Our Tip of the Week: If you are anticipating the expected death of a loved one, or if you love someone who will die (which includes all of us), establishing an inner circle of supportive friends, family and community resources well in advance can greatly ease times of transition. Begin by organizing your social resources, whether that means verbally expressing your need for support or just noticing who is there for you. Then build a village of support and understanding that will be a stable presence for you when other aspects of your life dissolve.
How-to Suggestion: Talk to your family and close friends about your need for support and consider how to ask for it. How do you react when you’re at your lowest? Do you tend to bottle up your feelings and pretend that everything is OK? If so, tell your circle that you need them to do certain things without being asked. Do you get angry or withdraw when you’re stressed out? Be honest with yourself so you can ask for the kind of support that will work best for you.
Another great idea is to research some bereavement support groups in your area. If you’re already engaged with the medical community, look into whether the hospital, hospice or extended care facility caring for your loved one offers regular group counselling.
Looking into your employer’s bereavement leave policy is another wise thing to do in advance of the period when your life feels like it’s crumbling. Have resources in place to take extra time off if needed. In addition, make plans for logistical and financial support from your network of care.
Above all, remember that it’s not an option to suppress and deny your emotional and mental pain if your aim is to live a vibrant, fulfilling life.