Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the hardest things you have to do in life. While it’s an experience we wish on nobody, it’s also something that, unfortunately, most of us will have to go through at some point in life. Learning that a close friend or relative has a terminal disease is heartbreaking. There is nothing that can be said or done to alleviate the pain and fear you feel at the thought of losing them.
However, it is important to understand that you have a time advantage to help you go through the mourning process. Indeed, while in most cases, many of us have to say goodbye after a loved one has already departed, a terminal disease provides you and family with a chance to accompany each other through grief before it happens.
Preparing for the departure of someone dear to you is no easy task. But, in the end, you will be grateful for having had the time to strengthen your bond and begin your mourning journey. We all hate goodbyes. However, you can’t afford to let your loved one go through a terminal disease alone. Being with them and experiencing every day as a treasure to cherish together can help you and them to make peace with the situation.
There is no room for sadness now
Learning that someone you loved only has a limited number of months or years to live is devastating. However, remember that while you are helpless about the situation, your friend or relative is going through the same thing. While there is no denying that you will need time to process the news, you will find that the best way to manage the situation is to offer support to your ill loved one. Being there for them when they need help to arrange for the end of their life or further medical treatments can make a big difference for both of us. First of all, it shows them that you can see past the diagnosis to focus all your heart on the person. For many terminally ill patients, keeping a healthy relationship with friends and relatives is essential. Nobody wants to be remembered for their disease. As such, you have to focus your attention on the person underneath it, on their physical and emotional needs.
Planning funerals brings comfort
Don’t shy away from the F word. Discussing funerals may not be what you have in mind, but your loved one will want to ensure they can sort out everything on time. As a result, many think of their funeral as a last way of thanking their friends and leaving a memory behind. While you may not be ready to face the difficulties of planning for the ceremony, you can direct your loved one to advisors and resources such as cremation urns from Memorials.com. There is no vanity in choosing how they want their last vessel to be. More importantly, it can be helpful for them to reach out to local funeral services and companies to discuss their options. Indeed, it is not uncommon for terminally ill patients to want to record a message that can be played during the ceremony.
Everybody needs memories
Making new memories can be tricky when time is running short. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t cherish old memories. Helping a terminally ill patient remember the happy moments in their life can help them to face the inevitable end with a peaceful mind. You can get together and create a memory book as seen on Cornerstonesforparents.com for your loved one and your family. A terminally ill grandparent can find joy and peace in the process of creating a memory book for their grandchildren. The book can be a blessing both for those who are left behind and for the person who prepares it. It is an emotional process, which is not suitable for everyone. However, many have found it a perfect platform to leave encouraging notes to the relatives and carrying on sharing their affection from beyond the grave.
You need to laugh
Laughing is the best medicine. While it can not cure a serious illness, it can help everyone to cope with the consequences of it. While you are running against a deadline, there is a need to make your time as enjoyable as possible. Some terminally ill patients prepare a bucket list. Others prefer to see the humor in the situation, such as this screenwriter, who is teaching his audience to laugh with him about his incurable illness. As he puts it simply, you have to be ill to laugh about diseases. But, the most important lesson is that joking helps to accept the situation and to cope. While your loved one may not be willing to start a stand-up show like this screenwriter, nothing is stopping them from finding a funny side to the situation.
Do I have to tell the kids?
Parents are often tempted to shield children from sad news. Unfortunately, when a close one is dying, you have to give your kids the same chance of mourning than everyone else. As hard as it is, it is essential to discuss the situation with your children. You will find that more often than not, terminally ill individuals are willing to explain it to the young children in their life, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your neighbors, etc. It is a difficult conversation to have, but it is a necessary one. By using a simple language and answering their questions honestly, you can break the information to your children. More importantly, for a lot of people, talking about death can already help to move further along the grief journey.
Accompanying and supporting a loved one through terminal illness is a tough journey. But it teaches you and your family to say goodbye. In the end, you will experience a sense of relief. It is nothing to be ashamed of. As you accompany someone along their terminal journey, you get to see first hand their physical health degrades. As painful as it is to witness your loved one go, you can do it with the knowledge that you have been there for them at every step of the way. The time of the last goodbye is the moment when you accept to let them go. While their physical pain comes to an end, many families feel their grief is not as raw as expected.