Often, those we love may pass suddenly due to a heart attack, an accident, or another event. In those cases, there is rarely time to prepare or say your goodbyes.
In the case of those living with a terminal illness such as cancer, you do have the time to discuss end-of-life options with them over the days, months or even years.
But, since many of us are uncertain of what to say or how to broach the subject, we miss out on opportunities to connect and find peace. This is the right time to have the challenging and meaningful conversations that we’ll remember and cherish for long after they’re gone.
Beyond just having those crucial conversations, it’s essential to take the time to put your loved one’s affairs and final wishes in order. According to an interview with Brian Carpenter, Washington University’s psychological and brain sciences professor, he suggests that asking your loved one the following questions could help reduce stress and ease the end of life process:
Make sure you ask where they have placed all their important financial documents.
These documents include end-of-life instructions, wills, life insurance policies, banking information, etc. Finding out where these are located will help you manage the estate’s closures and organization following their passing. Having reliable documents outlining final wishes is vital in carrying out your loved one’s desires, and taking the stress off you.
- End of life arrangements
Inquire with them about which type of end of life arrangement they prefer. From burial to cremation and even some eco-friendly options, they may have already chosen their ideal way of being laid to rest. Depending on personal, cultural or religious views, these choices will differ person-to-person. Go deep into these plans with them.
Ask them things such as:
- Who do they want to be involved in the process?
- Do they want their ashes scattered anywhere in particular?
- Who do they want at their funeral?
- Identify if there is anything that they do not want.
Having these sorts of finer details managed beforehand will help you navigate the post-passing phase easier, including how to deal with funeral homes and how to manage your grief during the process.
- Location or place of passing
Depending on their specific condition. They may have the choice of choosing where they pass. If they are given a choice, find out if they prefer to be at home, elsewhere, or in the hospital.
Challenging but necessary conversations.
End of life discussions are not easy. As challenging as it may be to have these conversations with your loved ones, no matter where they are in their life, it will be worth it to help them find peace at the end of their life, as well as help you manage the loss once they have passed.
Connecting and sharing all your emotions and memories will also help you avoid future regret over things unsaid. Read more on expressing love and comfort to a dying loved one on our blog.