Insights About Peace in the Dying Process

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Coping with the death of a family member

Allow Yourself to Grieve

One of the most important things you can do when faced with the death of a loved one is to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience shock, anger, sadness, and can even feel lost or helpless. This is normal, but it is necessary to express these feelings because keeping them in will only lessen your ability to cope.

Talk to your family and friends about what you are feeling. It is likely that they are feeling the same emotions as you and talking about it will help you cope and find closure. Talking about your loved one after their death is also a great way to honor their memory and help you appreciate the moments you had with them. There are other ways to honor them as well, including donating to their favorite charities, planting a tree in their memory, or spending time with family to share stories and reminisce with photos of fun times. These kinds of activities, while they may seem difficult, will help you find closure and acceptance.

When you experience the death of a family member, you will be filled with many emotions and may also be required to do things like make funeral arrangements or work with their estate planners to carry out their final will. During this time, it is imperative that you take care of yourself and not neglect your needs – eat well, get plenty of rest, and try to continue doing the things that bring you joy. Whether this is exercise or spending time with friends, this will help you cope and keep a level head while dealing with other responsibilities.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Many people find talking about death to be an uncomfortable, if not outright taboo, experience. The mystery around what happens when we die and the existential questions it awakens can be distressing to some. But not to all, it turns out. Studies of people who are very advanced in age, the “oldest old” as one study author calls them, reveal that people who have lived very long lives may have a different perspective on death—one that isn’t defined by fear, but something else entirely.

Views on death from people over 95 years of age

What the studies found when they surveyed people 95 years of age and older is that they didn’t view death as something to dread, but rather as a natural part of life. Many of them reported feeling “ready to die,” and lived their lives on a day-to-day basis without spending much time worrying about what the future would bring. 

It’s important to note, however, that though they felt at peace with death itself, many of the survey respondents expressed some anxiety or concern over the process of dying. They hoped for a death that would be peaceful and without pain.

Why this matters for caregivers

Another key finding turned up by the studies was that although the “oldest old” had given deep thought to death and were willing to discuss it, they were rarely if ever asked to talk about it by the people in their lives. And if they did bring up death, their comments did not seem to be welcome. This lack of meaningful communication had a direct impact on their attitude and perspective. 

What does this mean for hospice caregivers? It means that there is a gap in emotional and spiritual care that they can bridge by providing a listening ear and an open mind to a person who is approaching the end of life. Doing so can open the way to deep and meaningful discussions that are beneficial for both the patient and the caregiver.

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