Death, that's a subject we don't like discussing. It is that hush hush subject that gets swept to the side, yet it's something that happens every day, and all of us experience loss of a friend or loved one at some point in our lives. And, we'll be experiencing death ourselves if we're not raptured out of this ol' earth.
Our family, as well as church family, is losing a friend. She's a senior saint, a lovely woman who's been an asset to Jesus and a headache to Satan. She is near the end of her battle with cancer that's affecting her blood as well as other areas.
This brings up some ideas to encourage those going through loss.
In the case of our sweet friend, her husband and grown children and grandchildren come along side her. Her church family is drawing near as well.
What can you do to be of encouragement to a friend/family who is leaving this earth?
Offer to sit with the friend or family member. Often, as in the case of many cancers, the person is likely bed bound and needing round the clock care or simply someone to be close by in case they need a drink or a snack or someone to talk to.
Offer to help with routine housekeeping needs. Families get overwhelmed with duties and emotions, and sometimes the routine things are left undone. Most families are grateful for the assistance. If they do say "no thank you", just let them know you're available to help if they need you. Sometimes the assurance of someone willing to help means just as much.
Bring a meal (ask first of course!) to help tend to the family. A year or so ago, our church scheduled meals so that someone took a day each week and created meals to accomodate X amount of people and delivered to the family who was in this situation. On my particular day, I made sure to either buy or make extra sweets to pamper. I made sure to ask what each family member liked, and tried to keep to those items.
When/if the person/family is at the hospital, visit. I've sat with one lovely friend, slept on cold hard floors in the waiting area overnight so she wouldn't be alone as her mother went through a time of trial and was close to death. Her mother made a miraculous recovery and shocked the doctors! The trials were rough on my friend and her family, but it did help her to have someone with her in the waiting room/family area at all times.
Don't be afraid to let them talk to you. The person dying and their family need a shoulder. This isn't the time to back away, not knowing what to say. You don't have to say anything. Just be there.
Oh, I know there's more that can be done, but this is a good start. Each person and family is different and will have differing needs.
Let your light shine, show the love of Jesus as you minister to them.