I have read that the process of grief consists of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However, one often does not realize is that, this grieving process begins before one realizes.
Having worked in palliative care and have seen many family members go through the imminent loss of their love ones, I have found that different people do present with different emotions, depending on their relationships with the ones they are about to part. In some situations, I have seen extreme anger, sometimes not so much at the person about to say goodbye. But it may be directed at caregivers and bystanders. These extreme emotions are not helpful for anyone, including yourself as well as the loved ones who may be leaving soon.
A lot of emotions can present at this sensitive time. Get to know why you feel the way you do. There is often a reason that only you know deep down. Is it regret for not spending enough time with your loved ones? Is it anger for not doing enough to prevent this day from coming? Is it that you are losing control of the situation and someone you deeply care about?
Acknowledge your feelings. Validate them. Explore the hidden reasons behind them. They may be based on unfounded perceptions, distorted views or simply a reason that is not important anymore. Do not let your strong emotions be the hindrance to doing what is right and what is best for your loved ones. Your loved ones need you to be present and supportive at these last moments.
Spend as much time as you need. Get support. Be prepared to talk to your loved ones and say what you want to say before the last breath. Express your true feelings and hopefully the last few moments of time you spend with your loved ones will help put closure to any tension. Hopefully, these last few moments will build beautiful memories for you to treasure and reflect on.
When your loved one is leaving for any reason, you may be experiencing a range of different emotions. But at the end of the day, love is the most powerful emotion of all. Let love guide you on how to say good bye to the one you love.
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