Why Death Comes When It Does

Question: "I am ready to die, why haven't I?"

Answer: There is a process to dying from disease and old age--withdrawal, increased sleep and decreased food and fluid intake. Part of the withdrawal is reaching a place of not caring about what is happening. Months and weeks before death from disease we can think we are emotionally ready to die, we can want this experience to be over, but our body may not be in the same place as our mind. What do we as caregivers say and do when a person is frustrated that they have not died yet? Just be a listener. Affirm the feelings and thoughts: "It must be frustratng to want this to be over," "You are tired of living like this." You, the caregiver, don't have to have the answers. We mortals have no answer for why death comes when it does or does not come but we can listen and simply be a presence for the person as they live out their last life experience.

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