For many preparing for their own death, they may not fear dying as much as they fear leaving loved ones behind. While part of this feeling is the odd sensation of “missing” them, they may also mourn that they won’t be able to experience their milestones or provide support when it would be helpful. However, with a plan, it is possible to help a dying loved one remain more present even after they are gone.
The following are three ideas that allow the dying to provide an aiding presence, even when no longer physically present.
Idea #1: The Advice Column
Brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents are all sources of immense wisdom throughout life’s highs and lows. A bit of brotherly, motherly, or grandmotherly advice during a specific time of life can be immensely meaningful, if not even helpful when received at the right moment. For this, it can be very meaningful and even logistically helpful to have a dying person provide input for an occasion in the future. Perhaps it is a bit of relationship advice, parenting advice, or even something as seemingly mundane as financial advice for a grown child.
How to execute:
Create a list of possible common hardships or confusing events that may arise in a person’s life. These can range from relationship problems, parenting issues, or any other hardships in which the dying person has some life experience and advice to impart. If they have the strength, they can write down their advice (preferably in their own handwriting, as this can impart a bit more meaning) but also recorded audio or video—both of which can be transcribed by a trusted third party.
Idea #2: The Life Cycle Celebration
Any passing means that a loved one won’t be physically present to celebrate and offer their congratulations or blessings. Many dying people may prematurely mourn the fact that they won’t live to see a child or grandchild grow up, have a coming-of-age ceremony (bar/bat mitzvah, confirmation, etc.), graduate from a learning institution, get married, have children, or witness their own lifecycles. For this reason, it can be meaningful to create the celebratory offerings that this person would offer as though they had survived to experience such themselves to be offered at the proper time.
How to execute:
Depending on the state of the dying loved one, it can be meaningful to capture their congratulations or blessing in physical form. This may mean purchasing an array of birthday cards with birthday wishes pertaining to various ages. Perhaps it could be recording video or audio messages in response to various lifecycle events that are to come—weddings, anniversaries, coming-of-age ceremonies, and the like.
Idea #3: The Family Historian
Our loved ones are saturated with stories of our history. They loved to dote on us and recall amusing memories. Even if some of the stories are embellished with time, this makes no difference to most—in fact, that bit of editorial seasoning can make the stories even yummier. But when someone passes, if not recalled properly by those they leave behind, many of their stories go with them. This is why it can be so incredibly meaningful to allow them to account such stories while they’re still able to express them.
How to execute:
How a story is told will largely be dependent on the storyteller and those present to capture it. It can be written down in their handwriting for an enjoyable read. They can be captured on video or audio recording. It is recommended to let the storyteller tell the stories they wish to tell the most unprompted, but also to create a form of an interview in order to curate stories they may forget that they possess. For example, one may ask, “Tell me about the first time you saw mom,” “What was the day I was born like?”, “What was your childhood like?” — or other such questions designed to conjure up wonderful and interesting tales.
An interesting aspect of capturing advice, congratulations, blessings, or stories is that it helps both parties involved—those who are on their way beyond this world and those they leave behind. The advice can bring children and grandchildren immense comfort and cherished advice. On the other side of the coin, the process of capturing these blessings or memories can help the dying feel productive and cherished as well as help them take their minds off any anxieties they may be experiencing.
The result will likely be a collection of blessings and stories that will remain a priceless collection of media for your friends and family for generations.
Professional Hospice Care in Tulsa, Oklahoma
If you or a loved one will need or is in need of professional hospice care, look no further than Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care.