Death stories? - page 5

Weird, bizarre, peaceful or totally memorable occasions that you observed death, any stories? I don't mean to be morbid or anything but I am looking for ways to improve our service in the ICU and... Read More

  1. by   shrinky
    These stories are very interesting and I appreciate your sharing with us. I have been a Hospice nurse for 8 years and have many stories, but there was one story that was very different. I was called by the PCC to go attend the death of a patient since his nurse was off that day. When I arrived I assessed him and made the necessary calls and then his wife and their son told me this story. The son had come into the father's room in the morning and found him to be awake and wanting to talk. The son said " I'm glad you're still with us, you were so near to death yesterday". The patient said "I left yesterday but I had some things I need to tell you". He asked his son to get a paper and pencil and to write down everything he told him. The man proceded to tell him that he wanted the funeral to be held on Sunday ( this was on a Friday), told him what he wanted to be buried in, who he wanted to perform the ceremony, etc. THen he asked his son if he had written all of that down, the son replied yes and the man died. Both the son and wife confirmed the story, but I thought it was the strangest in my years of Hospice.
  2. by   MaryAnn_RN

    the morning she died, my mother in law had the family priest come pray to st. theresa to let her die. ( there is a story that st theresa lets you know she has heard your prayer by sending roses in some way) quote]

    the day my father died, he was given the sacrament and the priest left. i was praying by the bedside when i had the strangest feeling that my grandmother was there with us, although she had died years before. i got up, laid on the bed beside dad and put my crucifix in his hands and carried on praying. i told him that it was ok, that gran had come to take him home...he died very shortly afterwards, peacefully and without sign of pain or distress. i later received three sympathy cards with these words...

    the rose beyond the wall
    near a shady wall a rose once grew,
    budded and blossomed in god's free light,
    watered and fed by the morning dew,
    shedding it's sweetness day and night.

    as it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
    slowly rising to loftier height,
    it came to a crevice in the wall
    through which there shone a beam of light.
    onward it crept with added strength
    with never a thought of fear or pride,
    it followed the light through the crevice's length
    and unfolded itself on the other side.

    the light, the dew, the broadening view
    were found the same as they were before,
    and it lost itself in beauties new,
    breathing it's fragrance more and more.

    shall claim of death cause us to grieve
    and make our courage faint and fall?
    nay! let us faith and hope receive--
    the rose still grows beyond the wall,
    scattering fragrance far and wide
    just as it did in days of yore,
    just as it did on the other side,
    just as it will forevermore.
    ~ a. l. frink

    perhaps these were the roses from st theresa?
  3. by   aimeee
    That's a beautiful poem and a lovely personal story. Thanks for sharing it.
  4. by   Labor&DeliveryRN
    Im currently an STNA in Ohio and a couple months ago, my great grandmother passed away. This was right before I got my first job. The nursing staff and doctors told us we had about 2 days with her and she would probably pass, so a few of the grandkids and others stayed with her and helped her and so fourth. When grandma was healthy years ago, she ALWAYS was trying to feed the family. Anytime family came to her house, she wanted to feed them. She loved to make homemade noodles, and fry hamburgers, make soups... etc. She just loved making everyone stuffed. Well even in the nursing home, she wanted to feed us. Needless to say, she was a bit "out of it" with all the meds, but it was kindof comical. She would ask my uncle to "go get some hamburger so she could fry some hamburgers for everyone". We all told her we "already ate" so she wouldnt worry about us, but she INSISTED we go get some food. She even wanted my uncle to get her purse so she could give him some money for the hamburger. Then she insisted that we get her purse so that we could make a donation to the LTC facility! She was just sooo sweet. She wanted to make her donation and "get out of there". She wanted to go home, but she wanted to make sure the nursing home was payed first. I think "home" meant more than "home" at that point. Im now working at that same nursing home, and I cant wait to "donate" my love to those like her...
  5. by   nurse2btracy
    My father was diagnosed in April with lung CA with mets to the bone. By the end of May he started to complain of the pain (I think that the pain was present for quite some time but never complained (which was very rare for him)). He went into the hospital on May 24 and he passed on June 17. The day before he passed he was brought into hospice and was on a steady dosage of morphine. He was totally out of it (glassy stare) but that first night he woke up and spoke to my sister. He told her that he loved her and asked for something to drink. He told me a couple of days before this that he loved me. He always had a love/hate relationship with my mother. I think that deep down he blamed my mother for his financial problems (she may have been a component but he was an equal partner). During this time my mother was very attentive but at times she took the bulk of his aggressive behavior. I do not think that during this time he ever told my mother that he loved her. I do believe that he loved her but I think that he believed that she put him in the hospital/rehab and he did not want to be there.

