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What are some common deathbed visions?

David Kessler
Hospice & Palliative Medicine
The visions people experience at the end of life are remarkably similar. For example, the dying are most often visited by a mother or mother figure. It shouldn’t be too surprising that the person who is actually present as we cross the threshold of life and take our first breath once again appears at the threshold as we take our last breath.

Visions of visits from loved ones who have already died are only the first of three commonly shared experiences that remain beyond our ability to explain and fully understand. The second type is getting ready for a trip. The notion of the dying preparing for a journey isn’t new or unusual. Although, interestingly enough, it’s always referring to an earthly journey. People talk about packing bags or looking for their tickets -- they don’t mention chariots descending from heaven or traveling to eternity in some other manner. The archetype is about life and transitions, not endings. The saying “It’s not about the destination, but the journey” has never rung more true than here.

The third type is known as “crowded rooms.” The dying often talk about their room being filled with other people. The word I hear over and over again is crowded. It’s not unusual for the dying to recognize some but not all of these visitors. We will look into who these people are and the connections they have during both life and death. By doing so, the very idea that we die alone may be challenged. What if the journey at the end of life is not a lonely path into eternity, but rather, an incredible reunion with those we have loved and lost? Beyond that, what if the dying hold a connection to those who have been long forgotten? What could that offer to the living?
Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die

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Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die

     David Kessler, one of the most renowned experts on death and grief, takes on three uniquely shared experiences that challenge our ability to explain and fully understand the mystery of our...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.