When the End Is In Sight
Hospice caregivers and others attending to the dying have reported that shortly before the patient takes their last breath a change often takes place involving how the patient senses their place in the environment. The dying frequently have these new behaviors as they approach their closing days or hours, if not on strong medications inducing sleep:
- Appear confused or disoriented.
- Start talking to invisible people, some of whom are dead relatives or deceased loved ones.
- Describe seeing spiritual beings, bright lights, animals or something symbolic to them.
- Act out of character with statements, gestures or requests.
- Describe going to another world of peace and beauty.
- Make hand gestures, reach for or hold unseen objects, or wave to unseen beings.
- Talk about going on a trip, packing luggage or buying tickets for travel.
If not suppressed by drugs, the dying may have deathbed visions: Invisible people or animals nearby talking to them and encouraging them with loving comments to come to the spirit realm. See more on Deathbed Visions
The Travel Symbol for Transition
Dying patients often describe what dying is like using language often not specific but rather in symbolic terms. In many cases the caretakers are not aware what the patient is attempting to do and the patients may be treated condescendingly, ignored, or inappropriately medicated for delirium. Failure to understand the patient trying to communicate this meaningful experience at the end of life may cause isolation, suffering, and impair the dying person’s ability transition to the spirit realm.
In one study, shortly before actual death the patients frequently were observed to behave in different ways not noticed before. Many asked for help preparing for a trip by getting suitcases, personal objects, and clothing ready. To the caregivers these requests generally sounded like requests to leave the present bed and care facility to go home, so they are discouraged and/or ignored.
Often the patient seemed to be energized and made stronger by the thoughts of leaving and going somewhere other than their present location. They frequently looked off pleasantly into the distance as if they could see their destination as they awaited to be transported. They may even talk about visiting the destination from their bed then returning as if something physical is still holding them in bed.
Frequently before actual death the dying may report seeing "helpers" at the foot of their bed waiting to take them on the trip. These "helpers" are generally described as deceased loved ones who have previously died.
These descriptions of invisible people are generally attributed by caregivers as hallucinations or side effects of drugs. This is too bad because often this is a very important part of the natural dying process.
A Sense of Euphoria Often Occurs in Nearing Death Awareness
Medical staff and outsiders may see this as being delirious. They don't understand that actually the dying person has one foot still in the physical world and the other is already in the spiritual world. This is the perfect time for loved ones to be at the bedside expressing their love and wishes for a smooth transition to the spiritual realm. It may help greatly if loved ones can give permission for the dying to leave this material world. That may greatly help the dying person to make a smooth and speedy transition from the body to the spiritual realm. Everyone has to let go of the physical world and release the spirit to the spiritual realm.
Family members at this point often can not accept death for the patient and refuse to let go, especially when they see signs of increased energy and euphoria. They often plead with the medical people to devote extreme measures to save the member of the family from dying. Although their intentions are honorable, many of the patients with heroic medical measures only delay death a few days or weeks, and cause them to suffer longer unnecessarily - and at great financial expense.
It is most important for the dying person to transition from the physical plane to the spiritual plane without interference quickly and smoothly. Often amazingly at this point many dying people get a burst of energy and show signs of euphoria, if they are not heavily sedated by drugs. Mona Simpson, sister of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, reveals that his last words before his death from cancer were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."
Help for Caregivers to the Dying
Nearing Death Awareness may be an important step in the dying process for some people. Family and caregivers for the dying should all read these books:
- Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience by Barbara Karnes, RN provides 14 pages of valuable practical tips on what to expect and how to deal with it when you are attending to the dying in the final days.
- Final Gifts, a book written by hospice nurses Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelley, describes ‘Nearing Death Awareness’ experiences while explaining what can be learned from them and how families can facilitate a more peaceful death for their loved one emotionally as well as spiritually.
My Plans for Dying
When my own dying body starts the final shutting down process I want by then to have come to terms with my own mortality. I plan to be mentally prepared for letting go of my body and the material world. Hopefully by the end I will have done enough of my life review to find closure and a sense of completion. If I have done good work in preparing, then the letting go will be much easier as I transition from the physical world to the spiritual realm.
I personally want to prevent medical intervention with pain relief drugs and sleep aids from interfering with my own death awareness dying process. In my near death experience in 1988 I clearly recall that my intense pain was what helped me let go of my physical body and release my spirit, consciousness, or whatever it is called.
After the release from my body I was in absolute bliss, hovering out of my body and looking down at it from above. My real self that was then out of the body had great clarity of the physical world but was not attached to it. This blissful extraordinary state out of the body has been described similarly by thousands of people who have had near death experiences.
My point here is to state that the pain was only temporary until I intentionally let go of my body and the pain. I am convenced that pain evolved to help us release from our body when the body is so damaged that it needs to die and let the spirit transition on to a new and better realm.