    By the next day the glassy stare was back and his breathing was better during the day. When I went back that night his breathing was very labored. My sister left the room to talk to her son. My mother and I were talking when she jumped up and said he stopped breathing. By the time I looked up he was breathing again. When it happened again I went and got the nurse who said that it was normal since he was at the end. My mother and I were holding his hands when it happened again. At this point my mother went to get my sister. Every time his breathing stopped we held out breathe. After a couple of minutes I went to see my nephew (less than 10 minutes). When I went back he had passed.

    It was very peaceful - the nurse gave us time to spend with him after he passed. We were so glad that we were there since our biggest fear was getting the call at night. It happened so fast - less than 2 months after diagnosis and 3 weeks after he started to go downhill.
  6. by   scribblerpnp
    I'm not a hospice nurse, but I worked in a unit that often had to deal with end of life issues.

    One 12-year-old boy had been in the hospital for WEEKS. He was waiting for a liver transplant, and was high on the list since he was going into liver failure. He and his family were a joy to have and his parents spoiled him rotten during the hospital stay, though they were having difficulty realizing that he might die before he got a transplant. His Mom was constantly saying positive things like, "Today is going to be the day you get your transplant." She was desperately trying not to give up hope.

    Eventually it came a time to discuss a DNR. He was in organ failure, and even too sick to survive the operation. Though the parents refused to give up hope, you could tell the boy knew he was going to die.

    The last night I had him as a pt. I had walked into the room and saw the mom crying by his bed, and he was asleep. Before I could begin talking to her she told me her son had woken up and said to her, "Mom, I am not going to get a new liver. You need to let me go. I'll be OK."

    He died 4 hours later.
  7. by   *LadyJane*
    bumping an excellent thread.
  8. by   jjnmrsmom
    My mother was a hospice pt. One day she told me that; "it would be over in 5 days"... she died 5 days later.

    One of my pts in the hospital had lung ca. He had a trach in and couldn't speak or hardly move, so communication was difficult. When he was conscious he always looked frightened and worried. One day I went to check on him and he was looking up at the ceiling back and forth like he was trailing something and grinning. He seemed happy and relaxed. I had never seen him look that way before. You guessed it... shortly after he died.

    My scientific mind tells me that there are chemical changes going on in our brains at the time of death than can alter thought processes. But my spiritual mind tells me there is also something more.
  9. by   shrinky
    My stories are too numerous to count but I will say that as people are getting ready to leace this world they become closer to the spiritual world and do see what we cannot see. Most of them see loved ones who have passed on and others see angels, the gates opening or other beautiful things that cause them not to be afraid. I had one lady who had had polio as a child and was now dying on Hospice and she was a good lady, believed in God and went to church and wanted me to sing to her every time I visited ( I was her Hospice nurse). She started seeing men in black with big dogs and snakes and this concerned me so I would talk with her about what was happening and praying and singing hymns. At one time she told her husband that he was keeping her here and he eventually told her that it was ok to go, they do need permission. She did become peaceful before her death but it was a struggle before that time. People do need permission to die and I have seen people hang on because the family tells them to hold on and as a Hospice nurse I have had to help the family let them go. Death can be a scary experience and I believe God sends loved ones to us to help us not to be afraid, especially someone who was very close and loving to us. Maybe I'll tell more stories at another writing. Great thread.:heartbeat
  10. by   Heogog53
    When I worked in CCU, when a patient would come into the unit reporting that he/she had just spoken with a close relative who'd died years before, we all knew that death wasn't far behind. And if our very sick patients would suddenly have a good day, with the relatives all saying something about how much better their person looked, wed know that the patient would die the next day. It was as if those patients were trying to love everyone at once, used up their energies saying their forms of goodbye and then, exhausted, feel comfortable enough to go.

