The End-of-Life Rally

Family members are often relieved and hopeful when a dying loved one suddenly becomes more aware of their surroundings and begins talking or eating again. Are they really getting better, or just consciously preparing for their final journey? When a person is dying, it’s customary for close family members to remain at their bedside, sometimes for days. End-of-life journeys are complex. Most people expect or imagine a progressive decline that often ends with a lapse into a coma shortly before passing away. However, in some cases, a loved one’s decline may seem to suddenly stop. This phenomenon is called the “end-of-life rally.” Some people describe it as a sudden burst of energy before death. This period of perking up can be accompanied by a change in cognition and behavior, and it goes against everything families expect when the end is near. Why do some people get a second wind before dying while others don’t? Life is full of questions, and some of them simply aren't meant to be answered. This may be one of those questions. During the difficult end-of-life process, a rally — no matter how long or how short — is a priceless gift.