We’d all like to imagine that one our deathbed we’d say something beautiful and poetic as our last words. However, it doesn’t always turn out that way.
Here, people share the creepiest/ unsettling things others have said just before they died.
1. My grandfather on his deathbed said “they have no eyes”, still give me chills.
2. 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.
3. A nice old lady who told my CNA she wanted to wear all white. When asked why, she said, “The man in black is here.” She looked in the corner of the room. The CNA looked, but there was no one there. That’s when I came into the room. We asked her to describe what she was seeing and she said, “He’s in all black, and he’s got a top hat on.” Then she whispered, “and his eyes are red” while her eyes moved across the room to directly behind the CNA, like she was watching him move closer to us.
She died later that night. But it was unexpected. That room creeped me out for a long time after that.
4. I had a cousin that had cancer and died when he was a little kid. He once asked her 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 visited me at night.”
5. 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 he is rapidly declining. His last words before he died were, “Why is this happening to me?” It still haunts me years later.
6. “You’re not gonna believe this…”
Talk about a cliffhanger.
7. “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.
8. 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.”
9. Cardiac ICU: Had a gentleman who was DNR on comfort care. He was demented and was cursing like a sailor. He seemed to have moments of clarity and would ask to see his brothers (who were both passed).
After a particularly worrisome heart rhythm, he went back into a Sinus tachycardia and look me in my eyes and said, “What do you do here?”
“I’m a nurse.” After this, he was quiet for some time… then he said…
And then he died about 20 minutes later.
10. 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.
11. I found one of my “comfort measures only” patients standing at the side of his bed. It surprised me because he had been mostly unresponsive during my shift. I helped him back into bed and he asked me why all these people were in his room.
He suddenly became quite again and I noticed he wasn’t breathing. He was a DNR so there wasn’t anything to do to try to bring him back. Looking back he may have been talking about me and the CNA that was helping me get him back into bed, but who knows what or who he was seeing the last minutes of his life.
Still creeps me out a little when I think about it.
12. 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 died overnight.
13. “See you there.”
14. Came into an early shift and was handed over a patient who’d been very anxious and had a panic attack overnight. He was anxious all morning but his vital signs fine, the ECG is fine and so I just asked someone to sit with him to keep an eye on him/reassure him for me. He gets worse, really panicky, heavy breathing, he’s on his side in the fetal position. “Doctors will be here in 10 minutes” I tell him but ask if he’ll lie on his back for me to help his breathing. He tells me he won’t make it until they get here and that he won’t face the other way. Vital signs are still all fine at this point but he’s more agitated so again I suggest he move position for comfort and that’s when he says. “I won’t make it until the doctors get here. If I turn to face the other way I’ll die.” He repeated this a few times to me.
He arrested literally as the doctors walked in and he died on the side he’d been refusing to turn to. I’m convinced he knew.
15. According to my family my Great-Grandfather was unresponsive his final few days, but suddenly sat bolt upright in the bed and then had a huge smile and raised his hands out as if greeting someone. Then he fell back and died.
16. Not a doctor or nurse, but my grandfather was on hospice care at home and for 2 days he told us that he had to go with “the little red-haired girl.” We didn’t know what he was talking about.
When he died, we cleaned him up and called the hospice nurse on duty, who came right over. I happened to be the one to answer the door and there she stood: 5 foot 2 or so, with gorgeous blue eyes and the most beautiful red hair you’ve ever seen. I couldn’t even manage “hello”, but my grandmother looked around me and said very cheerfully “Please come in, he’s been waiting for you.”
17. 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 until the corner arrived. She has no friends or family. Only her lawyer showed up.
18. I had this patient who had a stroke. After that he recovered fine but did get pneumonia like 4 weeks into his recovery. The last words he said to me was at like 4 in the morning.
“You took his girl and you will burn in hell for it.”
I my current girlfriend left a friend of mine for me. Somehow he knew.
19. DNR patient was on comfort cares. 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”. That one messed with me for awhile.
20. Nurse here – had a patient come into the ER with shortness of breath. He started deteriorating in the ER, and then quite rapidly on the transport up the ICU. We got him wheeled into his room, replaced the ER lines and tubes with our own, and transferred him from the transport stretcher to his ICU bed. He actually did most of the transfer himself. He didn’t say anything, but just before he died he pleasantly adjusted his own pillow, laid his head down, and then his eyes went blank. This man just made himself comfortable before laying down to die.