    When my mom was dying, my youngest was born and we flew to visit her. She weighed about 87 pounds, but she wanted to see her Benjamin. My sister was supposed to be Benjamin, then I was supposed to be Benjamin. She waited 38 years to see her Benjamin. She had mets to the head, so my mom wasn't really herself anymore. The last completely lucid day she had was given to Benjamin and myself. The next day, most of the family left. Three days later, she started telling my dad and aunt that "I have to go". They kept getting her up on the potty chair until my dad realized that she was asking/telling him that it was time and he needed to let her go. He did and she died within 12 hours.

    As for "paranormal" experiences, when my father was dying, I woke up at 2:20 am Wednesday night, for no reason as far as I could understand.....and said to myself that my dad had just died. He was in Mass, I was in Va. Next day, I got a phone call telling me that he had died at 2:20 am.

    Previously, he had been in ICU with his lungs "whited out", and the night nurse and I communicated every night(his day nurse was, sad to say, a *****). One night I called and asked to speak with her, was told that she was busy with a patient, could I call back later. I thought about it and decided that my dad was coding. When we spoke a few hours later, she confirmed that yes, he'd coded around the time I'd called.

    It's eerie when you KNOW things, for no discernible reason. I've had that little voice in my head all my life. It's told me more than I ever wanted to know, and some interesting things as well. When I was 15, the first time I heard that little voice, it told me that my children would be c-section babies. I didn't even WANT kids at 15, let alone think about how they'd be birthed! 15 years later, the little voice was correct; my daughter was a c-section delivery. 17 years later, same for my son.

    T'any rate, those were the stories that stuck with me.
  11. by   sconnieRN
    Have really enjoyed reading this thread - thanks to all for sharing!
  12. by   Werblessed
    Dying people very often 'see people we can't see' - deceased relatives mostly. Where they see them is where the ceiling and the wall - that seam where they meet - that's where they stare. I don't know why that is but it will be one of my first questions when I make my own journey 'home'. Some patients are able to tell us who they see and what they are telling them. Others just stare but you can see there is a connection beyond words occuring. One lady in particular was 93 y/o with Alzheimers and I was her home hospice primary nurse. She had 24/7 hired caregivers in the home and she was non-verbal for the last 18+ months of her life. I was at her bedside (she had no children and her husband had died many years before) holding her hand as she took her last breaths. At the time of her death, she opened her eyes and said one word, "Mama" with a smile as wide as anything I've ever seen, then she died. I had tears in my eyes, the hired caregiver was standing there with her jaw on the floor. It's blessings like this which happen frequently at the end of life that let us glimpse behind the curtain as I call it and bless us for a lifetime!
  13. by   Heogog53
    Just an addition to the "little voices" stories.
    About two weeks ago, my sister called to let me know that my uncle, who had cancer, had gone from "fine" to "very ill, in hospice care". I hoped that he would leave sooner than later, but didn't think much more about it.
    My son and his fiancee came into to town to visit about a week later. We decided to go out to eat, during the meal, I wondered what was happening to my uncle right then. When we got home from dinner, my sister called, to tell me that he'd died around 9:30pm, which was about the same time I'd been thinking about him.
    Not to change the direction of this thread, but to simply ask this question:
    How many other people have felt that connection, from far away, that something critical(like my dad who was coding when I called), or just knew that something had changed( waking up right when my father died, wondering about my uncle when he died)? I was in Virginia when my father died and he was in Massachusetts. My uncle lived in Scottsdale AZ when he died and I now live in NC. It's so odd to feel a sudden tug or mental awareness, as I obviously have.
    This has been a fascinating thread. There is so much about out of body, near death, death experiences that we don't understand, as well as the commonality of experiences that our loved ones, our patients and their families have experienced. Whether it's family members from the past coming to see our patients, our patients KNOWING the date of their death, knowing that it's time to go and are just awaiting a certain event(like the wonderful story of the dopamine/blood/med titration til the family came in) and the like-
    I may have mentioned it earlier in this thread, but I had an out of body experience during a horrible surgery and illness. It was wonderful, comforting, loving and the happiest I'd ever been. If that was a small taste of dying, then knowing that is such a comfort for me.