Signs of End-of-Life and Next Steps to Take

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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.


Friends and family members of the dying often have more difficulty understanding the situation, and knowing what to do, than the dying person. These are the signs that tell you when death is approaching, and how you can help your loved one transit peacefully.

There are two general stages to the process of dying —pre-active dying, which can last 2 to 3 weeks, and active dying, which can go on for 2 to 3 days.

The signs and symptoms of pre-active dying include:

In the weeks before death, people often experience an increase in well-being that can appear to be a miraculous recovery. This upsurge often happens to people with cancer and allows them to prepare for death.

The symptoms of active dying as the end-of-life process is more eminent are:

Experiencing a feeling of helplessness is common in those who are gathered around a dying person. However, there is actually quite a lot that you can do to help.

First, accept the situation and realize that this is a very special, significant time for you, your relationship with the dying person, and the person who is going.

Second, muster up all of your love and share it freely. Your love will ease their passage more than anything else. In the spirit of selfless love, forgive them for any wrongs and accept their forgiveness.

If they have dying requests, assure them that those requests will be honored.

Be sure that the atmosphere around them is calm and peaceful. Please do your best to impart calmness and acceptance to them.
Please provide them with the spiritual counseling or hospice of their choice.

Taking these steps will help make your loved one's transition go smoothly and help you because you will know that you've done your best to help them.

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