You are here:

Hospice Care/tears during death


Don wrote at 2009-08-30 06:34:59
It has been a long time since this question but my Father just passed this evening about an hour and a half ago. He had made no facial expressions for over 12 hours, I was speaking to him as he died and telling him that it was all right that he left.  I was telling himall the people who would miss him, when suddenly I just knew it was the end. For the first time ever I said the words "goodbye Dad". As soon as those words left my mouth he opened his eyes and through much difficulty I could tell that he focused on me.  We stared into each others eyes for a long time as I was comforting him and I said goodbye again.He suddenly clenched his eyelids down tightly and a tear fell from each one.  I have never felt such pain in my life.  Even as I type this I can feel it.  I just wanted you to know that it happened to me tonight, and I am glad that I read of your similar experience.  Thank you.

Lawrence from Guam wrote at 2009-11-25 07:26:01
My father died from cancer too in September 2009. Right before his death, tears fell from his eyes.

I reassured him that he can "go." He wasn't responsive for three days. A couple of minutes later, he passed away.  

Mel wrote at 2010-01-13 04:15:28
My father passed away 11-18-09. As my sister and I held his hand we told him how much we loved him,how proud of him we were,and promised we would take care of our mother when he took his last breaths. We both saw tears come from his eyes and roll down his cheeks. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and strived to carry out his good will despite his own severe physical pain. I often wonder if he was seeing God's face and they were tears of joy or if he was sad to leave his family.Maybe it is a normal release of body fluid.I am an ICU nurse and have been at the bedside of numerous patients when they passed from this earth and had never seen it before.

meredith wrote at 2010-03-04 02:27:32
my grandpa passed almost a year ago and he had 2 tears also when he drew his last breath and it has also really bothered me.  he was also unresponsive for several hours.  im going to call hospice to see if they can give me some peace about it. its hard to think loved ones are sad when they pass, especially when they were as great as my grandpa was. god bless you all

isabel wrote at 2010-07-06 16:16:12
my mom passed on june 17th 2010,she also had a tear toll down hereye right after she took her last breath,i thought id be fine after she was gone,and that she no longer was in pain anymore,but i have not been able to think of all the symptoms she took on in her final days,i wasnt breaking down as much before,but after it just takes over me,and im not much to show emotions,she was part of my life for 36 years,and just knowing she is no longer around is still shocking.

Frances wrote at 2010-09-21 14:08:59
My Mother-in-law of 40 years died on 31st August 2010, she was 83yrs and had suffered from Alzheimer's for several years, although died from infection & organ failure. She had been in hospital for 10 days and it had been agreed that the outcome would be inevitable and that great intervention was not an option. Those days were extremely painful, although sedated she was very agitated trying to get out of bed and often trying to talk to us but without sound. I encouraged my husband and her younger son to maintain a vigil with me during her last 48 hours. They tried but found it too difficult in their distress so it became my responsibility. I spent the last 14 hours at her side, being told at 7am that it would not be long now. For a further 3 hours, her breathing stopped and restarted many times. A young Doctor came into the room at 10am and I told her that I now believed Joyce had gone. As she examined her, I saw a tear fall from Joyce's right eye, then one from her left, followed by another from her right eye. I exclaimed she is crying but the Doctor did not reply. Moments later whilst checking the pulse in her neck the Doctor jumped when my Mother-in-law moved - she had the last laugh!! Her death was confirmed and I had to tell her sons, my children, her brother & sister and friends of her passing. I have been unable to tell anyone about her death and those 3 tears as I know that they, like me, would be so distressed by them. I feel that she did not want to go, that she fought it. I do not think she was in pain but have searched for any answer that could reassure me that this was a natural event at the point of death - I can find no such reassurance. My husband & I cared for Joyce for many years, she was a very contented lady with a wonderful sense of humour. I loved & respected her and know that her death was a blessing. I am haunted by her death and those tears but am so relieved to read that others have experienced them also. In writing my story, I  hope to find some peace of mind. God bless her.  

Heather wrote at 2011-01-01 03:29:48
I have to tell you thatmy mother passed away unexpectedely on Jan. 1st 2009.  She had a heart attach at age 57 a week before and was put o life support.  The drs. told us that there was no hope she was sespsis and the fever had killed her brain after much concinving we call ed a family meeting and decided that it was time to let her go.  They took her off of all life support and we all sat bed side for 6 hours watching her die and telling her our goodbyes.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done.  The last half hour of life we started noticing tears coming from her eyes we wiped them away several times and still they continued.  I went and got the nurse and Chaplin.  They had no explination.  I too struggle with the thought that maybe we made the wrong choice of taking her off of life support.  Prayers to you all.

Harrison Z. wrote at 2011-01-03 02:33:07
My father passed this morning. He had been unresponsive all night. I was by his side and talking to him the whole time telling him I loved him and it was okay to go. During the final minutes, I noticed a his left eyes shedding a small tear. I wiped away two of them. As his final two breaths came, a huge tear streamed down his face out of this left eye, then he was gone. My thoughts are, and I'm not a very religous man at all, was he saw his parents and my brother who passed before him. I kept telling him to go to them and it was okay to go to them. That tear will be burned into my memory forever.

