None of us believe that we will live forever. We accept death as a fact that we cannot change, and we know that there will come a time when our loved ones will also have to face death. Confronting this loss is a challenge for those who will be left behind, but we sometimes forget that this ordeal is most difficult for person who is leaving. In these trying times, the support of our loved ones can be a great comfort to ease our passing.
But talking with someone who is about to die is not an easy task. Some physicians and specialized caregivers have had training to assist their patients, but most of do not have any idea what to say to someone who is dying.
Encourage Them Not To Be Alone
Our loved ones will always want to be there for us, especially during our final days. But many people who are dying refuse company, and wish to be alone. If you know someone who is like this, encourage them to accept the love and support that is available to them. Facing death will never be easy, but no one should have to face it alone.
“I Love You.”
Saying I love you to someone who is dying can mean everything. Kind words such as “I love you”, “Thank you”, and “Forgive me” are each a weight lifted from a heavy heart. It is a great gift for a person who is dying to know that they are leaving a legacy of love, gratitude, and forgiveness.
Remind Them of Fond Memories
Everyone has a special place in their mind, where they have saved up the most precious and powerful of memories. These memories are stories that paint a picture of who we are what is important to us. Encourage them to share these memories with you, and remind them of a few you might share. Talk to them about funny stories, embarrassing moments, and great accomplishments. Help them to remember that they have lived a full and wonderful life.
Tell the Truth & Be Kind
When a person is facing death, they will often begin asking the questions that they never had the courage to ask in life. Sometimes this puts us in a difficult situation, because the answer we have to offer may not seem like a very helpful one. We owe our loved ones the truth, but we also don’t want to hurt them. You should answer these questions truthfully, but with kindness. Avoid unimportant details that no longer matter or cannot be changed now in their final moments. Do not lie or offer platitudes, these are never what a dying person seeks. These questions can often come from a place of fear, or a desire to receive forgiveness. These emotions are a normal part of death, and you should allow them the time and space they need to understand and accept them. Let them know that you are there with them, and you are happy to talk with them about anything they are experiencing. For a person who is dying, the presence and kind words of a loved one are a gift and source of strength on their journey to acceptance.