1. They often won’t die straight away. It can take many many many many days.
2. It’s not peaceful, it’s noisy. They may gurgle and gasp and choke, and drown and seem to howl. You are watching their body fight to live even though their brain cannot.
3. It will be so harrowing and take so long that you’ll wish they would die faster. And then you’ll regret those thoughts when they die and you never get to see them again.
4. Your day and the long nights will be made or broken by the expertise and kindness of the medical staff. Critical care will make you, down in the hell of the wards will break you.
5. After keeping vigil for days by their bedside scared to leave for a second, devastatingly one of you will probably be out of the room when they die. For my family, that was me.
Anne Bedi’s father died in hospital on Christmas Eve 2018 at the age of 67. She’s the Culture and Communications Director at Verve.