they see dead people

  1. 5
    In my 7 years of clinical nursing experience, I have encountered many incidents wherein dying patients, especially cancer patients in do-not-resuscitate status, would see relatives who apparently were already dead.
    Yesterday while I was in a patient's room giving some instructions to the family; the patient, a 56 year-old female, with breast cancer (lungs, and bone metastasis), dying, in DNR status, suddenly raised her hand like reaching for something. Blankly staring at the ceiling, she struggled to speak, thanking her parents whom she said have finally arrived to fetch her so the three of them can fly together. She was pronounced dead after almost 2 hours after that incident.
    It's like they were just hallucinating of some sort due to rapid deterioration of mental faculties. But it still makes me wonder why they tend to "see" their parents or other close relatives instead of say, angels or Elvis?
    lindarn, Chapis, sharpeimom, and 2 others like this.

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  2. 30 Comments...

  3. 18
    Quote from tatara
    In my 7 years of clinical nursing experience, I have encountered many incidents wherein dying patients, especially cancer patients in do-not-resuscitate status, would see relatives who apparently were already dead.
    Yesterday while I was in a patient's room giving some instructions to the family; the patient, a 56 year-old female, with breast cancer (lungs, and bone metastasis), dying, in DNR status, suddenly raised her hand like reaching for something. Blankly staring at the ceiling, she struggled to speak, thanking her parents whom she said have finally arrived to fetch her so the three of them can fly together. She was pronounced dead after almost 2 hours after that incident.
    It's like they were just hallucinating of some sort due to rapid deterioration of mental faculties. But it still makes me wonder why they tend to "see" their parents or other close relatives instead of say, angels or Elvis?
    this is a very common phenomenon with the dying.
    90% of the time, they see loved ones who have passed.
    the other 10%, do see angels or religious figures.

    it is thought that those who've died and come to take the pt, are the pt's spiritual guides...
    i.e., energies that pervade our souls with love.

    i've worked inpt hospice long enough to r/o hallucinations.
    dear Lord, the things i've seen.
    it's breath-taking to observe, and (mostly) a great source of comfort for the pt.
    i love it when pts get these visitors.

    leslie
    RHC81, husker_rn, lindarn, and 15 others like this.
  4. 3
    Absoulutely sure it's a hallucination? What about the woman in the next room who wants her drapes closed because she is seeing the angel of death looking in.... an hour later the woman in the room next to hers dies.....
    RHC81, lindarn, and leslie :-D like this.
  5. 1
    Re: they see dead people
    Absoulutely sure it's a hallucination? What about the woman in the next room who wants her drapes closed because she is seeing the angel of death looking in.... an hour later the woman in the room next to hers dies.....

    >hmm...hallucination plus coincidence?
    Perhaps her 3rd eye is open, or she really does have paranormal powers which is so cool!
    I honestly don't know.
    lindarn likes this.
  6. 7
    I remember when my husband was in ICU. Threw a few pulmonary emboli to the lungs after a standard ORIF surgery on his left femur. There were a lot of touch and go hours there where his doc was pretty sure he wasn't going to make it through. My husband remembers nothing about those three days...except for a "visit" from his grandfather who had died some 30 years earlier. He swore it wasn't a dream, but rather, he was able to "feel" him coming to take him away. Eventually, my husband stabilized and that feeling went away. He still believes that his grandfather came to tell him that, while he was close to "coming home", that it wasn't his time to go...gave him a hug, and let go of him.

    The detail that he describes this phenomenon in is incredible...and has stayed with him all these years later.
    RHC81, lindarn, Chapis, and 4 others like this.
  7. 5
    Quote from Cherybaby
    The detail that he describes this phenomenon in is incredible...and has stayed with him all these years later.
    when my grandpa died (i was 22), i was devastated.
    shortly after his death, i had a 'dream' where it was just grandpa and me.
    it showed me uncontrollably crying and asking him, "are you finally with grandma?" (who had died 6 mos before)

    he put his hand on my cheek...
    and even in the dream i fully remember not being able to feel his hand, but DID feel the warmth of it, on my cheek.
    and he answered, "it's a long way from ny, but yes, i'm with your grandma".
    i don't remember anything after that.
    but 29 yrs later, i remember his hand/warmth, as if it was yesterday.
    i know we talked.

    stuff like what your husband and millions of others have experienced, really does stay with you for life.
    i consider myself incredibly blessed, to have been a part of so many of my dying pt's experiences.
    it is truly a privilege.

