Signposts for Dying

Yesterday I posted on “time”.  Today after the visit from the Hospice sister I actually realized that just maybe Vic has entered the first stages of dying 

Some of the stages of dying start to be discernible a few months before death occurs.  

 Vic has become less active; she rests more, sleeps more and has withdrawn into her own inner realm. 

 Vic is reliving memories and spends a lot of her awake time talking to the boys about her childhood, her “illustrious” school career and their childhoods.  This year she relived every minute of her father’s final journey… Vic has started living in the past.  

 I read that it is the terminally ill’s way of taking stock of their lives and making their peace with it.

 Vic no longer eats big meals and I seldom hear her say “I am ravenous”.  Due to the 81 abdominal surgeries and multiple bouts of septicemia  Vic’s absorption is very poor.  (Poor absorption = BIG appetite!)  Vic used to have the appetite of a horse – always nibbling and scrounging for food.  Now it is sheer discipline that keeps her eating.  She knows she cannot have medication without eating first.  Strange thing is that she is not really losing weight.  Hospice says it is due to the high levels of cortisone she takes…  I have been told by Hospice not to worry about her loss of appetite.  Her body does not need a lot of fuel (food) anymore because it is not burning a lot of energy anymore….

 The effect of the reduced food and liquid intake is that the body starts producing chemicals that create a feeling of mild euphoria.  Our bodies actually start relaxing into this stage of dying. 

 Vic still drinks a fair amount of coffee.  She used to drink it warm but now she dozes off before she has finished her cup of coffee.  She will wake up and take a sip of cold coffee… A cup of coffee now lasts a long time.

Vic spends the majority of the day in bed, gently dozing…. It is not a deep sleep.  It is as if her little body is preparing to hibernate….preparing for what lies beyond death whether it is Heaven, Nirvana or the Other Side…. 

 Reduced appetite and increased sleep is called “Signposts for dying”.

 A couple of weeks ago Vic was very emotional.  She would tear up without any reason.  This stage has passed.  It is as if her tears cleansed her soul. 

 Vic is battling with loneliness.  She hates being alone.  If she could she would have one of us around her all the time.  She often complains that we do not spend time with her.  We do spend a lot of time with her.  She just dozes off and then we leave to carry on with our lives…  The boys are writing exams – they have to study; I have to work…. Dying is a lonely journey

 Vic is not in good shape at all.  She is suffering severe cramping and nausea that is not responding to any of the medication.  The Hospice Sister called the doctor this afternoon and asked her to see Vic in the morning.  She also suggested that Vic be admitted to Hospice In-Patient’s.  Vic and I firmly declined…

 It is obvious that Vic has one or other infection.  I think it is the abdominal sepsis.  She seems flushed and feels hot and cold.  The thermometer does not reflect her running a fever.  This is obviously something as Ceza mentioned it to the doctor.  She explained that this happens when the auto-immune system is compromised.  I have tried to Google it but without too much success.  I will ask the doctor tomorrow morning.

 Vic is in terrible pain tonight.  I have already given her double her normal evening morphine injections; double the quantity of morphine syrup; I have changed her Durogesic patches…. I lay behind her back and gently held her until her breathing became deep and even.  She whimpered in her drug-induced sleep….

 I know the shutting down process has started.  Not because Hospice told me but because Vic told me. 

 Will my poor baby’s hell ever end?  If there is a lesson to be learnt PLEASE God show me what it is so I can learn it!!  This has come to an end!



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I am a sixty something wife,mother, sister, grandmother and friend. I started blogging as a coping mechanism during my beautiful daughter's final journey. Vic was desperately ill for 10 years after a botched back operation. Vic's Journey ended on 18 January 2013 at 10:35. She was the most courageous person in the world and has inspired thousands of people all over the world. Vic's two boys are monuments of her existence. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend. I will miss you today, tomorrow and forever my Angle Child.

45 thoughts on “Signposts for Dying”

  1. My heart aches for you and Vic. I don’t know what else to say. But know one day her pain will end. I’m not talking about here on earth, but in the heaven we know exists.


  2. Tersia, I am still with you, and so touched that you are so conscious of all that is going on around you. I hope that as Vic surrenders, as she is already doing,, so do you, so that this stage of both of your lives becomes an experience you couldn’t have imagined.

    I hope as Vic begins to feel that gentle euphoria, you too get a share of it… the body and the mind are so complex and beautiful that not everything happens as we think it should, and I hope your grief is somehow eased and soothed.Thinking of you all, Valerie
    PS I hope you don’t think this message is insensitive….


    1. Dear Valerie, no your message is not insensitive. It is very insightful! I am at peace that my child’s suffering will end soon. Whether it is a couple of weeks or a couple of months…the process has started and cannot be reversed. We are all at peace. Thank you for caring.


