We’re going through an end of life experience in our family. I thought this would be a good time to write a little about things I’ve learned not only about end of life, but critical illness issues as well.
End of life and for that matter, critical illnesses are something many of us don’t handle very well. Both bring up our own mortality and instead of comforting those who need it, we often spend our time protecting our self. I would submit that we could do both, protect our self and comfort those in need.
First, we have to understand that death and critical illnesses are part of life.
We don’t want to see our loved ones die or become extremely ill. At the same time we know that both of these things happen and its part of the wheel of life. Having had a personal experience with critical illness I can tell you that those who understood this were a great deal of help to me.
Second, if possible learn to be with those who are sick or dying.
In the realm of life, we usually don’t spend much of our life with those who are sick or dying. When someone you care about enters this state, it’s important for you to be present with him or her. Let them know that you are there and you care. You might not get a great deal of response from them, but know they know you are there and care.
Learn about what happens at the end of life.
I highly recommend you read the book Final Journey by Maggie Callahan. She writes about what happens when people are getting ready to die. There are signs that will let you know when your loved one is ready to move on. If you can help them leave from this world in peace, you will become richer for it.
Let those know who are critically ill that you care.
I remember that there were several people who I would run into when I was sick who said, “I meant to call”. That may be true, but the simple act of reaching out is an important one. Whether this is to someone who is dying or someone who might be on their way to dying, reaching out by others is something that is most appreciated.
I can tell you from both being with loved ones who have died and going through my own cancer ordeal, that when people let you know they care through their actions it matters.
What are your thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear from about this. You can contact me at Jpatrick@stage2planning.com.
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