These are several questions a gentleman asked me about the death of his mother. His questions reflect concerns so many people have following a death I thought I would share my answers in the hopes others can find some understanding.
I will try to answer your questions but know these are just my thoughts. I do not claim to have the “correct” answers. I just have my opinion.
1. What mechanisms in the body cause the eyes to become glassy, roll back in the head and tear?
The eyes get glassy because they are partially open and the body is trying, not very successfully, to keep them moist. They roll because the body is not functioning normally. Nothing works right, eye muscles included. Tears are the result of the eyes being partially open and the body trying to keep them moist.
2. What causes the breath to slow down?
The bodily functions are shutting down. Not having the blood flowing timely through out the body makes everything slow down. Blood is how oxygen gets to all our issues and cells, our brain. As circulation slows, breathing slows, less oxygen, less ability to process the oxygen, less circulation and so it goes around and around. Just remember nothing in the body is working as it should. It is dying. It is shutting down. I am not able to give you the detailed account of physiologically why, just that this is what happens.
3. Why couldn’t she be woken up?
Generally in the days to hours and sometimes even weeks or so before death from disease or old age a person becomes non responsive. They may be talking but not making sense. They may be moving but aimlessly. They do not respond to their name, touch or what's happening around them. Why? I like to think of the little chick that works so hard getting out of its shell. When we die we work to leave our body. That work begins months before death from disease actually occurs but we only really see the work happening when death is days to hours away. I call this time labor because we the watchers don’t understand what is happening. We think it looks painful, abnormal, that something bad is happening. Actually what we are watching is how the physical body dies (human and animal). Why it does the things it does I don’t know. I just know that this is how the body dies and has died since human and animal life began.
4. Why did her skin turn yellow after she died?
With her heart not pumping blood though her the body takes on an abnormal color (good circulation gives us “good color”).
5. Why was your mother alert and then seven hours later go into a coma and die?
This is just my idea-- an unconventional one. I think as our physical energy gradually leaves our physical body, since nothing works in a vacuum, spiritual energy enters our body. Sometimes that spiritual energy is used for a few moments or hours of lucidity before we return to the work of leaving our body.
6. What happens to our spirit after it leaves our physical body.
Different religions have different beliefs. I can only tell you my belief. I believe we are met by those who have died before us that we know and recognize. That we understand what our life was about, why we lived it the way we did. I believe we move forward into a new life---one that we here on earth cannot imagine or comprehend. I believe it is the job of those left behind to figure out how to go on living in the best possible way we can. To make how well we go on living be the testament to our relationship with the person that has died and left us.
I sense your confusion and anxiety about your mother’s dying. From your questions I think her dying was very normal, that nothing bad happened to her. Her work was finished on this planet and it was time for her to move on. You are here so your work is not finished. I don’t know how long it has been since your mother died. It appears you need closure for the experience. There is hospice in the town where you live. Check and see when their bereavement groups are and ask to join them. Let the hospice bereavement staff support and guide you during this time of adjusting to your grief.
Something More About "WHY?" Questions Arising Following A Death...
When families are not given my book, GONE FROM MY SIGHT, The Dying Experience to guide them through their loved one's death, they have many questions afterwards. Reading the book following the death will clear up any concerns or questions that inhibit healing from their grief.