Updated: Jun 19
There is no way to prepare for the loss of a loved one. Having a loved one that has a life-limiting illness gives you some time to prepare and ensure that you can do whatever you can for the person you love.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for a loss.
Firstly, cherish every moment you have with your loved one, let this be the beginning part of the grieving process. Slowly saying goodbye will help comfort your feelings accept the inevitable.
Know what their wishes are for their last days. This is very important. Do they want to pass at home, hospital or a hospice? Do they have a DNR order (do not resuscitate) or MAID (medical assistance in dying).
Make sure to take good care of yourself and your mental health. It’s hard because you will feel like you need to be available to this person 24/7 however, you need to take care of yourself as well.
Spend as much time as you can with your loved one, but don’t beat yourself up if you need some time away to deal with your mental health.
Let your friends and family know about the situation so they can support you, but giving you some time to rest. Allow your family and friends to assist with things that are time-consuming like cleaning your home, or making food, don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept what people offer.
What is Anticipatory Grief?
Anticipatory grief is when you anticipate that someone is going to pass away due to a terminal illness. It can be a very stressful time because you know the end is coming but you don’t know when. It can last for days, weeks and even months. The time is filled with a lot of emotions. It’s not uncommon to experience anger, acceptance, depression, sorrow, and denial.
Tips to help with the grieving process.
Reaching out to support groups and your local Hospice is the best place to start. These groups will understand what you are going through, and offer support or a listening ear.
Make sure to say affirmation words to the person who is dying and let them know how you feel about them, this is important to both of you.
Say words like I love you; I forgive you; I will see you soon.
Usually, when people know they are going to die, they are filled with many mixed emotions. They may call you to their bedside to tell you how they feel about you or tell you things that they forgot to tell you. This will be hard but allow them to do this. It’s important for you both to have no regrets in those final days. Your loved one needs some reassurance that everything will be okay, they don’t want to be alone and they don’t want to leave their loved ones behind, they need to know you will be okay.
Talk to someone about how you are feeling, especially someone who has experienced this type of grief. Hospice Dufferin offers many types of support from group sessions to one on one counseling.
If you have any questions or are experiencing Anticipatory Grief please feel free to reach out to us for support.
Blog written by RaDeana Montgomery Resource Development and Communications Coordinator Hospice Dufferin.