A dying persons tear A dying persons tear | allnurses

A dying persons tear

  1. 1 Very curious about something. I'm new to inpatient hospice and have only had 4 deaths so far. Two of the patients had a single tear. One of those patients, the niece saw her previously unresponsive aunt open her eyes wide focusing on something in front of her (not looking at her niece) then took her last few breaths. That's when I arrived I saw her tear. The other nonresponsive patient that passed did not have anyone in the room at the time, so I don't know if he opened his eyes or not, but did have the same single tear. Is this common, and do you think they are seeing something so beautiful it causes a tear, or do you think it's caused by fear/pain? Thank you in advance for your responses.
  2. 19 Comments

  3. Visit  gorgenurse profile page
    7
    I do home hospice, but I personally have not noticed this. I would think it is more a coincidence. But who knows what they see? We have had patients who see angels, I heard of one who immediately looked up to the sky and raised both of her arms just as she died. I personally would like to think they are seeing their loved ones and Jesus welcoming them home.
    Pbrown1414, DBK99, MrNurse(x2), and 4 others like this.
  4. Visit  Daisy_08 profile page
    3
    I have worked palliative for just over a year. I too have never seen this. Did have one gentleman last month, that was unresponsive for a day or two, very confused and lethargic for weeks prior to that. However one night he he woke up, recognized his wife, kissed her, told her he loved her. Then quickly went back to being unresponsive, and died a few hours later. I have never seen a single tear though.
    Pbrown1414, pookyp, and nurse2be13 like this.
  5. Visit  tewdles profile page
    3
    Quote from ws582
    Very curious about something. I'm new to inpatient hospice and have only had 4 deaths so far. Two of the patients had a single tear. One of those patients, the niece saw her previously unresponsive aunt open her eyes wide focusing on something in front of her (not looking at her niece) then took her last few breaths. That's when I arrived I saw her tear. The other nonresponsive patient that passed did not have anyone in the room at the time, so I don't know if he opened his eyes or not, but did have the same single tear. Is this common, and do you think they are seeing something so beautiful it causes a tear, or do you think it's caused by fear/pain? Thank you in advance for your responses.
    I don't have any idea why they might have a tear...

    If I have done my job well, then I suspect that they are not in pain (spiritual, emotional, or physical) otherwise I would be expecting other evidence of the discomfort. We cannot know with certainty what our patients are experiencing at the end. We only know what our science, our faith, and our experience tells us.

    In my opinion, we should hold tight to the perceptions and beliefs that give us hope and strength. My mom opened her eyes as she took her last breaths, and she too had a tear in her eye.
  6. Visit  ws582 profile page
    1
    I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. Thank you for all your input. I'm new to hospice and love to hear everyone's opinions/advice. I want to do the best job I possibly can and am learning so much from all of you. Thank you.
    tewdles likes this.
  7. Visit  welovedis profile page
    5
    Perhaps what we have experienced is not the norm, but we have tear cloths for this very reason. If you google the term you will see that sometimes (not always or often) there is a single tear that we notice near the end of life. We keep small cloths (like beautiful handkerchiefs) in a special area of our comfort care home. When the nursing staff or volunteers are aware that there is a tear we make sure to have a cloth handy & give it to the family. They have all said how much they appreciate it and some have incorporated them into flower bouquets at a wedding or some such thing.

