The most popular article that I’ve written since starting this blog in 2008 is How to Interview Someone Who Is Terminally Ill. I was reading it over and felt there were some additional points I wanted to make.
- Before starting to work with someone who is dying, be clear what your own feelings and attitudes are around death and grief. Are you comfortable in the presence of someone who is dying? Are you able just to be with someone without trying to fix anything? If you haven’t explored your own feelings, this may not be the kind of work you want to be doing.
- It is entirely possible that you may not be able to complete someone’s life story before that person dies. How well do you handle situations for which there’s no “tidy” wrap-up?
- Taking care of yourself is vitally important because of the stressful nature of the work. One of the things that I didn’t mention in my previous article is the importance of having someone to talk to about your feelings. And by this I don’t mean talking about the person you’re interviewing. That should always be in confidence. What I mean is being able to express your sadness, fatigue, anger, loss, and frustration to someone who is compassionate and non-judgmental.
- For a list of useful books on death and dying click here.
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