Discover the captivating and often unpredictable journeys of life through the eyes of Redditors. Despite our best hopes for a serene and wise farewell surrounded by loved ones, the reality of how our lives end is often beyond our control. Get ready for an emotional roller coaster as we unravel these real-life accounts of fate’s unique plans. So find a quiet and private place, grab a box of tissues, and join us on this touching journey.
1. “Where’s Helen?”
I am a paramedic, and I was called to the casino for someone with chest pain. I got there to find a man in his 60s who was pale grey, sweating profusely, and in level 10 pain. I put him on the monitor, and he had tombstone elevation in his septal leads—they call it tombstone elevation for a reason. He was having a massive heart attack.
His wife was there. She was getting ready to come along with us. I helped her into the ambulance, and she realized that she had not gotten a voucher from the slot machine. I’m not a casino guy, but they pay out in paper slips. Anyway, she said “I have to go back and get it.”
I told her, “We’re leaving now and you should REALLY come with us.” She didn’t seem to understand me. Finally, I said, “Your husband could die tonight.” She replied, “Well, I’ll be right behind you in my car.”
Biggest mistake of her life. You guessed it. Her husband perished on the way to the hospital and the last thing he said was, “Where’s Helen?”
2. “Most Heartbreaking Thing I Have Ever Heard From a Patient”
Being a hospice caregiver and primarily dealing with terminally ill patients, I’ve seen and heard many sad things. One of the most heartbreaking stories was that of a beautiful woman without any family and having lived a life that was cruel to all. A Korean woman who was very young when her parents passed away, grew up in poverty and eventually married an American soldier, eventually leaving Korea.
For years, her husband mistreated her until she finally left him. She was a waitress who struggled to get by and lived alone for most of her life. She had no family and no friends. When her pancreatic cancer reached its final stages, I sat beside her in the hospice, holding her hand and crying. She said something to me that I’ll never forget…
“Don’t cry. The next life I live will be happy.” This is the most heartbreaking statement I’ve ever heard from a patient.
3. “She Stayed With Me Until She Slipped Away”
One of the infants I cared for in a pediatric ICU was left behind by her parents when I worked there as a nurse. It’s legal to do this in some hospitals. The child cried and moaned all day and all night because she had an inoperable brain tumor. Everyone knew she wasn’t going to make it.
One day, I picked her up in her room and started dancing with her, trying to avoid getting tangled in all the wires. I sang a Beatles song (even though I can’t sing) and told her not to laugh. She stopped crying and giggled a bit. I was the only one who could stop her crying from then on. Then I knew what I had to do.
All the paperwork was completed for her adoption, and she stayed with me until she slipped away. The fact that she didn’t have to live in the hospital for the rest of her life and I could sing her to sleep each night gives me comfort. After that, I left the pediatric intensive care unit, but I still think about her constantly.
3. “She Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”
During her time as a nurse, my sister worked with a patient in his late 80s who was very ill. His disease was painful, but I don’t remember what it was. My sister said he was always pleasant and never showed signs of pain until someone left the room. Once, when she forgot something in his room, she caught him suffering.
In any case, this man had a very loving wife, and they had been married for more than 60 years. They were all joking around in the room with my sister. Suddenly, the husband asked his wife to bring him some water. He declined my sister’s offer to get it. “She needs to get out for a while,” he said. “It’s a stuffy place.”
His wife agreed with him. He thanked her and expressed his love for her. The man asked my sister if his wife was gone after she left the room. As soon as my sister confirmed that she was, he replied, “Let her know she was the best thing that ever happened to me.” The minute he closed his eyes, he was gone.
4. “I Hear That Kid in My Nightmares”
For five years, I worked in a pediatric intensive care unit. Many of the kids were too young to talk, but I remember one boy who had end-stage cystic fibrosis most vividly. He caught the flu and it knocked him out. The respiratory therapists that entered into her son’s room were ordered to perform maximum interventions, but every time they entered his room, he asked them not to intervene.
While sitting at the nursing station across from his room, I heard him scream through an oxygen mask, begging God to take him. His battle ended one day. This was probably the first moment of peace he had experienced in weeks. A couple of years later, I began dating a man with cystic fibrosis. Even now, I hear that kid in my nightmares.
5. “The Room Had an Ominous Scent”
During my college years, I served drinks and food to patients at my local hospital. In oncology, there was one woman who was posh, proud, and a little cranky. She asked for an espresso when I asked what she wanted to drink. I got her an espresso from the doctor’s lounge since I only had regular coffee, tea, and soda in my drink cart.
After that, I continued to give her an espresso every night while I worked in oncology, and we always talked. Her lack of visitors saddened me. After getting to know her, I realized she was quite sweet. Even after her condition deteriorated after two months, she wanted her espresso—just to smell it.
During the Christmas season, the hospital was almost deserted. One of my coworkers came looking for me, as I was working in another department at the time. There was some cranky lady in oncology who wanted me. My immediate reaction was to visit the doctor’s lounge on my way there. Upon entering with my espresso, I noticed the room had an ominous scent.
In that big hospital bed, she was a little pile of misery. As I walked up to her, I put the espresso on her nightstand. Grabbing my hand, she stared into my eyes. “I know you weren’t supposed to bring me those espressos, but you did, and you always talked to me. In the last couple of years, you have shown me more kindness than anyone close to me. Remember that a simple gesture can make someone’s day.”
I sat with her until she fell asleep. Her room was empty the next time I visited. I brought her that last espresso the same night she passed away. Every now and then, especially around Christmas, I think about her. Despite how silly it sounds, I took her advice to heart. Although it’s pretty obvious, my memories of her give me an extra push when I’m hesitant to help others.
6. “He’ll Be So Alone”
In the past, I worked as a first responder. My family and I were returning from a vacation when we saw a car on its side along the highway. It was extremely foggy and there weren’t many people on the road, so we stopped. As my wife called 9-1-1, I grabbed my jump bag, which I always keep with me, and went to check out the situation.
In the car was an old married couple. While the husband was battered but ambulatory, the wife was unresponsive-not breathing and hanging upside down by her seatbelt. Our first step was to move him to a side of the car where he could not see his wife. Then we got her out and put her on the ground. Although I continued CPR, she did not respond.
Once another car stopped, someone else continued CPR while I tried to intubate, which proved challenging. Eventually, an ambulance arrived, but there was no paramedic and the EMT had no idea what to do. I had to follow them to the hospital while continuing CPR and attempting intubation once more.
Within five minutes of the ambulance ride, she returned. As we calmed her down, she stared off into space and said, “He’ll be so alone.” A few minutes later, she was gone. We intubated her, but soon discovered she had passed away. I remember that call among the many I’ve received. Their relationship lasted almost their entire lives, and now she is gone.
There is no goodbye. The last thing she thought about was him.
7. “I Wish You Were Still Here With Me”
I remember my maternal grandparents having a wonderful marriage and adoring each other. My mom’s Papa passed away in 1970 and her Mama passed away in 1993. As a child, my mom used to get scared. Her Mama often spoke to her Papa if he were still present because she often heard her talking to him. It was common for her to overhear her mother say things like, “Oh, I wish you were still here with me, I miss you so much”.
Mama moved into a nursing home when she was 90 years old. Even though she had dementia, she still talked to Papa often. One day, my mother visited her, and her Mama was very happy. “Papa came to visit me today,” she said. He’s taking me dancing tonight! It was all she talked about. My mother thought she was confused because of her dementia.
In the early hours of that evening, the nursing home phoned with heartbreakingly unsettling news: Mama had passed away in her chair while listening to one of her favorite dancing records. That always gives me a chill, but in a good way.