good life, good death, good grief

What happens in a person's final moments of life?

Particularly in the last few minutes, the person’s face muscles may relax and they may become very pale. Their jaw may drop and their eyes may become less clear. The person’s breathing will eventually stop. Often, the person’s body will completely relax.

Sometimes it can be difficult to identify the exact moment when the person died. There may be one or two last gasps a minute or so after what seemed like the last breath. However, you should note down the time as close as possible to the moment they died.

This is always a profound moment, even when death has been expected for days. You may suddenly feel overwhelmed with sadness; you may want to be alone, or you may want to ring family and friends. By this time you may be exhausted with the caring and the waiting, and the relief and finality of the moment of death can take you by surprise.

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Before I die I want to ...
Bereavement Charter for Scotland