Start Preparing For Death by Building and Nurturing Friendships

By Lisa Pahl, LCSW

I was visiting a hospice patient who lived alone and had very few people in her life. She was relatively young to be on hospice.

When we began discussing a plan for when she declines and needs more help, she became teary. She shared that she wished she had spent more time nurturing friendships. “Then maybe I wouldn’t be alone now, at the end of my life.”

I sat with her words a moment. While it sounds cruel, she was correct. While maybe not all friends are able or willing show up when someone is dying, typically at least a couple of close friends will be present.  

We don’t set out to make friends to be there for us when we’re dying (or have children for that purpose). Yet, the reality is the support system we have in place greatly impacts our dying experience. Having strong friendships can help shoulder the emotional and practical aspects of end-of-life. 

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