When a loved one is diagnosed with an illness, you must prepare for the practicalities of their death, along with the inevitable emotional upheaval. When we find ourselves in this position, It is quite common to begin grieving before they die. Death becomes something that we wait for, marked by moments, minutes, days, weeks or months.
Death from something as profound and long-lasting as a terminal illness can be a slow process: something gradual, which in itself is harrowing. All we can do is prepare until the time comes and say goodbye for the final time.
Many people don’t consider their final wishes until later in life, or sometimes, they don’t consider them at all. If possible, find out what your loved one wants for their funeral, how they would like to be celebrated, and ask them if they have already made any arrangements. This could include a prepaid cremation service or a will.
It would be best if you didn’t shy away from having these challenging discussions. But asking shows a deep desire to consider your loved one’s wishes and means that the final arrangements will ultimately be more personal to them and less for you to guess your way through. Ask these questions as delicately as possible. One way to approach it is by explaining that you’re concerned about what will happen after they pass and would like to make it as simple as possible for everyone involved.
This would also be an excellent time to go into depth about the will, its particulars and where it is kept. If they don’t have one will and are still in good health, now might be the right time to start writing one.
Depending on the situation, it may not be the right time to do this, and there are protocols in place to help you deal with a problem where someone passes without a will. No matter the situation, you must respect their desires and what they’ve chosen in the will.
As the time draws near, take the time to spend with your loved ones. Spend time in their presence and connect with them as much as possible. As their condition deteriorates, spending time can be one of the most important things you can do. Speak with them if they have the energy and capacity.
Otherwise, merely being there, so they’re not alone is alright as well. Avoid hiding your emotions from them by putting on the facade of being fine. It would help if you shared that you are confused, scared, and sad. This will be an uncomfortable situation, but don’t let it stop you from articulating your feelings and even saying, “I love you,” or “I’ll miss you when you’re gone.”
Share what you need to, and make sure to be as honest as possible. Being open and vulnerable will help you avoid any potential future regret. Moments like this will be something that you will cherish in the future when you remember their last moments and will help you get through difficult times of grief.
Self-care is important. Especially when you’re dealing with sorrow and grief; making time to take care of yourself is vital. Eat well, sleep well, do activities that help you unwind. Above and beyond, it’s crucial to tend to your emotional health. Don’t feel guilty for practicing self-care. You can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself.
During this time, emotions may feel overwhelming, and the sense of loss great. There is no consistent, cure-all way to manage grief, and each instance is different, depending on you and your relationship to the deceased. If you’re in this position, finding someone who can support you as you grieve is essential.