Survivors’ perspectives on saying goodbye: Implications for end-of-life engagement across the lifespan and grieving process


School of Communication and Media

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Family members are often unaware of their loved ones’ final wishes and underestimate the need to talk about them before parents reach end-of-life (EOL). The benefits of engaging in EOL conversations alleviate needless suffering and can allow an opportunity to say goodbye in a meaningful way. We examined final conversations 13 adults recalled having with their aging parents through the lens of the opportunity model for presence (OMP) during the EOL process, a communication process model based on engagement in the dying process from diagnosis through bereavement, to understand the process from the survivor’s perspective, looking at content of conversations and where they occurred in the dying process. Findings illustrate final conversations that align with the socio-cultural space of the OMP before the knowledge that a parent was dying, and when entering imminent death engaging in the critical moments, have implications for the grief and bereavement.

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Death Studies

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)