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Grief and Loss

As death gets closer, those closest to the dying person may sense that the person is nearing death. Family members may observe more signs of the body shutting down such as:

The dying person may seem more withdrawn from the outer world and turning inward. During this time, the family members and friends watch, comfort, wait and grieve.  Some people need permission from family to die. It may be important to say to the dying person, “I don’t want you to go. I’ll miss you. I’ll be all right. It’s okay. You can go.” It is comforting for the person to be assured of your love and presence at that moment, and your well-being after the death occurs.

When death is very near, those close to the dying person may experience many emotions at one time.  Feeling suspended in time, hollow, sad or anxious, or a strange blend of anticipation and relief are all common feelings. Allow yourself any range and blend of feelings. Express these feelings freely. You may want to hug your loved one for a final good-bye, or offer some reassurance that you will be all right after the death occurs. Honor the dying person in your own special way.

 Grieving is a natural response to loss.  It affects the whole person – body, mind and spirit.  Many people find grieving to be more difficult than expected.  Allow yourself the time and needed physical, emotional and spiritual support to grieve and heal.  Consider joining a support group offered by your local hospice agency. In grieving, you will discover ways to return to life, while carrying the memory of your loved one with you.  Be kind and patient with yourself. It takes time and effort.

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