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. Your family and friends may also experience similar emotions.

We know from research and people’s personal stories that 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.

This week the doctor, the nurse, the oxygen supplier and my carer have all talked about the days to the end and how it will be managed. The drugs are in place and regimes agreed upon that will hold me secure through the difficult days leading to those final moments.

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

What can I do to cope during the final stages?

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 medical care.

You might find it helpful to talk to family and friends. Or you might prefer to talk to a doctor, nurse, or counsellor. You might like to talk in depth, to talk a little or not at all. If you don’t like to talk about these things, you might want to express yourself in a different way. You could write a diary, blog, story or letter, record a message or share time with family and friends. The important thing is to identify what helps you most.

We also have a list  of organisations that offer emotional support.

Next: Talking to children and young people >

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Download our end of life PDF (313KB)

Last medically reviewed: March 2018. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.