Death is a horrible subject to discuss, as is covid, so together they make a double whammy of difficult conversations. But difficult conversations are often also necessary ones and can be very helpful ones!
Dying alone is often what happens, even when there is a bedside vigil, dying people wait until the quiet of a comfort break and then slip away then, this happens a lot. But they will know that someone is with them up until those last moments, which means that they know that they are loved!
There can be opportunities to make choices about dying, including where someone would like to be and even if they are in hospital, who is with them. When someone is dying, even in times of covid hospitals and care homes will facilitate visitors as much as they can, including outside of visiting hours and more frequently that other patients / residents.
Choices can be made about what things they want to eat and drink, if it is possible for them to eat and drink anything much, the time of dying is not a time to worry about whether something is healthy or not, the only criteria, if they can eat and drink, is whether they want to or not.
The dying person can also choose what photos are around them and if possible, where in the room they want to be, as well as things like whether the curtains are open or closed, even at night, so they can watch the sun rise or the sky get lighter as it happens.
A person dying can also choose the smells that they want to experience, which might include fabric conditioner or soap powder that is used on the bed linen, as well as what perfume or aftershave they might wear themselves or have sprayed around them.
As someone slips away, they can still have perceptions of what is around them, so just being there is a sign that they are loved. The person sitting with them might not think that they are doing anything much, but that might not be the case. Being there is enough.
There are lots of covid restrictions and considerations, if the person has covid. Even if they haven’t everyone, including the dying person has risks around covid, so even if they are dying, getting covid might make that happen much more quickly! So sensible considerations need to be made. But that doesn’t mean do nothing, although it might mean that contact has to be adapted, even if it is a video chat. The chance to connect at the end does not need to be lost!
Being with someone as they die is a chance to say goodbye and process the loss that is happening and it is still possible to do so even in covid times, even if things need to be adapted. It is always tough, but can be healing later to have been there. If this is relevant to you, I wish you all luck.