CARING FOR A LOVED ONE AT THE END OF THEIR LIFE
Spiritual practices are activities we do to deepen our relationship with the sacred. The same practices may be used to honor the life of our loved one and support them at the end of their lives. The following are ways to provide comfort to someone who is dying.
Be a presence:
Sit with the person. You do not have to say anything. On a spiritual level, your loved one knows of your love and care even if they are not conscious.
Play music or sing to your loved one. CDs or tape players are often available.
Prayer is being in the presence of the Divine, talking with your God, Higher Power and Spirit. Pray however you are comfortable- as if you were
talking to a friend, holding an intention or simply sitting in silence. Ask someone to pray with you and your loved one if that would be helpful.
Read comforting stories, poems, sacred scriptures that are soothing to you and your loved one.
Offer gratitude and release:
Offer your love and care, spoken and/or unspoken- "I love you," "I forgive you," "Please forgive me," "Thank you." Tell your loved one the things you are thankful for in your lives together, and allow time for saying "Good bye" (Which literally means God be with you).
Offer loving touch:
Hold your loved one's hand, stroke their hair or massage their feet, if it is comfortable for you and them.
Ask for support:
Ask for assistance from chaplains, counselors, friends, social workers, nurses, physicians, medical staff and faith leaders.
Care for yourself:
In the midst of a loved one dying and after their death, it is ok to eat and sleep, go for a walk. Taking care of yourself may be part of the most important spiritual practice you may share, the most precious gift you may give.
Chaplains are available day or night to offer spiritual and emotional support to people of all faiths and belief systems. Contact us if you are:
In need of prayer or spiritual counsel
Making a request for a religious ritual
Asking spiritual questions
Anxious, worried, lonely, or far from home
Grieving a loss or life change
Facing difficult decisions
Celebrating a religious or spiritual occasion
In need of information about community religious resources
For more information about spiritual support, contact Hospice of the Blue Ridge at: