Supporting a Loved One with Terminal Illness – Part 2

The terminal diagnosis of our loved one can be emotionally excruciating, both for the patient and their family members. Is there really any way for both sides to prepare? The truth of the matter is that terminal illnesses can appear without warning. Nothing can really prepare a person from the grief of the discovery that a loved one has a terminal illness. But as providers of quality hospice palliative care in Humble, Texas, we would like to look into some important coping questions for family members to identify practical ways to support their loved ones.

In our previous post, we’ve listed the answers to frequently asked questions on what family members can do to support their loved ones who have terminal health conditions. In this post, we continue with the next list of FAQs with hopes that you can find comfort in your moments of grief.

  • How important is keeping vigil with our loved one?
    Many family members would like to keep their ailing loved one company until their last breath. But some patients also prefer to transition without their family members present so their family members will not have that kind of memory. To answer the aforementioned question, it will really have to depend on your loved one. If they will prefer to have you around in that moment of their life, then be there. If they want to stay alone, it’s best to respect their choice as well.
  • When is it right to tell my loved one that they can already let go?
    As we provide hospice care in Texas, we’ve been witnesses to many patients who continue to hang on to life because they are concerned about their surviving family members. If you’re the family member, you have to be extra discerning about your loved one. When you sense that they’re only hanging on for you or for some things, assure them that it will be alright for them to move ahead.
  • What can I say to my other family members who are also grieving?
    Allow your family members to grieve because it’s healthy and human. This is our natural and normal way of expressing our loss and recognizing our love for the person. People have different ways in coping with grief so some of your family members may not be inclined to talk a lot. Respect their time of grief. However, when you perceive that their grief has already kept them from functioning normally, especially many months after the loss, you might want to suggest to them to seek professional help.
  • What can I do when guilty thoughts enter in?
    When someone dear to us passes on, part of the grief process will be the feelings of regret and guilt. Questions like whether you’ve said or done enough for your loved one might emerge. It’s important to recognize that this is also normal and should be expected and respected. But if your guilt feelings are keeping you from functioning normally, you can talk with our grief counselors at Devinity Hospice.