I received a phone call late one night this past December from my mother's attending physician in the hospital informing me that my mother would not make it through the night; and that the family may want to be by her side. I and the rest of my family immediately rushed to the hospital to be by her side and found her in a vegetable state with a breathing tube and her eyes wide opened and not blinking. I had asked the attending nurse if our mother would be able to hear us if we spoke to her, and her immediate reply was "yes, of course." No one was able to tell us why her eyes were wide opened and she was not blinking. The family is starting to suspect that our mother was not with us all of the time while we were all there being that there was no sign of body movement whatsoever when we spoke to her and she was cold to the touch, and due to the fact that as soon as we leave the hospital, we receive a telephone call that our mother had passed away at 5:19 AM that same morning. Can anyone please make any sense out of all of this? Thanking you kindly from the bottom of our hearts!



This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
It takes MUSCLES to keep the eyes closed.
When there is less muscle control or none at all the eyes will be open. (Kinda freaky but that is why sometimes eyes are taped shut when a person is under anesthesia, no muscle control so the eyes will remain open unless taped.)
This is also why no takes muscles to blink.

Being cold to the touch would be common as well.
The body begins to "protect" vital organs so blood flow to the extremities is diverted to the "important" things like the brain.
This is one reason "older" people are often cold. Blood flow to the core, brain is more important than blood flow to hands, feet, legs, arms.

the nurse was right that your mom could hear you.
I am surprised that she was unable to give you a good explanation as to the process your mom was going through.

I am sorry for your loss.

**side note if you want some great explanations on the process check out Hospice Nurse Julie she is pretty strait forward on the process and what our bodies go through. She is on FB and YouTube
Helpful Answer (1)

I always thought we passed sometimes with our eyes open. Its a reflex so maybe the brain is no longer was able to tell the eyes to close. My Mom closed her eyes 2 weeks before her death and they were still closed 20 min before she was declared when we visited. I was not there for her passing.
Helpful Answer (0)

She probably also had on a finger monitor and maybe even other vital sign monitoring devices. Wouldn't the alarms go off if her heart stopped beating?

I'm so sorry for your loss. May you receive comfort and peace in your hearts as you grieve.
Helpful Answer (0)

If your mother wasn't there when you were speaking to her right before death, then she was with you in spirit hearing your words. One way or another, in human form or in spirit form, our loved ones are always with us. That is my belief 100% after studying the subject for the past 35 years. Life is eternal.

Pick up a copy of Dr. Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven to begin your journey to learn about what happens after death. Here is a link to the neurosurgeons book on Amazon:

My condolences on your loss, I know how difficult it is to lose our parents. Try not to remember mom in those moments, but during times when she was happy and laughing. When a negative thought pops into your head, replace it with 3 positive thoughts.

Best wishes to you.
Helpful Answer (3)

Could be she was brain dead .
Helpful Answer (0)

Wow, I wrote you out a long answer and then must have been distracted, didn't press the button to post. So this is the short and sweet of it.

I am a retired RN and have witnessed countless deaths. It is a mystery and remains so. The medical community believes they do hear. I can tell you if they do hear, they are entirely uninterested in trying to reply. Their eyes are often open but what they are seeing I cannot guess. The eyes may no longer be completing the loop it takes to register site. They often need eye drops at the end as they are so unblinking.

In ancient times a peaceful end was sometimes said to be "He/she turned his/her face to the wall" meaning they stopped responding to people.

They are leaving. Going elsewhere. Some few told me they see long lost relatives and want to go to them. I don't know if that is faith or what.

To me it is much like this:
Remember when you were a child returning home from grandmas and in the back seat of the car? Tired you were lulling to sleep listening to the muffled voices of your parents in front seat? Perfectly at peace. There still, but not really? Between sleep and awake? I think that's where they are. They are on a journey and are leaving us, without interest in us. I believe at best, and without pain, this is our last "journey of a lifetime" and I think it is a good experience. Being with the dying has taught me not to fear dying at all. I do fear pain. But I don't fear dying.
Helpful Answer (6)
Fawnby Jan 4, 2024
Alva, your last paragraph is very sweet. I do remember those days! Often the car would be filled with the fragrance of flowers that my grandmother grew in her garden and sent home with us. (Lilacs are what come to mind at this moment.)

Thank you for writing it.
See 1 more reply

My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

I am not a medical professional so I turned to Google for some help. This article --; and these answers to a similar question on this forum -- -- may offer some insights.

May peace be with you as you grieve.
Helpful Answer (3)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter