Help your loved one deal with practical and spiritual matters related to his death
Besides helping your loved one come to terms with his death, you may need to discuss practical matters with him. For example:
An advance directive
If your loved one doesn't have an advance directive (also known as a living will,) you should help him prepare one immediately. An advance directive is a legal document that outlines an individual's wishes for how he wants to be treated during the dying process and after death.
If your loved one already has an advance directive, you may wish to review it together to make sure everything is up to date.
The location and currency of your loved one's will and other documents
If your loved one's illness came on suddenly, it's possible that his will is out-of-date or that other matters concerning his estate need updating. Work together to revise the will according to his wishes.
Other important personal and spiritual issues
As people approach death, they often feel a strong need for resolution. Let your loved one know that you're available to help him take care of any personal matters that are causing him worry or concern. If he's been helping to care for a beloved grandchild who's having problems, for example, talk the matter through with him and reassure him as best you can that you and other family members will take care of the child. If he wishes to speak or write to an estranged friend or relative before it's too late, encourage him to do so, and help in any way you can.
Likewise, many dying people want to reconnect with a spiritual practice that they've allowed to lapse over the years. Even if your loved one is too weak to attend services at a place of worship, you can ask a representative to visit him and to provide readings and other material that will give him comfort. Your support in matters large and small will help him have a more peaceful passing.
David Kessler, The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort and Love to Life's Final Chapter (HarperCollins 2007).
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying (Scribner 1997).
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss (Scribner 2005).
Stephen Levine, Who Dies? (Anchor Books 1989),
and other books.