  3. in the final stages dying is something we do alone. i have often thought i would like to enter that final sleep while my husband is out. maybe that is just me and my desire to spare him more pain. you and vic are so close and i don’t think there is anything that can be said to make this more bearable for you. my heart aches for you, your husband, vic’s boys, her siblings and extended family. just remember it is easier to be the one leaving. we know that our suffering is going to end. it is your suffering we despair. whatever is meant to be will happen and yet i can’t help but hope for you to have enough time to be ready to let go.


    1. Sandra we are all strangely at peace. It has been such a long, hard battle. We all want Vic to be at peace. Thank you for your honest thoughts and caring. You are very special and VERY brave!


  4. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. I pray that you will all have peace in your hearts and minds as you await Vic’s release from this terrible suffering.


  5. Amazing that you are sharing this difficult journey with all of us. This takes a lot of courage, and Vic is so lucky to have you (and the others) around her at this time.

    And we are so lucky to benefit from your sharing, should (or when) we find ourselves in comparable situations.

    But right now, my thoughts are with you and your family.


  6. I am distraught having read your post. One thing I can think of to advise – ask to be shown the answer as to why this had to happen in a dream, immediately before going to sleep ask a passed on loved one or your own view of the Creator. It is very likely you won’t be ignored, but you won’t remember the answer on waking as I think we aren’t supposed to know in this life, but will feel comforted. It may not work, but that is the best I can offer, which is very little.


  7. You are amazing to writing the way you do. I read your post and want to help and I wonder … Do you know anyone locally to you who does Reiki? It is a non-invasive complementary therapy and is wonderful at engendering peace and relaxation, which might help the pain medication do its work. You could ask at the hospice because they often know people who practice.
    I do hope you can find someone to work a little magic in this way, because it must be so terrible for her and for you to watch. Sending love…


  8. Tersia I wish you didn’t have this to bear, that your daughter could magically recover. God is with you and your daughter is so fortunate to have you near. Thank you for sharing this life experience.


      1. Never easy, but you are doing such a loving service for your daughter and your memory. God bless you. Do keep in touch I think of you and pray for you.


  9. The love pouring from you words is amazing. The strength you have is incredible. Your daughter is very lucky to have you as a Mom. My heart is crying for you and your family. God bless you.


  10. Tell her , life is not about how many moments but how much life in those moments . If her body allows , take her to places that she likes , keep her happy and just happy and make her live each moment , as if it were a lifetime …


  11. You are so dedicated and loving, this is lovely. 81 abdominal surgeries IS hell. I do pray for peace for you both.


  12. I am so sorry for you and Vic. I was a nurse a couple of lifetimes ago. My heart hurts with your pain and yet I know it just a very small piece of what you are feeling. Blessings, my friend, Barbara


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  14. I have no words for what you are going thru as it is unimaginable for me. I have followed your blog for sometime and am always humbled by your writings. I wish I had something comforting and profound to say, but there is just nothing. I can offer my continued prayers for peace for you all.

    You wrote ” Will my poor baby’s hell ever end? If there is a lesson to be learnt PLEASE God show me what it is so I can learn it!! This has come to an end!” This hit me so hard, I have begged for an answer to the method of the madness in my own circumstances and have determined there is not a lesson to learn. I feel that we learn as we go through our own situations and find there is no fairness, no rhyme, no reason. I am sadly learning that there is no relevance to what we are put through with our children’s misery, pain, and death, there is nothing that can possible be put into a plan from the higher power. I cannot fathom how. Peace be with you all and I hope soon, the living hell you are in subsides


  15. I’m grabbing tissues as I read your post….it reminds me so much of my Dad’s very short and painful battle with cancer. We waited, we watched and it was so hard. Your strength is so amazing, I really wanted to reach through my computer and give you a big hug. I had not taken much time earlier to check out your blog and for that I am so so sorry because your story, while painful, I am so thankful that we can walk with you. I can only imagine how hard it is to share, thank you for letting us see this journey.


  16. Tersia. I have nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. Don’t feel that you have to respond right away. I know sometimes awards can feel like a burden when you are already overwhelmed. Just know that I have learned so much from you and your followers. My prayers are with you every day. You can respond when and if you feel ready.


  17. this is my first visit and I can barely …no truthfully.. cannot read all the way through just yet. You told me I was strong , no my lady YOU are the strong one, to had to watch the child you gave birth to suffer so for so long and be able out of your love to stay with her from beginning to end that is true strength. My heart aches for you and my spirit is sorely vexed with your suffering now. My prayers and love are with you Tersia~~Len


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