It is important to remember that individuals with a life-threatening illness are also grieving. Many times people who are living with an incurable illness want to talk about issues surrounding their impending death. They want to openly share their thoughts and feelings with their loved ones. Even though this subject is painful and awkward to talk about, it can be an important part of the healing process not only for the person with the illness but for their loved ones as well. If you or a loved one is facing the end of life, you may want to broach this subject with your loved ones.
Grief is a natural response when someone we love is dying or dies. When we feel loss, a normal response is to shed tears. Most of us have heard phrases like, "I have to be strong" (meaning, the person cannot cry, at least not in front of others) and "I just lost it" (meaning the person cried and maybe even wailed at the death of a loved one). This way of thinking tends to stifle the grieving process.
When human beings experience death, we can experience a variety of emotions, such as fear, sadness, relief, anger, confusion, hopelessness, guilt, helplessness, to name a few. When we have these feelings it is natural to sometimes shed tears. Crying can facilitate the healing process, especially when one is able to share feelings and tears with another who is also going through the grief process.
Additionally, many times people "don't want to talk about it (grief, sadness, etc.)" because they "don't want to be depressed". However, when people use such expressions, they are probably already feeling "depressed" or intense sadness as it is. Sharing and exploring thoughts and feelings is one of the healthiest ways to release feelings of sadness and depression. People often say how helpful it has been for them to put their thoughts and feelings into words and what weight has been lifted after they have shared their thoughts and feelings related to the death of a loved one.
The following bereavement services are offered by Odyssey HealthCare:
If you or your loved one is facing end of life issues, please call Odyssey HealthCare of Lake Charles at (337) 433-9449 or (800) 738-3011.
The Odyssey team continues to care for the family even after the patient's death. Each of our programs has a variety of options to help families through this most difficult time.
Dying Well - Dr. Ira Byock's web site
Resources for people facing life-limiting illness, their families, and their professional caregivers.
Bereaved Families Online Support Center
Bereaved Families provides support for people who have lost an immediate family member - an infant, a child, an adult child, a parent, a brother or a sister, an adult sibling, a grandchild or a spouse. We support parents, guardians or family members helping a child grieve. We support the unique circumstances faced by survivors of violent death, survivors of completed suicide, and families seeking pregnancy after loss.
Death & Dying - Where Life Surrounds Death
Death & Dying's mission is to provide you with comfort, support, and education about issues surrounding death at times of apprehension, confusion, and sorrow as well as at times of understanding, growth, and serenity.
Growth House, Inc.
A non-profit organization working with grief, bereavement, hospice, and end-of-life issues.