926-2012). Of course, losing either parent is tough but – for me anyway – it was even harder when my father died. At least when one passes, you still have the other. When they’re both gone, there’s the realization that no one will ever know as much about your childhood again. I’m sure you’ve heard this before – when you lose your parents, you lose your past, when you lose a spouse, you lose your present, and when you lose a child, you lose the future. It’s so true. Did you or your brother have to be named Mike’s legal guardian when your mother passed? I have no idea if that would even be necessary at this point in time. Also, do you think Mike knows your parents are gone?

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