The "moment of death"

Christine Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


The “moment of death,” once a dominant concept in preparing for a “good
death,” has been eclipsed by a focus on the wider concept of the “dying
trajectory.” However, findings from interviews with 25 bereaved individuals
suggest that dying loved ones’ final moments may still be experienced as
highly significant in their own right. In some accounts the dying individual’s
final moments did not feature or made little impression, either because the
survivor was not present, or there was no obviously definable moment,
or because other, usually medical factors, such as whether to resuscitate
the person, took precedence. However, in six cases such moments were
constructed as profound, special, and memorable occasions. These constructions
are explored in relation to achieving a good death, the dying
trajectory as a whole, and making sense of the bereavement experience. Their
implications for sociological theories of identity and embodiment are
also considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages17
JournalOmega: Journal of Death & Dying
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • bereavement, ars moriendi, good death, narratives, dying moments


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