Friday, October 22, 2010

Dying Well

If anyone has suggestions for how a Christian with a terminal illness can learn to die well, please offer them here. Thank you.


  1. As my wife was in the throes of treatment for breast cancer, I came across this video. It was deeply meaningful.

    By the way, my wife is fine today.

  2. I tended many Christians physically as an ICU nurse while they were in their last months, weeks, days and hours. They lived those most painful hours the same way you and I live the Christian life:
    1. Be in the word.
    2. Pray without ceasing.
    3. Bring glory to God every time you do anything or open your mouth to speak.
    4. Seek counsel from older Christians.
    5. Be transparent with your spouse and family. Let them know what hurts, what you are afraid of, what comforts you. Tell God all of this, too.


    Here is a link to a John Piper sermon about a christian near death. I haven`t listened to it myself so I do not know if it would be of any help to you or not.

  4. Each person may find comfort in different things. Be open. I think it is good to remember that being a Christian doesn't erase the fear of what has never before been experienced. To be afraid is understandable. Many who are dying are worried about leaving their loved ones. Reassurance and understanding of any fears is most helpful. Surrounding oneself with caring and accepting people is important. I would be sure that whatever measures can be in place against pain are in place ahead of need. Suffering may exist but we should be able to control pain. I would try to have any reunions or reconciliations needed as soon as possible. Christ-based hospice was very helpful before and then after for the family members. In the weeks before death, friends sat at bedside for short periods of time to converse or to be silent and pray--one or two at a time. Some came to sing. Visits were kept short. Massages of oil or cream with a few drops of essential oil--especially feet, chest--changed the focus. Whatever the person enjoys or wants--pets, music, touch, scents, bites of special food, etc. I found the submission to death--or to being cared for and helped--is hard for many Christians who are used to doing the helping and caring. Statements of how the dying one has helped others and now is allowing others to serve him/her seemed to put the dying one in a better state of acceptance. Those who are with the dying one can be both accepting of whatever the one is experiencing and serve as a reminder of the beliefs and faith the dying one has experienced in life. Having time to say goodbye is a gift to those left behind, but can be burdensome for the dying one. Let the one dying lead in what is desirable. If the ones dying cannot say what they want, then the loved ones can prayerfully provide what they believe would be of value. Also, let everyone know the condition of the person dying. You never know who may need to know in time to do something for closure.