g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Bereavement Site

BellaOnline's Bereavement Editor


What to Say to the Dying

Guest Author - Shirley McGillivray

As a society we tend to shy away from death. We donít talk about it, we hide it from our children and we hope it wonít happen to anyone we know.

Death is a part of life, albeit a sad part as we lose those near and dear to us, but as the saying goes Ė Ďlike taxes, death is inevitableí. Sadly, because generally we avoid any thought of death, when the time comes, we donít know how to cope or even what to do.

A very common reaction is to avoid acknowledging that death is imminent. People who are close to death will often want to talk about it, about what is to come, what they hope will happen after they are gone and what they wish they had done differently, but all too often we shut down those conversations because we donít know what to say, or donít want to feel the emotions that will be bought up.

Not everyone will want to talk, but if they do, honour them by letting them lead the conversation in the direction they wish it to go. Talking to someone who is dying can be very uncomfortable as it is difficult to find the right words when we are feeling sadness and impending loss. Donít try to steer the conversation in a way that will make you more comfortable but rather let them make their peace in whatever way they need.

They may say that they know death is inevitable or they are waiting to die and our natural reaction is to deny this, but it is their choice to talk about it. Acknowledge what they are saying but also let them know that you are finding it difficult. Donít try to hide your emotions as this could possibly be the opening they need to share their feelings and thoughts.

Impending death often brings up a lot of regrets. People often wish they had done things differently, perhaps kept in touch with friends and family, worked less or said things to people at different times in their lives. Allow them this time to get rid of feeling of guilt, remorse or regret by talking about it as much as they need.

Not everyone has regrets about their lives, or if they do, they are not sufficient to need forgiveness or redemption in their minds. Many people like to talk about the happy times, about the people in their past lives who have gone, about the memories that mean a lot to them for many different reasons. Just because someone is dying, it doesnít always mean everyone should be sad. Again, let the person who is dying lead the way, allow them to spend time with friends and family if that is what they desire or run interference for those who they prefer not to see.

In our society we try to protect children from the idea and reality of death. Talk openly and honestly to your children while at the same time keep the words and explanations suitable for the age group involved. Let them see that you are sad and that you will miss the dying person and at the same time acknowledge that itís okay to cry and grieve for that person.

Once a dying person is no longer able to talk, you can still talk to them as long as it doesnít appear to distress them. Hold their hands and talk to them about everyday things, about what is happening in your world, about mutual acquaintances or remember past time and people. Just knowing you are with them will help makes those last hours more pleasant and at the same time will give you memories of your loved one that will help you through your grieving.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Twitter Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Facebook Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to MySpace Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Del.icio.us Digg What+to+Say+to+the+Dying Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Yahoo My Web Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Google Bookmarks Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Stumbleupon Add What+to+Say+to+the+Dying to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Bereavement Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2015 by Shirley McGillivray. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Shirley McGillivray. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Less than Monthly

BellaOnline on Facebook

| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2016 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor