A wonderful article discusses the awareness, visions, dreams and final actions of patients in hospice environments.
It's reported that an estimated 98% of patients will accurately predict the time of their own death, using the awareness to state love, get in touch with long-lost relatives but also to die peacefully. The implications are important here and the article calls for more openness and discussion on the topic of death, in order for people to be given more chances to leave with a content and satisfied heart. Not to mention the benefits for those left to mourn.
My own experience of losing people is coloured by the fact that some of the deaths were sudden and tragic. Further, when my father died, he was unconscious for the whole week beforehand...so I guess in those situations such a resigned and conscious departure is harder, if not impossible to organise? Those left in these cases have a different slant on their grieving. There are many types of death.
The article calls for more acceptance of this inevitable rite of passage."When people begin to accept that death is not a fairy tale, that they are about to die, something new opens up," says Tom Hutchinson, a palliative care physician.
The article has reminded me of one of my favourite movies : Antonia's Line (1996) in which the first scene shows Antonia waking on the day she knows she will die. Can't recommend it enough: strong, poetic and female.