We know that eventually, everyone we know will die. Of course, that includes us.
It’s perfectly normal to spend some time thinking about death. You may wonder what will cause your demise, or who may be with you when you shuffle off this mortal coil. You may also wonder what your last words will be. Oftentimes, final words are far from the mind-blowing, comforting platitudes that we may hope to hear. They may be delirious, unconscious, or combative in their final moments.
But sometimes, people’s last words leave a pretty incredible impact. A recent AskReddit thread asked people to share their own stories of hearing people’s last words. There were thousands of replies from people of all walks of life sharing their own experiences with witnessing someone else’s death. Some of their stories may be a bit disturbing, but all of them are completely intriguing. Here are some of our favorites.
Dad jokes until the end.
Grandpa, tough as nails. Had four heart attacks, each one worse than the last, lived 25 years beyond all expectations.
He liked to tell jokes to the EMTs before defibrillator use, hoping they might be his last words. He was funny and stubborn and sweet.
When he finally went, my mom tried to fix his oxygen mask, “daddy, you need to wear this” and he looked at her, pulled it off, and said “pfft. Who says.” Then he died.
I like it. I think it was fitting. –Lilyvonschtup
It is time to go.
Paramedic here. I’ve unfortunately seen the end of many people’s lives, some in a much nicer way than others.
Had a gentleman who was incredibly unwell, a family was with him too. We stayed to offer support and ensure he was comfortable in the last stages of his journey.
His last words were “she’s here now, I think I’ll go.”
The patient’s wife explained that they had lost a daughter at a young age, and we believe that’s who he saw before he died. –bi0_h4zard
This one brought a tear to my eye.
When my grandpa was in his last days he kept on seeing his sister and brothers who died before him, my family being kind of superstitious would ask him if they were there to walk him to the other side and he kept saying later but not till everyone’s here.
A day later he said he saw my grandma and he was going to take her dancing. Those were his last words.
I’m going to see grandpa.
My wife is a trauma surgeon and has similar stories.
One notable one was of a young boy who said he saw his grandpa setting up a game of chess at the bottom of the bed. The grandpa had died a few years before and couldn’t finish teaching his grandson how to play chess.
The great comforter.
My GPA was pretty sick towards the end but never lost his faith.
He’d been bedridden for a few months but the day he passed, he spent talking to someone, we’re still not sure who. As he took his final breath he pointed his finger, said “Jesus?” and then was gone.
I’m not religious so it’s still weird to me, but my Gma found great comfort in it. –sn0gh0ul13
Just need some shut-eye.
My great-grandma was in the hospital with probably 20 people in the room (including me) talking quietly and she says:
“Shut up and let me sleep dammit.”
She never woke back up. –spenserinho
Took a call from a man who was about to have what ended up being a fatal stroke.
He was a Vietnam vet, and I stayed on the line with him as long as I could. He first said he was feeling off and weak and as his brain started short-circuiting he started rambling then yelling about “the LZ is hot requesting immediate evac we have heavy casualties.”
I guess it was some memory from the war, but the panic in his voice was palpable and heartbreaking. He went out reliving what was probably the worst moments of his life before the stroke affected him to the point his words turned into a garbled mess. –inthehauntedsouth
Offering good advice.
Not a doctor or nurse, but my grandma’s last words to me were “I hope you dump that tramp”
I did, G-Ma, I did. –sixesand7s
One, two, three…
My father went into cardiac arrest on the couch after a few horrible months of ALS (we didn’t know he had ALS until after the autopsy).
While passing he just kept counting.
We have no idea why. –jonbabe
They were pretty awful.
My grandpa’s last words were about Pharrell while he was performing “Happy” at the Oscars.
He was sitting with my grandma at their home after a lot of hospital visits and a few falls and just said, “I hate his shoes.” Closed his eyes and died.
Pretty much the only way he would have wanted to go. –lhbeers
A guy in my room died when I was in the hospital with a broken leg and his last words before a fatal cardiac arrest were: “He is not my son but I love him.”
The next day his family arrived and I talked to his wife. She was shocked: “I thought he never found out.”
At least he saw one more morning.
My grandpa was told that he would die in his sleep that night.
When he woke up at 6:00 A.M., he said, “Wow I’m still here!”
And then fell back asleep and passed away. –Chaarliee
My dad was a doctor.