Amy wrote at 2011-01-19 00:31:07
This is such an interesting conversation.  My father always told the story of how he was with my grandmother (his mother) when she passed and how there was one tear that had fallen down her cheek the moment before she took her last breath.  On the night my other grandmother was dying, we had talked about this earlier in the night.  Sure enough, just moments before she passed away I saw one tear leave her eye and roll down her face.  I had  just wiped it away and then she was gone. And even though being there with your loved one at this time is unbelievably heartbreaking...I'm so grateful I was in the room with my grandmother when it did happen.  I think of all the people who don't have family around them and am happy that my grandmother honored me in this way.  When it's my time, I can only hope to be as lucky as to have the people I love the most there by my side letting me know that they'll be ok and knowing that one day, I'll see them again.  

Donna wrote at 2012-12-06 05:15:57
As a Believer in Jesus Christ I have used this scripture for hope and comfort:

Revelation 21:4

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be no longer any death, no longer any mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have passed away.

My Father-n-law was a very good man and believer in God and His mercy. He received a Holy Anointing and prayer the day prior.  He passed away on 12/5/2012 just 11 days before his 93rd birthday.  The moment of passing away, he also had tears in his eyes. With Faith and Hope.  I interpreted this as possibly tears of of Joy and Happiness that the Angel of the Lord had come for him, by the salvation of Jesus Christ.  

stevethatsme wrote at 2012-12-16 04:49:42
My Dad died in 1985, I last visited him in a hospital bed in Tucson, he had had a Anerism and was in and out of consciousness, the last time I saw him he had tears down his face, But seemed strong and confident that he would get better, now I know he knew the truth, He was dying. I wish I knew how to react to this. I have regretted that I felt such inadequacy in my response to him and did not take the opportunity to say lot of things about our relationship that I meant to say for years.I recently read a article on preparing for a loved ones death, and if I had read or was told what to expect I would be more at peace ,with myself and dad, wish we had the internet then.

jac wrote at 2013-01-11 06:33:11
My mother was in a coma for a couple of days before she died. I know my brother wiped tears from her eyes once and that bothered me. tonight my dad died. He wasnt in a coma but wasnt responsive either. Tears came out of his eyes when his siter came in and was talking to him. bothers me greatly wrote at 2013-05-30 05:55:10
Ive watched someone die for the very first time... She was 94 and the nurse and I noticed one last tear before she passed... I could only assume it was a joyous tear because for awhile shes been wanting to die... She had a ruff life being a holocaust survivor and she was just tired and ready to leave she did love her kids very very much and my mother who was her caretaker... My mother came to call her mama because my mother didnt grow up havin a real mom so they were really close... I remeber the lady telling me... What can I do...?? And that she was ready to go... Couple days b4 she passed she wasnt talking anymore and was on the oxygen tank...and the night of her death the nurse gave her some pain meds because she had cancer and she shut her mouth as if she just didnt want anything anymore and just wanted to be in peace... R.I.F. H. Katz... And all the others that passed away...  

roseanne wrote at 2014-05-06 15:48:49

My father died a few years ago and with his last breath I saw a tear fall from his eye. I have often wondered if it was because he was leaving us or if he was at last reunited with my dear mother whom he loved very much.  I am glad to have come across  this site and found many more people who have had a similar experience.  I think it was comforting in a way. I hope everyone else got some comfort also.  

Jb wrote at 2014-07-21 01:03:13
My brother in law died 2 yrs ago he was only 35 we were very close. So, when he passed it was after they tried resuscitation and the doctors said we could say our goodbye's. When I said I will do my best to help I saw a tear run down his face and the image I can't get out were how his eyes looked. It didn't look real anyway it still really bothers me and I have not been the same since the tear and how his eyes looked.

Elaine wrote at 2014-09-23 19:37:07
I was praying the Rosary when Dad passed away. During this time, he shed 2 tears. The first was while the hospice nurse was bathing him and Sonny revealed that he had never seen this before. The second was during the third Hail Mary. I read that these tears are called "Diamonds from Heaven". It said that his Earthly loved ones walked him to the threshhold of Heaven, so there is a tear of sadness to be leaving them behind. But long-lost loved ones also met him at the threshhold, waiting to escort him into Heaven, and so there was also a tear of joy to be reunited again. I love this explanation! Rest in peace Daddy-O!

Sompa wrote at 2014-11-19 08:21:03
I was in love with a guy who passed away at the age of 27. He was healthy, very intelligent and never smoked nor drank alcohol. He suffered from Hydrocephalus in which the cerebrospinal fluid is accumulated and builds up pressure. It happened all of a sudden on 15th Oct 2014 morning, he was taken to emergency room, he was operated, he immediately went in coma because of the damage created by the pressure of the fluid. I went to the hospital everyday to talk to him and reassure that he will be fine but he had not shown any movement. On 28th Oct when I went to see in the hospital, as I was talking to him, I saw a tear falling out his left eye, this had never happened before. The next day morning he passed away. I dont know if it was a tear because the nurse said they had put solution on his eyes. But I believe he was listening to me and that is why that tear came out.  

