The last stages of life can be very stressful for the dying person and those caring for him/her. You will observe changes that may be upsetting and unfamiliar. Learning about the dying process will help. Many physical changes occur during the process of dying that affect the emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life.
There are some signs and symptoms of dying that are observable, although not everyone follows a predictable sequence of events or stages.
Health professionals speak of “dying trajectories” that suggest how persons with specific diseases will die. For example, those with a terminal illness, such as advanced cancer, will show a steady decline toward death. Those with serious chronic illnesses may have peaks and valleys that sometimes give the impression of recovery.
Remember that each person’s death is unique.
It is helpful to understand the common symptoms experienced in people who are dying. You may observe none, some, or all of these symptoms in the dying person’s last days and hours on earth. You will also learn things to do that can help ease physical pain and suffering.
- Withdrawal from the External World
- Visions and Hallucinations
- Loss of Appetite
- Change in Bowel and Bladder Functions
- Confusion, Restlessness, and Agitation
- Changes in Breathing, Congestion in Lungs or Throat
- Change in Skin Temperature and Color
- Hospice Death
- Saying Goodbye
- Being Present at the Moment of Death
I'm not getting much sleep. I'm not sure how much longer this can go on. Did I mention you should go tell your mom you love her? Or your kids? I'm just realizing how meaningless everything is. No matter how many treasures you store up, they will be taken from you. Even your memories are not safe.
Grab your copy of Ecclesiastes
- "Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless."
A Common Destiny for All (Chapter 9)1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. 2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, [a] the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good man,
so with the sinner;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them.
3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4[b] —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! Anyone who is among the living has hope
5 For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, [c] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
12 Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so men are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.
The Conclusion of the Matter (Chapter 12)9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.