How to Cope When a Loved One is Near Death

When Milwaukee families meet with our staff  at Krause Funeral Homes to plan a funeral, they share stories about their loved ones and often tell us about their final days together. The time leading up to death can be filled with emotion and unexpected changes.

Consider Mary’s story.

“We could see that my mom was declining, especially over the last six months or so. At 87, she had experienced her share of health issues over the years and it had taken a toll. Her heart wasn’t good, her energy level was extremely low, and she spent most of her time watching TV or sleeping.

“I have to admit I was surprised when she started to withdraw from family and friends. This was something new. It was almost like she didn’t want to be around us anymore. Since I knew she was probably close to the end, I wanted to spend more time with her, so it was extra painful that the feeling wasn’t mutual.

“I didn’t know if I should force the issue or let her be. Looking back, I shouldn’t have taken it so personally. I don’t think my mom wanted her children or grandchildren to see her dying. I just wish I had known how to handle everything better. That would have given me more peace of mind during such a difficult time.”

Without question, each person’s journey toward death is unique. The question is, how can loved ones cope? Whether the decline is gradual or sudden, we hope these tips provide comfort and reassurance while you say goodbye.

  • Find a sympathetic friend or professional who can provide a listening ear. Someone who has weathered a similar situation could be especially helpful, as they can relate to the complexity of emotions you are feeling.
  • If your loved one is in a nursing home, hospice, or hospital setting, ask if there are any grief support groups you could join. Even a session or two could bring you needed perspective, so you don’t feel like you’re alone in your struggles.
  • Turn to technology for information and support networks. The wonderful thing about technology is that it can bring people together from all over the globe, making it easier for you to find help in your time of need. Read our blog, “How Social Media Can Affect the Way We Grieve,” to learn more.
  • Seek spiritual counsel. Priests, rabbis, chaplains, and other religious leaders can offer real comfort during a time of need. Even if you’re not a regular churchgoer, many find it meaningful to lean on their faith – and people of faith – in matters of life and death. Krause’s Certified Life Celebrant and Interfaith Minister Jeannie Davies is always available to help families in need.
  • It can be hard to talk about death – even for the person who is dying. It can also be difficult to know what to say and when. If you feel comfortable opening the door to certain conversations, give your loved one room whether they wish to talk or not.
  • At a certain point, it’s appropriate to tell your loved one that it’s alright to let go when they are ready. Many times over the years, we have heard that this assurance brings enormous relief to everyone involved.

At Krause Funeral Homes, we care about the well-being of all the families we serve, before, during, and long after the funeral is over. Don’t hesitate to give us a call anytime at (414) 269-3654 or fill out this form to contact us. Our caring team is here for you and your family whenever you need us.


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