    leslie
    RHC81, lindarn, Jailhouse nurse, and 2 others like this.
  8. 3
    I've mentioned this book, Final Gifts, in the hospice forum. It helped me a lot when I first became a hospice nurse to understand that these are not simply hallucinations to be medicated but real experiences. It is called "Nearing Death Awareness" in this book

    http://www.amazon.com/Final-Gifts-Un...=pd_cp_b_3_img

    "Impressive insights into the experience of dying, offered by two hospice nurses with a gift for listening. The "final gifts'' of the title are the comfort and enlightenment offered by the dying to those attending them, and in return, the peace and reassurance offered to the dying by those who hear their needs. Callanan and Kelley describe a phenomenon they term "Nearing Death Awareness''--which resembles somewhat the near-death experience sometimes reported by individuals revived after being clinically dead. Nearing Death Awareness, however, develops slowly, and the dying person seemingly drifts for a time between two worlds. Attempts by the dying to communicate about this awareness, often expressed in symbolic language or gestures, may be misunderstood by those around them, who dismiss the expressions as mere "confusion''. According to the authors, dying messages fall into two categories: descriptions of what they are experiencing (such as the places they see, the presence of others no longer alive, or their knowledge of when death will occur) and requests for what the dying need for a peaceful death (a reconciliation, for instance, or the removal of some barrier to departure). To illustrate, Callanan and Kelley include numerous examples of Nearing Death Awareness from their years of caring for the dying. And they offer practical advice not only to involved family members but also to professional caregivers on how to recognize, understand, and respond to a dying person's messages. No lugubriousness or false cheerfulness here, but acute observations and astute advice on a difficult topic"
    lindarn, tatara, and dishes like this.
  9. 8
    when my mom, who had breast cancer died, she had been unconscious for 5 days and unresponsive to all but severe pain. about midnight, she stirred and began to speak coherently. she would pause, seeming to listen to someone, then answer. she apparently was talking to my late father, her parents, and her older brother who had been killed in wwll, based on the names she used and the answers she gave. it seemed they had come to reassure her and welcome her into the next life. while all this was going on, she was totally unaware of me or my husband herb. we were right by her bed. she did, however, squeeze my hand back when i squeezed her hand. she died about 2:00 am.


    kathy
    sharpeimom
    lindarn, Cherybaby, mochomito, and 5 others like this.
  10. 4
    I lost my sister (30 years old) in Hospice a few years ago to brain cancer. A few days before she died she told us that she was on a dirt road, with wheeping willow tress swaying along the path... along the path were all of the friends/family who had passed. Some she had known, some she had not, all chanting her name, as if they were rooting for her to "cross the finish line". She also often spoke to a little boy who was in her room making a mess with his crackers, his toys, etc. We could never figure out who it was until one of the hospice nurses told us that before her in that same room was an infant whose parents wanted to hold him without all the tubes, so they transferred him to that Hospice room.
    My opinion is that our loved one reach out to greet us as we are passing so we will have no fear. After watching her pass, I have no fear of death. If death can be peaceful, hers was and I am so grateful to know that she was welcomed into Heaven by people she loved.
    lindarn, sharpeimom, dishes, and 1 other like this.
  11. 8
    I just have to share my story with ya'll. Well, actually, it's my father's story. My grandparents had this big ol' cat. Napoleon was part bobcat and he was HUGE. He tolerated everyone but my grandmother. Granny could do anything with Nappie and he adored her! As dad tells it, when Granny died her her long dead Nappie came to visit her. My Granddaddy looked at my Dad and said,"Do you see that?" and there he was, curled up next to Granny, her stroking his long coat. When my grandfather was dying, my dad once again saw Nappie, curled up in Granddaddy's lap.

    My father died an agonizing death from mesothelioma. He refused pain meds most of the time because he didn't like how loopy they made him feel. He didn't give up until the last 36 hours of his life when he finally consented to have a morphine drip hooked up. We talked for a few minutes and I told him that this was his getting off point. He agreed. Then he went to sleep. Dad only woke up once, about 2 hours before he passed. He opened his eyes and patted the bed. My sister and I SAW with our own eyes little cat footprints move up the blanket and stop by my dad's side. Dad began stroking and patting the spot. Then the little footprints went up to the top of the bed and "jumped' off. My sister and I distinctly heard a cat's soft squeak(Nappied didn't meow) and then purring. It was so vivid we looked under the bed! After Nappie's visit, Dad settled down. I told him that his mom & dad would be coming for him in a little bit and he needed to go with them. He smiled, but did not wake up.

    I don't know what exactly we saw. I didn't see an actual cat. But I clearly saw evidence of "something" on that bed.
    lossforimagination, RHC81, lindarn, and 5 others like this.


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