Why do dying people reach upward? - page 2

I've noticed that when it gets toward the end for people (not necessarily the VERY end, but maybe the last month or so when they have started really going downhill) they will hold their arms upward... Read More

  1. Visit  Sabby_NC profile page
    0
    Interesting post and I do see it many times over in my work as a Hospice Case Manager.

    It quite often gives the patient comfort when they are reaching up and smiling. Speaking to loved ones who have died before them.

    Now there is reaching and grabbing in an agitated state for which then it is a different ball game and they need to be treated for terminal agitation.
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  3. Visit  tencat profile page
    0
    Quote from pattycakeRN
    I would wager that "heaven" being commonly associated with 'up' has something to do with it. Lots of metabolic and chemical processes going on, a dying person's need to feel that there is something of an after life... lots of reasons. Interesting question, but I don't think anecdotal experiences (as many as there may be) prove that any such place exists.
    Makes you think, though. What purpose would it serve, biologically speaking, to see dead relatives? And why does pretty much every patient I've worked with in hospice see someone we can't see, regardless of their culture or religious beliefs? We can explain how it works, but we can't explain the why......I'm the ultimate agnostic, and I sure wonder what all that is about........I am not easily able to explain it away as purely chemical processes. What survival purpose do such experiences serve?
  4. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    1
    The book "Final Gifts" by Maggie Callanah and Patricia Kelley talks about "Nearing Death Awareness", the process of dying. It talks about the behaviors of dying people, which frequently are misinterpreted as dementia and/or ignored.

    "In the final hours, days or weeks of life, dying people often make statements or gestures that seem to make no sense."

    It is a fascinating book.

    steph
    BlueRidgeHomeRN likes this.
  5. Visit  RNfaster profile page
    0
    Maybe people derived their ideas about heaven, religion, etc., from the behavior of the dying.

    Maybe dying people aren't able to muster enough strength to move their legs, so they move their arms instead.

    I like the idea that some people are comforted by their visions when they are dying.
  6. Visit  whodatnurse profile page
    0
    The higher the arm, the closer to God!
  7. Visit  Jo Dirt profile page
    0
    Quote from pattycakeRN
    I would wager that "heaven" being commonly associated with 'up' has something to do with it. Lots of metabolic and chemical processes going on, a dying person's need to feel that there is something of an after life... lots of reasons. Interesting question, but I don't think anecdotal experiences (as many as there may be) prove that any such place exists.
    I agree. In the (anecdotal) examples I am thinking of, there were no cries to Aunt Beulah or God or anyone else. A lot of times, these people are nonresponsive or appear to be in their own little world. Not everyone who is a nonbeliever has a death bed conversion, yet this behavior is similar among many dying people I have been around whether they believe or not.

    Funny, though, the most religious woman I have ever seen died recently in the nursing home. She did not, in fact, exhibit this behavior. She did not have any death bed visions. She was not hysterical with fear but right up until she lost consciousness she did not want to be alone and would tell us she did not want to die. She died quietly and uneventfully with no hint of seeing anything on the other side.

    I don't think Carl Sagan had all the answers to life but I agree with something he said: better to know the hard truth than a comforting fantasy. I don't know why a lot of them raise their arms, but I have pretty much ruled out any spiritual reasons. It's just not something you can measure and verify. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade but the more charlatans I see the more cynical I get and I've yet to see any credible, concrete proof of an after life.
    But that is another topic.

    Thank you for the replies, though. I appreciate the time people are taking to give their insight.
  8. Visit  not.done.yet profile page
    2
    It is okay to be a nonbeliever, but it is also okay to be a believer. I don't think anyone was really trying to offer proof as much as just their own point of view. For those with faith, that is all the proof they need, and for those who are not inclined toward religiousness or spirituality, all the proof in the world won't induce faith in any case, as I doubt it would be recognized. What is a comforting fantasy to some is concrete evidence to another.
  9. Visit  Atheos profile page
    0
    Quote from FLArn
    Just because we don't believe in something doesn't mean it's not real or true
    Believing something doesn't make it real either. Point in case... The Son of Sam... Was Sam the dog real? Please....
  10. Visit  MAISY, RN-ER profile page
    0
    When FIL was dying-he kept talking about a friend from his youth and married life. Would say that he talked to him on the phone....FIL passed on the same day of his friends death. He also kept trying to get up TO GO-when asked where? He'd just say it was time to go! In addition, he too exhibited that arms raising/head raising behavior. REACHING FOR PARADISE? I don't know, I'd like to think so.

    Maisy
  11. Visit  Spritenurse1210 profile page
    5
    It depends on their spiritual beliefs. The best way I can figure it's like a young child reaching up to their father to be picked up.
  12. Visit  BlueRidgeHomeRN profile page
    1
    Quote from pattycakern
    interesting question, but i don't think anecdotal experiences (as many as there may be) prove that any such place exists.
    by definition, existance in another dimension cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method in this dimension.

    carl sagan can have his hard truth, i have my own hard truth.
    Praiser likes this.
  13. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    2
    Quote from MAISY, RN-ER
    When FIL was dying-he kept talking about a friend from his youth and married life. Would say that he talked to him on the phone....FIL passed on the same day of his friends death. He also kept trying to get up TO GO-when asked where? He'd just say it was time to go! In addition, he too exhibited that arms raising/head raising behavior. REACHING FOR PARADISE? I don't know, I'd like to think so.

    Maisy

    Maisy - these are the kind of stories that are included in the book I mentioned, "Final Gifts". The authors are hospice nurses. I'm not finished with the book yet but the stories are "richly told".

    steph
    MAISY, RN-ER and BlueRidgeHomeRN like this.
  14. Visit  ChicagoRN2010 profile page
    2
    This is just my reaction to the posts I have read so far. I just wonder why non believers are trying to discredit the believer's view on this point. If they choose to believe that they are reaching up to God then so be it, but if you belive otherwise then that's fine too. We all are entiltled to our own beliefs and there is no need to impose our beliefs on someone else.


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