Coming to terms with the imminent loss of a loved one is a process no one is ever equipped for, but it’s an unfortunate facet of life that we all must traverse. Preparing for the inevitable is an emotionally debilitating process, and understanding how to best care for yourself and your loved ones when a family member or friend is dying is vital.
Say What You Need to Say
If you know your loved one is close to the end, now is the time to tie up any loose ends, finish longstanding conversations, and say the things you feel you need to before they pass away. Whether that’s gratitude for a lifetime of love, an expression of love, or anything else that’s been on your mind for some time, not giving yourself the opportunity to say what you need to say now may leave you with debilitating feelings of moments lost when your loved one does pass away.
Don’t Rush Your Mourning Process
Everyone processes death differently, and the grief you feel at the impending loss of someone close to you is normal and essential for your coping process. Let yourself feel that grief, and don’t assign yourself a schedule. As you know you will lose someone before they pass, you’ll have more time to attempt to accept the reality and work through the shock that accompanies death. It may take you months and even years to cope with the passing of someone depending on the relationship you hold and your individual grieving habits, and it’s important to tell yourself that this is okay. There’s no timeline for grief.
It may be difficult to talk about funeral plans, but it’s an essential conversation. Ask your loved one about their desires for the service, but let it go if they are resistant to discuss this painful topic. It’s important to acknowledge their wishes, but if these conversations prove to be too difficult, gently steer the conversation away. Understand that planning a funeral with multiple people can convolute the process, as stress, sadness, and an emotionally charged atmosphere can result in arguments based on the smallest of details. Learn to let things go and accept that your close loved ones will be navigating their grief, so don’t take things personally.
Handling the Costs
If your family member doesn’t have funeral insurance or a life insurance policy that covers the cost of a burial or cremation, it’s important to start determining how you will finance any funeral services. A basic funeral can cost thousands of dollars and many families and friends find themselves struggling to come up with the funds to handle the costs. Because you have a bit of time before your loved one’s passing, use it to handle practical details as well. If you don’t believe you’ll have the funds to handle a funeral, consider using a site like GoFundMe to raise the money. Caring family members and friends can contribute as much as they like and it will take stress off of your shoulders so you can focus on spending time with your loved one instead of handling the semantics of a funeral service.
There are a few documents you’ll likely need to file or sign when a loved one is on the verge of passing away. These may be documents for an obituary, a notice to the local and federal government, transfer on death deeds , and the closure of bank accounts, investments, and other financial aspects in your loved one’s names. Having these documents filled out and handled before their passing will allow you to focus on your grief when the time comes instead of seeing you having to rush to tie up loose legal ends.
Death affects everyone that knew and loved an individual, and many will be extending their support during this time of grief. After your loved one has passed away, you’ll be presented with a variety of offers of assistance—accept them. Grief can cause many of us to revert into ourselves, but it’s important to take advantage of the support surrounding you during such a mentally and emotionally taxing time. Whether it be offers of food, help picking up your children after school, or anything else, giving yourself a break from the stress of planning can help you handle the shock and sadness that comes with the impending loss of someone special to you.