How To Comfort Someone Who Is Dying
Dr. Sirotas advice to family members and friends is to give your loved one as much emotional support as they need and be aware that this doesnt always have to come in a verbal format. Use actions to make their remaining days as easy and comfortable as possible.
In this respect, Dr. Sirota says, don’t wait for the patient to ask for help because they might be too overwhelmed to do so.
Come up with thoughtful gestures that would be both practical and meaningful to them, and then see these things through. Prepare and deliver dinner, offer to clean the house, run errands, or drive them to doctors appointments. If you say you are going to do something, be sure to follow through and do it. If you arent sure you will be able to deliver, its best not to make any commitments.
The greatest gift you can give is your time and attention, stresses Nancy Sherman, LICSW, an end-of-life and grief professional. If you live close enough, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your support by being there.
During visits, rent a movie and make popcorn, play games, or just sit quietly with them. If faith is important to the patient, consider praying or reading the Bible together. If you’re unable to visit in person, stay in touch through emails, phone calls, video chats, notes and cards. Sherman explains that these actions say, Im willing to walk this difficult road with you, regardless of what that entails.
Do Make Clear That Youll Be There For Them
So many friends disappear when one has a terminal illness, says Maxey. I guess death brings the idea of their own mortality uncomfortably close. Maxey, who now lives in Nicaragua, says her current community is a lifeline because they follow through. A funny card or email, a meal, picking up meds or coming over one day to wash our clothes, clean our kitchen or bathroom that all means the world, she says. Her advice for helping someone in her position? Don’t just tell us to call if we need help. Chances are we won’t ask, not wanting to be a burden. Help us without waiting to be asked. Believe me, it will be appreciated, both for the help and for the fact of not being forgotten.
Be as specific and concrete as possible about any potential assistance. People often say, if you need anything, call me, but that puts the onus on the person dealing with the life-threatening disease, says Rebecca Axline, a licensed clinical social worker at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. Instead, say, Can I bring a casserole by Thursday? or drop off a gift card for a massage or dinner at a local restaurant.
Prayer Of Comfort For The Family Of A Cancer Patient
Father in Heaven, thank you for your kind blessings. I know that through your divine inspiration, I can overcome any obstacle. I offer praise and thanksgiving for your goodness and grace.
As my loved one prepares to depart from this Earth, please send your comforting angels to their family. Give them shoulders to cry on. Let the kindness of strangers stand witness to them that you are able to influence their lives. Help them as they prepare for ceremonies to celebrate the life of their dear one. Grant them joy and gratitude as they remember their loved one.
Bless them with comfort and divine knowledge. Please help them to remember that their loved one is going to a better place, free of pain and suffering from this world. Speak peace to their hearts as they remember your goodness and kindness.Bless this family as they carry on that they will always remember with love the memories of their loved one.
Help them to mourn as they need to mourn. Then send them the power to carry on in their lives, never forgetting the love they have felt.
I thank you for letting this family into my life. I humbly express my gratitude for your power and your grace. I offer this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.
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When It’s Too Hard To Talk
Some people might find it too hard to discuss things openly with the people closest to them.
You might find it helps to talk to someone outside your circle of friends and family. Your doctor, nurse or another health care worker may be able to help. Professional counselling can also help some people get through this difficult time.
Prayer For Memory Of Someone Dying Of Cancer
Dear Father God, we thank you for the care and attention you give us through every stage in our lives. We are so grateful for all of the loved ones with whom you have blessed us. Thank you for helping us learn from their experiences. We thank you for the blessing of knowing them.
We pray now as we prepare to lose one of our loved ones. Please help preserve their memory in goodness. Help us remember all for the wonderful experiences we have had with them. Bring to our recollection their smile, their laugh, and their voice.Please help our memory to stay honest and true. Help us to remember the good times as well as the bad, but help us to always forgive as you would forgive. Bless us to always remember the joy we feel when we are with them.We thank you for sending someone to bless our lives with their kindness. We offer this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.
