If you are uncomfortable reading the specifics of dying please stop reading here.
I received a message from my cousin on August 30th at 8:00 p.m. saying this about my grandfather:
"He refuses to eat or drink or take his medication. After several attempts, and different methods it has been decided for humane reasons, to no longer use force or heroic measures to maintain his health. My Dad (Danny) has been advised by Grampa`s doctor that it is only a matter of time and that he is comfortable. My father has seen a rapid change in the last 3 days.
On Sunday, September 3rd my Dad picked me up from my home at 2:00 p.m. We shared the driving and decided to drive straight to Quebec instead of stopping at Auntie Sandra's in an Ontario city an hour away as we heard from Uncle Don that Grandpa really wasn't doing well. He was given a morphine injection around 5 p.m.
We got to the hospital around 7:15 p.m. When we got to the parking lot we called uncle Don and he said Grandpa was really bad. We had to sign in with security and were worried we were going to get to Grandpa's room too late. I sent Dad on ahead of me while I hastily filled in the sign in sheet.
I went up to the 7th floor and arrived in room 723 out of breath. Grandpa was convulsing, his eyes rolled back in his head, making noise and appearing to be in pain. Uncle Don was sitting on Grandpa's right and Auntie Diane was on Grandpa's left. Auntie Diane moved and Dad held Grandpa's left hand and I stroked Grandpa's forehead and put my other hand on his chest. Dad prayed for him and we spoke to Grandpa until the morphine shot they'd given him at 7 p.m. kicked in.
After a bit Dad, Uncle Don, and Auntie Diane stepped out for some fresh air while I stayed with Grandpa. His breathing was quick but regular and I couldn't hear the chest rattle at that point. They returned to the room and Uncle Tony and Auntie Ruby arrived around 8:30 p.m.
Grandpa wasn't due for another morphine shot until 11 p.m. but around 9 p.m. he started convulsing and crying out again. The doctor agreed to give him a partial dose of morphine to help him manage until 11 pm. Dad, Uncle Don, and Uncle Tony said their goodbyes and left. Uncle Tony to Don Junior's, and Dad to Uncle Don's.
I suggested we put some rolled wash cloths in Grandpa's clenched fists so his nails wouldn't cut into his hands. When he would get agitated Auntie Diane would stand near his head and stroke his forehead and talk to him about all the people he would see when he passed. We told him he'd completed his work here and was free to go.It seems those who are passing benefit from being told this and reassured that it's ok for them to go.
Auntie Diane, Auntie Ruby, and I recited Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.We sang and hummed parts of "This is My Father's World"
This is my Father’s world,And to my listening earsAll nature sings, and round me ringsThe music of the spheres.This is my Father’s world:I rest me in the thoughtOf rocks and trees, of skies and seas;His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world,The birds their carols raise,The morning light, the lily white,Declare their maker’s praise.This is my Father’s world:He shines in all that’s fair;In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world.O let me ne’er forgetThat though the wrongSeems oft so strong,God is the ruler yet.This is my Father’s world:The battle is not done:Jesus who died shall be satisfied,And earth and Heav’n be one.
At 11 p.m. the nurse administered morphine and Grandpa was changed and repositioned to try to make him more comfortable. During this time Auntie Diane, Auntie Ruby, and I went downstairs to look for some food and drink and we walked around for a bit before going back up to Grandpa's room.
At midnight he was taking a breath every 2 seconds. By 1 a.m. we could hear the chest rattle and the nurses returned and gave Grandpa another shot of morphine as well as an anti-convulsant. From then on he was more peaceful and we kept watch as his breathing slowed more and more. It slowed to a breath every 3 seconds, then every 4, then every 8. He went 9 seconds a couple of times, then 10.
At 1:50 a.m. on September 4th Grandpa stopped breathing so quietly that we weren't sure if he had passed. His colour began to change from a creamy colour to a yellowish colour. The nurse came by and checked his breathing and pulse then had another nurse come with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. The nurse listening to his chest teared up and offered her condolences.