Not being there at the end

I’m really struggling coming to terms with the death on my father on 19th November last year.
I might have felt better if I had said a proper goodbye to him. I left him in the care home even though we knew he was now on end of life. I just left him and said I love you see you tomorrow, I’ll bring mum with me. Then I just left. He died 9 hours later!! And no one called me from the care home to say it was time! I thought they would known death was going to happen very soon & would call me. He died all alone! The staff just went in & found him. They said he passed in his sleep!? How do they know if no one was there. I just feel so upset that I let him down when it mattered. He suffered so long & he deserved to have me, mum or even a member staff holding his hand when he left this earth!! Just seems so unfair. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for this x


Hello, I went through the same, I left to go home from th3 hospital, asked the nurse if that was ok & she said yes, only to be called 4 hours later he’d passed away, I felt guilt & anger, I spoke to the nurse who told me I was ok to go & said you lied! She explained that the time of death is often a mystery to them & they were not expecting it & he went in his sleep.

It took me a longtime to come to terms with it, to do so I asked myself the following questions

  1. how could I have said goodbye, it would have been traumatic & upsetting for both of us.
  2. he didn’t die alone, he was warm, comfortable & wouldn’t have known who was there, at the end they are heavily sedated with pain killing medication so he was asleep & his body just stopped, isn’t that the way we’d all like to go, comfortable & peaceful
  3. If I’d known the end was coming,I’d have never left the hospital but I didn’t know, I might not have been there then but look at all the times I was there
  4. what would he say to me about this? He’d say you didn’t let me down, you did so much for me, I’ll always be grateful for the care you gave me.

I hope this helps, try and be kind to yourself, I read somewhere that those who beat ourselves up in grief are the ones who loved the most.



it was the same for me, i was annoyed with the nurse who said to me to go home and so did my mum. my mum said just go home and rest and i said that fine but I’ll come tomorrow morning, only to get a call to hurry up that her health worsened and to only find out she passed way before i got there. i’m just annoyed at myself as to why i just didnt stay with for the night had i knew but i thought she be fine. its too late and i just think i wont be able to forgive myself but the was quote frustrated that the doctors or nurse didnt call me sooner instead of calling me after.

all i can say just be kind to your self, its not easy but im sure there are others here who also understands how your feeling. just know that your not alone

I dont think you can always tell just how imminent someones death is (i appreciate every case is different). My mum had been given strong painkillers which meant she wasnt awake but in those final hours there was nothing else that could have warned us when the final moment was approaching, it happened very naturally. Also i know its not always the case but the nurse advised me that it often seemed to her that patients wait to pass once their loved ones leave the room, maybe its a final act of love to spare us the pain?

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@Poppy14 Your story resonated with me only I want to illustrate the other side of the dying scenario. I was there, by chance, looking fwd to my Dad’s discharge that day. He’d been in hospital for almost 6 weeks. I watched him struggling to breathe & it was heartbreaking. I hadn’t been warned or advised what to expect & it was pretty harrowing. Anyone who’s been there will tell you the death processes are upsetting. The images of it stayed with me for months. I then had to call my mum & tell her that he was dying & then call back to say he’d gone. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been there to see it as that was how I remembered him…. You’ve got nothing to forgive yourself for. I blamed myself for not getting my Dad home due to some critical NHS errors. I did all I could but it took a while to be at peace with it. You didn’t let your Dad down. Some deaths do happen quickly. I hope you’re able to come to terms with it eventually & realise “what ifs” just drive you crazy. Xx