By reading these now you will be prepared with convesations with a dying person when that event happens in your life.
It might be an automatic gesture that some people begin to raise their voice around a person who is dying. The hearing is one of the last senses to leave, so keep your voice in a normal speaking level.
While you visit at the side of a loved one who is dying, bring into a conversation the things you are most thankful for. Include them in some small way if possible by "remembering when". It does not have to be funny, amusing or very recent. If you cannot think of something to include them in your "remember when" story, tell something that would interest them about you, your family, the neighborhood or favorite sport you know they have an interest in hearing.
Keeping the person's personal sharing while they are talking to you is, private and valuable information. The person might be telling you things they have never told another. You were chosen to confide in at this important time, so keep those words to yourself for life. Consider the words Socrates said: If it is not known to be actual truth that you are certain is 100% true, don't repeat it. If it will not be helpful to the person you are telling it to, keep it to yourself. If it not going to honor the person who is dying and the person who told you, do not say it to anyone.
The dying person has plenty on their mind. When you are given time to talk, do not discuss your problems. The dying person should not have to listen to any of your troubles. In reponse to wanting to know about you; talk about a hobby you recall them doing, the dog they helped find a home for who was roaming in the parking lot or some other pleasant topic. This is a good time to tell them how important they have been in your life.
Finding out if there is anything the person would like for you to do is appropriate. Tell the person, if you will be doing what they request, so they know you will follow through with their request. Confirming this with them can set their mind at ease that will be done for them. If you can do the required task, come back to let them know it is done as they asked. Ask the person who is dying to let you know when they would like to rest, so you will over stay to tire them. If they would like you to remain, and you are able to, stay until you must leave. At that time write a note telling them the day you will return.
Perfect ways to talk to someone who is dying.
I second all the above and am so glad you included to ask them if there is anything they want you to do for them. I've also found those dying grateful when I asked if there was anything they wanted me to do after they were gone. Some people may keep the will to live long after their bodies are ready to go; telling the dying that you're ok and it's ok for them to go also is freeing for them.
What a great, thoughful list that will indeed help many. The best list!
I have been by the side of my Granny and my Father in Law when they passed. It is both a sad and an enlightening experience but it can also be very frightening. You have helped somone, bless you!
Oh my, what a wonderful article. We all need to read this and remember it. It is so easy to shy away from a person you know is dying because one quite often does not know what to say or do. Your article gives some excellent advice and guidelines.
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