Transition from Life to Death
The Dying Process or the Transition From Life to Death has been observed by me personally. For 34 years of my life, I have been in the Nursing Profession. And if I should add to that my years of being a nursing assistant that would make it 40 years of nurturing and helping people. Yes, there is a need to add on those nursing assitant years here, because in them contains the witness to the most horrific death I have ever seen!
As a nursing assistant, it was my job to come in and do vital signs. At that time we used glass thermometers. I had already taken them out of the cleaning solution, and shaken them all down, of course keeping the red tips separated from the blue tips. (Smile Nurses!) Entering this patients room, he was very red and sweaty and moaning and groaning and thrashing about. I turned him over, finding him very hot and sweaty to the touch, and lubed up the thermometer and placed it in his rectum. He was soo hot, and red as a lobster! Just standing near him made me very warm. I could not believe my eyes when I took the thermometer out! His temperature was off the end of the thermometer. I reported it and retook it with the same result… This man died the most miserable death, I have ever seen! I felt like he was being tortured, and I all of 17 years old slept with the lights on for a long time.
And then compare to the sweetest departure from this world that I have seen. Sweet lady, and I was feeding her, her dinner. She only wanted the ice cream!! Imagine my horror when after the second spoon of ice cream, her eyes rolled back up in her head and she died, right there in front of me! I ran screaming for the nurses, who came in the room and did CPR on her unsuccessfully. I cried, and was only consolable when one of the nurses told me this, “You gave her, her last taste of sweetness before she left this world!” Then I could smile.
I have come to discover that the period before death can be difficult as the body is shutting down or being consumed by disease. During this time, it’s easy for the mind to become overwhelmed and unable to manage. And now being a professional nurse; know that during that time the body is in what we call Multisystem Organ Failure. A variety of symptoms manifest at this time. In the hospital settings, we do many things to help with them.
My mom decided she would die at home. When I arrived there, the “Angel Nurses” ,my name for Hospice Nurses were on the case. Wonderful, but when I saw my mom, not in as bad a shape as the man described above, but almost in my mind. But some many years later now and a Registered Nurse , I knew she was in the multiorgan system failure part of death at this time. As I said, I had seen this before!!!!
But this time, and having just learned hypnotherapy, I wan’t going to just stand by and hear her (mom) moan like this. So I went to the car and read frantically over my newly learned hypnotherapy scripts, returned to her bedside, paced her breathing, slowed hers down, and counted her down and led her in a meditation of Psalms 23 and to the Table to have a talk with Jesus, and I just said to tell Him all about it and talk with Him… and during that time, I sang, “I come to the Garden Alone” while the dew is still on the roses… All the while watching her and I knew when she had reached that table to talk with Him as such a peace came over her body, (I can’t even begin to imagine that divine moment and talk with Jesus);and then she scared me! I was so enjoying that peace that had come over her when her eyes opened and she spoke with peace. She then sat up and she had some strength and she wanted to get up…. She died peacefully over the next day.
What I learned from all of my experiences of seeing and watching people as they transition over, is this is a time for friends and family to step in and help. Anything we can do to reduce worry and create an uplifting atmosphere will help make for an easier time for your loved one while passing. I so understand that some will be able to do something and understand and some won’t. I personally have some family members who to this day do not understand how my mom’s strength returned for that short period of time before she passed on.
Even so, anything you can do to help a person at this time, please do. Hold their hand, rub their forehead, sing pray, or whatever you do in your tradition. But please know that, as the body is going through the shutting down process of death, that person is going through so much.
Nursing taught me that hearing is the last sense to leave the body. So be careful what you say and do, do respect the body of that person, preserve their dignity, even then!
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