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Some of the most important things you can say to a dying person

At times, we may feel at a loss for words, and aren’t sure if we are saying the right things to a loved one who is nearing the end of their life.  While your mere presence can make a significantly positive impact on that loved one, there are certain things that may be important for them to hear:


  1. I’m sorry” – Never easy to say, but remember that time can be limited, and think about how you may feel if the person passes away and you never said sorry for something you may have said and done, whether recent or in the past.


  1. I forgive you” – This can be helpful for both yourself and the dying person to find a sense of peace. It is often easier to ask for forgiveness rather than offer it, so this may be a challenging talk to have.


  1. Thank you” – By expressing thanks to the dying person (for what they mean to you, for times they have supported you etc.), they are able to feel valued, even when so much of their sense of purpose may be blurred due to illness. This is an easier verbal task than some of the others, so don’t delay and say it often.


  1. I love you” – You can never say this enough. These three words hold so much value and reassurance for us as human beings.


  1. Goodbye” – In its essence, this word brings some form of closure. Some goodbyes are incredibly emotionally painful, and it may be gentler on the heart with words such as “Till we meet again”.  Allowing the dying person who can still communicate to say goodbye may also help them in their process.

-Written by Diane Waddington

(Head of Social Work)