From the 1870's until her death, she continued to write though she had stopped editing and organizing her poems. In her last years, she suffered many deaths in her family. In 1874, her father died of a stroke. Emily did not attend the funeral, instead she listen to the service from her room upstairs. In 1882, her mother died. This death relieved Emily, who had spent much of the last 30 years caring for her bedridden mother. In 1883, her nephew whom she cared for dearly died of typhoid fever. These events may have inspired her to write poetry concerned with themes of death and particularly illness after caring for her mother for 30 years.
Though the great Waters sleep,
On May 15, 1886, after several days of worsening symptoms, Emily Dickinson died at the age of 55 from Bright's disease.