Saying goodbye to the ones you love is already hard enough. Whether it’s your mom who passed while she was sleeping or your favorite uncle that suffered a major heart attack and died instantly, death is never easy. However, something that makes death and loss even harder is when you know it’s coming. That’s the unfortunate reality for people with terminal diseases who have an expected life span. From varying cancers, auto-immune diseases and mesothelioma, which you can about, the inevitable takes a toll on the person and those around them. Here are three ways to show care and hope to someone you love that only has a certain amount of time to live.
1. Ask what the person wants.
In their final months and years, let them be in control of their life and desires they hope to see fulfilled. Don’t push your own dreams or wishes on them. Instead, be ready to listen and do whatever you can to make their dreams a reality. If they need help finalizingor simply want to fulfill that dream they had since they were 12, be a good and respectful listener, with the goal of giving them the desires of their heart.
2. Create a wish list.
Life is short enough, and so many people never get to experience their goals and visions. If someone’s life is already getting cut short because of a terminal illness, try and help them achieve as much as possible on their wish list. If they can travel, do it. If they can’t, are some creative ways to bring people somewhere virtually. In a time of ultra-connectivity because of social media, reach out to others for ideas if there’s a wish they have you need help creating. The more open you are, the more people will want to help.
3. Respect their dignity and livelihood.
Even if you know someone only has a certain amount of time to live, don’t treat them as if they have already passed. Include them. Value their opinion, and make them feel like you still look at them the same way. Don’t discuss their illness or health complications in front of them, unless they want to or have questions. They are the ones dealing with the inevitable reality and deserve the most dignity, respect and care as they cope.
Life isn’t fair, and so many people are taken from the world too soon because of terrible tragedy and illness. Finding ways to make the most of someone’s final years, months and days will help make a hard goodbye a little easier.