Is there a word or saying for a final act of kindness, a final change of heart when you know you're about to die? Say, a fatally wounded soldier giving water to an enemy in the same situation. There are many examples from literature and movies - and surely real life - but I can't think of a good word for this.

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    I think the closest you'll get is a metaphoric parting gift (bestowed by someone leaving this earthly life). – FumbleFingers Dec 9 '16 at 15:06
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    For single word requests, I think you're supposed to write a sentence and leave a blank in it for the word you're requesting. One reason is that so we know exactly what you're asking. For example, an act of kindness and a change of heart are different things – Alan Carmack Dec 9 '16 at 15:20
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    You might consider such an act a mercy. – JLG Dec 9 '16 at 15:32
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    For a last-minute change of heart, a single word is repentance. It could also be called a deathbed conversion, even without a bed, and even without a religious conversion. – rajah9 Dec 9 '16 at 15:56
  • last honors, last rights, granting pardon, equanimity in death, dying sympathy, dying words of sympathy, extreme unction, viaticum(eucharist given to a dying person) ... Is there even a word for a dying person at all in English? in french you can say "un mourant" = "a dying". – DeltaEnfieldWaid Dec 9 '16 at 22:18

This isn't a perfect match, but it might work for you:

swan song

Wordsmyth.net gives it as "final action or appearance of someone or something."

Wikpedia gives it as "final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement."

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    The downside is that it is often used to refer to an artistic performance. But I don't think it has to be limited to that. – aparente001 Dec 10 '16 at 7:04

I think a word you could use would be act of conciliation or conciliatory action or behavior.

  • Not specific to a person near death. – deadrat Dec 9 '16 at 22:24

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