No one ever prepares us for how to accept death. Honestly, there isn’t any one right way to even try to do that. When faced with news of a terminal illness, each person has to work out their own feelings and process what to do next.
If you are facing this reality, or know someone who is, here are some tips on how to navigate these very uncharted waters.
It is OK to Grieve for Yourself
Everyone talks about the grieving process for those who have lost someone, but if you are the one with a terminal illness, you need to grieve as well.
While you want to be strong for those around you, it is perfectly normal for you to experience the 5 stages of grief. You will be in denial of the diagnosis and then angry for everything you will miss out on.
You may then find yourself bargaining with God, and the depression may set in for a bit. Finally, you will hopefully get to the place of accepting your death.
This process can’t be rushed and allow yourself to work through the stages at your pace.
Work on Final Arrangement and Wishes
After you have worked through the stages of grief, you may want to invest some time in your final wishes and funeral arrangements. Not having a plan puts the burden on the family to try and do things the way you would like. Now you are able to decide on how you want your life celebrated when you pass.
The plans can be as simple or detailed as you wish. The point is for you to be at peace with them.
Talk About Your Feelings
You shouldn’t try to pretend you have it all together and hide your feelings from those around you. You will be sad. In addition to not wanting to leave your family, there are many things you will not experience.
You should talk about those feelings. Share them with your loved ones and together you can work through them. If you think it would help, you can also discuss your thoughts with a pastor or counselor.
It is also important to have age-appropriate conversations with any children involved. Here are some suggestions on what to say, and not say, to children.
Make Some Lasting Memories
While it is true your days may be limited, you don’t have to stop living just yet.
Now, more then ever, is a great time to make some memories. Check off those items on your bucket list, or make a new bucket list.
Have holiday and other celebrations no matter what time of year it is. There are no rules. Take time to be adventurous, laugh, explore. You will be creating moments that your loved ones will look back on and cherish.
How to Accept Death
If you have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, there are so many questions and concerns. Rally your friends and family around you and walk through this process of how to accept death.
We are also here to help with any information or assistance. You are not alone. Reach out to any of our caring staff.