If you are experiencing a loved one in their final stages of life, first understand that everyone grieves and copes differently. There is no right or wrong way. Anywhere you go, whether to a hospice of Northern Virginia or anywhere else in the country, you’ll find people dealing with the situation uniquely.
However, if you are having difficulty going through the challenging emotions involved with having a loved one in hospice, we have provided some tips that may be helpful.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
First and foremost, allow yourself to feel the pain of mourning the impending death of a loved one but also all of the other losses involved in death. Denying yourself the various emotions involved in death may cause you to have a prolonged grieving process long after your loved one’s death. Having a trust friend to talk to about your feelings may better enable you to enjoy the time you have left with your loved one instead of feeling saddened while in their presence.
Share how you are feeling with other family members, friends, or a support group. You will most likely benefit from allowing someone to hear your emotions. If they try to provide you with advice that you are not ready for at this time, don’t be afraid to speak up and let them know you are only looking to be heard at this time to help you feel a little less lonely in this heart-wrenching experience.
Spend Time Together
Although it can be difficult to see your loved one transitioning through the end stages of life, try to remember them before they became ill. Spend time together and speak of past memories. Bring out momentos that spark a story that cause you to reminisce together. If there are certain things they enjoyed such as a certain book, consider reading that book out loud to them. It may seem like a small task but the comfort and meaningfulness this brings to them is probably more than you can imagine.
Take Time for Yourself
The anticipated loss of a loved one can provide a roller coaster of emotions. It is important in this time that you also make time to focus on yourself. Focus on doing things that ease your mind and alleviate your stress. Consider exercising, reading a book, or taking a bath. While it’s important for you to be supportive and available to your loved one, you cannot give your best self to them if you are exhausted and neglecting yourself.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. This experience is unique and difficult. While these methods may not work for you, find what does. Allow yourself to cope and find things you enjoy. When you are well rested and doing your best, you are providing your loved one with the best quality of life possible.