What to expect when a loved one is dying of cancer ?
Perhaps, there is nothing harder in life than saying good bye to our loved one. But, it is important to remember that, “Death is a part of life”. It is unfortunate that we all must face this reality at some point in time. While caring for a terminally cancer patient, it is important to understand what they are going through physically and emotionally. Your understanding in their needs through this final stage will ease the process.
5 Stages of Grief :
Learning about death can be difficult fact to bear. All terminally ill patients will go through the process which is called, “Five stages of grief”. It is a process which people deal with grief from a terminal illness and loss. The process are the following:
- Denial : The terminally ill patient may act like he does not even acknowledge his pending death. No crying. Denial phase is usually a temporary psychological self defense.
- Anger : Eventually, denial mechanism will wear off. When the condition is worse and it is no longer possible to deny the fact, terminally ill patient will get angry at their fate. Why me? It is not fair. Often, patient in this stage will be very difficult to care for, because of the temperament.
- Bargaining: In the third stage, patient will hope to postpone death. Patient in this stage now understand that he will die, but they would want to have more time. He may try to bargain with the higher power or make a lifestyle change.
- Depression: In the fourth stage, the patient understands that death is certain. Often, patient is overwhelmed with the feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Dying patient may disconnect himself from the person or things that he once loved. For instance, dying patient may not wish to have a visitor and spend a great deal of time crying. While caring for patient in this stage, it is recommended to just let him be. Don’t try to cheer him up. It is important time to allow grief to be processed.
- Acceptance: In this stage, the individual came to accept the reality and loss.
How To Provide Physical Comfort?
When it is very close to the end, cancer patients may loose a lot of his physical abilities. For instance, he may not be able to eat or see. Although you may not be able to fix everything, there are things that you can do to comfort him.
For instance, if the patient can no longer speak, you can gently talk to him in a soothing voice. If he can no longer see, you can adjust the surrounding in the room. It is recommended to use soft lighting. If he can not eat or drink anymore, apply lip balm to his lips to keep the moist.
Finally, express your love. Let him know that you can go on, and it is o.k. to let go.