    I think it must be the beauty of what we cannot see on this earth that causes such a thing to occur.
    Karen
  8. Visit  GinaDecorRN profile page
    8
    I have never heard of a tear cloth but what a beautiful symbolic token of remembrance. My mother was virtually blind at the time of her death but seemed to be seeing something beautiful the day before she passed. She looked at the blank wall as if she was watching a movie, eyes following ...something, she reached towards what ever it was and amazingly smiled. Mom had advanced Alzheimer's and had not shown facial expression in a year or more. She also spoke of my father (deceased 10 years), although she had long forgotten him. "Your dad is waiting for me to come home, I don't want to keep him waiting."
    (goosebumps). She did not shed tears from what I remember. Only her family.
    Pbrown1414, DBK99, knitnurse72, and 5 others like this.
  9. Visit  Carrie1388 profile page
    3
    Hi, I've been searching for someone to talk about this. My Dad died on Easter Sunday of 2014. He had lung cancer. He was diagnosed 6 months before his death. My Loved my sister and I more than anything. The last week before his death he was in and out and sometimes very confused and sometimes not. On the Tues before his death we made a date ( Easter) to get together with him and bring our small children. He got worse as the week went on and stopped speaking. My sister arrived first and as soon as she started speaking a single tear ran down his face. She ask my stepmom if he had been crying prior to her arrival. She said no and looked confused. I arrived 1 hr later and my sister quietly let me know that he had let a single tear fall when she started speaking. I went and sat beside him, talking with him, telling him I loved him and we were all here. He let another tear fall. It broke my heart. He passed away a couple of hours later and it didn't happen again. It haunts me every day. I've cried about it all morning today. I wish he could've spoke to us that day. I feel he was trying to show us he understood and loved us. It was just too weird that it happened when my sister arrived and spoke and then I arrived and spoke.
  10. Visit  TammyG profile page
    1
    In my experience, people commonly tear from one or both eyes when actively dying. This was always explain to me as a natural phenomena unconnected with psychological processes. But who knows? I think you can read into it whatever you like, however, I explain to my families that there is most likely not any emotional process behind it.
    Pbrown1414 likes this.
  11. Visit  softrbreeze profile page
    0
    I've been with home hospice for 9 years now and I remember the single tear happened fairly often the first couple of years. I either haven't noticed or it hasn't happened in recent years. I'm usually not with the patient when they die however.
  12. Visit  Sydneycc profile page
    2
    My mother died the end of May. Two of my 4 siblings had not spoken to her in several months. She had repeatedly tryed to reconcile, with no result. I spoke with her on Sunday and she was very depressed. My oldest sibling has MS and had come to visit. However, he "self medicates" and his sleep pattern is off. Mother said that she was sitting alone in front of the TV and he was in the guest bedroom in bed with that TV on. Then she said that she was still wondering why my siblings were still not speaking to her. I was leaving the next day to see her, however she was admitted to the hospital with Pancreatitus that next morning and I was not able to get to her until Tuesday night. I had already been asked to give permission as MPA to place her on a ventilator earlier prior to my arrival late Tuesday evening Multiple organ failure, internal bleeding and a high fever were all present Thursday morning. They were forcing fluids but her kidneys were not responding. I made the decision to take her off of life support Thursday morning. One of my siblings that had not spoken to her arrived as did my brother with MS and three nieces. I allowed them to have private time with her before the nurse came in to turn the respirator off. I was the closest to her and had been able to communicate with her through asking her to squeeze my hand if she loved me, and twice she did! At the end, I had my forhead on hers and just kept talking to her. Everyone else was holding her hands. After the nurse called the TOD, I straightened up and there was one tear coming from her left eye where I was standing. Dealing with how fast things went and wondering if I made the right decision has been bothering me. I wasn't sure if the tear was a non voluntary response or an emotional one. She had been able to hear (hopefully) some apologies from her family. I am not sure if she was aware at that time or not. I have wondered if she was relieved that each of them had said they were sorry or she was sad that she was being taken off of life support. We are not sure if she had any awareness at that time or not. As they were turning off the respirator, the nurse said "she is actively dying on her own". This did and does relieve some of my guilt, but I will never know if that was just something Intensive Care nurses say to help families deal with that kind of situation. I guess "the tear" will always be there for me, I will never know why it appeared...
    Pbrown1414 and nitenite like this.
  13. Visit  tpeach03 profile page
    0
    My father passed away this afternoon. I have been trying to find information on tears and came across this post. I know it is old but I'm hoping that someone can please help me to understand. My father never wanted to be in a hospital or inpatient care. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and I brought him to my house until the medicine that was prescribed was no longer managing his illness. Hospice and I tried everything, even increasing his morphine to a point where typical patients would be sleeping and in complete comfort. My father was a fighter though, and was very afraid of dying. This morning we decided inpatient care was the only place to be as he was struggling to breathe and was conscious while doing so. I was very afraid, seeing him in this condition and I struggled so badly deciding transferring him to inpatient was the best thing to do. I was told he would be hooked to an IV where he would sleep and no longer feel the pain and pass on his own time.
    While in the ambulance for transport I spoke to him and consistently rubbed his head (as this is what he liked). At one point I noticed a tear in his right eye. I'm struggling to understand if this is because he was sad and upset that he was being transported to hospice. He was completely out (with morphine). I wiped his tear and continued to speak to him. Later when we arrived I noticed another tear. I'm so upset about this. I want to think this tear is a good thing, but when I think of tears I think of sadness and I'm so overwhelmed of the thought that he was saddened just before he passed. My father passed away only 10 minutes after we came to the room he was admitted into. I'm experiencing all sorts of emotions. My main emotion is that he struggled for so many weeks and I can't get over how sad he must of been just before he passed. I'm hoping this is not a tear of sadness but just a normal reaction to dying but I'm not finding anything on this. His sadness and struggle is killing me and hurting me the most during this time.
  14. Visit  margin261 profile page
    0
    tpeach- My heart goes out to you for your loss. I've worked in hospice for a while but can't recall this happening with any of them.
    As previous posters noted, it is more than likely a physiological response. But hearing is the last to go, it could be possible he was just happy you were with him at that time. Since he was sedated, he was unable to acknowledge you verbally or even to squeeze your hand. Maybe that was the only way to let you know that he knew you were there and he appreciated it.
    Since you may never find out the exact reason/cause of it....maybe you can carry that one in your heart. You were there and he knew it and was comforted by it.
    I'm truly sorry for your loss, try to take care of yourself.

close
close