How can you feel at peace with the thought of your loved one’s imminent death? When you know you will be planning a funeral in the very near future, it can take its toll on you. While the sudden demise of a loved one can unleash seemingly insurmountable feelings of despair and grief, losing a loved one slowly can be just as traumatic for the family living in perpetual anguish waiting for the time to come. Anticipatory grief or sadness felt over impending death can lead to emotional challenges and upheavals that make your life feel as if it is tragic, meaningless, and destined for doom.
One of the most stressful aspects of this scenario is the waiting game. You will go through a broad range of emotions like sadness, denial, anger, and maybe even guilt as you feel you’re not doing enough. How can you possibly think of choosing caskets or selecting funeral flowers? It just not fair at all. If you find yourself in this situation, pause and take a deep calming breath. With the following suggestions, you can go through this dark season of life with grace. Read on to learn how you can cope with the imminent loss of your loved one.
Treat Yourself Kindly
When your loved one has only a few moments left in this world, you may feel a sense of guilt creeping up on you. These are normal feelings that everyone in your shoes goes through. You may find yourself questioning your choices about the treatment plans. Perhaps you are berating yourself for not spending enough time. You may also feel sad for not valuing your relationship and wish you may have done things differently. If it makes you feel better, talk about this with your loved one in using soothing tones and gentle words. Learn to forgive yourself as the past cannot be undone. Instead, focus on the present and make the most of whatever time is left.
Hold Honest and Practical Conversations
Most people who watch their loved ones die may feel anger over the situation. You feel it’s unfair that this person is leaving you behind. With this situation, you feel aggrieved as your plans, hopes, and dreams did not come to fruition. Gently verbalize these emotions. You don’t want to miss this opportunity and hold back until it is too late. But remember, now is the time to make peace with your loved one. Let go of past hurts and on resentments, as this will only make things more stressful. Focus on forgiveness. You can also ask questions about what your beloved wants you to do. This may help you find peace and comfort to feel confident that you can carry on with tasks and responsibilities long after the person is gone.
Share Beautiful Memories
Waiting for death to come is traumatic. Yes, you will feel sad; however, it doesn’t mean you have to be sad and practical all the time. Keep in mind; you can use these few precious moments to share fond memories with your loved one. Talk about happy events and comforting family traditions. Studies show that hearing is one of the last senses to go. Even patients in a coma who don’t respond can still hear until they take their last breath. When your loved one reaches that stage when he or she can no longer reply, remember to keep on talking. Say I love you and express your appreciation. Instead of focusing on sadness, shift your focus to joyful moments to ensure your beloved traverses this ephemeral world shrouded in peace, joy, and love.
Put Your Thoughts to Words
It would be helpful to keep a small journal that you can carry with you. This allows you to record thoughts throughout the day, especially since you will be dealing with many practical matters. Make a to-do list of what your loved one wants for the funeral service. Find out insurance information and other pertinent details. Pen them all down, so you don’t forget anything. Above all, since the looming death of a loved one is a profound journey, writing your thoughts can feel cathartic. Putting your worries into words can help you manage the stress. It will also allow you to release deep emotions that you may be feeling reluctant to share with others.
Ask for Help and Seek Support
When your loved one is in hospice or palliative care, you can seek professional counseling to help manage your feelings. You can also speak to your priest, pastor, or rabbi for emotional support. If you feel down, don’t forget to phone a friend. They would love to help you out and offer comfort. Most friends and extended relatives thread with caution for fear of disturbing you. After all, they don’t want to intrude on your private time with your dying loved one. Some feel unsure if you want company. However, if you call and let them know, these important people will gladly assist you so you won’t feel all alone.
Watch Your Health
Finally, don’t forget yourself by keeping an eye on your health. Since you are under a lot of pressure, it can take its toll on you. In times of immense stress, your immunity takes a hit. Take vitamins, eat small frequent meals, and try to sleep when you can. It is okay to take deep breaths and breaks as an extended illness can be overwhelming and draining for you. Some people fear leaving the patient’s bedside because their loved ones may pass while they are not there. But remind yourself that things happen for a reason. Sometimes you are not meant to be there in the moment as fate intends. As such, you need to go with the flow and take moments for self-care. If you are meant to be there, you will be there no matter what happens.