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The Dying Process

Recognizing and Coping With the Dying Process

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Updated September 08, 2009

The dying process is a period of time when the body begins to shut down and prepare for death. It's an important period of time for the dying person and their loved ones during which they can express their feelings and show their love. It's a time of preparation for the dying person and their loved ones -- preparing for inevitable loss.

The actual process may be very quick or happen gradually. Recognizing the signs early and feeling confident in the care you provide can ensure this is a special time.

1. The Dying Process: A Journey

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The dying process usually begins much sooner than most people realize. Many people will mistake signs of dying for simple confusion or side effects of medication. Other signs of the dying process, like a decreased need for food and fluids, might be scary unless one really understands what's going on.

Recognizing early that the dying process has begun can help you prepare for what's ahead.

2. Being With a Dying Person: Tips for Interacting With the Dying

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Being with a dying person can make many people uncomfortable. You might find yourself wondering what to say -- and what not to say. Your own fears about death might surface making the experience seem more scary than special.

Here are some tips to help you spend quality time with your dying loved one.

3. Acts of Love: Caring for a Dying Loved One

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Perhaps the ultimate act of love is caring for a loved one while they are dying. It can be a beautiful experience, providing the opportunity to express your love when they need it the most. The key is to feel confident in the care you are giving.

Here are some practical tips for caring for your loved one during thy dying process.

4. Anticipatory Grief: Waiting for the Tsunami

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I once heard a woman describe waiting for her husband to die as waiting for a tsunami to hit. She knew the loss would be great and she would grieve terribly once he died. What she didn't realize is that the grieving had already begun.

Anticipatory grief begins before the actual loss and is an important time of preparation.

5. Talking to a Dying Friend or Loved One: Common (Mis)Beliefs

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There are a number of things we think we should say to a dying loved one and even more things we think we shouldn't say. Here are some common beliefs, and misbeliefs, about talking to a dying person.

6. How to Plan a Funeral

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Many people find it helpful to plan the funeral well before the actual death occurs. Advance planning offers time and can often be done without extreme emotions. If the funeral planning is left to be done after death occurs, family members are often wrought with grief and find it difficult to think about the small details of the service.

Here are some tips to help you plan a funeral, whether done in advance or after a death.

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