How To Prepare Yourself for the Death of a Terminally-ill Loved One

If there’s one thing you and I have in common, it’s the fact that we all have experienced death of a loved one/relative/friend or know someone who have been in that situation and lost a family member/friend/etc. Death is an inevitable part of life that we would all have to face at some point. But the silly thing is, no matter how much we understand and know that it would hit us or someone we know, we all still get surprised when it happens.

The real question is, how do we prepare ourselves when death comes to a terminally-ill dearly beloved? There are a few things that we may do to prepare ourselves for this unfortunate event.

Spend more time together

The general thing to do: spend as much time as possible with that person. Try to make each day memorable and happy for the both of you to treasure. If you have a day job, make sure you bring home their favorite snack when you visit them. This would make them feel loved as it entails that you thought about them despite your busy day. “I’m pretty blown away by the idea of Loving-Kindness Meditation. Meaning, instead of drowning in sadness, purposefully spending a few minutes wishing people well (from you to a mentor to a stranger to a person you know struggling) can actually lead to productive actions and increase your joy.” Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD said.


Cook for them

According to Justyna Wawrzonek, LCSW, LADC “For someone who battles negative thoughts, worries, and is constantly bombarded with doubt, fear, shame, cooking can be a healthy outlet to bring peace and serenity into their headspace.” Cook their favorite meals with love, so they would feel it with every bite. They say that the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But really, isn’t it the key to anyone’s heart? Not only would they feel loved (considering you cooked their favorite meal) but you would also get to know why they love that dish in the first place through their facial expressions.

Collect memories with photos and videos

Take as many pictures and videos as you can with that person. Goof around and play with the camera. Record their laughter, their smiles, their facial expressions, and their candid selves. Invest in a polaroid camera to capture legitimate candid moments with that person.

Write a journal

Try to make a journal of the wonderful moments you shared with your loved one. Paste the photos you took with your polaroid camera to complete the journal and to inspire you to write in full details. “Journaling is great for enhancing self-awareness through helping us detect and track patterns of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.” Alison Stone, LCSW said.


Travel with them

If your loved one could still travel, take them to nearby places that they haven’t been to. Keep in mind to prepare everything they would need and to get the approval of their doctor before traveling. You only have now to take them to these places. Make no excuses.

Pray with and for them

Pray for their good health, no matter how ironic it may sound. Pray that the pain of your loved one would go away even just a little. Even if you don’t believe in God, your good intention alone would mean so much to your loved one.

Write them letters

Write them short love notes every now and then. Write a love note before they wake up so they would have something to read as they start their day and to brighten up their feeling. You can also write a love note before they sleep to remind them of your love, in case it would be their last (we hope not!).

Compliment them

Appreciate the little things by complementing them unexpectedly. Unsolicited compliments never ruined someone’s day. They would no longer hear how you brag about their being wonderful with other people during their funeral. Your compliments would not matter anymore once they’re gone. Hence, tell them now before it’s too late.

Care for them

There is no better feeling for a dying person than being cared for. Love can be shown in different ways. Caring for  them could be the ultimate form of expressing your love.


Doing these things would make you feel like you’ve already done everything to the best of your capability to show how much your loved one means to you. It could help you move on once they’re gone. You know you have done everything you could to make them happy on their last days. But the truth is…

You could never prepare yourself for the death of a loved one. No matter how hard you try to understand and anticipate that it would eventually come to that point, you will never be prepared for the feeling it would bring. You are entitled to grieve and mourn. To be hurt. To be sad.  And it’s okay.