Tasks for the Dying

| By Jodi Horton

Babies learn to crawl and walk. Children learn how to hold a pencil and read. Teenagers learn how to drive. These are all the developmental tasks of growing up and growing older. And when it comes to the end of life, it turns out there can still be a few developmental tasks.

Renew one’s sense of personhood.

Individuals at end of life often engage in reflection and life review, where they are able to identify meaning in their life. If they are open to it, they are able to find a sense of worthiness, and they are able to accept love and caring from others.

Bring closure to personal relationships.

When an individual prepares for the end of life, he or she is able to say good-bye to those who matter most. They may say “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you,” and “thank you.” This opportunity to say good-bye is a gift to the dying patient and to the family and friends.

Tie up practical matters.

The final months of life also lends an opportunity to individuals to tie up any loose ends. They can make sure that all financial and legal matters are or will be taken care of by the appropriate people. This is a gift to the loved ones in your life, too, making it easier for them after your death.

Accept life and death.

Information adapted from “Tasks in Coping with Life-Threatening Illness,” The Last Dance: Encounters with Death and Dying by Lynne DeSpelder and Albert Strickland

If you have a loved one who is dying in the Tucson area, and you would like more information about how hospice care can help, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890.

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