I have seen people die. I have seen many people die. I know how people die. I know the truth of how people die. To be honest with you, for a while any way, I had a picture of death that was the antithesis of what they tell you when you get the phone call: "...and he died peacefully in his sleep."
I have never seen anyone die in their sleep. For me, I have seen people die other ways. I have seen people die while sitting in a chair in the middle of a conversation, and it was sudden dyspnea and chest pain. I have seen a person standing, clutch his head, saying, "The pain! The pain!" and drop to his knees, fall to the floor, and drop down to the ground, and stop breathing.
So we pound on his chest and breathe for him, and he dies three days later with a tube in every orifice To me, this is the least dignifying way to die. His last memory was of pain. His last memory was of being with strangers in a hospital.
I had one lady die while taking a breathing treatment. But she had been dying for days, her kidney's failing, and her body slowly giving in. Yes she did die in her sleep, but it was only after a long coma, gasping breaths, increased oral secretions, and finally nothing (coincidentally during the treatment).
So you can see, my vision of death was not the pretty scene diagrammed by the phone call. Until last night. Last night I was talking to Mr. Jenkins. I was talking to him about where he was going to go when he was discharged. He wasn't happy about going to a nursing home, "but it's what my kids think is best."
He was one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He fell asleep. An hour later his monitor showed ventricular fibrillation. I entered his room. He had a peaceful look of sleep upon his face. His eyes were shut and his mouth agape. He had the big O expression.
I said a prayer. The nurse said what I was thinking, "this was the nicest guy. He's now up there. Don't be afraid to look up. He's looking down on us now."
The nurse called the family. He said, "...and he died peacefully in his sleep."