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Sharing words of condolence when a family or friend is dying is one of many ways to be there for them when death shakes their core. Love and encouragement can mean the world to someone whose loved one is on their deathbed. Even though it’s difficult, remember that you don’t need to say anything meaningful or give valuable advice.
Sincere expressions of sympathy and support can go a long way toward easing the pain of others. When you offer your sympathies, you may be able to alleviate their immediate grief and suffering.
Here are some words to say to a friend or member of your family who is grieving for their dying loved one.
What to Say to Someone Who Is Dying
What to say to someone who is dying soon? Well, in the last hours of their lives, people treasure the knowledge that they were meaningful to someone. Using the following examples, you can begin your messages of comfort.
- I’ll never forget the first time we met…
- Because of you, I’ve come to appreciate…
- I’ve had you on my mind a lot lately. When I think back to our good times…
- I would never have discovered… without your help.
- I’m grateful to you for instilling in me the value of… in my life.
Be open and honest about the situation
A dying person may find immense solace in expressing their concerns and fears to someone who understands and accepts them. It means you don’t have to rely on them to be tough. Your loved one may not want you to confront the issue openly if not requesting it, but you do not need to tell them that you believe they will get better if you both know that is not the case.
Reassuring words can go a long way
Reassure your loved ones that you are there for them and that you love them instead of questioning their feelings. Do not be afraid to ask them how they’re feeling about death and reassure them if they’re worried.
Be sure to comfort them if they have any concerns about what will happen to the people they care about when they pass away. Even if you have reservations, tell them it will all work out – even if you don’t. In these final weeks, days, and hours, you want to provide your loved one as much comfort as possible.
Be there for them
It is common for people to go into a state of unconsciousness near the end of their lives. Keep up the conversation. It has been found that hearing is a vital part of a person’s overall well-being. So read to your loved one, sing songs, tell stories. The sound of love should fill the air around your loved one.
It’s acceptable to laugh
The loss of a loved one is a tough time, but it doesn’t have to be a time of constant sorrow. Laughter is a healthy part of life, so feel free to share yours. Reminisce with your loved one about all of the good experiences you’ve had together.
What to Say to Someone in Hospice
Here are a few things you can say to someone in hospice who is at the end of their life.
Don’t be afraid to say how you really feel
While these feelings deserve to be heard, many people find it difficult to express them. To show your love and care for a loved one, you must put forth your best effort. We ask that you tell them how much they mean to you, how much you’re going to miss them, and how much this means to you and your family. Keep it as natural as possible, and don’t try to make it sound like you’ve rehearsed at all.
Recall old memories
Talking about the past brings up an array of memories for some family members. The phrase “Remember the days when…” might be a great conversation to start. Reminiscing about the good old days and finding humor in the banter is a lovely experience—a fun approach to spend the time and get to know one other.
Confess your mistakes and seek forgiveness
Forgiveness is no doubt a challenge that can be difficult at times. But if you and your loved one can put the past behind you, it will be a win-win situation for both of you. The two of you may now go on with your lives knowing that a past problem is no longer an issue.
Assure them that everything will be well in the family
Many patients are concerned about what will happen to their loved ones if they pass away. The best way to help with this is to be optimistic and reassuring to the sufferer. Saying things like, “Robert is an adult now, he will be fine since his wife takes such good care of him” or “the dogs will be taken care of because Victor has them and he loves animals so much” would be helpful.
Express gratitude to the patient
As a reminder of how easy it is to say or write things like “Thank you” and “I am grateful,” you might utilize those phrases in a complementary manner. “Thanks for everything you’ve taught me; I genuinely appreciate it!” is a common response. As another expression puts it, “I am grateful to have had your help while I was in need.” Or, consider, “It is an honor to call you a friend, and I appreciate it.” Regardless of what it is, please don’t wait too long to tell the person that you’re grateful for them.
What to Say to Someone Who Is Dying of Cancer
Your loved one who is dying of cancer might like to know that their family and friends care about them. Even though you don’t feel like you’re doing anything, just being there sends a message that you love. You can say or do the following things to help them on their final journey:
- Listen to the dying person’s final words. They may bring up death, their concerns, or their dreams.
- Try not to prompt an answer that confirms your views or expectations that things will improve. Make an offer to connect them with a spiritual care practitioner if you think it would be simpler for them to do so.
- Be as normal as you can with someone who is dying, and share stories about your own life in the process. In this way, you’re letting them know that they remain an important part of your life.
- Avoid saying something like, “You’ll be up and running in no time.” Such comments prevent people from expressing their true feelings, such as anger, fear, and faith.
- If you believe you stated something incorrectly, please apologize.
- If anything doesn’t sit well with you, tell them so. They also might be feeling anxious. It’s fine to admit that you have no idea what to say.
- It’s okay for you or the person who is dying to cry or vent your feelings of frustration. These are normal reactions to a distressing circumstance.
- Do not be afraid to ask for clarification. It’s okay to say, “I wonder whether there’s something you want to talk about?” if you feel comfortable asking them directly.
- Encourage them to open out about their experiences if they’re willing and able. Sharing recollections can provide people with a sense of purpose and assurance that their lives mattered and were remembered.
- Just show up. Companionship might be just as important as the contentment of watching TV or reading a book together.
- When death is near, even those who have shown no interest in religion in the past may suddenly become interested. If they don’t want to pray together, you can still offer to do so, but be respectful of their views.
Things to Say When Someone Dies
Death is a sensitive topic, and what you say following death will depend largely on the circumstances. When death comes as a surprise, the shock might be even greater. When a loved one dies, these are some of the most common encouraging phrases to say to their loved ones:
- What an amazingly strong person you are. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. How do you feel today?
- Please accept my condolences for the difficult time you are facing. Do you mind if I bring you something to eat later?
- My heart goes out to you. I’m available whenever you need anything.
- I wish I could say something that would make this better. I’m going to miss them too. Do you mind if I call you later today?
- I believe that what you are going through is simply unfair. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support you in any way.
- I’m sorry to hear about the death of your loved one. If you want to talk about anything, let me know.
- I’m very aware of how much they meant to you. I am here to support you and am willing to lend a hand in whatever way you require.
For more guidance on navigating end-of-life situations, keep an eye on our blog at All American Hospice.