15 Last Words People Said On Their Deathbed That Range From Heartbreaking To Hilarious

All of us will die one day — and all of us will expend our final moments of life. It's hard to imagine what those final moments will be like, but we can get an idea from the experiences of others.

Person holding the hand of a patient resting in a hospital bed
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Over on Quora, doctors, nurses, caregivers, and loved ones have shared their experiences being present for the final moments of someone's life...and hearing their last words. These last words can be heartbreaking, life-affirming, spiritual, befuddling — even hilarious — but they're always fascinating. Here's what they had to say:

(You can see some of the full threads here, here, and here.)

1."In the hospital, I met a nice man in his early 50s, a long-term alcoholic whose name was Lester. We got to know each other quite well. I was in for an alcohol detox. When he crashed, it was horrendous; he very quickly ballooned in various places of his body, neck, stomach, and leg and started leaking fluid. It was frightening to watch, and I could see he was terrified. Despite all the machines and doctors whizzing around him, no one comforted him, so I shared some reassuring words while holding his hand. Just before he left us, Lester motioned to pull his breathing apparatus away from his face, and struggling to breathe, he looked up at me with despair in his eyes and raspily croaked, 'What happened to my life?'"

"He was then rushed to the ICU, where he passed 10 minutes later. It still haunts me to this day and still brings me to tears recounting it. I'm now 35, sober, in treatment, and I will never forget that moment. It taught me a lot — such a waste of life."

Tom Evans, Quora

2."I had a patient scream, 'I will not get vaccinated!!' right before we had to intubate him for COVID-19. No one was trying to vaccinate him. He was already in critical condition from COVID-19. He stayed intubated until he passed away. His family asked if he said anything before his emergent intubation. I made something up about how he said he loved them because I didn’t think they’d want to hear that those were his final words."

Jordan B, Quora

3."The last words my husband ever said to me before he died was when I accidentally hit his hospital bed with a chair. He was in a stupor, and I knew the end was near. When I hit the bed, he opened his eyes, looked at me, and said, 'Oh, hi, honey. I love you.' He died six hours later."

Deborah Barber, Quora

Person in hospital bed holding hands with visitor, IV in hand
Fotolgart / Getty Images

4."I swear to god, the last word from a dying friend of mine, a brilliant woman who worked in showbiz publicity and knew the power of a good exit, was, 'Rosebud.'”

Rick Elswit, Quora

("Rosebud" was famously the last word spoken by Orson Welles's character Charles Foster Kane in the classic film Citizen Kane.)

5."As a nurse, I have seen many patients pass away and heard lots of last words. Sometimes, a patient will just pass in silence while others will say something. In the past, some have said things that really stuck with me; some made me stop and think, and others shook me a little."

"I had a patient called Maggie, an older lady in her 80s. Just before she passed away, her face lit up, and she said, 'Hello, Henry.' She was so happy, and then she passed. Henry was her husband, who had passed away 10 years before.

Another patient, Tom, was 50 years old and passed away terrified. His last words were, 'No, please don't let me die.' That shook me up and stayed with me since.

And then there was a young female. She had cancer and was only 23. Just before she passed, she looked up, smiled, and said. 'Oh... It's beautiful.'"

Victoria Young, Quora

6."On my granny's deathbed, she looked at each of us clearly while holding our hands and told us assuredly: 'I know who killed him.' With tears in her eyes, it seemed like she was going to answer 'Who killed who,' but then she died."

"No idea. As far as we know, there were no 'unsolved' deaths or murders in her circle. Maybe someone got away with something, or it was not known. It was a mystery!"

Bill Coffey, Quora

Staged crime scene with mannequin hand, evidence markers, and fake blood for internet mystery games
Gorodenkoff / Getty Images

7."I was the allocated carer for a husband and wife who were both in a bad way due to different health issues and illnesses. They were in a shared room, and their beds were pushed together so they could be close to each other. Unfortunately, the wife passed away, so of course, the husband was absolutely devastated. Me and the nurse were offering him some comfort when he said, 'Well, I guess it's my turn soon! I've been there for my wife and now have nothing!'"

"We separated their beds when the funeral directors came to collect his wife and told him we'd be back in a minute.

He said, 'I feel I wouldn't be there when you get back.'

The nurse stayed with him as I went to let the directors out of the nursing home, and when I came back, the husband had passed away. It was almost as if he couldn't live with a broken heart. He had given up on his own life after knowing his wife had passed peacefully and without pain. He had been with and taken care of her until the end. It makes me realize that true love does exist."

Jessica Hewer, Quora

8."My mother passed at age 53; I was 27 at the time. She had cancer and was under hospice care at home. I visited her the day before she passed. The last thing she said to me was, 'You poor thing, you poor thing.'"

Cheryl Fulton, Quora

9."My mother married my stepfather when I was a teenager. We had a somewhat difficult relationship, although it was readily apparent that he adored my mother and treated her very well. A decade or so into their marriage, his health declined. He had developed leukemia-induced anemia complicated by Crohn's disease. After several years of painful existence and numerous hospital stays and blood transfusions, he found himself in the ICU. His red blood cell count was critically low, and he needed another transfusion, or he would die within a few days. He decided he'd had enough. He refused treatment so that he could pass away and be relieved of his pain. He went in and out of consciousness over those last two days. A priest came to read him his last rites."

"At one point, I stood alone beside his bed, and he mustered enough strength to speak. He told me, 'Take care of your body and read a lot of books on different subjects.' I acknowledged him. He added, 'And take care of your mother.' He then slipped back into unconsciousness. I never heard him speak again. Those last words only reaffirmed to me what a great husband my mother had found, for in his last moments, he was still concerned about her welfare.

