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. Visit  ws582 profile page

    About ws582

    ws582 has '2.5' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Rehab/LTC, Post OH, Neuro, Med/Surg'. From 'US'; Joined Aug '08; Posts: 39; Likes: 7.

    9 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  gorgenurse profile page
    3
    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.
    softrbreeze, nitenite, and Whispera like this.
  4. Visit  Daisy_08 profile page
    1
    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.
    nurse2be13 likes this.
  5. Visit  tewdles profile page
    1
    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.
    nitenite likes this.
  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
    3
    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
    4
    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.
    softrbreeze, nurse2be13, nitenite, and 1 other like this.
  9. Visit  Carrie1388 profile page
    1
    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.
    softrbreeze likes this.
  10. Visit  TammyG profile page
    0
    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.
  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.


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