We recently asked our community members what’s your best advice for someone who’s currently caring for a loved on that’s dying? Here’s what you had to say.
Bobbi Carducci: Be with your loved one every moment you can. Having been at the side of my mother and years later, my father-in-law, I had the opportunity to hold them as they passed. My mother saw three angels without any wings waiting for her. Rodger had a dream that God told him his job here was done. I believe them both. As hard as it is, being with someone you love and care for as they leave this earth is a precious gift.
Linda D: Let them talk, and just listen.
Elizabeth B: Listen to them when they say they are ready. Help them prepare their way.
Rick Lauber: Enjoy what time you have left with your loved one by visiting. Ask any unanswered questions so as to not have any regrets. Respect that person’s final wishes (read and understand the Will). Make plans and decisions with other family members about a parent’s forthcoming death. Keep a senior as comfortable as possible and maintain his/her best quality of life. Expect to feel anticipatory grief (expecting the loss of your loved one) and take whatever time you need to heal (grieving is a personal process and each one of us copes differently). Find a healthy means to manage your own increased sadness and stress that you will often feel at this time.
Connie R: My husband passed away nine weeks ago while in hospice. We kept a normal routine for both our sakes. I encouraged those who knew him to stop in, cried when he cried and I was just there. Each person is unique – you’ll know what to do.
Christy P: Keep them as comfortable as possible, encourage laughter, and make sure they feel well-loved and preserve as much of their dignity as possible. That’s really about all you CAN do.
Sue P: Allow them to talk about dying.
Donna Thompson: I think one tricky aspect of caring for a dying person is balancing the ‘heavy’ conversations with the light ones. People who are dying will want to discuss their death and the meaning of their lives, but not all the time. They will want to live in the moment and then reflect on the past. I think it’s really important to look for signs of a dying loved one’s comfort zone in the moment and take their lead. In a palliative situation, the caregiver is the orchestra and a dying loved one is the conductor.
Janie B: Make the journey beautiful. Play music. Cook favorite foods – the smells speak to their memories of family and of love. Light candles and talk. Fill the room with life even in the end. You must be part of the journey.
Becky T: There is no one size fits all. At the end my husband could not hear. All you can do is the best you can with what you know at the time. Most of all be kind to yourself.
Carol C: Live in the moment try not look too far ahead. Worry steals the joy in your life. Be there to share the time given to you and them.