Often when someone is dying from illness or disease they will go into what the medical profession calls the active dying stage. In most cases (not all) the person is non-responsive and this can last for a few days sometimes longer, or even shorter. Every end of life journey is different.
Some years ago my Grandmother was in the active phase of dying at a hospice facility. The day before her birthday some of her cousins and other family came to say their goodbyes.
My mom, husband, and I went home to rest so we could be with her the next day.
To our surprise we came in the next morning and she was awake eating pie!
Sometimes people get this last little bit of energy before they transition. We were told this could be what was happening. Six weeks later she was actually getting better, but very prone to falling and needed 24/7 care. We moved her to a full-time care facility that specialized in memory care.
I remember trying to talk to her about her experience at the hospice house. She had dementia and although she always knew who I was and other loved ones, she didn’t really understand what was going on around her. She couldn’t recall the active dying stage, she had no idea why were all so happy to see her eating pie that morning she awoke from her end of life transition.
In her mind, she just woke up like another other morning and decided pie was a great breakfast choice! For me it was a gift to cherish forever.
For some reason her time on earth was not over that day, she lived another 9 months.
I enjoyed those months looking at the beautiful view from the terrace at her nursing home facility. Those moments of clarity she’d have were moments I’ll always remember.
One time she was talking on the phone to her sister and she just started talking as clear as day, which was not normal for her. It’s those moments I hold so very dear.
When we would hang out she was so present and in the moment. Her ‘just live in the moment’ nature really rubbed off on me. I was able to finally just ‘be’ present in her presence. It was the greatest gift she has taught me.
The end of life journey can be incredibly positive, meaningful, and impactful. Telling the story of a loved ones end of life journey can also be very healing. It’s a shared experience that can be quite beautiful. If your loved one has already passed and you would like to create their story or legacy work for yourself and for other family and/or friends who would benefit from it, please reach out to us and let us help.
Let us help you with your legacy work, end of life plan, or offer emotional support to your loved ones.