September 02 2020
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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What Happens In A Death Rally?

What Happens In A Death Rally?


Alice - September 14 2020

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I found your blog post the day of my mom’s “rally”. She’d taken a downturn in the past week. Accepting food and drink but not actually swallowing. She’d just chew or hold fluids in her mouth then eventually spit them out. She wouldn’t speak but just had a mischievous smile when we’d try to talk to her.
The next morning, she woke up drinking a ton and gobbling blueberries like she hadn’t eaten in days (which she hadn’t). We thought she was on an upswing but the next day (today), she was agitated and then passed in her sleep. It was faster than we’d expected. The surge was so obvious in retrospect.
Thank you for your guidance through this difficult time.

Joyce Petrosky - September 10 2020

I’ve been a nurse for 50 years, mostly in the critical care areas. I have witnessed this rallying so many times and I believe it is the bodies response where it gives its one last shove to try and reverse the process that causes people to wake and act normally and the pass away soon after.

It seems like there is that final boost of adrenaline that some part of the body signals it needs that causes it. It’s conjecture on my part and for many families, it gives them hope that is soon dashed. I’ve explained this phenomenon to many and it has helped them have more closure.

A good friend of mine was dying of cancer and the family was called to come in as they were sure she would die that day. Instead, she sat up and said to her family: “What the hell am I supposed to do today, I was supposed to die yesterday!” It was my friend to a tee…..

Tammy Graves - September 04 2020

Hi, we often use Gone From My sight with our families at our IPU. It is an integral part of our end of life teaching and so helpful. We would love to look at “The Eleventh Hour”. Is it possible to receive a sample for us to review and decide if this is something we want to incorporate into our teaching/support of our families?


Tammy Graves RN BSN CHPH
Director of Columbus Hospice House

Valeria Morahan - September 04 2020

That feeling I get when another of Barbara’s blogs comes out and I scramble to read it, print and save it as though it is a precious jewel :)

Michael Duffy - September 04 2020

We see this a lot. We call it a Rally Day. They can be rather elaborate.

Annie - September 04 2020

My mother’s “rally” or “surge of energy” was one of the greatest gifts of my life. She was able to tell me some very precious things. I will never forget that time we had together.

Sharon - September 04 2020

We have bought several of the booklets. They are very helpful. We have shared them with others, as well as bought extra copies to have to give people. Highly recommend.

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