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What do eyes open at death mean?
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My brother, whose health had been deteriorating in recent months, just passed away. We found him in his bed in the morning, lying there with his eyes open. My mother was distraught by the thought that maybe he hadn"t slept at all and died while awake. I thought that maybe he still died while sleeping, because I"ve heard that when people die, their eyelid muscles relax and so their eyes open. Any thoughts on this? It would be nice to know that my brother wasn"t suffering in his final moments.
My wife passed away at 7:15 this morning. ( 2 year, 9 month battle with ALS) Her eyes were partially open. I think it means nothing because while she was still breathing, her eyes were not reacting to my fingers in front of them.
My wife passed away at 7:15 this morning. ( 2 year, 9 month battle with ALS) Her eyes were partially open. I think it means nothing because while she was still breathing, her eyes were not reacting to my fingers in front of them.
So sorry for your loss. To answer the question: I used to work part time in the funeral industry and I have seen eyes opened and closed. I would think it would depend on how an individual passed away to determine if they were in pain or not. Personally someone sleeping I would think would have died most peacefully.
Teddy52, I am so sorry. Even when expected, death is still a shock and the days ahead may be difficult for you. May your pain be replaced with warm memories someday, it is too early now. For now, just go with the flow and feel your feelings and take care of yourself. My sympathies.
D - Strangely, this was on my FB feed today and I read it right before I saw your note about your wife. My condolences to you again - know that Margaret is at peace and able to once again move easily in her new life. I wish you peace in your soul.It may be too soon to introduce this, and I apologize in advance if it is - but I immediately thought of you.15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief | Identity Renewed
The hospice nurse told me it means nothing; that there are some involuntary muscle contractions that go along with death at time; no matter how painless. Teddy52 ~ I"m so sorry for your loss.
Sorry for your loss, Teddy52. I think a person"s eyes stay in whatever position they are in when death occurs. If they are asleep, as my mother was, the eyes will open slightly due to muscle relaxation. I think that"s why her eyes were partially open also. IF you happen to have your eyes open at the moment of death, I think they stay open until someone closes them because there is no brain activity to the muscles. I"m no expert or doctor but that"s the most common sense theory I can come up with.
My dh died instantaneously (probably--he died alone) and when my neighbor found him, he was laying on his back, snow scraper still in his hand, and his eyes wide open. He hadn"t landed hard on his back, as there was no head injury from his head hitting the concrete, so, it"s possible he eased himself down on his back, but died with his eyes open.

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My brother, whose health had been deteriorating in recent months, just passed away. We found him in his bed in the morning, lying there with his eyes open. My mother was distraught by the thought that maybe he hadn"t slept at all and died while awake. I thought that maybe he still died while sleeping, because I"ve heard that when people die, their eyelid muscles relax and so their eyes open. Any thoughts on this? It would be nice to know that my brother wasn"t suffering in his final moments.
I am sorry for your loss. When my mother died the nurse said that sometimes when a person dies their eyes stay open or open when they had been closed (while sleeping) or sometimes the reverse happens. If you did not hear your brother cry out or make any sounds I would strongly suspect that he died peacefully in his sleep. Even if he did cry out it may have been "involuntary" (such as muscles contracting and air being expelled from his lungs) and he passed away without any pain while still asleep. (((hugs)))
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