Chapter 4: At the bedside

Listening carefully

I’ve been there
Jenny describes how family and community pulled together when her mom came home to die. (3:22)Video transcript

It was so hard to understand what he was saying, but I managed to pick out words here and there and piece them together. I think he felt at peace being able to say what he needed to say to each of us before he died.

If the person who is ill is conscious and able to talk and communicate, sometimes others in the room feel awkward about knowing what to say or how to act. Let the person who is ill control the conversation, and recognize the hints they may give that signal they no longer want to talk. They may say things such as "I’m feeling tired," or "I think I’d like to rest now." Not everyone will be able to put their experience with illness into words, and people who seem hesitant to explore their feelings should not be pushed into doing so.

Click on each situation below to read more.