What to Say to Someone Who’s Dying in Hospice?

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, Featured, Opinion, and People & Places.

 

You may find it hard to find the right thing to say when a loved one or friend is facing death. The truth is there is no right thing to say, but there are different things you can say. 

You might be struggling with what to say to a loved one who enters hospice. When a loved one enters hospice, he or she could live a few days or months. If your loved one is no longer responsive, remember that he or she can still hear when you speak. Be as intentional as possible with your words. Here are some suggestions for what to say to someone who’s in hospice:  

“I am here for you.” 

Let your loved one know you are there for support, however, it’s needed. Show up, listen and invite your loved one to talk about death as little or as much as he or she wants to.

“It’s okay to feel scared.”

Your loved one may feel scared or sad about being in hospice and that’s common. Let your loved one know that it’s okay to be scared — all feelings are valid. With compassion and an open heart, invite your relative or friend to share his or her fears about death. Remember, you’re there to listen and it’s not your job to fix the situation.

“I love you and I’ll miss you.” 

If your loved one is in hospice, you may not know how much time you have together. It’s important to leave nothing unsaid. Let your loved one know how much you appreciate, love, and care for them.

It is comforting and validating for a dying person to know the impact he or she had on this life. Express your love and allow yourself to be vulnerable with your loved one. Cherish this time and be intentional with your words and actions.

“My life is better for having known you.” 

Why save the words for a eulogy or funeral? This is the prime time to share the impact your loved one had on your life. Tell your loved one in person. Share your favorite memories and what he or she means to you and why.

Let yourself express your emotions. Your loved one deserves to know how he or she made you feel. Don’t miss this opportunity to share your gratitude for his or her presence in your life.

 

Source:  “Here’s What to Say to Someone Who is Dying” by Erin Coriell, End-of-life care educator and grief worker. – article