Death and Dying

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The Stages of Dying and of Losing a Loved One
Usually, a person (or their loved ones) will go through all or some of the following stages of feelings and emotions. The dying person’s stages can often be more predictable than the stages experienced by a loved one who has just suffered a loss.
1. Denial
• The dying person being able to drop denial gradually, and being able to use less radical defences, depends on:
- how he/she is told about his/her status;
- how much time he/she has to acknowledge what is happening;
- how he/she has been prepared throughout life to cope with stressful situations, particularly those that are out of their own control.
2. Anger
• Rage, anger, envy, and resentment may replace denial.
• “Why me?”
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This lays a foundation of trust upon which the last days can be built and cherished for years to come. If loved ones fail to lay this relationship of trust, like small children, they will be bewildered, feel frustrated, misunderstood, and not be at peace.

Loved Ones and the Death Process. The process of death and dying and stages experienced by the person surviving the death of a loved one are often less predictable than those of the dying person. Being a survivor of death is quite different from being the one dying.
• Death is not a common occurrence for anyone. Few people have witnessed death and no one can say he/she is comfortable with it.
• Watching the dying person’s physical changes requires focusing on the ‘real’ person inside. Sometimes the dying person’s appearance changes and deteriorates. He/she may lose hair, become thin, and look more delicate as the end nears. Loved ones and caregivers should focus on who the person “was” and afford the dignity and respect that comes out of love for that dying person.
• Misunderstanding in the dying child. Dying children often blame themselves for what is happening to them and for the sorrow and anxiety they see in their parents. It is important that family and loved ones of dying children give them a clear explanation of what is happening to them and that they are not being punished by death.
• Misunderstanding in the child

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