The 10 – 16 May is Dying Matters Week where the focus is on opening up conversations about death, dying and bereavement. Today (Wednesday), the theme is being in a good place to die emotionally. In this blog post, our Living Well Centre Manager, Tracy Jeffery, wanted to share information and advice as to how you and your loved ones can emotionally plan for the end of life.
Here at the Rowans Living Well Centre, we support people who are living with a life-limiting and progressive illness regardless of diagnosis, and we extend our support to family members and friends during any stage of a persons illness, including bereavement.
Dealing with the idea of dying can be an emotional time for both the patient and their loved ones, it can be a difficult thing to process and it can lead you to re-evaluate your life and what matters to you.
We understand the diagnosis of a life limiting illness can be unexpected and the news can be devastating and worrying. The diagnosis can be overwhelming and different emotions and fears can come over you in waves. You might find you feel scared, angry, sad or helpless. You may have feelings of guilt or regret for things that have been done or for things that have not been done. You may feel a loss or a number of losses. Those around you may not understand how you are feeling, which could cause you to feel isolated. There is no right or wrong way to react to the news of your diagnosis, everyone is different and everyone will have different thoughts and feelings.
Your loved ones may need support with the news of your diagnosis as well, and talking about your diagnosis, your thoughts and feelings and end of life can be difficult and daunting for everyone involved.
Having these conversations can be emotional, but once the conversation has started we can work with you on what feels manageable, and build on the conversation from that point. All of our discussions will be taken at your own pace, with no set timings. Our nurses and volunteers are here to support you and your loved ones with these conversations, as soon as you feel ready.
Here to listen
Having time to process what is happening and having someone listen to your thoughts and talk them through both at the time of diagnosis and as your illness progresses, can help you to work through these feelings. You may decide that you wish to refuse any further treatment at some point and facing the issues around this is hard to hear, but we will help you to focus on what’s important to you and your family.
Keeping it positive
When someone wants to know what lies ahead, it can be a positive experience. Being able to discuss your questions and having them answered in a sensitive, supportive way can help to relieve your fears and give you a chance to prepare for death. Not only this, but it can also allow you the opportunity to put your affairs in order, make the choices you want and consider where you would like your care to be at the end of life. We encourage you to look at what is important for you, whilst you are able to and to spend time creating lasting memories with those you care about.
Our service can provide you support to live well within the limitations of your illness and be beside you at such a difficult time.
If you have any more questions, feel free to email our Living Well Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org.