Jump to content

Deathbed requests - would/do you honour them?

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 Wineandchocolate

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:37 PM

I'm not even sure why I'm thinking about this... but I am!

Would you (or have you) NOT honoured the dying wishes of someone who has since passed away, because it was something you didn't want to do or agree with even though you promised the dying person you would do it?  Obviously there are relatively easy things to comply with (e.g. having certain flowers at the funeral, etc.)... but what about other things like:

- promising a grandparent you'd do a certain thing for your kids (e.g. send them to a religious school when you're not religious)
- patching a relationship with someone you don't like and want nothing more to do with, particularly if it's another family member
- marrying (or not marrying) someone
- having kids (or not having kids)

So pretty important stuff, not trivial things?  And if so, how did you feel about making such promises to the dying person, knowing you had no intention of carrying the request out?

No real basis for asking, was just curious original.gif

#2 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

My parents promised my nonna as one of her last requests, that I would do my holy communion. I was 16 when she died. To be frank, I don't feel it was their place to make such a promise and it's not something I have any interest in doing.

#3 elizabethany

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:46 PM

I wouldn't make those type of commitments, but no, I wouldn't feel guilty about breaking them, it is not like they are there to notice.

#4 ubermum

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

I would make promises to a dying person that I didn't intend to keep, just to make the last of their time happy.

#5 asdf89

Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

This was a call-back topic on radio once... and a woman said that her grandmother wanted someone to push pins into her eyes to make sure she was actually dead. And the granddaughter did it.  wacko.gif

Also I think if you promise to do something, you should follow through. If you know you won't do it, maybe try and get another family member who will?

#6 MrsLexiK

Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

I wouldn't make those promises I didn't want to keep. If I was planning on sending my child to one school but a dying relative said send them to this school here is the money, and it was going to be a better school, then I would have no problem making that promise. If I had to break it because of an outside reason ie my child being bullied or something that would be ok. But I couldn't take the money and then not at least try to fulfil the promise.

#7 MissingInAction

Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

I wouldn't make a promise i had no intention of keeping but if they were really insisting on something and i really disagreed but knew it would make their last few days/moments happy ones if i went along with it i might just nod and smile but not actually AGREE if that makes sense...

#8 BadCat

Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

I would have no problem making such promises and no problem breaking them either.  I pretty much put requests like that in the "smile and nod" category.  But then I don't believe for a minute that the dead know what goes on after they're gone.

I've never been in a position to do it but I don't think it would bother me.

Edited by BadCat, 07 January 2013 - 09:47 PM.

#9 Bwok~Bwok

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

Yes I have made a promise to a dying person and I will make sure I fulfill that promise!

#10 Stellajoy

Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:39 AM

I would just make the promises but not keep them. No real harm done.

#11 lozoodle

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:31 AM

Nope, they will be dead and wont know.

#12 kiam

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:08 AM

I'm a smile and nod person.

I remember when my aunty was dying, there were a lot of things she was saying, some things we really did take on board, things about the funeral, make sure you enjoy your life and make the most out of it and so on.

There were other things, like specifically she wanted me to promise that if I had a daughter to name her Amira, because she always loved that name and never got to have children, I wasn't going to argue with her about it, I just smiled and nodded. Am I going to do it? No.

Simply put, many times when you get that opportunity to say goodbye to someone who you know you will not see again, it is usually in a hospital and they usually have a fair bit of medication in their systems, some of which can effect their thinking, not to mention that one does not tend to think the most rational thoughts as they are dying and are more likely to make very odd requests that they probably don't exactly mean, however there is no harm in making them happy for what little time they have left.

#13 MintyBiscuit

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:24 AM

It depends. My grandmother has made clear that she doesn't want any eulogies at her funeral and doesn't want people wearing black. I'll be doing my best to honour that even though I don't really believe in an afterlife. It's not technically a deathbed request, but it is a final wish if that makes sense.

An actual situation like you're describing OP I think it would very much depend on what they were asking. I'm pretty forthright in life and I would imagine anyone whose dying wishes I'd be privy to would know what sort of things I'd say yes or no to. I wouldn't feel right agreeing to something I had no intention of honouring (christening our son comes to mind), but I also wouldn't want to get into an argument with someone in their final days. I'd likely go for the good old non-committal smile and nod

#14 ComradeBob

Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:38 AM

I'm in the smile and nod category. I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't believe there will be wringing of hands in some parallel universe. And I do believe that making someone happy when they know they're dying is a good thing to do.

