When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, you have time to prepare for their death and the grief which will follow. There are pros and cons to knowing that someone you love is going to die; on the one hand it allows you to say final goodbyes but on the other, it can prolong the grieving process and can be very difficult if you have to watch them suffer.
When you know your time together is limited, you won’t take it for granted. When someone it in the end of their life, you can help them prepare for their passing and ensure their emotional needs are taken care of. However, it’s also important to look after yourself during this extremely difficult time. Preparing for the death of someone close to you isn’t easy – here are some top tips.
Be on top of the paperwork
It is important that the terminal patient has all of their affairs in order before they pass away, including a Will and Testament. If this was already created a few years ago they may wish to review it to check if any changes should be made. If it hasn’t yet been created then the Will should be the top of the priority list.
When discussing the estate, you should also discuss if there will be any money left for the funeral. Has the patient got a funeral plan and if not, do they want to purchase one now? Some people are keen to be involved in the planning of their own funeral, while others would rather leave it to their family members. Either way, you should ask your loved one what their wishes are, for example would they like to be buried or cremated? Do they have any favourite music they would like playing?
Prepare final goodbyes
Your loved one, in preparation, may wish to write down personal goodbye messages, or record a video as their final farewell. It’s up to them how they want to say goodbye to their family and friends, but you could suggest a living funeral if they want to say farewell in person. You should also take the time to prepare your own final goodbye for when the time comes.
When you know someone is about to die, as well as end-of-life planning you need to focus on self care. The grieving process often starts early, and you may need to seek emotional support or professional help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or finding things extremely difficult, it is advisable to seek help. Try and build a support network of friends and family to assist in caring for the patient, and engage with charities and organisations which help bereaved families.
Bereavement, whether expected or not, is always a challenge. Consider bereavement counselling if you’re struggling to cope.