How do I advocate for my loved one who's dying without creating family conflicts?
July 15th, 2020
The first thing is to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are in fact advocating for your loved one. I've often been around people with a terminal diagnosis and they have larger families, and they're can be a lot of conflict. It's one of the more disheartening things to see. The conflict often comes from a good place in that they all love the person, they want what's best for the person. Although sometimes I'm not necessarily sure they're speaking from a place of truth.
There's no malice behind it; they just may have never asked the dying person specifically what he or she wants. So, when I think about how best to advocate, the first step is, make sure you are confident that what you're advocating for is truly what that person wants. If you have that confidence, you have to lead with that when you engage the family. You have to be able to say that you've had this dialogue with the person and this is what they want.
I'd like to think that leading with that and engaging them in that manner will be hard to dispute. It's hard to escalate a situation if you're if you're leading with that. But at the very least, it mitigates the risk that the conversation deteriorates into something ugly.