#15 annie13

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:41 AM

My dad made me promise I wouldn't marry my partner. It wasn't because he didn't like him he just didn't want me to be tied down. At the end of the day I get to decide who I am with so no I won't be honouring my promise. He also asked me to do something else which I have tried to do but I'm coming to the conclusion that while I respect my dads wishes at the end of the day it is my life. Also dad had severe liver failure when he died and was probably not thinking to clearly.

#16 HRH Countrymel

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:50 AM

QUOTE (HappyNewBob! @ 08/01/2013, 07:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm in the smile and nod category. (......................)
And I do believe that making someone happy when they know they're dying is a good thing to do.


When my Dad was very ill in hospital the year before last I agreed with all kinds of craziness.. just to try and calm and soothe him.

In spite of holding his hand and looking deep into his eyes while I said it I had no intention of acting on the demands - they were the confused ramblings of a very frightened and very ill person.

#17 Fluster

Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:34 AM

I had a distant relative once mention to me that her husband's dying wish was that she keep, and love, his two dogs.  These dogs were apparently quite vicious towards the wife and had bitten her several times.  Needless to say, she despised them.  She agreed but 'one week later, I took them to the vet'.

I've also known a young widow whose husband had passed away giving her unreasonable requests about how she raise their daughter (i.e. $20k a year primary school when she was in catchment for an amazing public school).  She was struggling under the weight of his demands, but carried around immense guilt she couldn't fulfill them.

Me - I like to think I wouldn't make a promise to someone who I felt was using their impending death to manipulate me, but guilt would get the better of me and I'd probably smile and nod.

#18 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

Yes I'm in the smile, nod keep them happy category.....I wouldn't pick a fight with a dying person, and I don't believe in an after life so they will never know.....having said that, if it was something like "put white lilies on my grave every birthday" or something, well, I think I would do that, but that's more about me, honouring their memory and me feeling good about it.....

#19 JJ

Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

No. I'm on team "smile and nod", I wouldn't argue, I would try to honour the do-able things, but certainly not make any major, life-altering decisions based on a deathbed request alone.

My aunties (dad's sisters) honoured their mother's (i.e. my late grandma's) wish and never got married. Strange wish, but they did it. It didn't make for happy lives for them. One of them had a long-term partner and would have loved to be married to him. He died about 10 years ago, and I think she's going to regret not having spent her life with him for the rest of her days now. sad.gif

My dad ignored the wish, which is a good thing or I likely wouldn't have been born. wink.gif

#20 Imaginary friend

Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

In spite of holding his hand and looking deep into his eyes while I said it I had no intention of acting on the demands - they were the confused ramblings of a very frightened and very ill person.

I think agreeeing to confused and rambling requests (or to agreeing with someone who has dementia etc) isnt something I would even try to keep - the person didnt understand what they were asking, after all.

But for a lucid person, I would either not agree or would try to keep promise if I did agree - smiling and nodding non-comittally is one thing, you didnt actually agree - but if  I clearly did promise something  I would keep it as much as possible.

#21 SuboptimallyPooks

Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:46 AM

It would depend on so many things. I know someone who was the ex of a dying woman and promised to take in and care for the teenager they had had together, and then didn't. That really stank, because she could have arranged it with another person instead. She needed to die in peace knowing her son would be ok, and he just lied to her... And the son wasn't ok. There was then an argument among relatives about who should take him in, whereas if she had asked someone in particular and they had agreed, the family would have respected that as her final wishes. I think that was wrong of the ex.

#22 Propaganda

Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

I wouldn't give a dying person any more consideration than I would a living one, in regards to how I run my life. They're dying, but that doesn't make them an expert on the best way my life can be run.

I'd comply with simple wishes that wouldn't have much of an impact on me, but I would never, ever comply with wishes about who I do or do not marry, whether or not my children are baptised, etc. They'd get absolutely no say in that as a healthy person, and get no more say just because they're dying.

I might agree to let them die in peace, but I'd never have any intention of following through.

#23 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

When dying of cancer 21 years ago, my uncle mand my aunt promise that she would not leave their acreage and move into town until their beloved 10 year old horse died. That bloody horse lived another 20 years. My aunt is now 78, failing fast and despite all of us being willing to drop everything to help her move into a town unit, the idea is now too overwhelming for her and she will no doubt stay put until a fall or illness forces her into hospital and slow decline. It is very sad and I am always cross about that deathbed promise.

#24 Caitlin Happymeal

Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Hmmm DH's fathers father was a Freemason and his request was along the lines of DH's father becoming one. And he did. DH has a funny feeling the same thing will happen, and he has absolutely no intention of honoring this as he has no interest and also feels that it is an outdated mysoginistic boys club. I think they do some stuff for the community of course, but its the "No chicks allowed" sort of stuff that gets up his nose.

