Visions and Hallucinations
Visual or auditory hallucinations are often part of the dying experience. The appearance of family members or loved ones who have died is common. These visions are considered normal. The dying may turn their focus to “another world” and talk to people or see things that others do not see.
Sharing memories of good times is another way some people find peace near death. This can be comforting for everyone. Some doctors think that dying people can still hear even if they are not conscious. Always talk to, not about, the person who is dying. When you come into the room, identify yourself to the person.
Hospice has a program that says that no one should have to die alone, and yet this hospice nurse is telling me to take a break? Some patients want to die when no one else is there. Hospice professionals know that companionship while dying is a personal preference.
Research suggests that even as your body transitions into unconsciousness, it's possible that you'll still be able to feel comforting touches from your loved ones and hear them speaking. Touch and hearing are the last senses to go when we die.
Just as a woman in labor knows a baby is coming, a dying person may instinctively know death is near. Even if your loved one doesn't discuss their death, they most likely know it is coming. In some cases, the person comes from a culture or a family in which death is simply not discussed.
How Long Does the Active Stage of Dying Last? The active stage of dying generally only lasts for about 3 days. The active stage is preceded by an approximately 3-week period of the pre-active dying stage.
"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." "I wish I hadn't worked so hard." "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings." "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."
People who are dying can feel scared that they will be left alone to die, without anyone to listen to them or look after them. It is important to allow them time to talk. Don't change the subject, even if one of you starts crying. Crying is a very normal reaction and can release a lot of feelings and emotions.
Hours Before Death Symptoms
In the final hours of life, your loved one's body will begin to shut down. Their circulatory and pulmonary systems will slowly begin to fail. This may lead to falling body temperatures, but may also cause sudden outbursts.
The answer is no; all of the organs remain in the body during the embalming process. Instead, the Embalmer makes small incisions in the abdomen and inserts tubes into the body cavity. These tubes pump a mixture of chemicals and water into the body, which helps to preserve the tissues and prevent decomposition.
The surge of energy before death is often referred to as “terminal lucidity.” This phenomenon occurs when a dying person, who may have been unresponsive or unconscious, suddenly becomes clear-minded, alert, and communicative.
Scientists found that the brains of "actively dying" patients in palliative care (some unresponsive, some still responsive) still registered activity in response to sounds. The patterns of activity were similar to those seen in a sample of healthy controls, suggesting that people still hear as they die.
Terminal agitation is typically seen during the hours or days before death and can be distressing and overwhelming for caregivers.
You might be unable to stop crying and worrying. Or you might feel that there is no point in doing anything. You might also find it difficult to see life going on as normal for most people. It can feel very strange to watch people go about their daily lives, do shopping, drive, and work.
So what do dying people want? In short: truth, touch and time. They want others — family, friends and physicians — to be truthful with them in all respects, whether discussing the disease process, treatment options or personal relationships. They want truth but not at the expense of reassurance and hope.
But the body tries valiantly. The first organ system to “close down” is the digestive system. Digestion is a lot of work! In the last few weeks, there is really no need to process food to build new cells.
Go Ahead and Cry
When a loved one cries in front of a dying person, that person then gains the permission and confidence to also be candid about emotions. It opens a pathway to a conversation that could be once in a lifetime. Additionally, the loved one who's dying knows others are sad.
When your loved one is nearing death, it is important to end each conversation in a way that will be okay if it is the last time you speak. Casual goodbyes like “See you around,” or “I've got to run, so bye for now,” may leave you wishing you had said something different. Your goodbyes don't need to be mushy.
You can hold your loved one's hand or offer very gentle massage as long as that seems to be soothing to her. In the last few hours of life it is sometimes better to stop touching the patient so that she can keep her awareness on the dying process rather than on the physical realm she is trying to leave behind.