Saying Goodbye: Six Things to Know and Do When a Loved One is Passing Away

Monday, June 5, 2023

Saying goodbye to a loved one passing away is undeniably hard, but your reassurance can help you both find peace.

While final farewells are never easy, there are things you can do to ease the pain of parting. Focusing on your loved one and providing the best possible care will help you both during this trying time.

That effort and the six suggestions below can bring peace and healing amid your grief.

1. Don’t wait.

No one wants to say goodbye to someone they love, but saying the important things now can help you avoid regret down the road. “I love you,” “Thank you,” and “Please forgive me,” for example, can bring peace and comfort to both of you.

2. Continue to communicate.

As people approach their final hours, they often lapse into unconsciousness. You may think your loved one can’t hear you but keep talking to them anyway. Studies show that hearing is the last sense that is lost, so speak to your loved one, read aloud, sing songs, and tell stories. Surround them with the sounds of love.

3. Offer reassurance.

Let your beloved friend or family member know that you are there and offer a compassionate ear. If they talk about dying, ask them to share with you what they are feeling and reassure them about any concerns they might have. Many people worry about what will happen to those they love after they pass on so do your best to assure your loved one that everyone will be OK. If they are concerned about family discord, let them know that those matters will work out, too. The goal is to provide comfort in your loved one’s final moments.

4. Be a good listener.

Death and dying bring up a lot of anxiety but it is very important to be there in the moment. Slow down and really listen to what your loved one is saying. Some people need to share important information while others simply want to recall favorite childhood memories at the end of their lives. Listen without passing judgment and offer your support and validation.

5. Enjoy some lighthearted moments.

Losing a loved one is a sad and difficult time, but every minute doesn’t have to be full of pain. Tell jokes, share funny stories, and watch sitcoms on TV. Recall favorite memories and remind your loved one of the many joyful times you’ve shared.

6. Final goodbyes are a process.

Saying goodbye to a loved one involves more than just the moment of their passing. It is a process that includes learning, planning, and ongoing care. Say the things you need to say, and then continue to demonstrate your support and concern. Speak from your heart and let love be your guide. Don't miss this opportunity to share your gratitude for their presence in your life. 

When a loved one is reaching the end of their life, preparation can make the situation less upsetting for everyone involved. If you need additional help, the Family Caregiver Alliance and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization are two of the many organizations that provide support.

The knowledgeable, compassionate funeral directors at Vaughn Greene Funeral Services are here to assist you, as well. If you have questions, require more information, or wish to make funeral arrangements, please reach out to us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Returning to Work After a Loved One Passes: Eight Helpful Coping Strategies

When you are returning to work after a loved one passes away, it can be an emotional journey filled with uncertainty. If the prospect of heading back to your workplace after loss feels overwhelmin...

How Should You Choose the Day and Time of the Funeral?

When bidding farewell to a cherished family member or friend, one of the most significant decisions you’ll face is selecting the appropriate day and time of the funeral. Amid the emotional challen...

Celebrating National Alcohol & Drug Recovery Month

This September we celebrate National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Starting in 1989, National Recovery Month was coined to promote and support evidence-based treatment and recovery...

Do You Know the Signs of Dehydration? Seven Sneaky Symptoms That Might Surprise You

We pay close attention to the signs of dehydration we've grown accustomed to, but these less-apparent indictors are just as important. We all know staying hydrated is critical for good health, esp...

Planning Your Own Funeral? Here's Why That's a Smart Way to Go

Planning your funeral is an act of compassion that alleviates the stress on your family, allowing them to focus on healing and cherishing your memory. There are few things in life as poignant as c...

The AFRO Honors Morticians as Unsung Heroes

The AFRO honored the “Unsung Heroes” of the COVID-19 pandemic at Valley Mansion by Martin’s on Aug. 6. At a special event earlier this month, the media company commended morticians for their...

Seven Important Considerations When Making Funeral Decisions for a Departed Loved One

Making funeral decisions can be challenging, but it also offers an opportunity to celebrate the life of your loved one. Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences any f...

August is Black-Owned Business Month: We Celebrate With You

During August, we celebrate and recognize Black Business Month and the invaluable contributions generations of Black Americans have made in our communities, economy, and world. The forward momentu...

Seven Lesser-Known Signs of Dementia that Might Surprise You

While most people are aware of its familiar symptoms like memory loss, there are lesser-known signs of dementia that can be just as important. Dementia is a condition that affects millions of indi...

Wondering What to Bring to a Funeral or Celebration of Life?

While sympathy cards or floral arrangements are customary, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to what to bring to a funeral, memorial, or life celebration. While our presence at a funera...