Dying Process – Deathbed Stages

It is a certainty for all people on earth: one day we will die. For some it is a sudden transition due to an accident, they left from one moment to the next. The dying process then takes a completely different turn than with a dying person who knows that the end is approaching or whose loved ones nearby know that the final farewell is coming. In that case there is a trial and a deathbed. The impending death takes its time on the dying bed and presents itself in a number of stages and with recognizable symptoms.

The approaching end until death

  • Deathbed and dying process
  • Stages
  • Drowsiness
  • Eating and drinking less
  • Problems swallowing
  • Rattling
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Fear of death
  • Changing breathing
  • Death mask
  • Weak heartbeat
  • Involuntary movements
  • Fever
  • Loss of urine and feces
  • Death and death


Deathbed and dying process

Anyone who is at the end of their life feels the strength flowing from their body. Step by step the body functions are lost. The dying person becomes increasingly weak and the drain of strength can bring unrest and fear for a short time. The dying person therefore prefers to be in company. What seems like a bitter battle with death for those close to you can mean a period of inner peace for the dying person. A dying person will look back on his life.


The body in the dying process undergoes many changes. The final phase of life happens differently for every dying person, although there are symptoms that are common. The dying process announces itself with a number of signals, which are different for every person and have their own duration for every dying person. Sometimes the signs of the approaching end are recognizable a week before death and sometimes only an hour before death. Not all symptoms occur in every dying person and the symptoms do not have a fixed sequence. No deathbed is the same.


The signals that occur shortly before death are:

  • Drowsiness;
  • eating and drinking less;
  • problem swallowing;
  • rattle;
  • cloudy eyes;
  • fear of death;
  • changing breathing;
  • death mask;
  • weak heartbeat;
  • involuntary movements;
  • fever;
  • loss of urine and feces.



A dying person becomes increasingly weaker, can no longer get out of bed and becomes increasingly turned inward. Talking and making contact is becoming increasingly difficult. It is as if the dying person no longer listens, but he still hears everything. Hearing continues to function well until the end, the longest of all the senses. Family and friends can continue to talk to the dying person and say things until the end. Responding to what is said becomes increasingly difficult for the dying person, but that does not mean that he does not hear anything. The same goes for the sense of smell.

No perfume

Visitors can take this into account by not wearing strong perfumes.

Eating and drinking less

A dying person has less and less appetite for food and drink. In the end I can only manage to take in some water and even that becomes less and less. At this stage there is no point in forcing the dying person to drink.

Problems swallowing

The dying person may have problems swallowing. If swallowing is no longer possible, drinking is no longer necessary. Drinking can lead to choking and the water can even enter the lungs. Breathing often occurs through the mouth at this stage, which quickly dries out the mouth and can cause dying scabs to form on the lips.


It may help to moisten the lips with a wet cloth and apply some
cream to the lips to keep them supple.


Rattling is a characteristic sound of a dying person. It is caused by accumulated mucus in the airways, which prevents air from reaching the lungs through the mouth and throat without obstacles. It makes a gurgling sound. In general, rattling is a sign that death is approaching. Laying it on the side can help.

Cloudy eyes

Glassy eyes are a sign of an impending end. The dying person may stare into space with a dull expression. It also happens that the dying person no longer blinks their eyelids. When this happens, the cornea becomes dry and eye ointment and drops are needed to provide relief.

Fear of death

The final phase of the dying process is often announced by unrest and fear of death. Hallucinations are not uncommon at this stage.

Changing breathing

The end of life announces itself with a changing breathing. Cheyne-Stokes breathing is typical , in which the dying person inhales deeply and exhales less and less deeply. Finally, there is no more exhalation. It is as if breathing has stopped, but it can start again with deep breathing. This changed breathing is said to be due to reduced functioning of the cerebellum.

Death mask

The body temperature drops and the hands, feet and legs become colder. They also start to look pale and sometimes develop a blue-gray discoloration of the skin, which is called cyanosis or cyanosis . Blood circulation decreases and the nails and lips can become discolored. The body still supplies as much blood as possible to the vital organs, meaning that the extreme points of the body receive less blood. A pointed and pale nose that feels cold is also a sign that the end is approaching. Together with a sunken face, it forms the death mask.

Corpse stains

Dead spots may appear on the bottom of the legs and back as a result of reduced blood circulation.

Weak heartbeat

Blood circulation becomes less and less and blood pressure drops, causing the pulse to become weaker. The pulse is sometimes very difficult to feel and sometimes disappears completely a few hours before death.

Involuntary movements

A dying person may make involuntary movements and jerk. During the dying process, waste products accumulate in the body, causing inflammation of the nervous system. This can cause jerky movements that resemble nervous twitches.


A dying person can develop a terminal fever that sometimes rises to 40 degrees. Fresh air and a cold washcloth can provide relief. Heavy sweating also occurs at this stage. Antipyretics no longer help.

Loss of urine and feces

In the dying person, the urine becomes increasingly darker and more concentrated and urination becomes less and less frequent. This also applies to the stool. Ultimately, incontinence may occur. Ejaculation may occur just before death.

Death and death

When the dying person passes to the other world, this can be noticed by the breathing that has stopped. The deceased gets pale skin and sometimes it seems as if there is a grimace on the face. It may happen that the dying person opens his eyes at the very last moment to give a farewell look and a last smile.


The moment of death remains a mystery.

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