Some have said that what makes something valuable is how rare or evanescent it is. If that’s true, then what makes human life precious must be the one thing all lives have in common: that they must all inevitably come to an end.
Losing a friend or family member is never easy, but it is something all of us must deal with at one time or another. That’s why it’s so important for us to cherish the time we have with the people we love.
Sometimes lives are taken from us abruptly and without warning. Other times, we know the end is drawing near. In times like these, it falls upon us to do what we can to help ensure our loved ones’ final days serve as a worthy final chapter to the story of their lives.
Get Your Loved One the Care They Need
The first priority when a friend or family member enters the final stages of their life should always be getting them with the very best medical treatment possible. Hospice care isn’t just there to provide patients with pain-relieving medications or temporary life extensions. It exists to make the entire process easier for everyone.
In addition to improving the quality of a patient’s physical health, most hospice services make it a point to improve their mental and emotional health as well. What’s more, the patients themselves aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Caregivers typically have access to grief counseling and volunteer aid as well.
The goal of hospice is to reduce stress and distractions from your life and the life of your loved one. That way you can both focus on what’s most important.
Help Them to Resolve Unfinished Business
Regrets. We all have them. Many of us spend years hoping to make amends for past mistakes, but we always put it off until tomorrow, don’t we? Eventually, though, the number of tomorrows we have left begins to shrink, and our desire for closure exacerbates. We may not think we have enough time remaining, though. It’s hard to see the end approaching knowing that so many things are left undone.
Things are rarely as impossible as we assume they are, though. Furthermore, closure doesn’t always look like what we expect. If you have a loved one with a terminal illness, chances are they have lingering issues they want to resolve. Helping them do that is a good way of bringing them peace and fulfillment.
The most important thing to remember is that the journey is more important than the destination. When time is short, some unfinished business is destined to remain unfinished. But actively engaging with it and making an effort to deal with it head-on is often cathartic for end-of-life patients.
Surround Them with Love and Comfort
It seems obvious, yet its importance cannot be understated: the greatest gift you have to offer someone you love is your affection and appreciation. For some, when death begins to loom, it can be tempting to simply pretend otherwise, to play it cool and calm and go about the day as if nothing were different. In the end, though, the only thing that approach is good for is squandering the time you have.
Your friends and family deserve your love, honesty, and gratitude. Give these things to them freely. Make every moment count. Let them know you’re there to support them, and that they can always count on you.
Last but not least, surround them with things that make them happy and comfortable. Don’t feel obligated to make grand gestures or provide lavish gifts. Even small tokens of appreciation go a long way. A smile, a hug, and your time are often the most precious gifts of all.