Preparing To Say Good Bye To A Loved One

Knowing a loved one is going to pass is not easy.  It makes us feel hopeless, helpless and grasphing the concept of our own mortality.  Being a family caregiver, is extremely difficult.  There is the all the paperwork and things that need to be arranged to make sure everything is taken care of, plus end of life details that need to be finalized.  On top of all of that, there is the dealing with your own grief as you see your loved one go through their journey.  

As stated in many blogs before this one, it is imperative that there is a great support system going on, not only for the family caregiver but for the loved one.  Both sides will need someone to talk to and it could be beneficial for people on both sides to talk to each other.

Remember that your loved one passing, is not about you.  You may feel uncomfortable about some of their decisions but your loved one needs the support from you.  Do not make them talk about death and dying if they are giving you the cues that they are not wanting to but talk to them about it if you are getting the cues to or if they are wanting to.

Don't forget to say that "I love you". Reassuring your loved one that you loved one, gives them the connection, affection and openness that they need.  Also, do not be afraid to say "I forgive you", "Please forgive me" and "thank you".  

Talk about how they are feeling and truly listen to what they are saying.  Let them state what they feel is important and what they may need.  Ask what they are thinking about and how you can help them.

Encourage them to share memories and end of life goals.  Some may find it necessary to mend broken relationships or remembering accomplishments or past goals.  Give them the opportunity to express themselves this way and what about what is to come.  Many people like to know how their life was lived and will speak of the past frequently.  Talk about the legacies they have left behind, the memories they created and the life they have shared.  

Be truthful but kind.  It is okay to say that you do not know how to fulfill a need they are asking for or an answer to a specific question.  Always let them know the truth but do not bomboard them with everything.

Don't give false assurances.  They can make the loved one more anxious and feel like they can't trust you.  Don't try to get them to confess to anything or argue them into an agreement about something.  You can let them know how you are feeling about them passing but don't overwhelm them with your feelings.

One important thing is to remember that you need to take the time for yourself as well.  Turn to people who have or are going through a similar situation.  Talk to a friend who will not judge you but will listen to you.  You need to take care of yourself at this time mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.  If you do not think that a friend would be a good support or you would like added support, search for a grief counselor.  Your family doctor can give you a referral.  

Be kind to yourself.  Let the tears free openly.  Pace yourself.   Talk openly.  Still  do the things that bring you joy.