More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Roller Coaster of the Dying Process

The process of dying can last for days, weeks, or even years. I suppose one could say that we are born to die and everyone is in the process of dying from the cradle to the grave. However, the dying process I'm speaking of pertains to the valley of death that those who are elderly or have a terminal illness go through.

That valley has many stages: the beginning of the end, the middle vale of waiting, and latter days of suffering when death is imminent. It's difficult to determine which stage the patient is in, because the dying process is accompanied by many ups and downs within the valley. One day the patient seems to make some progress toward recovering health and the next day, she takes a plunge and causes us to think the end is near for our loved one. The emotional, mental, and physical path doesn't seem to be a straight one; it seems there are circles and loops that intersect and make us wonder, "Haven't we been here before?" It's kind of like playing the game, Candy Land. Your turn. Oh, you got Queen Frostine; you're almost home. I got a purple card. Uh, oh; you got Plumpy and you're back to the start.

Nanny has been going through this. After having a heart-to-heart talk with her early this morning in which she expressed her readiness to die, she was weak and decrepit from her three-week-long battle in which she has endured multiple medical complications including congestive heart failure. It seemed like she was giving up and didn't want to do anything to try to recover. Surely, the end of the end was approaching.

Nope, we're banking left and doing another loop de loop to revisit the valley of recovery!

The physical therapist came to work with her about two hours after our "I'm going to miss you" talk. Lo, and behold! She did her exercises with him and even stood to her feet with help from the therapist, me, and a walker. She stood twice--about five seconds each time--and was able to bear weight on both legs. This was a major feat for her because she has not stood up since she fell and broke her hip 11 months ago: the beginning of the end.

The ups and downs are like a roller coaster for the patient and the caregivers. We never know what a day (hour?) may bring, but it is sure to be an unpredictable adventure.

For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase on


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