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Thread: "What the dying elderly told me"

  1. #11
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    The video maker, "DIY Camper", speaks about his experiences as a CNA...

    He listened with comprehension to elderly patients, but found that he could not continue to work with them. Perhaps he went through grief on a repeated basis, and he decided the grieving was too painful and disturbing to take any more.

    He observed that Alzheimers Disease is particularly tragic, because memories and communication ability are lost as the disease progresses.

    On a hopeful note, we can think of time as "Chronos" or "Kairos". Chronos is linear, chronological time... the sort of time each dying individual will inevitably run out of. In comparison, Kairos is nonlinear, binary time. A moment is either opportune or not. As I understand Kairos time, it is the moment "when things come to a head".

    Based on Susan and John McFadden's book on dementia, Aging Together, Kairos time is experienced in the present moment, when the flow is such that we may not even be conscious of chronological time. Friendship unfolds in Kairos time. When dementia enters a circle of friendship, McFaddens argue, gatherings can be reconfigured creatively.

    Our circles of friendship will need to be reconfigured multiple times as we age together.... Death or geographic moves will cause cherished friends to leave our "convoy", and new friends will join us along the way. The activities that we share will change, as our interests do, or as we face new limitations. Dementia is but one of many changes in life's experience that require such reconfiguration. Friendship, like love, will always find a way.

  2. #12
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    It took me several attempts to make it through that video. Several area's hit close to home. BTDT with changing/helping the elderly use the facilities, personal care, etc. etc. Lost one close relative to a brain tumor and know how it affected them. (communication) I have lost (and stopped counting) in excess of 20 more people I have been friends with to that same diagnosis. Every one has been in a different place, and everyone was affected differently.
    I've had the dying request to use facilities I have worked at, to inform their family. Talked about NDE with a few that have had them or their relatives left behind after the next one wasn't near. Had the other extreme, where a relative on their deathbed, compared me to two criminal relatives, one of which I wouldn't exist without (and the discussion, made me wonder if it was both). That last one has affected me the most. I still remember the dream I had that night, where I was both me, and the me they expected me to become. (think good and evil) It was quiet weird and vivid to be two different people at the same time, even though they are both the same, and made me live more not what things would be regrets for not doing, (what the video goes for) but what would be regrets that I wouldn't want to live with.
    If I had to say the first lesson I remember ever learning from my family, it would be do not trust others, especially family. A few years later, family was telling me I shouldn't trust myself. That is a hard way to live, always second guessing oneself and the harshest jury one can have.
    Been dealing with the dying my whole life. My "happy place" was screwed up, by a relative telling me three people had to die for that memory to happen.

  3. #13
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Wow, TMS. A big online hug as I can empathize but little more.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I nearly died ~14 years ago. I was in the 48F cold ocean water for about an hour, after a small sailboat I was on sunk between some of the islands here. Too far from any shore to swim and live. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a PFD, thank goodness.

    Reaffirmed my desire to live each day fully, once someone had fished me out and warmed me up.
    Near death experiences is something I have seldom if ever brought up to anyone, but I believe 100% when I hear other's stories.
    1981 near death experience for me and I can remember it like yesterday. Car wreck, one dead three alive. One woman yelling where is my mom? I knew she was dead and wondered why she had not seen her leave too. My father was yelling. I remember thinking I was not leaving the world yelling and crying. I was 21 and thought I had a nice life. Yes that heard so often of floating above body watching, that was me. I saw the ride in the ambulance and looked down my road I grew up on, hearing the emergency room people asking me to respond, say something, seeing the lights and thinking why as it was peaceful. Then the feeling of returning.

    I have never felt scared of the event itself of death since then. I don't wish to leave anytime soon mind you!

  5. #15
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    My experiences have developed a skepticism about the finality of death. I currently don’t believe that death changes relationships at all. It just changes the method of interaction and communication. You can hook this idea to religion or you can arrive at it without it, I think that’s a sign that it is a universal truth.

