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Sitting up with the Sick and Dying

Sitting up with the Sick and Dying

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter Two Sitting up with the Sick and Dying
Source:
Gone to the Grave
Author(s):
Abby Burnett
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628461114.003.0002

Both birth and death once took place in the home, where nursing was done by neighbors. As a death approached, neighbors took turns “sitting up” all night with the patient to administer medicine, guard against the taboo of someone dying alone, and to awaken the family when the time came to witness any last words, requests or confessions. A variety of superstitions warded off death, foretold its coming (often pertaining to bird or animal behaviour) or were be observed once death occurred.

Keywords:   Sitting up, Medicine, Last words, Dying alone, Death superstitions

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