Why did my dad look scared for at least a whole day before he died?

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He had dementia, and was dying from leukemia. It went really fast, and I was with him when he died, and every morning before that. The night before he died, and up until he 'fell asleep', or was 'out of it', his eyes just looked around the ceiling, and he looked scared. He was moving one arm a lot and seemed like he wanted to put it behind his head, but couldn't quite get it there. His expression was blank except for the looking around scared. Then, after he 'fell asleep' and his oxygen level went way down, the nurses couldn't believe how long he kept going. It was like he was fighting it, and he hung in for several hours longer than expected. He was 86. I didn't want to lose him, but it was time, as he had quit eating and the dementia had gotten worse. He just died 2 weeks ago. I can't get over how he looked scared. I wonder what he was seeing?

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Top Answer
I’m sorry for the loss of your father.
Of course I have no idea why he appeared to you as if he were afraid. Perhaps he was.
I can tell you that as time goes by happier memories of your dad will return to you. It will take awhile.
When we are sitting with someone as they make their transition, sometimes we are in a heightened state of awareness, sometimes we are worn out. Even though these moments are ones we are not likely to forget soon, if ever, they do balance out with previous better memories of our loved ones. So I guess I’m saying while I don’t know the answer to your question, I do think you’ll not be as concerned by it as time goes by and you are able to remember happier times. Two weeks is a very fresh loss. It takes time. Hugs
Debbie, my condolences for the loss of your beloved father. Your poor dad was so ill, his body was so tired and weak from fighting, it is probably impossible to know what caused his facial expression to look a particular way at the end. I think it could have looked that way for any number of reasons: extreme fatigue, the mind's confusion due to body systems shutting down, etc. He is at peace now. Blessings to you and your family.
Dear Debbie,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I am very sorry for the loss of your beloved dad. I know it weighs on the mind heavily. I'm not sure, it could have been the meds affecting his mind or he was so very tired. I know its hard. Thinking of your during this very difficult time. Sending all my thoughts and prayers. With hugs.
Thank you so much for your kind words and help with this.
Debbie, I too watched my dad pass recently. And the night before, he moved his arms about as if he was plucking things from the air and placing them on his bedspread ...that went on for the longest time, even though his eyes were closed the entire time. Is it possible that what you saw as fear could have instead been wonder and awe as he was transitioning out of this world and into eternity?
debbie- I believe your dad knew he was dying and saw a glimpse of the other side (maybe dead relatives waiting for him or trying to take his hand.) He was afraid because he didn't want to die, as you stated that he kept going like he was fighting it.
My late father came to my mom when she was really sick and close to death (but she pulled through.) My mother kept pointing to the end of her bed and told me my late father was standing there. I looked but didn't see anything, but then I saw him in the mirror exiting the room through the window.
Your post reminded me of my great aunt. In her final days before she died she seemed to be quilting.
She would take long sweeping exaggerated arm movements where she would seem to be reaching backward and then forward as if to pierce the imaginary quilt in front of her with the needle and then up through the folds of fabric and then back again to repeat the action all over again. Something she had not done for many years. Maybe 40 or 50 years.
Polar bear
Your post reminded me of my MIL who said she saw Jesus sitting at the foot of her hospital bed. She described his blue and red attire. She said “now I know everything is going to be alright.”
My dad just hours before he died wanted someone to take him to his childhood home. He knew exactly how to get there from where he was.a long distance from where he lived. A place he had not been for many years. 20 at least.
Debbie could tell her father was having or possibly reliving an experience. What it was we just don’t know.

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