Coping with living bereavement

If you are aware that you are facing the end of your life, you will be experiencing a form of bereavement. This is sometimes called living bereavement.

This can be a very difficult time, as you come to terms with your own impending mortality. However, there are ways that you can help yourself face this very difficult time.

Being practical

You might find it beneficial to being as practical as you can about the choices that you face. 

There are many things to organise and will certainly reduce the burden on your family if you can address these issues in the time left to you.

You should make sure that your will is up to date. You should also prepare an Advance Statement or Advance Directive in order to advise your doctor and carers advice as to how you want to be treated.

Finally, you should prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney, to ensure that a chosen member of your family can assume financial responsibility when you are unable to make the appropriate decisions.

Start talking

You should start talking to those around you about your condition and situation. You will find this very therapeutic.

You will need to start these conversations with those close to you as they will be waiting for your lead.

They won’t want to initiate such conversations for fear of upsetting you.

It is important to all of us as to how we will be remembered by our family and close friends, and this is a period in which you can influence and inspire those around you enormously by how you behave and by what you say.

You have the opportunity to prepare your family for your death and to express how much they mean to you.

Reflect over your life

You might find it helpful to reflect back over your life. You have the opportunity to put things into perspective, both the good and also the not so good experiences.

You might want to go through family photographs, complete a family tree or write a family history or by writing letters for loved ones to read in the future. People also find creative activities like painting or writing poetry very therapeutic.

All these activities are positive ways to express very difficult emotions and feelings.

Spiritual aspects

People often find their faith gives them a strength they didn’t think they possessed. This often happens to people who weren’t overly religious during their adult lives.

Even if you have not been a regular church goer, your local vicar will be there to provide guidance and counselling if wanted.