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What to say to someone who is dying

What to say to someone who is dying

It can be difficult to know what to say when someone you love is dying.

What you talk about will be personal to you and depend on the relationship you have, so everyone’s experience will be different. It’s an opportunity to talk openly and honestly with each other. You should do what feels natural to you. If at any time you need support, please do talk to the Hospiscare team. Some people who are dying can worry about upsetting the people in their lives and the people around the dying person can worry about upsetting them, so sometimes it’s helpful to be brave and broach the subject.


The following are a few suggestions that you might find helpful:

  • Use an opening like, “I’d like to talk to you about some things but I’m worried it will be difficult. Is it OK to talk now?”
  • You can talk about how you feel about each other
  • Share memories and happy times
  • Don’t put off saying things which are important to you
  • Talk about your loved one’s wishes, such as funeral arrangements and end of life care
  • Surround yourselves with the things you love (music, photos, home comforts)
  • Listen to one another
  • Ask questions about your loved one’s life
  • Talk about the future without one another, if you feel comfortable to do so
  • If you don’t know what to say, just being together is the most important thing
  • Talk about plans and wishes for children and others in your lives

The Hospiscare team is here for you at this time.  If you have any questions, please ask us.

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