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What To Do When Someone Is Dying

What do I say? How do I help? What do they need? Here are six rules to follow.

2. Healing difficult relationships
2. Healing difficult relationships
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There is nothing like the prospect of death to cut through the long term grievances that get in the way of people healing the rift. Yet the decision to repair a relationship must be a decision for the person who is dying and it’s important that you enable that to happen. “You won’t get this time back. Make that contact or you’ll regret you didn’t do it,” says Mary Waterford, coordinator of pastoral care at the hospice Clare Holland House. “It’s about offering yourself back into that relationship. Stand steady, feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Even if your contact is initially rejected, remember that he or she is dealing with a storm of feelings and emotions and may feel that facing you is just too hard. People who are dying are less able to deal with conflict, but chances are they will want to reconnect and forgive or be forgiven. So don’t be afraid to gently, carefully and compassionately create the opportunity for that to happen.

Suggested words:

  • “It’s unfortunate we went through this situation, but I really want you to know that I love you and respect you.”


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