The death of a loved one is never easy, and when someone you love is dying, saying goodbye can be heartbreaking. It might help to consider this time of knowing the end is near as a gift. Unlike a sudden death, an expected parting allows you the time to say things that might otherwise have been left unsaid. Focusing on expressing love and reassurance during this difficult time may help you and your loved one to find peace.
- Don’t put it off. You can’t know which conversation will be your last, so if there’s something you feel you need to express, say it now. Some of the most important things you can say before someone you love passes away are, I love you, I forgive you, please forgive me, and thank you.
- Follow your loved one’s lead. It’s natural to feel anxious when you’re talking to someone you love who is dying, and it’s also natural to try and protect each other. Every conversation, however, doesn’t have to about the impending parting. If your loved one isn’t ready to talk about it, or would like to talk about lighter things, even funny things, that’s ok. It’s ok to laugh, even sharing funny stories and memories. Listen for cues that he or she is ready to discuss what’s going on before you broach the subjects of illness or death.
- Be honest. Let your loved one talk about feelings and fears, and don’t offer reassurance that everything is fine when you know it isn’t. Don’t shy away from letting your loved one know that you know what’s happening. Rather than trying to sugarcoat things or shy away from the topic, express your love and show that you’re there to support the person. To concerns about family discord or what will happen to his or her family members, express your confidence that things will work out. Praying together can also provide comfort.
- Understand that eloquence is less important than presence. Sometimes, just being there for your loved one is the best gift you can give. If you can’t be there, find a way to express your love and let the person know you’re there in spirit. Write a letter, have a video chat, or communicate through text, saying how much he or she means to you.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose is committed to providing a sacred place where you and your family can remember loved ones in a peaceful setting. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them. We have three locations: Calvary Catholic Cemetery in San Jose, Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos, and St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Milpitas. For more information, contact us through our website, or call Calvary at 833-428-0379, Gate of Heaven at 833-304-0763, or St. John the Baptist at 833-428-0379.