The video has got many people emotional as the actions of their loved ones in their final days are now making sense to them.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 19, 2021. It has since been updated.
The concept of death has mystified humans since time immemorial. Is there an afterlife? Are heaven and hell real? Is there a God? Death, in many ways, is a moment of truth. While we may never actually find out what goes on "in the beyond," there are a lot of questions unanswered about the moments leading up to death. A hospice nurse, Julie McFadden, who has watched countless people pass away, often discusses death and the final hours leading up to it, on her TikTok account (@hospicenursejulie). She recently posted a video on an unexplained phenomenon called "the rally," and it has generated much intrigue and discussion, reported Newsweek. She explained that "the rally" is when dying patients suddenly become a better and seemingly "healthier" version of themselves for a brief interval that can last up to a few days, following which they pass away. The video has gone viral garnering 5.2 million views and 800,000 likes.
Julie McFadden has worked as a nurse in a hospice for five years, in addition to working as an ICU nurse for a decade. McFadden said the reason behind "the rally" was still a mystery but explained what exactly happens during the rally. "This is when someone is really sick and almost towards actively dying, meaning dying within a few days, and then suddenly they look like they are 'better,'" she said in the video. "This can manifest in a lot of ways, but a lot of times they suddenly eat, they'll suddenly talk, maybe even walk, they act like their old self, they have a little more personality, kind of laughing, talking, joking, but they usually they die within a few days after this," she added.
McFadden added that it was very common, with a third of patients at her hospice experiencing "the rally." She said that hospice nurses inform the family of the phenomenon to prepare them for the sudden unexplained change. "So it doesn't devastate them when they suddenly pass after doing so well for a few days," said McFadden. "The rally" is a phenomenon that has confounded scientists as well but there are patterns that studies have picked up on. German researcher Michael Nahm named it "terminal lucidity" and has been studying the concept with much interest. Nahm reported that around 84% of people who experience "the rally" die within a week, with 42% dying that very day. The phenomenon has also been dubbed "the last hurrah" or "the final goodbye." One person drew a beautiful parallel in the comments section, writing, "The candle burns brightest right before it goes out." A veterinarian added in the comments that "the rally" was also commonly seen in animals as well.
Seeing loved ones and angels
In a separate video, McFadden also touched upon another phenomenon where dying patients see their lost loved ones, including pets, or other visions including angels, leading up to their own death. "It usually happens a month or so before the patient dies, they start seeing dead relatives, dead friends, old pets that have passed on, spirits, angels, that are visiting them and only they can see them. Sometimes it's through a dream, sometimes they physically see them, and they'll actually ask us 'do you see what I'm seeing,'" she said.
While the thought in isolation might be disturbing, McFadden added that it comforted dying patients, bringing a certain sense of calm to them. "They're usually not afraid, it's usually very comforting to them and they usually say they're sending a message like 'we're coming to get you soon' or 'don't worry, we'll help you.' Most people love this, they're very comforted by it, it's not scary to them," she said.
McFadden also touched upon the myth that death is painful. She said that death in itself isn't painful but the cause of the death, whether a disease or an accident, can be painful and thus causes many to associate death with pain. "Actual death is not painful. Our bodies are built to be born and they're built to die," she said.