Sometimes when someone is dying, we’re so worried about medications and trying to keep them comfortable — and trying to keep ourselves together despite the grief — that we don’t take advantage of our last days with that person.

Accepting that someone is dying is not giving up. It’s okay to be realistic. You don’t have to pretend that they’re going to make a miraculous recovery, even if that’s what you’re hoping for. Take this time to let them feel how they feel and talk about what’s happening, even if it’s hard.

It’s okay to talk about death.

This is the time to talk about what they’ve been grateful for and what they’re proud of. Reminisce about your favorite shared memories. Ask them how they want to be remembered. Talk about how much you love them, in whatever words or deeds feel right to you.

There is always work to be done during and after caregiving, but there are only so many opportunities to have these conversations.


Image: jorisvo / / STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – APRIL 16, 2010: Stained glass window depicting an old man of his deathbed, surrounded by family. Stained glass window in the German Church in Stockholm.