Anyway, in that instance, I would fully stand by him. I also would not honor a parent or grandparent telling me to raise my child in any particular faith unless I was already that way inclined. I would probably say "ok, no worries, Ill do that" to make their last days/hours/minutes peaceful, but I wouldn't compromise what I believe in.

There would be exceptions to this I'm sure, but I cant think of any specifically, other than what they wanted done with their body and at the funeral etc, or memorial type stuff.

#25 Romeo Void

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:37 PM

Dad wasn't on his death bed but he got me to promise to have my (non existent as yet) children christened.  Dad was very easy going and never made any demands or put any pressure on me in anyway so when he pleaded with me to do it 'for him' I agreed.  It was so out of character for him.  He didn't give a rats which denomination as long as they were 'protected'. Then the bugger went and died before I could sort it out so I followed through but I talked to the priest in both cases and explained that I was a 'non believer' and that I was doing it to fulfill a promise. We had DD christened my families faith and DS done in DH's faith.

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Newborn baby found in a nativity scene

Police are trying to trace a woman who abandoned a baby boy in the manger of a church nativity scene.

Life would be harder without my kids

The Humans of New York Facebook page is well known for sharing touching, real stories from one of the world's biggest cities – and it's just hit the heart of parents everywhere.

Mum dresses as Wonder Woman for last day of chemo

A Brisbane mum dressed up as a superhero to celebrate the end of her chemotherapy and created a moment her family will remember forever.

How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Former Hi-5 member's cannabis hope

Former Hi-5 star Tim Harding hopes a cannabis-derived drug will help control his daughter's epilepsy, which sees the four-year-old suffering between 50 and 100 seizures a day.

The top 5 reasons your toddler throws a tantrum

Whilst to the outside world little people may appear to have it easy, it's actually not always the case – just ask any toddler who's had their toast cut up the wrong way.

Glenn McGrath thought he'd lost his wife and baby

Australian cricket ledged Glen McGrath has spoken about the moment he thought he might lose his wife, Sara and their baby daughter, Madison.


Inside my Centrelink nightmare

Mother Bec Smith has been trying for months to access Centrelink payments. A "serious error" is preventing her.

Warnings over push for hourly childcare billing

Australia's peak childcare body has called for caution around the Turnbull government's push for childcare centres to charge parents by the hour, not by the day.

Cate Blanchett thought about adopting for years

Cate Blanchett says her recent adoption of a baby girl had nothing to do with wanting a daughter after having three sons.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.


What's hot on EB

How I survived breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Grieving father's letter to Bataclan terrorists: "...this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free"

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

5 challenges of motherhood - and how to see them differently

Despite the smiles, the sloppy kisses and the pure magic children bring to our lives, it's hard to deny that motherhood can be tough.

4 challenges of being a new dad - and how to face them

Becoming a parent is challenging – and that applies to both mums and dads.

My battle against antenatal and postnatal depression

I was five months pregnant when I realised I needed help.

Children swapped at birth will not be returned to biological parents

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

A quarter of men believe they get 'man periods'

A British study has revealed one in four men believe they have a monthly cycle.

Baby deposit

How much do you need to save for a 'baby deposit'?

It's fairly straightforward to calculate a house deposit, but how much money do you need to save up for a baby?

Dad's beautiful note to his wife, a nurse

To anyone else it might just look like a picture of a mum having a nap with her toddler.

'I was a complete schmuck': Mike Baird opens up about his wife's postnatal depression

When his wife Kerryn was not well following the birth of their daughter, NSW Premier Mike Baird buried himself in his work.

Mum's desperate plea as whooping cough alert issued

A desperate mother has shared a heart-breaking video of her baby struggling to cope with a coughing fit caused by pertussis.

Coffee could help you live longer

New US research found people who report drinking three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to die prematurely from heart disease, suicide, diabetes or Parkinson's disease.

The joy and dread of playdates

To live vicariously through your child is to rediscover anxieties you thought dead and buried.

Sick baby could die without scarce special formula, mum says

Lizzie Cann is down to her last three tins of a special formula in short supply.

Adorable toddler's strop foiled by squeaky shoes

We're probably all familiar with the pouty bottom lip and tightly crossed arms of a tot mid-strop.

More sex during World Cup created more baby boys

More sex during South Africa's World Cup meant a disproportionately high number of boys were born nine months later, a new study has found.

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Do fitness challenges really work?

Fitness challenges aren't new. There's Michelle Bridges 12WBT and a bunch of other programs if you really want to lose weight.

What are pregnant women Googling?

Pregnancy is a huge change for any woman, so it's natural we'll have questions - and turn to Google to ask them.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.