As Unique As Each Death Is, There Are Also Commonalities

When dying a gradual death, there are a variety of dynamics and patterns, as well as the individual’s personality that makes each death unique. Yet as unique as each death is, there are also commonalities.  

In the months before death from disease, and often years before death from old age, parts of our personality begin to change while other aspects of who we are do not.

When we begin the gradual dying process our personality tends to intensify. If we are an angry person we will get angrier. If we have a gentle personality we will become even softer. 

Other than the intensification of who we are, we basically stay the same. If I have been active all of my life, I will push myself to keep going. If I have been passive, I will succumb to the temptation of being a couch potato; a complainer will get out the microphone, a loner will withdraw even more. 

You would think we would become more thoughtful about life and its meaning and more religious or spiritual, but generally we don’t. We just continue down life’s path in the same direction we always have, a bit more frightened, a bit more nervous perhaps, but basically just a sicker version of who we have always been. We are who we are right up to our very end.

Another aspect of dying is we have limited control over the time that we die. Operative word “limited.” We can try to stay for a relative or someone we care about. We can take our last breath while special people are out of the room or wait for them to be in the room. 

Remember we die the way we have lived. A protective mom tends to die when her children are not present. Another mom or dad may delay their last breath, waiting for people to be with them.  

It is important to know: if you are with someone when they die you are there because they want you there. If you are not with someone, and you tried to be, then that also was a gift, a gift of protection this dying person gave you.  

I stress again: this control is limited. It does not apply to every situation, but is something to consider as you are frantically trying to be at the bedside as your special person is dying.

Even if a person is non-responsive (at this point in the dying process, they will be non-responsive) they still can hear.

Because they can hear, tell your special person, who is in the labor of dying, all that is happening around them. Tell them their son is flying in and arrives at an estimated time of arrival. Tell mom you are going home, going to go eat or whatever, and when you will be back. I’m not saying everyone will be this calculating, but I am saying dying people have more control and involvement in their dying than we generally believe.

Learn about how a person has lived their life and you will better understand how they will approach their death.

Something More... about As Unique As Each Death Is, There Are Also Commonalities

Taking care of someone who is dying is different than caring for someone who will get better. Understanding the difference is important as a caregiver. My guidebook, By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home will not only educate you but will provide guidance on pain management, end of life choices and details signs of approaching death. This guidebook helps caregivers care for themselves with strategies and tips. Get it here.

To understand more about dying the way we have lived, read this blog:  Our Personality Will Affect Our Dying Process

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I am just wondering if any of your books/booklets will be available in Kindle or other digital format (in English)?
Thank you,
BK Books replied:
Thank you for asking, Laurie. Yes, our booklets are on kindle. Here is the link:

Lori Martin

I’m excited to order your By Your Side guidebook. I’ve ordered most of your booklet sets many times over the years, keeping them on hand to share with friends who encounter loved ones end of life journey. I don’t have this recent one and it’s time I order several of those as well. Blessings to you for all you do to educate us.
BK Books replied:
Hi Lori, let me know what you think of* By Your Side*? I will value your opinion. Blessings! Barbara

Paula Schneider

Barbara, as you know, my precious Larry slipped through the veil January 8, 2023. These have been simultaneously the longest 8 months of my life and also I can hardly believe we’re coming up on a year. My experience with him is still being processed. He had been diagnosed with metastatic cancer to his eye, but the primary could not be located. He was basically asymptomatic even while he was actively dying (which I did not know at that time was happening). His transition was amazingly peaceful. He bled internally from what we now know was CA of the stomach. I was in profound shock for a long time and am now slowly finding peace in my period of lamentation. I journal, I do automatic writing, and I had an excellent session with an evidential medium. As a retired RN of 40 years and hospice RN for 10 years, I never would’ve thought I would do any of these things. They have brought me tremendous peace, but have brought up questions. We still have our relationship—it just has changed in nature significantly. I write these words for others who may be searching for answers when their loved one makes a transition that does not fit the mold. Answers can be found, sometimes in places one would never ordinarily look.
BK Books replied:
Hi Paula, grief is a hard road as you know.I am glad you have found direction and comfort. Blessings to you for your service as a registered nurse. Barbara

Mike W

Barbra thank you for all your help throughout this last year .
Your books and emails have helped me with this journey, my wife passed peacefully on August 31st and I was proud to have been there able to cope and understand the processes.
We were married for fiftey-one years and had a lot of memories to last me to my time to join her once again.
As she took her last breath she looked right at me and as I kissed her on the forehead and said go in peace and no pain and even though it might seem like a long time to me it will be mear moments to her.
Again thanks for sharing your wisdom and now as the next chapter for me starts, I have learned my sister-in-law is getting through the process of becoming a caregiver with hospice and I will give her all the materials and literature I have received from your books and pass the torch to her……
Bless you and sincerely Thank You
BK Books replied:
Mike, thanks for sharing the gentle passing of your wife. Blessings to your sister-in-law for turning her knowledge gained into service to others. She might find my books “By Your Side” and " The Final Act of Living" a good source of knowledge for working with people approaching the end of their life. Blessings to you both! Barbara

Cheryle Hubicsak

I can attest to this. I lost my mom, with dementia 8/12/23.
There were two others that passed, at her memory care assisted living, within a period of 5 weeks: one before 8/5 and another after 9/4.
We have a support group and share information. We’ve become a family. I had the opportunity to be given your booklet Gone From My Sight when my dad passed in 2010. I also bought another package of 5 during my moms journey. I shared what I learned from reading with the group. We were also able to share the experiences of witnessing all 3 of the deaths and compare/contrast processes. There were more similarities.
I cannot thank you enough for what you do. Because of your writings, I was prepared for what to expect. The other two families were aware of the process because I shared your knowledge.
Forever Grateful!
Cheryle Hubicsak
BK Books replied:
Hi Cheryle,Thank you for the kind words. I love that you shared my materials with others. Thats why I’ve written them. Blessings! Barbara

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