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What To Say To A Cancer Patient
The best advice in this situation is to say how you feel. Are you thinking about them? Then say so. Do you care about them? Then say so. Are you sorry that they are going through this? Then say so. Dont know what to say? Then say that. Here are a few more conversation starters:
- I am here if you want to talk.
- I would like to help in any way I can.
- Are you up for having visitors?
- Is there anyone else you would like me to contact?
- This must be a hard thing to go through.
How Does Someone Cope With Cancer
People develop all kinds of coping styles during their lives. Some people are quite private, while others are more open and talk about their feelings. These coping styles help people manage difficult personal situations, although some styles work better than others.
Some people use humor and find it a relief from the serious nature of the illness. But some may become withdrawn and isolated from family and friends. A cancer diagnosis creates a lot of change. People often try to maintain as much control as they can to feel more secure. Some people become very angry or sad. They might be grieving the loss of their healthy self-image, or the loss of control over their lives.
Some people find it helps to simply be hopeful and do what they can to maintain that hope. Hope means different things to different people. And people can hope for many things while facing cancer.
You might assume that someone who is positive and optimistic must be denying the fact that they have cancer. If the person with cancer seems upbeat and unaffected by having cancer, dont assume theyre in denial. Making the most of every day may simply be their way of coping. As long as they are getting medical care, theyre probably not in denial, and their way of coping with cancer should be respected. For more information, please see Coping With Cancer in Everyday Life.
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Messages For A Dying Friend
Write something with meaning that speaks from the heart.
Allow Yourself To Feel And Grieve
Let yourself feel the pain in your heart. This helps you be honest and true with yourself.
Anticipatory grief is not just grief for the coming death of a loved one. It is also grief for the other losses that go along with death, such as:
- The loss of a companion
- The loss of shared memories
- The loss of dreams for the future
Sometimes, grief from the past may resurface during this time.
Denying the pain you feel now can prolong grief later on. Grief serves a purpose, whether it occurs before death or after death.
Researchers have identified four phases and tasks of grief. The tasks include:
- Accepting the coming loss
- Adjusting to a new reality where your loved one is absent
- Connecting to your loved one in a different way as you move forward
This doesnt mean you should give up on your loved one or forget them. Instead, these tasks will help you hold onto the joy and love you once shared. They can also help stop the deep sadness that may make remembering painful.
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Let Children Express Their Grief
Children also experience anticipatory grief. It is just as important for kids to work through their grief. Still, kids are often given fewer chances to express themselves, even in most hospice settings.
Studies have shown that children who don’t have an opportunity to grieve are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression later in life.
Children need to be included in the grieving process. They also need a safe place to express themselves.
There are several grief myths about children and teens. For example, it is a myth that children don’t feel an impending loss as deeply.
One study found that parents with advanced cancer were not aware of how deeply distressed their children were. On the other hand, this study also found that these children learned to value other family relationships much more than children who did not have a parent with cancer.
Talking about death with children who have a seriously ill parent has been shown to be helpful. It can help decrease anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. Children need to know they will be cared for after the death. They need to understand they wont be abandoned.
There are many good books to help children cope with death and dying. Some of the tips below, like art therapy, may also be helpful for children.
Encouraging Words When Someone Is Dying
The fear of saying the wrong thing can keep one away from supporting a friend with a relative thats about to die. While this fear is understandable, it shouldnt make you avoid the situation or distance yourself from a friend when youre needed most. You should know that you mustnt say something just being around is okay and very supportive.
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Dont Get Squirmy At The End
If someone youre close to wants to talk about logistical end-of-life matters funeral arrangements, health care proxies, wills and estates let them, and offer to help if you can. If death is imminent, it can really take weight off of that persons shoulders, even if the idea of picking out a casket seems morbid to you, says Molitor. These may be things that theyre afraid to discuss with their spouse or their children because theyre worried its too hard for them. But knowing they can communicate wishes to you may provide them some relief.
What Day Works For A Visit
Humans are social creatures. We thrive off personal interactions, especially with those who we feel comfortable around. During this difficult time, its crucial to show your support by planning regular visits. This will give your friend or family member a sense of community and help them feel like things are more normal. For example, the CaringBridge Planner helps you coordinate care and organize needs like bringing meals, rides to doctor appointments or taking care of pets.
Initially, when my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer his friends came around and visited. Further into this disease they stopped coming. My wish is that they still continued to come visit, even if he wasnt interacting with them. My dad still needed the support and love and care of his friends. I would just go sit with my dad and read to him or talk to him about stuffeven mundane stuff because it helps him to not be alone and to have some sense of normality in his illness.
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Tips On What Not To Say To Someone After A Loss Due To Cancer
- Dont compare their loss to yours or someone elses. Sayings like I know exactly how you feel or I know someone who went through a similar loss may seem supportive. But its important to remember every loss is unique and everyone grieves differently. If you have been in a similar situation and think advice will help, then consider providing your insights instead of such phrases.
- Dont offer oversimplified advice, such as Just remember the good times or Stay strong. During the grieving process, people need time to process the sadness they feel and cant always be strong. If you knew the deceased, .
- Avoid cliché expressions. Sayings such as He/she is in a better place, He/she lived a good life and At least he/she isnt suffering anymore may cause additional pain. Theres a reason for everything is another saying that often doesnt provide much comfort. Most often, those grieving want nothing more than to have their lost loved one still by their side. Instead of cliches, try to offer straightforward, heartfelt sentiments.
Show You Appreciate Them
Say thank you for being part of your life and express how much they mean to you. This conveys to your dying loved one that they will be remembered and that they had a lasting, invaluable significance in your life.
Knowing that they made a difference in others lives helps people accept that this is the end with grace and dignity.
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Caring For Someone In The Last Few Weeks Of Life
Caring can be physically and emotionally demanding. If you have been looking after your partner, relative or friend for some time, you may start to feel drained. You may also have a lot of intense emotions including anger or resentment, towards the person you are looking after. If you feel like this, it is important to tell your GP or one of the nurses so they can help you cope.
Prepare To Say Goodbye To A Senior Loved One
In many cases, a loved one dies suddenly due to an accident, heart attack, or other event. Sadly, there is little or no time to prepare or say goodbye. But with terminal illnesses like cancer, you can talk about end-of-life issues over months or even years. Yet, because we often dont know what to say, we may miss out on opportunities to connect deeply with our dying loved one and have conversations well remember and appreciate for years or even decades after theyre gone.
In addition to having meaningful conversations, its also important to have your loved ones affairs in order, according to Brian Carpenter, psychological and brain sciences professor at Washington University in St. Louis. In an interview for the American Psychological Association he suggested asking the three following questions to help eliminate end-of-life stress regarding:
As difficult as it can be to have these discussions, itll make it easier to move forward so that youre able to focus on the present with your loved one.
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Express Gratitude To The Patient
As a reminder of how easy it is to say or write things like Thank you and I am grateful, you might utilize those phrases in a complementary manner. Thanks for everything youve taught me I genuinely appreciate it! is a common response. As another expression puts it, I am grateful to have had your help while I was in need. Or, consider, It is an honor to call you a friend, and I appreciate it. Regardless of what it is, please dont wait too long to tell the person that youre grateful for them.
I Feel Awkward Talking About The Good Parts Of My Life How Can I Write To Someone With Cancer Without Seeming Boastful
Dont feel guilty that youre having fun, Alison and Brian encourage. Write about films youve seen, concerts youve been to, and books youve read. Your reader wants to hear about your normal life, and it wouldnt make sense to edit out the good parts. For your letter to be as genuine and friendly as possible, it has to be honest!
That said, its important to strike a balance. Avoid excessive bragging or droning on about your every success
Ultimately, you should strive to write from the heart. You dont have to be a prize-winning author or wordsmith to bring a smile to someones face. If youre writing authentically, thats all that matters.
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