Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Macomb, MI, some people who are dying, sleeping most of the time, and barely responsive when they are awake, may suddenly have a period of time when they are fully awake, fully responsive, crystal clear mentally, possibly eating and drinking, and very energetic.
This can be quite surprising to family members who are gathered around. It can also create a false hope that this is a turnaround for their loved one, and death, seemingly right at the door, has retreated and may, in fact, be further away than it appeared to be.
This phenomenon is called an end-of-life rally. While not all dying people will have one, many do. They may last for a few minutes, a few hours, or even for up to a day or two.
Medical professionals have no rational explanation about why end-of-life rallies happen. However, many theories abound as to why these end-of-life rallies occur in some dying people. One very credible theory is that when organs in the body fail, they can release a steroid-like compound that can potentially jolt the brain awake enough to cause the rally.
An additional theory, which is supported evidentially by the fact that most of these end-of-rallies occur under hospice care and not in hospitals, is that the comforting structure of hospice care provides a stronger invitation for the brain to wake up and engage.
Cold and sterile hospital settings, where there is a lot of noise, bustling, and lights don’t seem to encourage the brain to engage one last time before a person dies.
But in all of these end-of-life rallies there is a common component that goes beyond physiology and setting. That is a spiritual or psychological need by the person who is dying to connect with loved ones one last time before death occurs.
For family members who encounter an end-of-life rally with their dying loved one, it can be difficult to know how to handle it. Sometimes it’s so shocking that it can be confusing and that can cause family members to simply take the rally for what it is and to enjoy it, expressing their love and saying their goodbyes.
So, what should you do if your dying loved one has an end-of-life rally?
First, don’t overwhelm this with too much talking and information. Instead, listen to them to find out what they want or need and what they want to talk about. No matter how odd their request may be – some people want, for example, strange combinations of food or even alcohol to drink – do everything in your power to accommodate their requests.
Some people, in their end-of-life rallies, want music or to talk with their families. Others prefer silently sitting with their family members close by. Whichever your dying loved one wants should be what you do.
Preparing for a quick end-of-rally should be at the top of your family’s list if your dying love one has an end-of-life rally. There may be nothing more than a quick burst of energy and then a dramatic energy depletion (which supports the steroid-like compound being released in organ failure).
No matter how short or long your loved one’s end-of-life rally is, don’t forget how important human touch is. Hold their hand, stroke their forehead or arm, or kiss them. And, once the end-of-life rally ends, talk softly to your loved one. Hearing, it is presumed, is the last sense to go in people who are dying.
For information about cremation services in Macomb, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you. You can visit our funeral home at 46530 Romeo Plank Rd., Macomb, MI 48044, or you can call us today at (586) 412-8999.