My dad is on hospice for long cancer, a brain mass & a mass in the bladder.we opted out of treatment. He knows he's dying but he won't talk about it. Our family has never been affectionate or good at discussing hard things. I want him to know his life was important and how much he means to me. He suffers from anxiety, & depression(for over 20 yrs) so he had been disconnected from us emotionally.

You NEVER EVER force a dying person to speak about dying if they do not wish to.
You completely follow THEIR OWN LEAD. This is theirs. This is about them.
I say this as an RN.

And if some dumb young RN ever tells you to tell them, at the end, that it is OK to go, I would ignore that advice. When my RN hospice RN friend said that to her bro, dying of AIDS, he looked at her with utter horror and his face said it all, which was "What the HECK (not the word); am I actually DYING??" It was a look of horror and terror and she says it was the most awful lesson she got as a nurse.
It's OK to say, "don't worry. I love you so much. You are always with me. I remember everything you taught me..".anything you like of comfort. But do not make them speak about dying if they don't wish to, nor acknowledge it if they fear it, nor talk about anything.

The death bed scenes are best left to Hollywood. It is often not how it goes.
Just my humble opinion.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to AlvaDeer
RedVanAnnie May 10, 2024
well said
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Just sit with dad and tell him what you've told us, how much he means to you and how important his life has been thus far, his accomplishments. There's no need to talk about about death unless he brings it up.

My father was closed down emotionally also, and dying of a brain tumor. So I got in bed next to him, put my head on his shoulder and said all those things to him myself.

Best of luck and I'm sorry you're going thru such a difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1
Kathyintex May 10, 2024
Maybe a crazy question, but you said, ‘said all those things to him myself.’ Did you mean you said them to yourself *internally*? Or you said them to HIM, yourself, even if he didn’t say anything back? Sorry, just curious bc I am in the same situation. Thank you!
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Show Dad love and appreciation. Encourage him to talk about his life, not his death. Don't worry about his death. If he has any specific wishes he will have instructions somewhere, or tell someone what he wants done. Share family stories of good times in the past. Look at family pictures together. Cherish the time you have left together. If he doesn't want this he will tell you.
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Reply to DrBenshir
Beatty May 9, 2024
Excellent angle. The focus is on validation of life - not the unknowns of death.
Show him family Photographs , Play some of His favorite Music , face timing Him if Possible . I Brought My mother a orchid Plant she Liked flowers . Sit and watch Tv with them . It is best to just go with the Flow . Does he have a Will ? Right Now all they need is company and good memories .
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Reply to KNance72
AlvaDeer May 10, 2024
Love this.
You answered your own question when you said that you "want him to know his life was important and how much he means to me."
So start by telling him that and see where the conversation goes. You do not want anything left unsaid between the 2 of you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

I'll share with you what I did when my dad was dying. My dad was not very expressive emotionally and he was nearly deaf so conversation was difficult at best, impossible at its worst. Dad had heart failure and was pretty miserable for the last 2 years. He was 94 when he died. He had been married about 25 years to his second wife after my mother's death. His wife wanted to "save" him at all costs. When I mentioned Hospice to him at my last in person visit with him, the wife who always inserted herself into our conversations, came rushing in saying, "We don't believe in THAT. Why don't you take him out back and shoot him."

I felt there was lot that I wanted to say before he died. I wrote a series of letters. With each I wrote an unfiltered draft that included some of my pain connected to our relationship. First draft was a no-send letter. That was very therapeutic for ME. From the first draft I edited the letters to be a recollection of my life as his daughter. Here, I found and expressed gratitude for a lot and edited out the grievances. The structure for the very first letter I sent him used active imagination. I recalled the day and date of my birth. I speculated about what that day must have been like for him and the family. I went on to speculate about what was happening in the town and the world on that Sunday morning. He didn't say a lot to me about it but it clearly meant a lot to him.

I never got back from him what I yearned for, but I felt very good that I was able to examine our relationship and express appreciation to him.

I am a retired therapist and I turned this into a process for my clients to use to find some resolution at the end or even after the death of a loved one.

It is good that your dad has accepted Hospice care and has your love. I encourage you to figure out what you need right now. If my letter writing idea speaks to you, please try it. You both may benefit.

P.S. My dad asked me to write his obituary right before he died, which I did. My husband was traveling that weekend. When he came home he found me pecking away at my computer crying a river of tears. He wanted to know what I was doing. I told him I was writing Dad's obituary. He said I should have called him! He thought Dad had already passed.

Arires, writing his obituary was very therapeutic, too.
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Reply to Debmiller
NeedHelpWithMom May 10, 2024
What a beautiful response. I love what you have shared.
That's a hard one for me and my family also.

When my dad was in the hospital his heart failed, they brought him back , so we could bring him home to die ( I know!) anyways when they brought him back he yelled at the nurse, He said!!! "what did you do that for" . Totally believe the nurse because that sounded exactly like something my father would say. A few weeks later at home on hospice, he told me he was scared. I didn't remind him what happened wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not. But I did tell him, I don't know what happens but I know one thing, I know it's peaceful, I know you will find peace. And I believe that in my sole, so he believed it also.

That's the only thing I got that's helpful. Best of luck, I'm so sorry, 🙏😔
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Reply to Anxietynacy
Anxietynacy May 5, 2024
Yes he was the one that brought up death and dieing . A few times or I wouldnt of said anything
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Aries2love: Just show the love to your father that you've been doing.
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Reply to Llamalover47

My advice is don’t. As long as your will and final wishes are documented there is no reason to dwell of the inevitable .
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Reply to Sample

Our parents were raised in a different era. My father wasn’t one to share his emotions easily. He didn’t have a father who did that with him.

I knew who my father was, in spite of his lack of words by the life he led. My mother and his children meant the world to him.

As far as I was concerned, he didn’t need to express his feelings with words. His actions told the whole story of the man that he was.

When he was dying, I would pick up my mother and we would drive to see him in the hospital. I would give my mother time alone with him, then I would go in and visit him.

Many times I would bring Mom home because she was tired and I wanted her to get the proper rest she needed and then I would drive back to the hospital to see Dad for a little while longer before driving home.

I discovered that my father didn’t want to upset my mother and he would talk to me more often when she wasn’t there.

My father was never afraid of dying. He was ready to go whenever his number came up. He hated leaving us behind but I was so grateful that he had no fear.

I was a daddy’s girl. I adored my father. I was surprised when he told me one evening that he was sorry for anything he ever did to disappoint me. I assured him that he never disappointed me.

He said that he was so very proud of how I had grown up and raising my own children. I told him that I was proud of him too. I said that I learned so much from his example.

I think he knew that the end was near. I think a lot of people know when they are dying. I don’t think they necessarily have a need to speak about it.

I wouldn’t be very concerned if your dad doesn’t talk about dying. Just let him talk about whatever he wants to.

Or, not talk at all if he doesn’t feel like talking. Words don’t tell us everything. We can show our love in many ways without saying one single word.

Wishing you peace during this difficult time in your life.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

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