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Throughout our lives, we experience many transitions. Death is a transition that has been compared to birth - in reverse. Many changes occur in families when a new family member arrives or a family member leaves. Roles, relationships, and responsibilities of family members shift during these transitions.
The process of dying may be:
A slow steady decline over many years.
A chronic illness that patients and family members accept and adjust to.
An up and down roller coaster with multiple life threatening episodes separated by times of feeling well, being told you are free of disease, or in remission.
A very sudden illness and death.
Sometimes patients and families have a sense that the end is near, and sometimes they are caught off guard due to an aggressive disease, a sudden recurrence when things were looking good, or complications. Whatever the process, you need to trust that you know when the end is near.
The process of dying is very different for each of us. We encourage you to pick and choose the information in the Transitions Center that best fits for you each time you visit.
Written by Linda Miller, RN, MA
Edited by DSTW