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Bereavement

Whānau support

Whānau can provide valuable support to someone at the end of their life. Sometimes it is about listening to them, talking with them, reflecting on things they notice as they arise.

Yvonne reflected on the support she gave her ill sister when she noticed that she was having trouble planning and carrying out important personal affairs before she died:

I talked to her and I introduced her to [Elizabeth] Kubler-Ross’s [theory on loss and grief]. And I talked to her about the five stages of grief. And I said, ‘It relates to anything, it can relate to your journey of unwellness, and you identify in that where you’re at’. She looked at it… She could identify where she was [Sister looked downcast] … And she identified what stage she was at, in the Kubler-Ross five stages… She was in the ‘denial’ stage. And she could see it for herself in the blurb that was written. And so…she didn’t verbalise it, but her body language and her facial expression identified it.

So, I said, ‘I understand how this must feel for you and how it hurts, I understand it because I’ve been on that journey… however, this is about you, and your little whānau, and how we move you from here, to there, so that your end-of-life journey is a pleasant one… that it’s a, a stress-free one… that the whānau can enjoy the journey with you, and you can enjoy your journey… not one of worry, battles…emotional trauma’. So, we left her with that…. didn’t mean she addressed it [laughs].  

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