Receiving a news that someone you love has a terminal illness is really life-changing, and many families are really struggling with everyday challenges along with caregiving and spending life at its fullest potential. Most people don’t know how to react and how to deal with the situation. If you have a family member or someone you love diagnosed with a terminal illness, it is important to prepare yourself, and don’t just dwell on the matter. Your loved one would want to spend his life with something meaningful and memorable such as watching the sunset, going to the beach, or meeting with friends.
Even if your loved one’s illness is considered terminal, he can still have a quality of life by doing some research about the nature and management of his illness to help him go through the signs and symptoms, and how to somehow relieve them. Use the internet as a resource tool since it is accessible anytime and anywhere you go using different internet-capable mobile devices, and just open a browser like Google or Yahoo then enter the name of the illness (e.g. peritoneal mesothelioma, congenital heart defect, or cervical cancer. Let your loved one know that you are there to provide not only his medical needs but also listen to his concerns. Allow time for your loved one to pour his emotions and thoughts, and don’t force acceptance because there is no right or wrong when it comes to death. Denial is a coping mechanism for people with terminal illness because the reality of knowing you will soon die is really frightening and overwhelming, and denial blocks or protects a person from this reality to prevent being out of control. A a terminally ill person faces a lot of fears that may include pain, financial consequences, becoming a burden to the family, loss of autonomy and bodily functions, and death.
A person who is terminally ill needs spiritual and psychological support from his family and friends, and it is also a good idea seeking the services of a professional when needed (psychologist, psychiatrist, or spiritual counselor). Don’t hesitate talking about memories and provide affirmation that the life of your loved one matters, and that he will be remembered. If possible, you can consider recording your conversation as a way to honor your loved one. If the time comes, let the dying person’s wishes done, as there are those who wants their loved ones nearby, and there are those who prefer to go privately.