Michelle wrote at 2015-02-08 02:15:25
My Mom just passed away Feb 6th at the young age of 69.  My husband, brother and I were at her bedside as she took her last breath.  Just before, I had told her it was ok to "let go" and that we all loved her.  Soon after I knew she was gone , her right eye openly slightly and looked directly at me and she closed her mouth slowly as if to smile.  When I knew she was gone, I was overcome with the most deepest sorrow and pain, a feeling I had never had before.  In my moments of grief, I noticed a tear that had pooled in her left eye.  At first, I thought that it was because she was sad or had fear until the hospice Chaplain said tears can mean joy and happiness too... that was comforting for me.  A lot of things happened right after my Mom's passing that are simply indescribable.  I will hold all of them very close to my heart forever.  

Tonya wrote at 2015-04-01 08:38:08
My mother had been unresponsive for 5 days in Hospice we were all at

Her bedside for days to be there when her time came the nursing assistant

told us that in his experience when the time came he had noticed a single tear in the corner of the right eye and as she took her final breath there was a tear drop in the corner of her right eye  

Moe wrote at 2015-07-07 04:28:06
My grandma just passed away at 98. Couple weeks before, she began talking about death relatives stoping by to say hello to her. Specially mentioned a daugther that died when she was only 5. Grandma said her baby was coming every night to cuddle and sleep with her.

With her last breath, grandma shed a tear. After reading other answers I feel better. I guessed she was happy to see again her baby.

Tom wrote at 2015-07-25 04:46:42
I sat with my dad as he died.  He continued to mums "uhn uh".  I didn't hold his hand as he died and I cry every time I think about it.  No one tells us what to do in those situations.  Hold their hand.  

OldestDaughter wrote at 2015-07-29 02:13:34
I held my Dad's hand as he passed. My sister sat across the bed touching his back and my mom stood at the foot of the bed continuing to read scripture, unable to accept that his final moment had come and take his hand in my place. In the moments between scriptures I had been reassuring him of our presence and our love and reassuring him that joy was ahead as he was welcomed by our Heavenly Father, could embrace his parents and run and joke with his brother. He was a very good man with a strong faith. As he passed, a single tear rolled down his face. As he had not had fluids for 9 days. I cannot believe it was anything other than a tear of real emotion. As another person expressed, I only wonder whether it was a tear of sadnesses as he left us too soon or a tear of joy as he glimpsed heaven ahead of him, or maybe of both.  

peggy1957 wrote at 2015-12-17 17:55:44
my husband died and after he died, tears kept flowing from his eyes, it was heart breaking to continuously wipe his eyes. he died in our home so it took them 3 hours to get him out of here. an image that will forever be in my mind and heart

kim wrote at 2015-12-25 02:27:40
My dad passed away this afternoon. While unconscious shed a single tear in his right eye. I'm struggling to hope this wasn't a sad tear and a normal reaction to dying. He has struggled enough. We were at the beach just 4 months ago, and soon after he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. 2 months later and he's gone. I'm going crazy with emotions. I can't help but feel this was a sad tear.. tears to me mean sadness and how can this be a happy tear during this time. I hope that it was, but I can't stop crying that it wasn't.

Jas wrote at 2015-12-31 15:58:00
My brother passed away in October 2014,we only had each other in our lives,he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was given a year to live with chemo,he refused to go in to a hospice as many folk do,I told him I would look after him,and so I did up until his last 13 hours he spent in hospital,but to get to my point in the last minutes before my brother passed I was telling him how much I loved him and that my life will never be the same without him,at that moment I was holding his right hand and a tear came out,I knew he could hear me even though he was unresponsive for 13 hours.To this day I miss him so so much.

Hospice Care

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Christine Johnson


I can give suggestions, encouragement and direction on what hospice is and is not, when it is appropriate, and how to go about getting it. I am familiar with Medicaid and Medicare hospice benefits. I can answer general questions about disease process, what dying looks like, how hospice handles pain and other symptoms, what to expect from a hospice when end of life nears. I can provide support, direction and encouragement related to spiritual matters and psychological matters related to death and dying.


I am a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, and have been the director of nurses for three hospice centers, under two different companies. I have also worked as a contract hospice nurse for a large American hospice company. On a personal level, my father died without benefit of hospice (it was not popular then). I have taken care of dying patients in hospitals and recognize that for most of us, it is preferable to die at home (or in our residence, wherever that may be), comfortably and without anxiety. Also I had no support when my father died; hospice clients are the whole family (however that is defined by the "patient"), and support is provided at least a year after the patient passes. These are the sorts of things (and probably others) that I can help with.

HPNA (Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association)

none yet

Registered Nurse (TX), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (TX) ADN Nursing, Excelsior College, Albany, New York (2004) 4.0 GPA BA, Psychology (minor Social Work), Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1986) 3.67 GPA MHR (MA) Human Relations, Oklahoma University, Norman, OK (1988) 3.5 GPA

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa (and others)

Past/Present Clients
Unable to name as this would violate their privacy (and HIPAA....)

©2016 All rights reserved.