What to Say to Someone Who Is Dying?

Dealing with a fatal disease or other unfortunate condition that could not be remedied is difficult, stressful and really hard. It triggers an avalanche of mixed and confusing emotions. It is heavy both to the person who is dying and its loved ones. When you care about someone who is close to you, a friend, a partner or a member of your family, you may be completely devastated by the cognition of the unavoidable fatal outcome of the person’s condition. That is a shock both to you and the person you care about.

There is not a perfect way to cope with such hard times. However, there are useful advices on the matter. Psychology experts who are more familiar with our behaving patterns and underlying schemes of our actions could help you and your loved ones to deal with those frightening circumstances the easiest possible way. It is heavy and extremely stressful work for our mind, soul and health, whether we are aware of that or not.

Do you need to talk about dying?

When someone whom we care about is very sick and their prognosis say they won’t live much longer both of you get into a very uncomfortable and scary situation. You don’t know what to do and how to behave, which is normal, but distinctly unpleasant and even frightening. The illness and the fatality of it change everything. Ask yourself how would you like to spend time with that person, knowing he or she had left a little time? Do you need to talk about the thing or not? What to say to a person facing its death and how to do no harm?

When the prognoses are final and you know that your loved one would soon meet an end, it is good to get prepared. There are support groups and family therapies for such purposes and they could help a lot. The matter of dying is commonly seen as a taboo theme.

However, there are very important things to discuss. It may sound creepy, but most of people would like to die in a good way. They may have plans or wishes regarding their finances, their own funeral, organ donation and other themes that are not to be neglected.

There is a possibility some questions and issues remain unanswered if we don’t talk about it. Psychological studies report most of families dealing with a dying member actually felt a great relief after they’ve discussed the matter. It is sad and extremely difficult to begin, but talking about dying and all things related to the particular case is needed for emotions to be processed. Rationally speaking, there probably are specific practical things that need to be sorted out.

What topics should be discussed?

You need to talk about it. You need to face the circumstances the way they are and go through them with the loved one who is dying. They need your support, but you also need to sort out your own confusion, fears and other emotions.

However cruel it may sound, you are the one who will remain and you’ll need to deal with loss. Repressed emotions and unanswered questions may torment you for long and make the last days of a person who is dying sadder. Families often talk about the sense of relief after they’ve openly discuss dying. There are some topics that you may need to touch.

What type of care does the person wish to receive at the end of its life? Where the person wants to dye? How the funeral would be organized? How to regulate financial support for dependant family members? Does the person want to donate its organs? How the person wishes to be remembered? Are there any certain concerns associated with the particular disease or condition they want to talk about? What the person wants to share with people around before the end?

How to start a conversation with the person who is dying?

There is no time or place good enough for such tough themes. However, you can choose the place and time more convenient and relaxing. No one likes to talk when they are put under an extra pressure or in a stressful environment. If there is enough time, the best option is to wait for other side to start a conversation. Let them get relaxed the best they can and start talking about whatever they want to. If the time is short it is best you start a conversation and speak directly.  Be honest and show an understanding. For example, you start talking with: „I know it is not easy to talk about it. “

According to different experiences a good way to start a conversation could be asking the person about their feelings associated with the disease and its progress. You could talk about the person’s expectations and hopes for the time they’ve left. It would be of great help to explain why you need to have an important conversation on the subject. It could break the ice and help you both get relieved in a way. Be a good listener and show that you do so, by nodding, for example. You could also comfort the person and try to calm them down, but never overdo that. Be compassionate, but keep rational.

What to keep in mind?

In the long run, people generally get harmed by unspoken words than conversations done, no matter how hard they may be. It is also possible a person has been thinking about all these issue but never express it openly. You may fear you’ll ruin the relationship with the person who is dying and that is the last thing you want to. You could always seek an advice from a close family member or a specialist.

If a person doesn’t want to talk about the circumstances or even rejects to accept the fact they’re going to die, you need to respect their decision. Don’t be rude and don’t get angry. Let the person time to try to sort out their own emotions. Just suggest talking about these issues, but don’t insist or you could make them feel very uncomfortable.