HELP: It feels weird just sitting here, waiting for my dad to die.
Sitting by a dying person's bedside can evoke a mix of sadness and strangeness. You've already worked with the care team to ensure your loved one's comfort, organized their room and belongings, and even made funeral arrangements. So, what now? Engage in crossword puzzles? Play Candy Crush? Scroll through your phone? These activities might seem somewhat disrespectful or irreverent.
Here's an idea: you can start a legacy project. These projects will vary for each family and friends but usually serve as reminders of your dying loved one. They can start small and gradually involve more and more family members. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. It is advisable to begin small, adding to the project without causing unnecessary stress for you or your family. For instance, you could start by piecing together home videos instead of creating an epic two-hour professionally edited motion picture.
Engaging in a legacy project provides you and your family with a positive focus while staying by your loved one's bedside. Since hearing is often the last sense to diminish, it also gives you something to discuss with your loved one. You can start this project on your own and involve others if you wish. It's not necessary for everyone to agree for you to benefit from the project. Not only does it give you something positive and productive to do, but it can also aid in initiating or continuing the grieving process.
Here are some ideas:
- Collect family recipes, either by typing them up or writing them by hand. You could even create a recipe book with pictures of your loved one, the cooked dishes, and related events.
- Map out their favorite fishing lake, noting their most memorable or largest catches.
- Start a new quilt or sweater or complete one they had already begun (if you lack the skills, you can hire or seek volunteers).
- Divide and repot their favorite plants, sharing them among family members.
- Paint rocks in their memory and add them to their place of entertainment.
- Create a family picture book with stories weaved throughout.
- Design a wood working project using their tools.
Why not share your ideas?
If you wish to discuss your concerns or feelings while sitting with your loved one, I'm here to lend a hand. As an Integral Master Coach and certified end-of-life doula, I can provide you with support and guidance. I offer in-person help to people in neighboring communities like Carleton Place, Rideau Lakes, Westport, Smith Falls, and Merrickville, and virtual services.
If you find these blog posts helpful, feel free to reach out to me or send in any questions you might have. I'm here for you!