Communicating with the Patient
What can I do to support my wife who’s dying and let her know she won’t be forgotten?

Your presence and support is the greatest gift you can give your wife. This time can offer you both a chance to talk about things that matter to you.

You may want to talk about memorable moments in your lives, share stories about people, or review important events. Let your wife know the positive effect she’s had on you. Encourage family and friends to send letters or cards to her.

Your wife may want to have more serious discussions. Many people value this chance to share feelings and ideas they never thought they’d be able to discuss. Some people want to leave special letters or mementos for others, and your wife may need help with this. Some people find it helpful to record stories in some form.

If your wife wants to plan her funeral or memorial service, you can help her with this. She may want to choose the location for the service, the music, any speakers and what she wants to have happen.

There may be other ways that you and others can show your wife she won’t be forgotten. You may want to consider these ideas, or encourage others to do so:

  • Make a photo album dedicated to pictures of your wife;
  • Put together a memory box of objects important to her;
  • Start a scrapbook dedicated to memories of her;
  • Write down your memories of your wife. Ask others to add their own memories;
  • Ask people to help plant a tree or place a bench in your wife’s favorite park;
  • Ask people to give to an organization or project such as a scholarship, in your wife’s name.

Sometimes your support may be just being with her in silence. It’s okay to ask her what you can do to make this time the best that it can be.

Suggested Reading

What Dying People Want: Practical Wisdom For The End of Life
by David Kuhl, M.D.

Sharing Your Story

Rituals for Patients and Families