Rally as part of the dying process

Published on January 29, 2023

Updated on December 25, 2023

Dying is an inevitable facet of life, a natural progression that touches us all. This journey towards the end of life can unfold in diverse ways—peaceful and graceful or turbulent and fraught with stress. Amid this journey, there exists a phase known as the “.” It occurs just prior to the final moments of a person's life. This phase often shrouds itself in misunderstanding and misconceptions. It's imperative to unravel what it truly signifies.

Defining the Rally

The term “rally” denotes a transient improvement in the physical or mental condition of someone nearing the end of their life. This sudden upturn can emerge mere days or hours before the person's eventual passing. For grieving families and loved ones who anticipate the worst, this rally can be perplexing. During this phase, the dying person might become more alert, conscious, and occasionally, even partake in modest eating or drinking. However, it's essential to grasp that this improvement is fleeting; the individual will soon transition to the final stage of death.

Illustrating a Rally

An illustrative example of rallying before death, sourced from Psychology Today, recounts the story of a 91-year-old woman who had grappled with Alzheimer's disease for 15 long years. She had long remained unresponsive, but suddenly, she started conversing coherently, recognizing her daughter and others.

The Enigma of Rally: Uncovering Its Cause

The precise cause of the rally remains elusive. It is believed to stem from a of energy and vitality within the body's internal system. This abrupt burst of energy may be a response triggered by the body in the face of impending death, temporarily elevating the individual's cognitive function.

Dispelling Misconceptions: Is There Always a Rally?

One prevalent misconception revolves around the notion that a occurs only once, and it must precede the final moments. This notion can be misleading. It is vital to underscore that not everyone nearing the end of their life will experience a rally. Moreover, rallies may transpire when no witnesses are present.

What adds to the complexity is that multiple rallies are indeed possible before the final one. Let's delve into a case study for clarity.

Case Study: The 97-Year-Old Male

Consider the case of a 97-year-old male who showcased an exceptionally robust first rally. This rally was so potent that his family mistakenly believed he had recovered from heart and lung failure, contemplating discharge from . However, after heeding advice to wait and observe, the situation took an unexpected turn. The individual did not recover; instead, he encountered two more rallies before eventually passing away. Notably, each subsequent rally was of shorter intensity and duration.

Navigating the Emotions: What Does Rally Mean for Families and Loved Ones?

For families and loved ones, witnessing a rally can be a rollercoaster of emotions. They may anticipate the worst and then suddenly witness their loved one's improvement, only to see them decline once more shortly afterward. It's crucial to bear in mind that the rally constitutes a transient stage in the dying process, and the individual will inevitably enter the final stage of death.

Supporting During the Rally

During this phase, families and loved ones should seize the opportunity to spend quality time with the person who is nearing the end of life. It's a time for providing comfort, offering support, and addressing any final arrangements if necessary. While the person is still in the process of dying, it's the quality of the moments shared that should take precedence over quantity.

Conclusion: Navigating the Enigma of the Rally

In conclusion, the rally is a stage within the dying process that can be emotionally bewildering for families and loved ones. While it may offer a temporary reprieve in the physical or mental condition of the person nearing the end of their life, it remains transitory. The focus during this time should revolve around providing solace and companionship, cherishing the moments spent together.

Resources

Psychology Today: Why Some People Rally One Last Goodbye Before Death

What Happens In A Death Rally?

When Loved Ones Rally Before Death

What Does It Mean to Rally Before Death?

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

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Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side , A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

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