You may find that you can best manage your loved one’s new reality in phases. You may first understand it logically by perhaps learning the specifics of their condition and what medical steps may be taken. Over time you may move closer toward emotional acceptance of your loved one’s condition.
Accepting your loved one’s End of Life often means living in the present. This is easier said than done. Though it may seem difficult, accepting your loved one’s reality may help you to find ways to enrich their remaining life and add meaning to important relationships.
Recognize Your Limitations
Not everyone can offer ongoing support to a loved one who is facing End of Life. If you feel unable to cope with this difficult new reality, try to understand your hesitance and learn from it. Try asking yourself, “Why am I uncomfortable with this?”, and “What can I do to become more compassionate to my loved one?”
Do What You Can
As challenging as this is for you to face, do what you can to provide support. Phone rather than visit. Write if you find telephoning difficult. Arrange or coordinate a delivery of food or flowers. Try to remember that friends and family sometimes avoid loved ones at this time, leaving them more lonely and depressed. Find a way to let your loved one know that you care. This may help you both process feelings of sadness and loss during this challenging time.
If they haven’t yet done so, encourage your loved one to tell family and friends that they are nearing End of Life. Offer to assist them or find a trustworthy, compassionate person who can help. The sooner your loved one shares the reality of his or her condition with others, the sooner they may receive important support to manage this difficult time.
Understand Variable Reponses
It’s important to understand that everyone responds differently to serious news. Shock, sadness and disbelief are common reactions. Some may spring into helpful action by offering practical and emotional support. Others may not know how to respond. Help your loved one focus precious energy where they may receive the most support.