From the Heart: Saying Goodbye to a Loved One

Posted by in Expert Advice.


Get help from Senior Lifestyle with what to say when someone is dying. Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but a little help can go a long way.

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never going to be easy. While there are all sorts of complications that can make it an even more stressful and mentally challenging time, what is hardest for many is simply knowing what to say when someone is dying. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with this difficult situation, there are certain things to take into account and consider in order to ensure that your loved one’s final days are dignified and deal with any remaining issues.

While it never really gets any easier, the first time one is saying goodbye to a loved one as an adult can certainly be the most daunting. It’s easy to feel helpless in such a scenario. The experience of a close friend or family member dying stirs up complex emotions tied not just to losing them, but also to our own mortality. And while these emotions, along with your relationship with the dying, are deeply personal in nature, one of the first steps you can take in finding out what to say to someone who is dying is recognizing that the process is also universal and inescapable. This means that you have resources, people that have been through this before, and people that you can turn to for guidance, advice, and consolation. Whether it’s a close friend, family member, religious figure, grief counselor, doctor, or otherwise, you have people in your personal network and community whom you can lean on in tough times.

Setting aside the matter of knowing what to say when someone is dying, one of the most important things you can do is simply make yourself available. This can take many forms, all of which are equally important and display your love. If your loved one wants some time alone, don’t go far. If they want to spend time together, dedicate what time you have to give to enjoying the time they have left to the fullest.

Going hand in hand with this idea of being there for your loved one is the idea of listening to them. Knowing how to be a good listener in this critical time is perhaps more important that knowing what to say when someone is dying. Whether it’s to hear them talk about their last wishes, their fears, their feelings, or simply recount their favorite memories, your being by their side is incredibly valuable and is sure to mean a lot to them.

When it comes to what to say to someone who is dying, keep a few things in mind to help guide your conversations. Avoid resorting to clich├ęs. Speak from the heart and talk about how you really feel. Speaking genuinely and truthfully, so long as it’s done gently, cultures a healthy, open environment where fears and regrets can be treated calmly alongside hopes and happy memories. Keep things as positive and upbeat as possible, but don’t resort to sugarcoating the situation or making false assertions. Most importantly, don’t forget to say “I love you.” In the time that you have left together, nothing is more important than showing, however you can, how much you truly care.

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