A Bedside Vigil
Sitting at the bedside of a loved one in their final days is a privilege - that final chance to tell them they are loved, to hold their hand, maybe even to give or receive forgiveness or resolve old differences.
It is a special, sacred time and you will always be glad that you did it.
That said, once a person has loses consciousness the time does gets harder for the family.
Medical science has shown us that hearing is usually the last of sense to close down, therefore people almost certainly can hear what is being said in the room, at least some of the time.
So what do you say in what is inevitably a one sided conversation?
Retelling favourite memories is a great way to start - tales of family holidays shared, perhaps funny happenings and stories that will be remembered.
Bringing in an old photo album helps this evolve naturally (and you could also use the time to choose photos that can be scanned and used for the Order of Service or slideshow).
Reading aloud from a favourite book is a wonderful way to feel connected.
Even if the story might not be followed there is certainly something soothing about hearing a steady familiar voice and simply knowing they are not alone.
If you are taking shifts with other family members they can pick up the story where you left off which provides some degree continuity.
If they had a favourite radio programme, you could play that.
Singing old lullabies, or playing favourite music also brings love and life into the room.
We sometimes suggest that families use this time to choose music for the funeral service. When time comes to play it in the chapel it will bring a beautiful connection.
And of course - you can just sit quietly and hold their hand.
Every person is unique. Every family is different.
With us, every Funeral is Individual.