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  1. So I watched my boyfriend's mum die on Monday early morning. It was peaceful, and calm, and she went surrounded by family. But I was uncomfortable the whole time. Because I knew things they didn't. I saw things they didn't. Smelled, heard, felt... you get the picture. We showed up for an afternoon visit and she was unresponsive, resps 32, labored, snoring. Cool to the touch, but diaphoretic. Mottling to the extremities. And for me little flags are going off about what's happening to her body. But boyfriend's family is talking about the real estate market, or shopping or work drama. We get called in the night because the nurses think it's almost time. When we show up she's agonal breathing, and I'm watching the apneic periods grow longer. And his family is talking about what a hassle the cab to the hospital is in Canadian winter. Her breathing changes and it's smooth and unlabored, but still fast and shallow. And I try to tell them "Her breathing is changing. I don't think it will be long now." To encourage them to actually notice the person dying in front of them. Boyfriend steps out to use the restroom. Breathing is slowing, even more shallow now and so I say "I'm going to give you privacy to share with her." And I leave the room to call boyfriend because I know that she has only moments. He didn't make it back. They all commented about how they wish they'd held her hand, or told her they loved her. And boyfriend beats himself up about missing the last moments. In my job I don't spend hours watching people die. Minutes at most, maybe. And I'm always working to benefit the patient. Slow their death, ease pain, etc. I'm sure a ton of us have experienced something similar, where your work brain can't turn off when there's a personal medical event going on. I didn't know how to just be girlfriend and shoot the sh*t and comfort and try to understand someone else's pain. I was stuck with work frustration and helpless. I guess I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience they'd share? And how things went in the following days/weeks? Because I am lucky to not know personal loss, or grief. So I'm lost as to how to be supportive for an emotion I know nothing about.
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