It can be an overwhelming time when a loved one nears the end of their life. We of course have a desire to be near our loved one to help them feel as comfortable as possible, but we also have to spend time considering our own feelings, along with thinking about the future, family assets and arranging a funeral.
Though it can feel a little clinical and distant to consider these kind of things at such a time, it is a fact of life that these things have to be dealt with, and by getting things organised, it can bring a different kind of relief and comfort.
There is a no more devastating time than when your loved one is nearing the end. However, in the depth of the sadness, there is a small golden light hiding away that gifts you the opportunity to open your heart in a way you may have never done so before.
The final weeks or months of being with a loved one can be some of the most special moments we ever have. We have conversations that we've never had before, we ask questions we never thought to ask, we speak with a level of truth and love that we never usually do.
Being with your loved one as death draws near can gift you the opportunity of saying things you've always wanted to say, or in some cases, repairing relationships that may have been damaged when the course of life got in the way. There is no necessity to say anything, but reflecting first - maybe on your own or with another family member or friend - will give you time to approach some of the more difficult conversations with a sense of calm, consideration and care.
The end of a loved one's life doesn't have to be a time jam-packed full of sorrow. We can try to create some special moments, that could be going to your loved one's favourite restaurant, pub or even to the beach if your loved one is able to do so. But special moments don't only have to come in the form of going somewhere. Special moments can come in the form of great conversation or being together with all your nearest and dearest in the company of your loved one.
It's very easy to forget to look after ourselves when we're down, but there is no more important time to do so. It helps us to remain ourselves, keeps us on an even keel and allows us to be our best around our loved one.
There are a number of ways we can administer self care, but it's important not to forget how others can help too. Sharing the load or just sharing our feelings with another can provide so much relief and release, and having great people around can lift us in a way that only connection can.
It may feel like the most difficult thing to do, but being with your emotions and feeling how you really feel is one of the most important things you can do during this time. It's natural to feel grief, to feel low and to feel sad. It's natural to feel anxious or fearful. You don't have to be ashamed of feeling this way. Distorting how you really feel will only lead to inner conflict and further frustration. Instead be compassionate for yourself, and where you can, talk with others about your experience.
Sometimes it's not easy to be all alone, by yourself, in a whirlpool of emotions. Sometimes you need to have a sounding board, a comfort blanket or someone to help you with any care you may be providing for a loved one. Having a support network set up around you, people who can help you with your day to day activities, can provide you with emotional support, or help you share the load can be invaluable, and will help you to remain yourself through this most difficult time.
It can be very helpful to know what to expect when a loved one is receiving end of life care. There are a number of common symptoms that occur, including coolness, shallow breathing, urine decrease and fever, and by being aware of these symptoms it may lead to more clarity and less confusion on your and your loved one's behalf.
Asking the doctor or a medical professional about the condition of your loved one will give you an idea of what to expect and you may even want to research for yourself.
A medical professional may also be able to give you some information on how to ease the suffering for your loved one, signs to look out for in regards to imminent death, and provide with you some tips on how best to look after yourself during this difficult time.
You may even want to broach the subject of palliative care, especially in those cases where the care may be too complex to bear.
It's awfully difficult to think about the future when the future looks so frightening, but being prepared for when the time comes can make the present feel that bit more calm.
Such is life, there are a number of things we need to prepare for, including family assets, what happens when your loved one dies as well as the funeral.
The subject of inheritance is something that needs to be discussed while your loved one is still alive. Most people have a will, but if this is not the case, you will need to have a discussion together with your nearest and dearest to discuss which assets go where. Assets aren't always financial - there may be something really special that you'd like to keep and this is why these discussions are super important. For formality, you will need to talk to a lawyer, a financial adviser or an asset manager too just to make sure there is no debate when the time comes.
Many of us now have an idea of what we want our funeral to look like, and while you have time with your loved one, you can speak about this with them to get an idea of what type of funeral they want. You can also speak to them about the idea of a funeral plan, where they can detail exactly what funeral they would like and how they can secure their future. By getting a funeral plan or funeral arrangements in place, you and your loved one can rest assured that when the time comes, everything will be taken care of and there will be no unnecessary and added stress.
We have created a free checklist for you to download which lets you know exactly what you need to do when someone dies.
Below are a few more resources that may help when it comes to anticipating a death.
Anticipatory grief is an experience many of us go through when we know a loved one is coming to the end. But there are ways to manage anticipatory grief and there is support out there.Anticipatory grief
It's never a nice feeling thinking about your own death, but most of us have plans regarding what will happen to our estate and what will happen at our funeral.Preparing for your own death
Whether you're planning for yourself or someone else, funeral plans are worth considering as they allow you to cement the funeral arrangements at a less stressful time.View our funeral plans
Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.
"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."
“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"
"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."
"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"
"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."
“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."
"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."