Chapter 1: When death happens

When others are unable to be there

The expert says
Description to come (3:22)Video transcript

I was devasted when I arrived at the hospital and learned I had missed my mother’s death by half an hour. I had wanted to tell her I loved her just one more time and to thank her for all her years of dedication to me and the kids. It was not fair that I missed her.

Sometimes family members cannot be present when the person’s death occurs. It may help to remind them that their connection is meaningful through thought and spirit, and not physical presence. Whether they are just outside the room, in a different city, or a different country, the physical distance between them does not diminish the closeness that they feel.

Below are a few more situations that may happen. Click on each tab for more details or suggestions.

Waited to die

Sometimes it seems as if a person waited for a specific time or the arrival of someone they care about.

Died alone

Families who have regularly stayed by the bedside may be upset if the death occurred when they stepped away for a short time. Although there is no way to know if someone waited for a moment of privacy and solitude to die, this possibility may be comforting for some people

Died before family or friends arrived

Sometimes family and friends arrive just a few minutes after death occurs. It is reasonable in such situations to sit at the person’s bedside and say whatever feels right for you.

Click on each item on the left for more detail