At some time, each individual involved in your life will need something different from each other. It should be possible for everyone to receive support based on their needs.
You will need ongoing love and support from your family and friends. Some of the support needed will change as your condition changes. These are some support measures you may need from your loved ones and how you may get it.
Your Palliative Care/Hospice team will provide empathy and will work to make sure you always feel in control of your circumstances.
They will be able to provide or refer you for individual, family, and/or group therapy with a qualified counselor, medication to relieve depression and anxiety, and other medical treatments to make you comfortable. They can also help you arrange other things, such as financial and legal consults, advance directives, estate planning, funeral and burial services, medical insurance, or support groups.
Don’t let guilt, reluctance, or ambivalence prevent you from accepting the help you need.
Despite the emotions your family and friends are feeling, they must try and put them aside while they support you. While there can be some mutual support, they must focus on your needs if they choose to be with you in these trying times.
The most important things you can do for your family and friends are to let them know you love them, allow them to stay involved in your life, and keep them fully informed about your prognosis. To help with keeping them involved, you may want to allow your Palliative Care/Hospice team to share information with them, but only after they have given it to you.
Allow them to help you in any way they are comfortable with, while not pushing them to do things that they would find difficult to do. Acknowledge their role in supporting you and your understanding of what they are going through.
Although your family and friends may require significant support during this time, it is not your role to set aside your needs to provide it. They need to seek out others and/or professional counselors to help them deal with their feelings and begin to accept the reality of your death.
See the Dealing with Grief section for more details.
The last important task is to find a way to say goodbye. A final farewell is not easy and often involves reluctance. However, if your loved ones miss the chance to do this properly, they may regret it for the rest of their lives. Since death may not be predictable, many of your loved ones should prepare to say goodbye well in advance of your death, although it does not mean they wouldn’t continue to visit you.
Most loved ones may prefer saying goodbye to you in person and while alone with you, but this is not always possible. While your death may be predictable and slow enough to allow you to spend time with each individual or arrange for the family to get together, it may happen quickly and require a different approach.
It is likely that your closest family will want to be there with you. However, if they are not, it does not reflect on what they feel about you or what type of person they are. Being with someone when they die, found on the Dying Matters website, describes what they may expect if they choose to do so.