That night, my mother and I were in the waiting room at 2 in the morning when the nurse came to tell us that it was his time. We went into his ICU room, stood by his bedside, and watched on the monitor as his heart rate steadily dropped off to zero and his chest eased down to a stop. My mother looked down at him and said, 'What an amazing man. Thank you for 17 wonderful years of marriage.' RIP Stan."

Greg Livorsi, Quora

Elderly patient resting in a hospital bed with an IV drip attached, in a bright room
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

10."A friend's mother was in the final stages of life. Her family was around her, singing her favorite hymns. As they fell silent, she suddenly opened her eyes very wide, gasped, and whispered, 'LOOK! Oh, WOW!' And then she closed her eyes and died."

Susan Zipf, Quora

11."My 93-year-old father, who was in hospice care with heart failure, was having a heart attack. In the middle of the pain, while trying to make him as comfortable as possible — he was sort of in and out of consciousness — he very clearly spoke his last words: 'I found the gates are open for me.'"

"With those words, he went to sleep and never woke up again, passing away that night. He was the most loving, selfless person I've ever known. See you again someday, Dad!"

Jim Hainline, Quora

12."A trauma patient in an emergency room setting looked directly into my eyes and asked clearly — 'Please don't let me die.' I did my best, as did the entire care team, but her condition proved to be beyond our best efforts. Decades later, I can still see her face and hear her clear, calm voice, although my memory of the 'code' itself is fading. It would not still haunt me if I hadn't replied, 'I won't.'"

Rob Man, Quora

Healthcare worker in scrubs resting head on arm, looking exhausted, beside medical equipment
Eyesfoto / Getty Images

13."I will remember this patient until my own dying day; because of him, I realized with blinding clarity what hospice care is for. We will call him Vladimir. He was 101 years old and in a diabetic coma. He had gangrene of both feet, so in the event that he regained consciousness, he had a double amputation to look forward to. Per his medical history, he had been a professional dancer in his youth. Vladimir had outlived his entire family, including his only grandson. He never had visitors while in my unit at the hospital."

"I used to sit at his bedside to work on chart notes just to keep him company. Sometimes I’d read the newspaper to him or tell him jokes. This went on for weeks with nary a twitch from Vladimir, so I didn’t know if he could hear me or not. I was definitely leaning toward NOT.

But one Monday morning, I was at his bedside as usual when I suddenly felt I was being watched. I looked up from my charting to find Vlad’s intense blue eyes staring at me imperiously:

'DO YOU VANT ME TO LIVE?!?' he demanded.

I was startled to the point of stuttering: 'Uhhhh… Sure!'

'Then you must get me…THE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM!' he thundered back.

'Wait here,' I said idiotically and ran to the nurses’ station.

I asked the charge nurse where I could get chocolate ice cream, pronto, as the patient in 20A had just regained consciousness and was asked specifically.Without even turning around, she said, 'You can’t give 20A ice cream, chocolate or otherwise, because his primary diagnosis is uncontrolled diabetes.'

'Yes, I can,' I replied, 'Because his condition is terminal. It may be the last time he gets to taste ice cream before he dies. Do you want to tell him he can’t have it, that he needs to have sugar-free Jello instead for his health? What kind of sense does that make?'

'Well, when you put it that way… You can usually find individual servings of ice cream up on Maternity.'

So Vlad got a half-pint of chocolate ice cream, gleefully savored every spoonful, and gave me a wink and a smile.

Then he sighed, closed his eyes...and died."

Sabrina Walkosz, Quora

14."We had a patient in the ICU who'd come in for some cardiac issues. She needed a cleanup and was in congestive heart failure. I was still in nursing school and working as a nurse tech. The team called me for the cleanup and to place her IVs as I needed the practice. Once that was completed, we needed to place a Foley catheter. I explained the procedure, cleaned the area, and began the insertion. She sat up and loudly stated, 'I can taste my teeth.' She then coded, and her heart stopped; we started CPR and code blue protocol without a positive result. Strange last statement."

Max Cady, Quora

15.And finally: "I met a patient around 60 on my oncology rotation. She suffered from a relapse of acute myeloid leukemia after bone marrow transplantation and also had to fight an uneven battle against fungal pneumonia. The chances of her surviving were pretty slim, which she knew. The thing is, one minute in her presence was enough to make you forget entirely about her grim fate. She was cunningly funny in a dirty kind of way, making the most unexpected jokes to the unassuming doctors on the rounds."

"One day, things looked particularly bad. Her whole family was in her room, and she was sitting on the bed rather than lying in it because that way, she could breathe more easily and see everyone, from her oldest son to the youngest grandchild. I had come into her room to examine her, but she told me I didn't have to. She made one of her dirty jokes, which I have unfortunately forgotten. Everyone laughed, even the ones with tears in their eyes, and I couldn't help but wonder how she was able to think as clearly and talk normally despite her severe sepsis. She was talking in complete sentences and refused any morphine.

I remember trying to hold back tears because I somehow knew, as did she. She looked around at her family, then at me, and said: 'I am OK.' Then she looked at the family again and laid her head against the propped-up pillow, finally closing her eyes as if to sleep. Less than a minute later, she passed away.

I have never witnessed a patient with such a clear state of mind immediately before dying, and there she was, lying peacefully asleep in the company of those who loved her. She was indeed OK."

Konstantinos Gatos, Quora

(Some entries have been edited for length and/or clarity.)

Did you hear someone's last words that made an impression on you? Let us know in the comments below or via this anonymous form.