At age 83, one day he and my mother had their morning coffee and chatted as usual. He took his usual morning shower and, when he emerged from it, told my mother he had pneumonia.
They went straight to the ER, where he said goodbye to his former colleagues as they were taking care of him. He died about 48 hours later, having never left the hospital. –MDAccount
That’s a weird one.
“You get that stick out of my face!”
It was shocking because first of all, the old man who said it was always so quietly spoken but this, it was a loud, authoritative command!
Secondly, only me, the on-call doctor, and his daughter were present. None of us had sticks or anything else near him. –crochetprozac
I guess that’s how he felt about it.
On a neuro check right before intubation, the doctor shouted: “CAN YOU GIVE ME A THUMBS UP?”
The guy raises his forearm and middle finger straight up. –StinkyBrittches
Waiting for John.
I sat by my mother for weeks before she died. Two days before she died she woke up from her nap and said, “Why aren’t I dead yet?” I said, ” I don’t know, Mom. Maybe you’re waiting for something.”
And she looked much calmer and said, “I’m waiting for John.” John is my brother who had to travel a long distance to get there. He came the next day, and she was gone the day after that. –dunemi
No, thank you.
The last thing my poppy said before he became unresponsive was “I won’t be needing that” when offered dessert.
Who turned out the lights?
I once had a patient that put his call light on.
When I went in to see what he needed, he said “could you please turn off the lights? I’d like to wait for St. Peter in the dark.”
Sure enough, by the time I went in there with his evening medications about an hour later, he had already died.
Take my hands.
“Take my hands Mau.”
MauMau was his wife who died 12 years earlier of lung cancer.
Never really stopped thinking about that. –burningcookies4this
Not enough time.
I happened to be present when my father passed away.
His last fully coherent words before they started pumping him full of morphine were “I thought I would have more time.” –ManiacFoSho
A 68-year-old man dying of metastatic lung cancer turns to his wife just minutes before his last breath and says “don’t forget to feed the cat, she likes dry food in the morning and wet food at night.” –geesinimada
My grandpa’s last words at the hospice center, he kept holding up his hands and saying “wow, wow, wow.”
We asked him what he was seeing. He said “rainbows and Irish blessings” and then a few minutes later he started sheepishly chuckling and we asked again what he saw. This time he excitedly said “beer!”
These were actually his last words. He passed about an hour later. –libertarianmurse
Visited by grandma.
My ex-GF and I were spending time with her parents and older brother during the holidays.
We were on the patio playing cards, after dinner, when her brother leans in and says, “I know you guys are going to think that I am crazy, but I have been seeing grandma for a few days now and she just walked by the sliding glass doors. Have you seen her too?”
Their grandmother passed away a few years prior. I didn’t know what to say or even do, his sister told him to stop playing around and that we weren’t falling for one of his pranks.
He died in his sleep that night. –ivegottoast
It is time for a trim.
My grandfather passed away in his sleep back in February. My grandmother said the last thing he ever said to her was “I need a haircut.” –RedRails1917
Maybe next time.
My great grandpa’s last words were: “Aw, s–t, I didn’t make it to 100.”
I hope he’s still watching her.
My father-in-law’s last words were: “I wish I had more time with her. Love you. God bless you.”
He was speaking to my 8-week-old daughter. He’d finally become a grandfather. Still tears me up to think about it, almost 2 years later. –roodlebug
Call in the professionals.
My father is a doctor and while in medical school he was in a room with a lady while she died.
She didn’t know he was there but when she died her last words were “Quick! Do something MacGyver!”
Getting dressed up.
One morning, my grandma woke up and told my mom that she needed to put on her good dress and wanted her hair fixed up.
When asked why she said that she saw her mother and father during the night and wanted to look pretty for them when they came back.
A few minutes before her death she asked one of my aunts to open the window so the angels could get in. A few minutes after they opened the window she passed away. –Epoke_06
My dad was an atheist. Cracked jokes about religion at the dinner table my entire life.
Right before he passed, he told me: “Don’t judge religious people. They know something you don’t.” –Saganic
One guy came out of the fog he was in, looked me right in the eye, and asked, “Is this the end of the road, then?”
I squeezed his hand and said, “Yeah, I think so, man.”
He thought a second and said “Oh. OK.” and immediately died. –FearlessLingonberry
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