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How to Cope and Find Peace after a Fatal Diagnosis


Lifestyle Improvement

Posted On: Jan 18, 2017

How to Cope and Find Peace after a Fatal Diagnosis

It's impossible to imagine how it feels to learn that you're going to die unless you've been through it firsthand. The shock and disbelief alone bury every other emotion at first. To come to terms with the idea that your time on earth is not just finite but almost over is one of the hardest things you can do. You will go through a whole host of emotions, including denial, anger, and depression. Ideally, acceptance comes before the end so that you can achieve some form of closure before you close your eyes for the final time. To get to that place, you will need help, even when you just want to be alone.

Give Yourself Time to Feel

You are fully entitled to any emotions, even the ones that don't seem quite so fair. You have every right to wonder why this is happening to you. In fact, your anger is healthy. Even the feelings that are unhealthy are still necessary and essential. It's a lot to take in, your knowledge that the end is near. Remember that the five stages of grief don't happen neatly. They don't always occur in order, and they sometimes come and go. Give yourself space to examine and deal with your emotions as they arise.

Get Your Life in Order

This is often therapeutic, even cathartic. Many terminally ill patients worry about their families, their friends, their pets—everyone they're leaving behind. It can help to put your affairs in order, as much as possible. There are several ways to approach this. You might want to get your finances in order, make sure you have a will, create a living will, and so on. You may also want to tie up loose ends with any unfinished personal business. Perhaps there are apologies to make or accept, regrets to discuss, or feelings to share. Take the chance while you have it. Some people never do, even if they live for decades.

Ask for Help

This is not the time to put on a brave face. Don't go through this alone just because you're too proud to ask for help. Your loved ones need to help you. They need you as much as you need them. That being said, pride is a powerful force, and it's understandable if you don't want your family or friends to see you at your most vulnerable.

Plan for Your Care

To that end, you can also plan for your end-of-life care while you are well enough. Your plan could include an in-home nurse, hospice care, or other end-of-life mandates. To take things a step further, you may even want to make funeral arrangements, which sounds morbid but is a relief when the time comes.

No one is ever truly prepared for news like this, and every person reacts differently. For the most part, however, attempting these things after you receive a fatal diagnosis can help you find closure during the final phase.