Visiting someone who is dying is one of the most difficult things we do. We can’t know what the other person is experiencing, but we do know how we feel about losing a friend or loved one. It is always heartbreaking as well as a stark reminder of our own mortality.
In her Guide to the Great Beyond, Jane Brody has some helpful advice for us. Of course, every situation is different, but here are her basic guidelines:
--This is not about you. The focus should be on the patient.
--You can start with “Do you feel like talking?” When there is not a lot of time left, it can be a comfort just to have someone in the room with you. Conversation may not be necessary.
--You can ask, “Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?” Or, “Are there things you would like to say or things you are worried about?”
--It is OK to talk about the past, but it is not OK to say “I know how you feel” because you don’t.
--Finally, it’s OK to say that you don’t know what to say.