Showing compassion to someone who is dying is the greatest act of kindness. Life starts with birth and ends with death, a journey each person must face. Death is feared and thought of as scary by many people, but it’s something that’s just a part of life as breathing each day.
Death and dying are challenging to face, no matter who you are in this world. Your age, socioeconomic stance, or where you live don’t matter. Everyone will face the same fate one day, so showing love for those going through this time is the least you can do.
Twelve Ways to Let a Dying Loved One Know You Care
Since death is difficult to deal with, many folks feel lost and helpless when someone they love is soon to pass. Showing compassion comes easier to some than it does to others, but you don’t want to have any regrets.
This is your last chance to show this person how you feel. If you have a fear of death, it’s something you need to get over to help. Here are some ways to show your love and compassion to someone dying who means so much to you.
1. Be There for Your Dying Loved One With a Heart Full of Compassion
People don’t always need rooms full of flowers or gifts as much as they need to know you’re there for them. Sitting by their bed, holding their hand, and reminiscing about life can be helpful.
Your presence can be quite healing to a heart overcome with sickness or fear. Sometimes people need to know what they mean to you, and the best way to show it is by just being there for them. They may have some good advice to help you in life, so these sessions are precious.
2. Assist Them with End-of-Life Decisions
Though it’s not a topic you want to discuss, making end-of-life preparations is part of the dying process. You want to ensure that you honor your loved one’s wishes in every aspect of the service. It’s becoming commonplace for people to be cremated and have a celebration of life or no service at all. You want to ensure you know what they want verbatim so that you can honor them.
3. Decide The Care in Their Dying Days
Many things must be considered when someone is dying. You want to preserve their dignity throughout this end-of-life process. It is essential to allow them to have some decision-making powers while they still can.
Some folks want to die in the comforts of their home, while others will need hospice houses or some other special care. Together, you can help them to decide what’s best.
4. Make Sure to Have a Will and Medical Directives
Having a will is essential to anyone who has any assets. Additionally, they will need to have their medical directives in place. The DNR or do not resuscitate order is something that many people feel passionately about in their passing.
Most people don’t want to be kept alive by machinery if they can go to the beyond in peace. Help them get a will in place and their directives if they don’t already have one, as this will help the family honor their wishes.
While it’s best to have an attorney do these legal documents, you can do them on their behalf. They must be able to sign them before witnesses or a notary. Each state has different laws regarding this process, so it’s best to ensure that you check with these laws to thwart any issues later.
5. Keep Them Updated on Their Medical Care or Prognosis
Showing compassion to someone dying doesn’t mean keeping them in the dark. No matter how grim the news, they might want to know everything. However, if they ask you to handle things and want to be oblivious, you should respect their wishes.
However, sometimes they can’t advocate for themselves and need your help. The patient knows how bad they feel on the inside, so keeping things from them doesn’t benefit anyone.
6. Help With Their Final Needs Before Dying
Sadly, people get sick and die every day, but these folks still have things that need to be taken care of. Many have bills to pay, a household to run, and other obligations. Helping to take care of some of these pressing matters can relieve the stress of someone dying.
If they’re sick and need to focus on rest, then having that extra hand will certainly help. There will come a day when they won’t be able to do these things at all, so you need to help them plan for that phase too.
7. Get a Music Thanatologist Involved
Music can be very calming and healing to the heart and soul. However, many studies show it can be beneficial in dying. It falls under the category of palliative care, and it’s been used more around the country to make passing peacefully in recent years.
According to Thanatology Association International, using a harp and a gentle voice helps with emotional and spiritual needs during death. There’s usually a great deal of anxiety during this process too, so it helps to ensure that the person is calm as they pass. Giving grace and comfort to someone’s end-of-life journey is one of the best things you can do.
8. Ask a Chaplin or Pastor to Visit
If the person passing is strong in their faith, they may welcome a visit from a spiritual adviser. Some people want their last rites, while others wish for a simple prayer for their journey. Most hospice programs incorporate spiritual care alongside other services, and many find it beneficial.
9. Consider a Death Doula
While death doula may seem like a new term, these folks are becoming more popular around the country. This person is responsible for helping the dying person to relax as they cross over to the other side. According to an article published in USA Today, a death doula is a person who stays with the family before and after the death.
The doula sits with the patient and holds their hand. They can use massage or other techniques to help calm the nerves. The goal is to transition them from this life to the next without issue.
They can help with legacy projects the patient wishes to leave behind for the family and ensure their wishes are met. They’re an adjunct part of hospice, as this person provides emotional, spiritual, and physical support during this critical time.
10. Stay in Communication
While you have a job and busy life that you must manage, you know that sitting by their side 24×7 isn’t always possible. Some battles with a person’s health are long and drawn out, so you want to save time off when they need you the most. Thankfully, most people have cell phones and can receive calls and texts to stay in communication with you.
Letting them know that you’re with them in spirit even though not in the flesh can be helpful. It’s a long, hard road when you know you’re nearing the end, and there are many frightening things they experience and feel during these times. Having you beside them, even by a call or text, will make the process easier.
11. Bring a Gift
Some people love cards, while others prefer flowers. Please do whatever you can to make their room bright and cheery. While there’s nothing joyful about dying, it’s helpful to have at least an atmosphere that’s pleasant during the last days of their life.
12. Help Keep a Dying Person’s Mind Busy
Does this person like to play cards, look at old photos, or watch television? Help them to keep their mind busy with these little things. They will appreciate the compassion you’re showing them and the time you spend together, but it’s a long day when there’s not much to do.
Someone dying doesn’t feel like going to the store, but they may enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine. Make sure to have plenty for them to do so their mind can focus on something other than their health. Do they have one final wish? Maybe getting that wish granted will give them something to look forward to.
Final Thoughts on Showing Compassion to a Dying Loved One
Why is death so hard? It doesn’t matter how often you’ve been through it with other folks, as the journey never gets any easier. When your loved one’s life hangs in the balance, it can shake you to the core. However, there are some things that you can do to show them compassion and let them know how much you care.
You don’t want them to leave this world with you having any regrets, so you must do as much for them as possible. You will look back on these days with fond memories that you got to share the final hours of their life. Dying will never get more accessible, but being there for someone you love and care about is the least you can do.