A person who is dying may seem like they are having trouble breathing. Their breathing may suddenly change speed, they might gasp for air, or they may pause between breaths. If a person caring for a loved one notices this, they should try not to worry.
Pulse and heartbeat are irregular or hard to feel or hear. Body temperature drops. Skin on their knees, feet, and hands turns a mottled bluish-purple (often in the last 24 hours) Breathing is interrupted by gasping and slows until it stops entirely.
What are the symptoms of active dying?
Five Physical Signs that Death is Nearing
How to tell if death is near
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” However, there are actually seven stages that comprise the grieving process: shock and disbelief, denial, pain, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance/hope.
What happens when someone dies? In time, the heart stops and they stop breathing. Within a few minutes, their brain stops functioning entirely and their skin starts to cool. At this point, they have died.
The first stage is pre-active dying. During this stage, a person may withdraw from social activities, spend more time sleeping, or seem particularly lethargic. They may consume less food and water or seem unable to recover from wounds. This stage often includes confusion, restlessness, and swollen extremities.
In the last hours before dying a person may become very alert or active. This may be followed by a time of being unresponsive. You may see blotchiness and feel cooling of the arms and legs. Their eyes will often be open and not blinking.
When a person is just hours from death, you will notice changes in their breathing:
Physical signs that someone is likely to die soon include:
The book explored the experience of dying through interviews with terminally ill patients and described Five Stages of Dying: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance (DABDA).
What not to say to someone who is dying