There is plenty of information available on how to work through the grief of losing a loved one. You can even find helpful advice on how to help others who have lost loved ones. However, a topic of little discussion is how you are supposed to help your loved one come to terms with your death.
Terminal illness, or simply getting older, requires you to face your own mortality. You may fear the unknown, but you may also worry about how your loved ones you’re leaving behind will cope. Here are a few things you can do to help them prepare.
Take care of all preparations
Taking care of a loved one’s affairs when you’re in the throes of grief is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. You may have experienced it yourself and know first-hand. Therefore, if you can take some of this burden from your loved ones’ shoulders, they have one less thing to worry about while they grieve. Fortunately, services like the Postage exist that allow you to get your affairs in order before you pass on. You can plan your documents, provide your financial records, and even list your final wishes and how you wish for your body to be prepared.
Line up professional help
If you know your loved ones will not cope with your loss without support, compile a list of helpful loss and grief counselling services for them to access. Encourage them to utilize them so they have a support network available as they work through the several stages of grief.
Rather than have your family’s last memories of you be those of pain and heartache, create happy memories. Take family trips, visit places you all enjoy, and spend valuable family time together. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures so that your loved ones can recall fond memories that make them smile.
Make your wishes clear
To avoid any intrafamily arguments once you pass, make sure your wishes are clear on how you want things to play out once you’re gone. While much of this information can be included in your legacy plan, you can also discuss your wishes in person.
Organize for the most appropriate person to take ownership of any pets, and put someone you trust in charge of managing the sale of your home or possessions. Your loved ones will likely experience anticipatory grief through this process, but it can be much easier to plan the finer details before you pass.
After a lifetime of raising and loving your family, there’s so much to say and do, and simply not enough time to do it. Take some time to write letters to all those people in your life that mean the most to you. Letter writing has long been used as a helpful tool for managing depression. However, it can also be how you get everything off your chest and express what you need to say with time to ponder each word. These letters can then be something your family cherishes once you’ve gone.
As hard as it is to face your mortality, you’ll find the inner strength for the sake of your family. If you’re worried about how they will cope once you’re gone, consider doing any of these things above. They may just help ease their pain and suffering.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.