At some point, everyone wonders what happens to us after we die, but there’s another question that is equally relevant: what actually happens to us when we die? Do we understand what’s going on as we’re going through it? What does the experience actually feel like? Do we suddenly gain new understandings of life or have epic moments of final epiphany as we shuffle off this mortal coil?
Although no one can answer these questions with certainty, there is no shortage of people who think they might have an idea. People who have witnessed the final moments of another person’s life firsthand have often reported all kinds of strange things taking place that really make one wonder what really does happen to a person as they take their last breath. Courtesy of Reddit, here are just a few examples of such firsthand accounts of the most interesting, and at times creepy, last words of those who have left us for the other side.
22. Waiting Patiently
My mom was watching over my great-grandfather in the hospital. He’d been unresponsive for a day or so, when suddenly he said: “It’s about damn time you got here! I’ve been waiting!” And then he died.
21. Leaving On a High Note
I’m a nurse and was previously working at an assisted living community on the dementia/Alzheimer’s unit. My very favorite patient had been declining pretty steadily so I was checking on him very frequently. We would have long chats and joke around with each other, but in the last two weeks of his life, he stopped talking completely and didn’t really acknowledge conversation directed at him at all. I finished my medication rounds for the evening and went to see him before I left. I told him I was leaving for the night and that I’d see him the following day, and he looked me in the eyes and smiled SO genuinely and said, “You look like an angel.” I thought it was so sweet because he had not seemed lucid in weeks.
He died the next morning. It really messed with me.
20. Thoughtful to the Last Minute
Backstory: Dad had MS. He’d had it since he was 18. Diagnosed at 20, married my mom at 24, had me at 29, died 15 days short of 45. Six months before that, he was put on hospice. He and Mom were discussing funeral arrangements, and my mom jokingly said, “You know Tim, the best thing you could do would be to die on a Wednesday. That way we can have the body prepared on Thursday, the viewing on Friday, and the memorial on Saturday, so more people could come.
The morning we got the call that it was time, my mom, two sisters, and I were about five minutes too late. After we said our goodbyes, the nurse pulled my mom aside and asked if that day had any significance. It’s not even 6 am yet, so Mom doesn’t even know what day it IS much less if it’s important. The nurse tells her it’s May 21st. No… nothing is coming to mind.
The nurse told her that the previous day he kept asking what day it was and they’d tell him it was the 20th. He’d look irritated but accept it. That morning, he asked what day it was, and they said, “It’s Wednesday, May 21st.” He smiled, squeezed his favorite nurse’s hand, and was gone almost immediately.
It was Memorial Day weekend, and we did just as he and Mom had planned. And despite many friends being out of town for the holiday, we had over 250 people show up at the memorial service, overflowing the tiny church more than it had ever been filled. To his dying day, he was trying to make things easier for our family. I miss him.
19. Secrets Revealed
I overheard an old lady whisper this to her old husband dying of kidney problems.
“You are going to beat this, you got away with murder, this is nothing.”
18. Now That’s Just Creepy…
“But I don’t know how to get there…” Grandpa in hospice. Hadn’t spoken in days. Died about 2 hours later.
17. The Sad Side
I work in a cardiac ICU. We had a patient who had a pulmonary artery rupture (a rare, but known complication of a Swan-Ganz catheter). One minute he was joking around with us and the next bright red blood was spewing out of his mouth. His last words before he died were “why is this happening to me?” It still haunts me years later.
16. When Things Can’t Get Much Worse
I’m an RT and had a vented trach patient in angio… I walked up to her and saw bright red blood just start shooting up the vent circuit and immediately obstruct it.
I immediately said “she’s hemorrhaging” and the vascular surgeon said “no it’s just a little blood” thinking I was referring to his access site in her groin.
I popped her off of the vent and blood just started pouring out of her trach, mouth, and nose. She looked at me and said “just let me die.”
The puddle of blood was about 6 feet in diameter on the floor within just a couple of minutes and I was covered from the chest down.
I’ve seen some stuff, but that was the worst.
15. At Long Last
My grandma died in 1989, my grandfather (Bob) died around 1965. She never remarried, never dated, but she did have a great life.
When she was dying she yelled, “Bob Bob here I come…Oh honey I’ve missed you so much!”
We always joked that we were glad she didn’t yell, “Bob, who the hell is that”?
14. Say What Now?
My grandfather on his deathbed said, “they have no eyes.” It still give me chills.
13. Her Last Hope
My first hospice case. She was on morphine and started mock smoking. She looked at me, took my hand and said “please” in the most pleading voice I’ve ever heard. I sat with her body until the coroner arrived. She had no friends or family. Only her lawyer showed up. I’ve only done one hospice case since.
12. Familiar, Yet Different
“Get home safe, little one.” It wasn’t what he said—he said the same thing to me any time I had him as a patient for the evening. It was how he said it. He gave me this look and pause like he knew. The DNR’s in my experience, always know when it’s time. It’s creepy.
11. Getting the Last Laugh
I was working on a crew boat that would scuttle us across an inlet to logging camp with an old fisherman who ran the boat. One day I was getting on and said “good morning dave you crusty old bastard” jokingly. The next day when we showed up for work we found out he died in his sleep. I felt bad that those were my last words to him until I remembered his smile when he responded: “go f*** yourself halibutface, you b***!”
10. A Shocking Change of Heart
This is sad, but also creepy, and I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it. Had a 20-year-old kid, gang member, who was dying of primary liver cancer. Super unusual, aggressive, and terminal. He was angry at the universe. His family was there to comfort him, but he literally spat in their faces. Every ounce of energy he had left was angry and mean and ugly. His mom would beg him to lighten up and accept Jesus into his heart. He would swing at her and tell her to eff herself. The family remained beside, in hopes he would chill out at the end.
His last day, hours, moments, he was angry. The family called me into the room, and told me they thought he was going (he wasn’t responding, Cheyne-Stokes breaths, eyes glossy and skin cold–the end was imminent). His lovely mother, in her dearest attempt, whispered to him to go towards the light, to her Jesus. With his dying breath, he opened his eyes, looked at her and said: “Eff your Jesus!!!” A second or two later, he slowly turned his head to the left, and got the most horrific look on his face as if he was looking at something we couldn’t see, and horrified, his face contorted, and he screamed with his last breath, eyes wide, “Oh s***, oh s***, OH NOOOOOOO!!!!” then made a guttural noise and promptly fell back into the bed and died. Every family member was shaking and too frightened to speak, and I left the room and took two days off. I don’t care if I never find out what he saw.
9. Mysterious Visitors
I had a cousin that had cancer and died when he was a little kid. He once asked his mother why all these people visited and she said: “Because your cousins, aunts, and uncles love you very much and want you to get better” and he answered, “I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about the ones that visit me at night.”
8. Reconnecting With Old Friends
My father-in-law sat at his mother’s bedside for days as she was dying. She was in and out of it and spent a lot of time in conversation with her parents and siblings—who were all long dead.
One of the last intelligible things she said was, “leave the gate open, Rodney. I’m coming.”
7. Jobs Well Done
Steve Jobs smiled and said “Oh, wow. Oh, wow!” before he died. Probably saw some cool stuff.
6. An Eerie Prediction
I’m an apprentice funeral director. We went to a nursing home on a removal and as we were walking down the hall one of the patients got antsy and opened the door to his room and saw us walking with the stretcher.
“I’ll see you next week boys.”
And guess who we had to pick up the next week.
5. Agonizing Request
DNR patient was on comfort care. Was on a high dose of morphine and hallucinating. She would alternate between grasping for things not there and trying to climb out of bed. She was too unsteady to walk so my job was to sit in the room and make sure she was safe. She tried to get up and I went to ask her what she needed. She grabbed my arm and pulled me down towards her face and said, very angrily, “kill me.”
4. Unfinished Business
Last year: my grandfather started desperately pleading for his life with his German captors from WWII.
The doctor present was smart and said in German: “You are free, Herr Caticature. You are free.” And then he died.
3. It’s All About Attitude
Checked in on a patient before the end of my shift and she was in good spirits, had been joking with me the whole time. Her condition was tenuous (new trach) but she had been positive throughout. I asked how she was doing and she replied by singing “The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be” and wished me a good night.
I came in the next morning and she had coded and died overnight.
2. A Moment of Painful Regret
17 y/o female, car crash: “Please, please, please…don’t tell my parents I was drinking.”
1. You Cannot End Off There!
“You’re not gonna believe this…”
Talk about a cliffhanger. Can’t wait for season 2 of Old Man With Heart Failure.
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