Thursday, December 29, 2011

What not to do for the terminally ill 1

Do not visit every day. While it seems that you should -- after all, the number of visits you have left is limited -- don't. The person is dying. They are tired. They want at least a moment a day to be along to ponder their thoughts and do things for themselves.

My mother's siblings are in contact every day. No sooner does one leave does the next one turn up, or phone, or do something well-meaning but which is utterly exhausting for her. She doesn't need to hear the minutia of your life - that's the bonus of death being imminent: none of it matters anymore! Just as she is about to sit on the couch to rest and the door bell rings again. And they just never seem to get it. They stay for so long and her sigh of relief upon their departure is huge. She thinks she can relax. But then, someone else turns up ...

People, I understand it's hard for you, but your visiting and incessant anxious small-talk WILL NOT CURE CANCER. It will not give your loved one energy, and to be honest, they won't enjoy it. How much would you enjoy constant visitors when you are so exhausted that you can't think of anything other than sleep?


M-H said...

This is hard stuff. Of course the rellies think they're keeping her spirits up, etc etc. Maybe someone needs to have a word, get it out, that one visit a day is enough?

Kat Daley said...

Heya M-H! Happy new year!

Yeah, we are getting a bit more stern in terms of boundaries and they seem to be understandine more and more that they can't just keep popping in without notice. Fun times!