wooh and cherrybreeze's posts were spot on...
specifically noting that often enough, pts want to die alone.
so littlemouse, if you were feeling guilty because of that, i can confidently say that as you see more deaths, your view of death will likely change.
i've been doing hospice for yrs.
the 1st year i had realized that my feelings about death, had shifted from me feeling sadness, to feeling warmth and sorrow...it's bittersweet.
if anything, being around death a lot, almost forces you to examine your own feelings about death.
the way your pt, sounds as it should have been.
i would say at 85, her death was result of resp arrest...what we don't know is if it was from natural causes or copd.
but it's because of my beliefs, that i can often feel comfortable when someone dies.
that doesn't mean i don't feel sadness...
i do...but it's a selfish kind of sad, which when acknowledged, makes the grieving much less so.
in summary, try not to feel overcome w/sadness...
you don't even know if she wanted you or anyone to be holding her hand.
(i plan on dying alone myself...but if i wanted someone around, it'd be loved ones, and not strangers)
as others have noted, what you can feel good about, is the care you provided for this woman...
she wasn't neglected, treated respectfully and w/dignity, and obviously treated with sensitivity.
what more could a dying person ask for?