A dying persons tear

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    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.
    nitenite likes this.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

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    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.
    nitenite and Whispera like this.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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
    tewdles likes this.
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    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.
    nitenite and tewdles like this.


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