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“There are no atheists in hospice nursing.”

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posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 09:31 AM
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That quote in the title is probably hyperbole, and a play on “no atheists in foxholes”, but it came from a very interesting person I recently met. I wanted to share her story with all of you.

We had a new face join our bible study last month (please don’t stop reading now just because I said “bible study”… this story does not require a Christian worldview). I didn’t recognize this woman from our church… but that wasn’t too unusual because we welcome people from all churches and people that don’t attend church at all into our group. She was quiet the first couple of weeks but then on the third week she started talking. I’ll call her Amber. Wow. She had stories that could fill a book!

Amber attended church a few times when she was a kid (before the age of 10) but was agnostic through her teen years and an atheist by college. She got married, had kids, raised them, and wanted to go back into the work force so she went back to school for nursing. She didn’t set out to be a hospice nurse, but that is where she ended up.

The experience of being a hospice nurse changed her worldview profoundly. At first, Amber wrote off so-call “deathbed visions” as a side effect of medication or a dying brain. But writing them off became increasingly difficult. After a couple of years of hospice nursing, the consistency of these deathbed visions were too much for her. What Amber believed previously (that death was the end, there was no more… that we are all just matter interacting as matter does, nothing more) began to look very incorrect.

Moments or days before dying, Amber’s patients were (and are) seeing loved ones that have already died. A few saw Jesus, but it is (according to Amber) more common to see a relative that has already died. Even those who were barely commutative are suddenly lucid and telling her what they are seeing. “My grandma is here! Do you see her? She is so lovely. She wants to take me with her. It’s so beautiful…”

Why would the visions be so consistent and so lucid if it were due to medications? (this is the question Amber asked) She became convinced that there is “something more” to death than just turning off a switch and disappearing into nothingness. So… here she was at our bible study, looking for that “something more”.

I wondered how true Amber’s statement was : “There are no atheists in hospice nursing”… I mean, how common is her experience for people in a hospice healthcare profession?

I found an abstract of an article from The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine:
Source: journals.sagepub.com...




The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of deathbed communications (DBCs) during the 30 days before death and their impact on the dying process. A total of 60 hospice chart audits and 75 survey responses by hospice nurses across the United States were analyzed. Chart audits revealed 5 (8.33%) of the 60 included descriptions of DBCs. The survey of 75 hospice nurses identified 363 incidences of DBCs, with an average of 4.8 patient occurrences per nurse per 30 days. In all, 89% of the hospice nurses reported patients who experienced a DBC had a peaceful and calm death, with only 40.5% reporting a peaceful and calm death without the DBC. These DBCs have a positive impact on the dying process but are underreported in patient records and under described in textbooks.




An average of 4.8 occurrences per hospice nurse per month. That would be enough to make most people want to look into what on earth is going on. Why are deathbed visions so common and why are they so consistent?

I also came across this in Social Work Today…
Source: www.socialworktoday.com...





According to Leslee Curtis, MSW, LGSW, a social worker at Mary T. Hospice, though some patients are able to report that they are experiencing such visitations, others may simply "point to something, maybe in the corner of the room, at the end of the bed, or out the window that they can see but which others cannot." She says other signs include comments such as, "Oh, there is Larry sitting in the chair" or, "Look at the angel;" gestures like reaching out one's arms as if to greet an unseen presence; or a patient who appears to be asleep or in a light coma opening her eyes and saying the name of a deceased loved one. 

"Clinically," Curtis says, "deathbed visions may be an indicator that death is near." Though research into DBVs is limited, studies thus far confirm this. The largest to date, a retrospective survey of medical professionals in the United States and India by Osis and Haraldsson, concluded that DBVs occur across cultures, tend to be of short duration, and that in 62% of cases reported in their study the patient died within 24 hours of reporting or showing signs of such a vision (Osis & Haraldsson, 1997).



Given that these events typically occur in the last weeks to hours of life, many have sought conventional explanations such as hallucinations generated by terminal disease processes, opioid medications, or altered mentation due to extreme stress. While these speculations make sense, others have pointed out that these visions tend to be thematically and sequentially coherent, have contextual meaning, and usually bring positive emotional states, unlike hallucinations associated medications and organic confusional states that are frequently illogical, fragmentary, rarely of deceased loved ones, and are often experienced as distracting, distressing, or irritating.


So these deathbed visions appear to be both common and commonly known in the world of hospice care – with nurses and social workers that are in the privileged position of being at many people’s bedside the in their last days of life.

What do you make of all of this? (And, to be clear, we are talking about death bed visions (DBVs), which are different than NDEs)

Do you think it is the dying brain that conjures up dead relatives to keep us calm as our body goes about the business of dying? (And, if so, what evolutionary advantage would that have? How would “dying well” be selected for? I’m not totally opposed to this concept, I’ve just never understood the mechanism that would have allowed such a thing to evolve – because it serves no reproductive advantage. So I’d love to hear insights on this angle if anyone has some to share.)

Are these hallucinations caused by medications? If so, why are they more orderly and consistent than typical drug-induced hallucinations?

Do you think these death bed visions are glimpses into what we will all experience one day? That none of us will die alone, but that we will be lovingly escorted to our next realm?

I’d love to hear your stories of death bed visions if you’ve been at someone’s bedside in their last days. I know my grandpa became suddenly lucid right before death, but I don't believe he reported seeing anything. But he was reaching for something and he was peaceful.

Thanks!

(PS- My apologies but I had no idea where to place this thread... health? religion? paranormal?)




posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 09:54 AM
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awesome thread!

I am a nurse, I have been around death a lot, while I have not personally witnessed anything I would describe as supernatural I know plenty of people I work with who claim to have either seen or heard stuff that makes them believe that there is something more to this life that our physical reality.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 09:56 AM
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a reply to: VegHead

Interesting post. What constitutes the make of NDE's? As you said, is it the process of the brain's synapses collapsing? Pain relief medications? Or something 'else' outside our comprehension?

Now, while I am an atheist and do not believe in any religions or deities, I'm not prepared to say that when someone dies, it's nothing, oblivion. Nor would I say it's 'heaven' or some other dimension of existence. And I think people, all people, would be wise to question any person who says they *do know* what happens when you die.

Mainly because, no one dead is now alive. Yes, NDEs happen so far as we can document, but those are people who have not actually 'died'. They are alive. Maybe 'dead' as far as we know it, medically, for minutes or even an hour -- but they still came back. And we cannot catagorically state at which point during that process their brains were active and experiencing the 'NDE'.

But you raise some very cool thinking points. I'd love for there to be something else. But the older I get, and the more I see just how unfair, unkind, cold and inhospitable most of the universe is -- it really doesn't seem like there's anything else after this. It just doesn't make any sense, given what we can currently see and observe of the universe around us.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: noonebutme

The NDE vs DBV thing is confusing... (all the acronyms don't help)... but Near Death Experiences are placed in a different category than Death Bed Visions. With DBVs the person hasn't died - or flatlined. With NDEs they have (usually). But you are right, with reported NDEs the "deaths" are for a very short time. Any reported NDEs which claim a long period of death that I have seen are not documented clinically, and are often from countries with questionable medical practices (as in, the person was in a coma and not really dead). Maybe someone here can share a source that shows otherwise...

The best NDEs are ones where there is something verifiable - something the person witnessed that could not have seen with their normal senses (even if they were conscious and awake... such as something happening on the other side of the hospital). The shoe on top of the hospital roof is a popular story for this type of out-of-body experience associated with an NDE.




But, DBVs are a different phenomena all together. I'm not sure how a DBV could be verified in the same way as a NDE? Maybe if someone saw someone they didn't know was dead? Or if they were given information by the "visitor" that they couldn't have known?



edit on 15-7-2017 by VegHead because: added video



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 10:17 AM
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a reply to: VegHead

I don't have time to look for links right now, but if you search for hospice nursing sites, you can read some of the stories submitted by the nurses themselves.
Very interesting stories can be found on these sites.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 10:49 AM
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Met an old woman who said her parents visited her that day, she continued " it´s a miracle her father is still alive" that let me somewhat disconserted so i asked her to tell more about her parents. Her father had served two wars etc. Next time i met her, she told me she had been in her best friends funeral that day ( friend passed away several years ago .. ). She is usually sharp and has only two meds a day ( lipid lowering medicine and parasetamol). Her family told that she has these visions time to time.. every week one or two incidents.

I only wonder maybe she has undiagnosed Lewy's disease


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posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:06 AM
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My mom passed away last July 22nd in hospice. She was there for 12 days. She hadn't spoken since the morning after she was admitted. The day before she passed, she opened her eyes and looked towards the foot of the bed and said "Dad!". I told her my dad wasn't there yet, he would be there later. She looked at me and said "not your Dad, My Dad. But who's that man standing next to him?".

Whatever or whoever she saw seemed to bring her peace. I hope that there is "something" after this life. I hope someone comes for me when my times comes like they did for my mom.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:20 AM
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a reply to: VegHead

the clisest i can get with your thread is that when i have projected my consciousness out side my body, i have been like 10 times more conscious than waking consciousness. its as if the body slows you way down.. now a sick brain dying body.. very slow.. and as you are leaving all the sudden you can speak and think clearly..

who knows..

i know for me an afterlife doesnt require religion.
and if i die and watch my body separate and im not dead well fine.. off to my next adventure. and if i fade to nothing i will let go thinking.. man that was a trip.

my life tells me even death doesnt get yiu out of life. so quit trying to find that reset button and play the character you have now..




posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:23 AM
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a reply to: VegHead

I believe that there is something awaiting each of us - we are energy (soul) and vibrations, we have awareness, I feel that when I 'give up the ghost' so-to-speak, I will be going to a big cosmic recycling plant or something where I either come back and try again or move on to something new.

Excellent, excellent thread - Personally, I have ZERO doubt as to the genuinity of the testimonies your friend was relaying to your church group.




posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: VegHead

Or in fox-holes during wartime.... As bombs goes exploding all around...everyone screams for "God! Help me!"...whether they believe or not.

BOOM! "Jesus CHRIST! God PLEASE SAVE me!"



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:30 AM
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I am atheist.

Atheist simply means "Lack of believe in a God".

It does not mean anything else. Like not believing there is more going on then we can see.

I believe consciousness is energy. That the energy consciousness continues after physical death.

If I saw a past relative/friend at my death time - - I would still be atheist.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:34 AM
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a reply to: Annee

I am agnostic, and certainly not religious in the organized religion sense, but I am totally open to the idea that consciousness exists beyond the physical.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:43 AM
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Your post is an utter lie. One second of searching came up with mounds of testimony from athiest hospice nurses.

www.reddit.com...



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:44 AM
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a reply to: Annee

Interesting and I love your logic actually. Seeing a loved one at death still does not prove the existence of God.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

And yet if there is a God he or she or it ignores our plea's and allows us to get maimed, disfigured, PTSD'd and killed... Awesome....
edit on 15-7-2017 by mrperplexed because: grammar



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:46 AM
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originally posted by: kaylaluv
a reply to: Annee

I am agnostic, and certainly not religious in the organized religion sense, but I am totally open to the idea that consciousness exists beyond the physical.


Thank you.

I've had too many "experiences" since first memory to discount that there isn't more going on.

There are many Spiritual Atheists. Atheists that believe consciousness continues after physical death.

Not understanding what atheist actually means, is the problem with those who think these experiences mean belief in a God.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:54 AM
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originally posted by: mrperplexed
a reply to: Annee

Interesting and I love your logic actually. Seeing a loved one at death still does not prove the existence of God.


Thank you.

When people gather in church, they say they feel the presence of God.

You get the same euphoric energy feeling at a sports event. It's not God.


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posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:56 AM
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originally posted by: mrperplexed
Your post is an utter lie. One second of searching came up with mounds of testimony from athiest hospice nurses.

www.reddit.com...


Seriously? Did you read the post?

Sounds like you had a knee jerk reaction to the title, which was a quote from a hospice nurse. The very first line of my post said it was hyperbole and a play on "no atheists in fox holes"...

How can we have discussions about anything of importance if people don't actually read the content of a post before responding?

Deny ignorance ...
edit on 15-7-2017 by VegHead because: Typo



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:57 AM
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Really awesome post.

Reminds me of an excellent book from way back called "Life after Life" where a psychiatrist did a study of NDEs. One of his conclusions was that the common theme from his interviews aligned fairly closely with the Tibetan Book of the Dead.



posted on Jul, 15 2017 @ 11:58 AM
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You are absolutely right ... atheism is much more complex and nuanced than simply not believing in God. It's shorthand but not especially accurate to lump atheists together - they are diverse.



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