Four Things to Say When Someone is Dying


Liz Waid and Bruce Gulland look at a difficult subject - being close to someone who is dying. They look at four things to say that can help.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I'm Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Have you ever been close to someone who died - maybe a friend, or a parent or grandparent? We hate to think about times like these. But all humans will die. It is part of being alive. Being close to someone who is dying is not easy. It is uncomfortable. It makes us think about how we will one day die too.

Voice 2  

It can also be difficult to know what to say to the person who is dying. Doctor Ira Byock has worked for years with people who are dying. He wrote a book about talking to dying people. He writes that there are four things to say to a person who is dying. Today's Spotlight is on these four things. They are: Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. And, I love you.

Voice 1  

The first thing to say to someone who is dying is: 

Please forgive me.

Voice 1  

Everyone does things that they wish they had not done. Or they do not do things that they wish they had done. Everyone has said things that hurt other people. Everyone has broken a relationship. We all need forgiveness.

Voice 2  

When a person does something wrong, they can feel bad. Sometimes they feel bad for years, even if no one knows what they have done. But people do not want to carry their mistake into death. They want to tell what they did before it is too late. When a person admits a mistake and says, "Please forgive me," it can feel like a heavy weight has been taken from them.

Voice 1  

Forgiveness is very important to many religions. Islam teaches that God is the starting point of all forgiveness. Buddhists will forgive to release themselves from suffering. The Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur is all about forgiveness. And Jesus Christ told his followers,

Voice 3 

"If you forgive people when they hurt you, God will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people, God will not forgive your sins.”

Voice 2  

This brings us to the second thing to say to someone near death.

I forgive you.

Voice 2  

Everyone has hurt another person. But everyone has also been hurt by other people. These can be small things that we forget. But they can be life-changing events that we remember for years. Hurt from another person can be like a stone in a shoe. Every step brings pain. Forgiving someone can take the stone out.

Voice 1  

Saying, "I forgive you" when someone is dying does two things. For the dying person, it can release them from suffering. They may feel bad, but not know how to ask for forgiveness.

Voice 2  

But the second thing is that saying, "I forgive you" can also be good for the person who says it. It can free them from pain, bad memories, and suffering. It will not make a person forget what happened. But it may start the process of emotional healing.

Voice 1  

It can be difficult to say, "Please forgive me." It can also be difficult to say, "I forgive you." But the third thing is much easier to say. The third thing to say to someone who is dying is:

Thank you.

Voice 2  

All people want to receive thanks for what they have done. People want to know that their life has meaning. As a person gets close to death, they ask themselves, "Did my life mean anything?" When people say, "Thank you" they are answering this question. They are saying, "Yes, you made a mark on my life."

Voice 1  

When someone is dying, it is easy to only see the present time. And death can make us forget about the many good parts of life. By saying, "Thank you" we remember that each person is more than their final days. No one is perfect. But everyone has done something that deserves thanks.

Voice 2  

The final thing to say can be both the easiest and the most difficult to say. The most important thing we should say to someone who is dying is:

I love you.

Voice 1  

Saying, "I love you" is a way to declare that relationships matter. But not everyone shows love in the same way. Some people kiss and touch and cry together. Other people are quieter. Dr. Byock tells the story of a man named Gunter. Gunter’s father had always been a quiet person. He never showed his love with a lot of touching. But he was dying of cancer. Gunter did not know how to say, "I love you."

Voice 2  

But one day his father said to him, "Will you cut the hair on my face?" Gunter knew that this was a special request. His father was weak. But Gunter was careful and gentle. He was able to touch his father's face. This was something that he had never done before. When he was done, his father said, "Thank you, that feels much better." This was how Gunter found a way to show his love. It does not matter how you show love. It only matters that you show it.

Voice 1  

These four things are simple to say. Anyone can speak them. Yet, they address what is important in life. And there is power in them. That is because we do not have to wait until someone is dying to speak them. Dr. Byock explains:

Voice 4  

"These four simple sentences are powerful tools for improving your relationships and your life. I have taught hundreds of patients who were facing death to say the Four Things. But the Four Things can be used at any time. They are just eleven words. But these four short sentences carry wisdom. They are what matters most in life."

Voice 2  

Is there someone in your life who you need to talk to? Who do you need to ask, "Please forgive me"?

Voice 1  

Who do you need to tell, "I forgive you"?

Voice 2  

Is there someone to whom you need to say “thank you”?

Voice 1  

Can you tell someone today, "I love you"?

Voice 2  

Is someone you love dying? Then do not wait. Saying goodbye to someone is not easy. But it is very important not to wait.

Voice 1  

Tell us what you think about talking to someone who is dying. Is there something you wish you could have said to someone who died? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Four Things to Say When Someone is Dying’.

Voice 1  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Is there something you wished you had said to someone before they died?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
saidlearn
said on September 06, 2011

Name of Allah Rahman nomadic Am

He says

(And the agony of death came to the right that you deviate from it)

Truth of God Almighty

Often live human moments of his life moving between joy and sadness, anxiety and fear, love and hate and pride and shame and failure and victory ..
Many of us going through these moments, and often go unnoticed, and every moment must be completed, including his feelings to us and feelings without causing permanent change in people and change them simultaneously, we come and go away ..

but the feeling of death .. Have you tried them?

It feels great and is just a feeling, and moments of experience to the position of death

.. So what if it is true ..

Sense of death fly humans to another world the world of childhood world of teenage world of young people fly into the world, home to the experimenter .. Feeling that he trembled and his chilling memories and overlap it by the seconds racing .. Sense of time and speeds up the wheel you feel that you are going to another world, another world away from your family and I knew the only Tcefek doors and unite your angels and dispersed from the question .. Moments do not know how to be and to any body do they come lights joy or darkness is frightening or Sttalm Stanagad to your new world and you are smiling ..?
This strange feeling suspicious scary severed by the cheeks and eyes blinded by his heart tremble and you lost does not know what will be and how will send ..

Moments .... And leave your world and forget your family and go to a long journey is not hard to learn is the mother of a comfortable ..

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saidlearn
said on September 06, 2011

thank you for you

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Tod
said on September 05, 2012

nice program!!!
Thank you.

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Shabeeb
said on September 05, 2012

Realy good job

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ptquan
said on September 07, 2012

The program today is meaningful. I might be confuse, if I did not read the material today. I will remember the four things we should tell with dying people.
The first thing is request some person to forgive us ! It can make emotion healing.
The second thing is forgive for some person. It can be more difficult than asking person forgive us. But after that, it release a good felling.
The third is more easier. It makes some person fell they has done something that deserves thanks.
The last thing is talking about the love with some person. Someone dose not how to express their love. But the program taught me that ” It does not matter how you show love. It only matters that you show it !” . Thank spotlight, thank author !

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Galina
said on March 04, 2019

Thank you very much for this program. No words to express the importance of what you say. Maybe someone after this program today will say: “Forgive me, I forgive you, I love you ...” for the first time in his life. Thanks a lot for that.

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Honneur
said on March 04, 2019

It’s very hard to face death of a people who we love. When my dad was dying I encounter him in so bad situation of health that I prayed God take him soon. I didn’t say anything but I thought it was better for him, for me and for my sisters. I didn’t wish to see my dad suffer anymore…

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maiduan
said on March 04, 2019

This radio really touch me.
I often read and spoke the radio with speaker to train my speaking skill. When I was speaking, I really remembered my father. Fortunately, I still have many times to say: ” I love you” to my father. Next weekends, I will come home to see him :)
Thank spotlight, thank author !

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kenhieuloilam
said on March 07, 2019

We live to love one another in life. We say beautiful good words to encourage one another in life. None of us is perfect. We forgive other people and we need everyone’s forgiveness. Our lives have many difficulties and challenges. We live to love one another. Love helps us overcome difficulties. Love helps us exist. We live to love one another in life. We say beautiful good words to encourage one another in life. When we die, we stop struggling with difficulties. We rest in peace.