When you find out that you are dying, you’ll have contradictory thoughts going through your head. On the one hand, you will feel that you must prepare yourself for death and being end of life planning, while your human nature will reinforce a desire to live. Wrestling with these deep emotional reactions will be a constant back and forth. But, you do not have to face your life-limiting illness alone. Hospice care can help provide you with the support and compassion you need so that you can continue living life to the fullest during end of life.
Acknowledgement Of Your Situation
Facing up to the fact that you are dying is an important first step to getting on with your life. If your illness takes you by surprise, then you will most likely feel taken aback at first. You might even feel shocked and numb. This is all very natural. You will slowly adjust to the knowledge of the situation. First, you will intellectually accept it. Then, you will be able to embrace it with your whole being. Since the future is uncertain, you’ll learn to live day by day. Living in the moment will help you to achieve a richer life experience. You will not be caught up in making plans for the future because it doesn’t exist for you.
Thinking About The Meaning Of Life
When you learn that you are dying, you naturally will be faced with some of the ultimate questions of life. A review of your past and the refashioning of your attitude towards the future will most likely occur. This will change you into a whole new person. Even if you are not a deep philosopher, everyone pursues the meaning of life when the chips are down.
Deal with Your Reaction to the Illness
Everyone deals with the awareness of a terminal illness differently. You’ll develop attitudes of fear or hope or other emotions. It’s important to find people who will listen to how you feel and accept you for who you are. No one should try to change you because your thoughts and feelings are valid. You should find people who are willing to listen to you without being critical. They should look at their role as being more of a facilitator than anything else.
READ MORE: HOSPICE CARE FOR ADVANCED DEMENTIA: WHEN IS IT TIME?
Honor Your Own Need for Support or Alone Time
Different people have different needs for support during this whole process. If you find that you want to keep it to yourself, then that is your right. Maybe you want to discuss it with some people but not others. You should not feel pressured to divulge anything to anyone. However, it is a good idea to have honest and open communication at least to some degree. Maybe after a period of dealing with your illness by yourself, you can come to trust other people enough to share your feelings with them.
Letting Your Family and Friends Know That You Are Dying
It’s important that you inform your family and friends that you are dying. You can do it yourself or entrust it to a sensitive person that you know. Be prepared for a variety of reactions to the news of your illness. Some people will cry while some people will take it more rationally. Some people will want to do you favors or comfort you. Some people will be at a loss for words or may avoid you because of their own fears of mortality. This does not mean that they don’t love you. They may just have a hard time coping with the news. Allowing them to express their true feelings will help them process their grief. You should make sure to even tell younger children in your life the news. You should not go into excruciating detail. Just let them know that you are dying and that this is a natural part of life.
Take an Active Role in Your Medical Care
Many people become passive with respect to their medical care. They defer to the experts and are shy about asking questions. You should take an active role in making decisions that affect your health. Don’t worry that you are taking up someone’s time with your concerns. You should become well-educated about your illness. When you become educated about your illness, you will be in a better position to make decisions about your care. You may not be able to stop the progress of your illness, but you will be better equipped to advocate for yourself.
Accept your limitations
The symptoms of your illness will probably include chronic tiredness and your ability to think clearly may be impaired. Live within your limitations and take good care of yourself. This includes following your doctor’s recommendations, eating right, getting enough rest, and getting out to exercise. Do everything you can to nurture yourself.
When you feel that the end is near or if it is uncertain, being your end of life planning and set aside time to tell your family and friends good-bye. Maybe you will have a gathering to express your feelings, or maybe you want to spend some time alone with everyone. You can use letters, videos, or other media to create a lasting memory of your relationship with the ones you love.
READ MORE: TALKING ABOUT YOUR ILLNESS
When people are faced with death, they many times focus on the statistics of their condition. They ask questions like “How long do I have left?” Focusing on facts and figures can detract from the more significant issues. Instead, try emphasizing the more spiritual issues. Despite the fact that you have a life-limiting illness, appreciate the time that you have left on earth. Everyone dies eventually, so it’s important to figure out what life means to you before you pass.
Emphasize Your Spirituality
You should try to find comfort in your spiritual traditions. You can pray, read religious texts, or discuss your situation with your clergy person. If you find that you are angry at God, then understand that this is only natural. Find someone that you can speak to about your honest feelings without them being critical of you.
Embrace the Support of Others
It’s not a good idea to go it alone when you are faced with death. Even though many people are taught to be self-reliant when they are young, some issues in life require the attention of other people in your life. Even though it may be difficult for you, you should find trusted people to reach out to. You should find people who have been helpful in the past at being a sounding-board and a source of support. You should try not to reject the prayers, support, and practical assistance of your loved ones.
Hospices are great at easing you through the final days of your life. They have experienced staff who are there to support the dying person and their family and friends. Their goal is to assist the dying with comfort, dignity, and love. Many times, they offer support groups for people who are in this situation. You might also consider seeing a counselor one-on-one. You should always remember not to isolate yourself and withdraw from people who could help ease your pain.
A Natural But Difficult Part Of Life
The truth is that the process of death and dying is very difficult for everyone. However, we feel that there are things that you can do to mitigate the pain. Communing with friends and family and gaining access to a fine hospice are indispensable to get you through these trying times. You should process your grief slowly and take the time to appreciate every step of the process. Getting in touch with your spiritual side and appreciating the meaning of your life is key to living each day to the fullest.
Work On End Of Life Planning
Having a plan for end of life can relieve a lot of stress for your loved ones and yourself. It can bring you peace of mind and a confirmation that your end of life planning and desires will bet met. It can also bring your loved ones a sense of stability and knowledge that there is a plan in place for when you pass. There is a lot of different aspects that go into end of life planning, but making sure your wishes are written out and available to your loved ones when you pass is a good start.
Superior Home Health and Hospice, a leading provider of home health care in San Luis Obispo & nearby areas, offers a complimentary consultation with an advisor to help you determine your loved one’s home health & hospice needs. To schedule your free consultation, call 805.742.4514 or contact us online.