• Richelle Godwin

Support During Active Death

Old friends may be the kind of support the dying needs to have around when they are facing the inevitable.

Learn about the many ways having support can make death beautiful.

During times of expected loss and sudden loss, support during active death can make the dying process not only more bearable but actually enjoyable. I know this may sound like a strange or even difficult statement to read, but there’s truth to it. When you know you or your loved one is going through death, ensuring support is around can allow the dying to have a gentle passage. This transition from life to death is going to happen and those that have the option to prepare for it can make the time left very fulfilling and the preparation for this moment fully worth the investment of time and resources. The feeling of satisfaction, love, and fullness is not just allowed and welcomed, but it is what the dying and loved ones need. Having this stage of life be supported so that all can find a healing path of the circle of life is often a missed opportunity. It can leave most people with unanswered questions, finding flaws in the medical system, and ultimately the ones still living can be angry, upset, and not even able to start the grieving process.

Receiving the right support during active death can start anytime before or during the dying process. When this time arrives, sometimes the best medicine is for the dying to have the ones they love, that want to be near them, literally and figuratively. These people are the ones that can fill them up on all levels, with food to nourish, hugs to comfort, a shoulder to cry on, and let them release feelings.

These people support the dying’s emotional well-being by listening to them and letting them let go of all stages of grief. They understand their wants, desires, and support them overall. They feel comfortable sharing important matters, knowing they’re not being judged or ridiculed, but able to work through those feelings and desires.

These people support the dying’s mental well-being, by hearing what they say and diving deeper into those words. They know the highs and lows and if they need the help and guidance of a counselor or even a medical professional, they’ll get the support needed. Or, if they need someone to just sit with them, someone will be there. These people know the dying and how to help them navigate the waking hours.

These people support their spiritual well-being by making sure their beliefs are available to and honoring how the dying wants to interact with them. Maybe it is with music or rituals, shamans or priests, having choices be available gives them the peace and comfort they deserve.

These people support the dying’s physical well-being by making sure they are pain-free, having the ease and comfort of their belongings, their favorite pillow, flowers, etc. They help with arranging medications, bathing, bathroom trips, meals, and sleep.

Who do you want to be near you when you are dying? Who do you not want to be around when you are dying? Have you had a conversation with them?

There are many more layers to having support, but ultimately, having the ones the dying loves and their team around them during death is important to have this entire process executed beautifully. I know we all can wear many hats throughout the day and the years, but having a team approach is ideal so one person doesn’t have to be the “superperson” of the day, everyday. This is important because we are human. We all need sleep and nourishment (in all forms). Relying too heavily on one person can be quite tiring for that person. It’s not that they can’t do the job, but they need a little respite too. Being aware of this and having many support systems set-up provides a more evergreen approach as well as opportunities for the dying and their loved ones to ask questions, receive answers and say goodbye.

As death is approaching, having the dying’s team around them is just as important as knowing their wishes in all areas. If they aren’t able to do this before active death is happening, no need to stress. Take it one step at a time. Gentle Passage Doula Collective can support and connect the dying and/or their loved ones with resources to create a list, a care plan, get the dying’s affairs in order, and set up family and team meetings. We may even be one of the team members, empowering the dying to share their wishes as well as advocate on their behalf as the dying loved one transitions from this life to the next. Don’t delay, contact us to arrange for us to help you and/or your loved ones have a beautiful and gentle transition from this life.

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The tools, resources and information does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the Gentle Passage Doula Collective Website, downloaded resources and/or educational material, or misinterpreted the information/context/educational sessions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. Gentle Passage Doula Collective and its members are not responsible for errors and omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those under our active care, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Gentle Passage Doula Collective gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness or applicability or the content.

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