21. An 83 year old woman that said, “My mom’s here. Are we going?” She died a few minutes later.
22. “But I don’t know how to get there…” Grandpa in hospice. Hadn’t spoken in days. Died about 2 hours later.
23. Back when I was a CNA this one resident fell off a bike for exercise in PT and seized, they came to and became lucid and said I think I’m dying but everyone in the room assured her that wasn’t going to happen, she seized up and was dead within minutes.
24. My mom was diagnosed with Terminal Lung and Pancreatic Cancer, mass had developed around her vocal cords and made it hard for her to speak. She smoked all of her life, and it finally caught up with her. It attacked her quick, from time she was diagnosed, to time she passed away, it was less than 2 weeks. First she lost her voice, then she had difficulty breathing, became weak, she couldn’t walk too far, then she could only walk a little, then nothing at all, she had trouble eating. The night she died I let her smoke her cigarette, (doctor said it didn’t matter anymore), and my sister and I took mom into her bed. I knew, as did my sister, it was the last time. We spent a few hours with her, holding her and I got up, lost it a bit, and my mom said “Don’t be sad” loudly with all her might.
I was fortunate to be with my mother at that time. I hope none of you have to deal with that, consider it that next cigarette, it’s just a matter of time. Well enough preaching.
25. Last year: As my grandfather was dying, he started desperately pleading for his life with his German captors from WWII. He has been a P.O.W. but was rescued after the war.
The doctor present was smart and actually spoke German. So he said in German: “You are free, soldier. You are free.” And then he died.
17 y/o female, car crash: “Please, please, please… don’t tell my parents I was drinking.”
26. I’m an RN and while I was a student I was caring for a lady who had end stage renal failure, had a DNAR and was shutting down. We were having a little chat, well I was chatting away while helping her put on some lotion, when she stopped, looked over my shoulder and said “Bill’s here love, I’ve got to go” and swiftly stopped breathing. Read her old notes and Bill was her deceased husband.
27. My uncle was dying of kidney and liver failure. DNR. He hadn’t been awake for much of the past few days. Shortly before he died, he opened his eyes and sang almost all of Amazing Grace.
He was a good man, who had done a lot of stupid shit in his life. His mother and brothers hearing that just before he passed managed to take a huge weight off their shoulders.
My uncle may have made mistakes, but the last thing he did in his life was bring comfort to those who worried about him for years. I cannot thank him enough for that.
29. This afternoon, my wife and I were just remembering an amazing friend of mine, Kevin, who died a little more than 18 years ago. We did the math and realized that the son he left behind is now the same age that Kevin was when he passed, which gave me pause, to say the least. Kevin died from a recurrence of the same type of cancer that had first shown up in him while he was still in his teens. The same cancer had also taken his father also at the age of 34 when Kev was just about the same age as his kid. He was a warm, funny, kind, no-bullcrap guy who had zero capacity for flowery-talk or mysticism, you know? He was a real cash-and-carry kind of dude. So, you’ll understand why his last conversation with me has comforted me for nearly two decades, now.
I went in to visit him at the hospital on what ended up being the final day of his life.
When he and I were finally alone, he leaned over to me and said “Stan, there have been angels in my room, on and off, since just before sunrise.” I ask him if he thought it was the morphine (which, normally, he would have been the first to suggest/lol), and he said “No, I’m not messing with you, buddy… I’m not talking about ‘feeling’ angels or anything… There are actual angels who keep coming into my room.” I asked him if they were frightening and he replied, “No, they’re actually making me calm down a little bit.” He passed, later that evening.
You know, I have always had (and still have) doubts about there being anything after this life. And, of course, the pragmatic part of my brain recognizes that it certainly could have been the medications he was taking, or some further metastasis to his brain, right? But, if I’m being honest about what my gut tells me, or, my heart? There were angels in my friend’s room.
You know what? Screw it, I’m going to share one more story about him… A few weeks before the time I just shared, the two of us were talking about the possibility of an afterlife. He had just gotten word that things had taken a grim turn and that he probably had only weeks left to live, so, it was a pretty earnest conversation. We discussed the idea of there being a Heaven, with a gate, and I asked him who he would like to be the first person he got to see after being let inside… and the guy answered “You.” Then, after we had laughed ourselves fucking hoarse, he added “No… I want to see my dogs from childhood.”
I’m going to go hug my wife now.
Much love, strangers.
Much, much love.
30. 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.