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Section: aging, relationships, grief-and-loss

Dear Ann Landers,
My father recently passed away. He was 95. Right up to the end, his mind was active, and he was alert and aware. My sister and I were at his bedside, along with my father's wife. For several days, my stepmother insisted on whispering into Dad's ear that it was OK to die, OK to let go. She urged him "to follow the light." To me, it sounded like she was telling him to give up and get it over with. I found this offensive and disturbing. When I told her how I felt, she insisted she only wanted to make things easier for Dad. What do you say? -- Bob in New York

Dear N.Y.,
At 95, I doubt that anything she said to your father would have made much difference one way or the other. It sounds to me as if the real problem is an undercurrent of hostility between you and your stepmother. Give it up, and let your father rest in peace.

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Reader Comment
My father passed away after a long bout with dementia. He was in a nursing home for about 10 months before passing away in a hospital due to additional health problems. The nurses aides at the home did let me know that some people do hold on for their families and we should let him know that it's OK for him to let go because he has earned his peace. It was difficult to see what he was like in those last few months. I doubt if he even knew what I was saying to him about letting go, but I believe it was for our benefit to say it; not his.

Reader Comment
I could understand why this daughter would be upset if her father was a younger man. However, at 95, the comments from the man's wife were very appropriate. She was probably wanting to see him released from suffering. No one wants to go through a long drawn out death at the age of 95!
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers