How the Body Prepares to Die

If you look at a person from a healthy perspective you see the need for food, sleep, and socialization. We eat to live. Sleep to revitalize. Interact with others for stimulation. 

If the body is preparing to die, the reverse is the norm. We gradually stop eating. We begin sleeping more. We begin withdrawing from worldly interests.

All of these patterns are part of the normal life progression. However, most people don’t think of the dying part as normal. They have been led to believe that something pathological is happening.

Our body is programmed to die. We are born. We experience, and then we die. Normal infant development gradually progresses from sleeping most of the time to being awake most of the time. Infants begin receiving nourishment through milk and soft foods, until gradually they progress to eating solid foods. Infant socialization is initially just with mom and dad, then others become part of their focus.

All of this is the normal life progression. Reverse this pattern and you have the progression from life to death from disease or old age. Sudden death (car mishap, heart attack, violent death) doesn’t apply here. The body was not preparing to die. It accidentally died.

When the body begins dying from disease the process will generally begin two to four months before actual death comes. When dying from old age with no disease, the same process can take years.  This is the normal, natural way the body dies. Just like there is a normal, natural way the body grows into adulthood there is a normal, natural pattern to prepare to leave life.

From birth to death, if there is no intervening “accident,” the body, all by itself will begin the process toward death.

Something more…  about How The Body Prepares to Die

While at the bedside of hundreds of people during the dying process, I noticed that each death was following a near identical script. Each person was going through the stages of death in almost the same manner and most families came to me with similar questions. These realizations led me to sit down and write Gone From My Sight, "the hospice blue book".

Recent review for my booklets:

These books are invaluable for our patients. They are both educational and comforting for families. This book is a must for any hospice provider.”  Kim B.

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I agree with Toni. As I read the article, I thought of a particular person who continues to “encourage” food even as the lady is saying “No, I don’t want any more”. Even with your books and and GI overloads, we haven’t been able to get understanding that eating much less or not at all is ok.
BK Books replied:
Thank you, Virginia. Yes, I will write the booklet. Blessings! Barbara


I had a friend pass away last January, while in hospice care. Knowing my parents were aging and my dad was sick with cancer and undiagnosed dementia, I began researching hospice. I saw your books promoted on Instagram by a hospice nurse that I had started following, and I
I decided they might be useful and they were certainly affordable (thank you for that, by the way!). I had no idea how quickly they would become so useful in my life. My dad passed away this past October and your booklets were incredibly helpful in guiding my family through the process, particularly regarding how dementia can add its own unique challenges. Thank you for the time and energy you spent on creating these helpful tools.
BK Books replied:
Hi Sara, thank you for your kind words about my booklets. I am glad they we helpful for you . Blessings! Barbara

Deb Martin

Barbara – Thank you so very much for By Your Side. I do not know how many times I read it. I kept coming back to your book because it gave me the confidence to care for my wife here at home, surrounded by our family and our dogs as she traveled and ultimately ended her Alzheimer’s journey. Together with Providence Home Hospice and a wonderful respite caregiver, we ensured that my wife passed where and how she wanted. Here at home. Knowing we did that for her is such a comfort for me as I now face my life without her.
Thank you
Deb Martin
Loving wife and caregiver to Shawna Ryan
BK Books replied:
Hi Deb, am glad my book was a guide for you. It can be not just hard but even scary caring for our special person without support and guidance. I am glad I was able to help. Blessings! Barbara

Toni Reitter

I wish you had a booklet about eating at end of life. So many times our clients/patient families struggle with understanding that forcing a person to eat can cause more harm than good. So if you do feel led to write another booklet that’s my request :)

Thank you for all you do. Hope you are well.
BK Books replied:
Hi Toni, that’s a great idea and you are right it is needed. I will get that in progress. Blessings! Barbara


So grateful for your books. They helped tremendously when Mom was passing, in her last week. Thank God the nurses gave me three of them. Since then I have ordered multiples to pass on to my clients when needed. BLESS you for all that you have done and continue to do. Thank you.

BK Books replied:
Camille, I am pleased my booklets were helpful for you. Blessings! Barbara

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