    I think many like to think they have cornered the market on understanding the meaning of life, what real happiness is and what the dying are really saying about their performance on the stage of life. I’m not one of those. I’ve been in the company of plenty of people where death was at the doorstep and where only they knew death was imminent. Most have some regrets but some have had few.

    I believe in the power of opposites. Bitter/sweet, rich/poor, up/down, in/out, happy/sad, Living/dead. They compliment each other and so to richly enjoy one side depends on being exposed to the other. So I will not regret that I have regrets on my way out. I will hopefully reflect on a life of good intentions even though I fell quite short most often.

  6. #16
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dado potato View Post
    The video maker, "DIY Camper", speaks about his experiences as a CNA...

    He listened with comprehension to elderly patients, but found that he could not continue to work with them. Perhaps he went through grief on a repeated basis, and he decided the grieving was too painful and disturbing to take any more.

    He observed that Alzheimers Disease is particularly tragic, because memories and communication ability are lost as the disease progresses.

    On a hopeful note, we can think of time as "Chronos" or "Kairos". Chronos is linear, chronological time... the sort of time each dying individual will inevitably run out of. In comparison, Kairos is nonlinear, binary time. A moment is either opportune or not. As I understand Kairos time, it is the moment "when things come to a head".

    Based on Susan and John McFadden's book on dementia, Aging Together, Kairos time is experienced in the present moment, when the flow is such that we may not even be conscious of chronological time. Friendship unfolds in Kairos time. When dementia enters a circle of friendship, McFaddens argue, gatherings can be reconfigured creatively.

    Our circles of friendship will need to be reconfigured multiple times as we age together.... Death or geographic moves will cause cherished friends to leave our "convoy", and new friends will join us along the way. The activities that we share will change, as our interests do, or as we face new limitations. Dementia is but one of many changes in life's experience that require such reconfiguration. Friendship, like love, will always find a way.
    This is all very interesting to me. I know that my own view of time is pedestrian, it is the typical linear thinking. There are so many ways to conceptualize time and i can only vaguely see other concepts.

    so, this “binary” view is very interesting and I THINK I know what you mean, but am not sure. Interesting to contemplate...

  7. #17
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    My experiences have developed a skepticism about the finality of death. I currently don’t believe that death changes relationships at all. It just changes the method of interaction and communication. You can hook this idea to religion or you can arrive at it without it, I think that’s a sign that it is a universal truth.

    I think many like to think they have cornered the market on understanding the meaning of life, what real happiness is and what the dying are really saying about their performance on the stage of life. I’m not one of those. I’ve been in the company of plenty of people where death was at the doorstep and where only they knew death was imminent. Most have some regrets but some have had few.

    I believe in the power of opposites. Bitter/sweet, rich/poor, up/down, in/out, happy/sad, Living/dead. They compliment each other and so to richly enjoy one side depends on being exposed to the other. So I will not regret that I have regrets on my way out. I will hopefully reflect on a life of good intentions even though I fell quite short most often.
    William, there is so much rich thought in these paragraphs.

    I suppose it true that there is no practical difference between me thinking fondly of my father in a different state, not interacting with him, whether he is alive or dead.

  8. #18
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    My NDE occurred when DD1 was born after 2 days of labour. i was haemorrhaging, staff was way short so a student nurse responded to my call and because she saw nothing unusual told me I was fine. I knew I needed help so as Biking Lady mentioned I separated and looked down on my physical body and said "I am going to get help" and became unconscious. Woke up to hear a nurse taking me to the operating room, went unconscious again and revived to hear the nurse yell, "we've lost her".

    The next morning the emergency obstetrician came to see me with a stream of medical students. I could hardly see them all as the lights were so bright. I told the OB that DD1 was dead because I had not seen her. I asked why there were so many bright lights. He said there were no bright lights and when I insisted, he turned and ran out yelling for someone to get my DD1 NOW and bring her to me every time I asked. The nurses had thought I was too weak to cope with her.

    The Charge Nurse later told me that in all her years of working, she had never heard that OB yell. I recovered enough after 2 weeks to go home but the public health nurse monitored me regularly for some time.

    Some years later, I read Dr. Kubler-Ross's book, “On Death and Dying” and understood the OB's response better. Excessive bright lights is often a key sign of the transition between life and death. I did have another baby but it took some prayerful thought to do so. Love them both to bits. I, like Biking Lady, am not concerned about death. It is simply a transition in consciousness to me.

    When DH was close to death, I was not fearful for him as I knew he would be forever fine and carry on living. For some time after his passing, i would talk to him in my thoughts - EG, asking how to do something and the answers would come to thought immediately. I still feel that he is close by loving me.

    Like Bae, i live each moment with intensity and gratitude, giving of the heart without reserve.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  9. #19
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    My NDE occurred when DD1 was born after 2 days of labour. i was haemorrhaging, staff was way short so a student nurse responded to my call and because she saw nothing unusual told me I was fine. I knew I needed help so as Biking Lady mentioned I separated and looked down on my physical body and said "I am going to get help" and became unconscious. Woke up to hear a nurse taking me to the operating room, went unconscious again and revived to hear the nurse yell, "we've lost her".

    The next morning the emergency obstetrician came to see me with a stream of medical students. I could hardly see them all as the lights were so bright. I told the OB that DD1 was dead because I had not seen her. I asked why there were so many bright lights. He said there were no bright lights and when I insisted, he turned and ran out yelling for someone to get my DD1 NOW and bring her to me every time I asked. The nurses had thought I was too weak to cope with her.

    The Charge Nurse later told me that in all her years of working, she had never heard that OB yell. I recovered enough after 2 weeks to go home but the public health nurse monitored me regularly for some time.

    Some years later, I read Dr. Kubler-Ross's book, “On Death and Dying” and understood the OB's response better. Excessive bright lights is often a key sign of the transition between life and death. I did have another baby but it took some prayerful thought to do so. Love them both to bits. I, like Biking Lady, am not concerned about death. It is simply a transition in consciousness to me.

    When DH was close to death, I was not fearful for him as I knew he would be forever fine and carry on living. For some time after his passing, i would talk to him in my thoughts - EG, asking how to do something and the answers would come to thought immediately. I still feel that he is close by loving me.

    Like Bae, i live each moment with intensity and gratitude, giving of the heart without reserve.
    wow, that is interesting!

    What a great thread.

  10. #20
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Has anyone read Anita Moorjani's Dying to be Me? She was a typical "good girl" in India, and lived to please her husband and parents. In her 20s (I believe--she was young) she got cancer, and nearly died one night but had an NDE, in which she witnessed from her deathbed, among other things, her brother hearing the news of her impending death and getting on the train to rush to the hospital.

    When she revived, she had spontaneous remission. The cancer was gone. Her lesson from that experience was to live uncompromisingly for herself, joyfully. It's an inspiring book.

    Like Williamsmith, I don't have any strong opinions about what happens when we die. Even though I identify with my lapsed Catholic faith, I don't fully believe in "heaven," unless heaven is interpreted as the here and now.

    I do "feel" those who have gone before me, though, and I am entirely open to the promise of whatever the next chapter is, or isn't.

    I appreciate razz, bae, Biking Lady sharing their experiences. We know so little about life and death, it's fascinating to hear about those who have come close to the edge.

    Anita Moorjani's afterword, edited:
    Before I close, I'd like to leave you with a few final words. Always remember not to surrender your power--instead, get in touch with your own magnificence. When it comes to finding the right path, there's a different answer for each person. The only universal solution I have is to love yourself unconditionally and be yourself fearlessly! This is the most important lesson I learned from my NDE, and I honestly feel that if I'd always known this, I never would have gotten cancer in the first place.

    Finally, I can't stress enough how important it is to enjoy yourself and not take yourself or life too seriously. One of the biggest flaws with many traditional spiritual systems is that they give you such a somber outlook. ... Day-to-day problems never seem as big when viewed through a veil of humor and love.

    Our life is our prayer. It's our gift to this universe, and the memories we leave behind when we someday exit this world will be our legacy to our loved ones. We owe it to ourselves and to everyone around us to be happy and to spread that joy around.
    Last edited by catherine; 1-3-18 at 4:04pm.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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