How to Say Goodbye When Someone You Love is Dying
There are few things in life that are as difficult as saying goodbye to a dying loved one. When faced with this heartbreaking moment, keep your focus on expressing love and reassurance. That focus and the tips below will help give both you and your loved one what you need to find peace.
How to Say Goodbye to Dying Love One
Don’t wait. No one wants to say goodbye to someone they love, but it’s important to say what you need to say to avoid later regrets. It can be difficult to know exactly when a terminally ill loved one will pass away, so take the time to say the important things like “I love you,” “thank you,” and “please forgive me” early on so you and your loved one can find some peace and healing.
Be honest about the situation. It can be of great comfort to someone who is dying to be able to share their feelings and fears with someone who acknowledges the truth. It means they don’t have to be strong for you. You don’t need to discuss the topic directly if your loved one isn’t asking you to do so, but you also don’t need tell them that you know they’ll get better when you both know that’s not true.
Offer reassurance. Instead of arguing about your loved one’s condition, reassure them that you are there with them and that you love them. If they talk about dying, ask them to tell you how they feel about it and reassure them about any concerns they have. If they worry about what will happen to those they love after their death, assure your loved one that everything will be okay. If they are worried about family discord, tell them it will work out – even if you have your doubts. The goal in these moments is to provide comfort in your loved one’s final weeks, days, and hours.
Keep talking. Often times, as individuals approach their final hours, they will lapse into unconsciousness. Keep talking to them. Studies show that hearing is one of the final senses, so read to your loved one, sing songs, tell stories. Surround your loved one with the sound of love.
It’s okay to laugh. Losing a loved one is a sad and difficult time, but every moment doesn’t have to be full of pain. It’s okay to tell jokes and share funny stories. Remind your loved one of the many joyful times you’ve shared together.
Remember that saying goodbye to someone you love is a process, not just a single moment. It doesn’t need to be formal. Say the things you need to say, and then just continue to share your love and support. Speak from your heart and follow your instincts. Let your love be your guide.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides support to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. We also provide complimentary grief support services in all the communities we serve. To learn more, please call 1-888-564-3405.
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