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But more than how to handle the logistics of her situation and the anticipatory grief and the emotions that come along with it in such a situation, this person is really asking two things: first, how can she help her husband emotionally as he prepares to leave this world, and, second, how can she help her children and herself, especially with regards to after he is gone?
First, let me say that, while the diagnosis of both her husband and my dad were the same, my family's situation was different from what it sounds like hers is. My dad was "lucid," in that he could speak clearly and could understand the words that were being said to him, but he had fairly severe problems with his short-term memory and his attention span. He was told by doctors that the prognosis was two years at best, but he was also told by them (and by us) that it wasn't unreasonable to believe that he could beat those odds, at least to buy more time. There was a lot of denial by all of us, I think by the medical team too, about the fact that his time might actually be as limited as that general 1-2 year time frame, so much so that, coupled with the frantic pattern of caring for him 24 hours a day and the decline that happened so much faster than anyone would have ever believed, we didn't think much about those two questions while he was sick. I wish we had; I wish we had had the time to figure some of that out. All that to say, though, that what I have to offer in terms of ideas to address her concerns is from my hindsight type of perspective, not from what we actually did. What we did do related to those two areas happened quite by accident.
I've heard that many people who are at the end of their lives tend to want to talk about their regrets, accomplishments, hopes, and dreams. Doing a life review is a way to bring closure to the person who is ill, and it can also serve as a legacy of life to the person's loved ones. There are several ways this can be recorded for posterity:
It has been said that as long as one person holds memories of someone, they are not really gone. Losing a close friend or family member is one of life’s difficult realities, but most people keep their departed loved ones forever near by thinking back over the times that they shared. Creating tangible memorabilia can reinforce those memories, helping survivors to keep loved ones a part of their lives.