Facing the possibility of dying


Many people are scared of dying. This is only natural. However, dying can be a very peaceful process. Those who work with people who are dying often say there is a sense of calm around the person who is dying.The process of dying for women with metastatic breast cancer does not happen in an instant. The body usually gets weaker over time and this can help women to let go.

Health professionals say that most people know when they’re dying. It can be reassuring to know that everything is done to keep the person as pain free and comfortable as possible and  that family and friends can be present. Some women say they would like to die at home and this is often possible.

It can be difficult to talk to others about fears and thoughts about dying. It can be helpful for women to express their fears and concerns about dying to their health care team, family and friends. This can also help others to express their fears and grief, and can bring people closer together.

Unfinished business

Many women with metastatic breast cancer find that facing an uncertain future makes them think about the relationships and friendships that are important to them.

This can be a time for women to heal and strengthen the relationships and friendships that are important to them and to come to terms with events in their life. This is a very personal experience, and it’s important for women to do what feels right for them at the time.

Tips based on things that other women have found helpful

  • Some women think about relationships or friendships that are important to them and make contact with friends they have not seen for a while.
  • Some women feel they want to resolve a past ‘falling out’ or conflict or to say something to someone that they felt unable to talk about in the past.
  • It’s unrealistic to think that all the conflicts in past or present relationships and friendships will be resolved. Prioritise those who are important to you and with whom you want to try to resolve any issues.
  • Some women find themselves thinking about the past and decide to visit the place where they were born, or go through old photographs. This can be a good way for women to come to terms with the events in their life.
  • Others find it helpful to write letters to close friends or family, or to prepare a tape or video to be given to children or grandchildren after their death or at major events in their lives.