End of life

Emotions and sharing your thoughts

It’s normal to experience many emotions in the final stages of a long-term lung disease. On this page, we explore the different emotions you and your loved ones might be experiencing towards the end of life.

We know from research and people’s personal stories that when approaching death, feelings can range from anger, despair, denial, bargaining, fear and anxiety to peace, acceptance and tranquillity. We don’t all feel the same way – you might experience lots of different emotions at different times.

No two people are the same and for each of us our experience is individual. Anxiety is one of the final problems I face. I do feel anxious. Boy and how! It’s the feeling that bounces around like a naughty child and gets in the way.

David was in the final stages of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)

There are different experiences, feelings and emotions you might go through. Some might be comforting, for example finding peace or accepting a situation. But others might be difficult or hard to process, like resolving a conflict. Marie Curie has more information on emotional experiences and concerns on their website you might find useful to read through.

What can I do to cope?

Everybody has their own way of coping with difficult emotions. Many people find that talking and sharing their feelings and emotions helps. When you talk about how you feel, you may find that you can identify what matters most to you, what your usual coping mechanisms are, and what decisions you might need to make about future. We have more information on talking to loved ones about death.

Finding practical ways to cope with how you’re feeling might help you in the final stages, to help bring focus and structure into your day. This could be something simple, like writing in a diary or making a list of things you enjoy. You don’t necessarily have to do them, just thinking about happy memories could help.

Marie Curie has more information and advice on things you can do to help with emotional pain during the end of life on their website.

Read next: Spiritual needs at the end of life

Download our end of life information (PDF, 490KB)

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