Questions for a Dying Person

If you knew someone you love was dying and still had some time with them, what questions would you ask?

Or what questions do you wish you had asked someone you have lost?

Context: My husband just got some bad news about his father’s health. He has never had anyone close to him die and asked me what things he should ask while he can.

Not to sound like a jerk, but having “been there”, the most important thing is to just tell them you love them, and if there is anything that you need to forgive them for, do it (you don’t necessarily have to discuss this forgiveness with them).

Questions should be of a practical nature, like asking about financial / will / living will info if you don’t already have it, and if the person can handle it, discuss what they want for their funeral arrangements if you don’t already know.

In my case, the questions were mostly from my dying parent to me. “What will happen to my cat?” (Answer: you know I love your cat and I will take good care of her.) “What clothes will you have me wear in the coffin?” (Answer: I was thinking your pink pantsuit.) That sort of thing.

I don’t think of death as a time to ask the dying person questions. If they want you to know something, they will tell you.


Thank you. And I definitely agree. Maybe that is why I didn’t have any answers when he asked me what to ask.

1 Like

I wouldn’t ask any questions. I would try my best just to be there in the present, and listen. I had that opportunity with my mother, but not my father.


I’d try to help them get to heaven through prayers and try to get them the sacraments if possible. I am going to work on my virtues and spiritual advancements so I can have a better chance at reaching this goal.

1 Like

My sister is jumping between critical in ICU and critical but stable and in a specialised burns unit. We talk, When she can talk, things that will inspire a bit of faith and hope in her.
I don’t ask , I let her talk.


We knew that my father was terminally ill six months before his death .

The first time my dad spoke about it he said he had wanted to be around to care for my mum in her old age .

That night I went out for a drink with my dad , and I told him not to worry , that I would see to my mum .

He was quite open in telling people that he was dying .

I didn’t ask my dad any questions .

It was a matter of being there with him , taking each day as it came , meeting his needs when necessary .

You can’t plan for these events in life . It is a matter of accepting what each day brings , but when my dad’s death eventually came it was still a shock . Life is a funny old thing .


My dad died when I was still very young. My biggest regret was not asking him questions just so I would know what were his wisdom on many issues. Also, having not to ask about his life before he was married. I heard a lot about him from his friends after he died, and I missed him.

When he was gone, you would want those as his legacy for you. You would want to know about your dad but it is better if you hear it from him.


Let him know how you feel about him, how much you love and value him. In life we so often do not do this and we can often feel awkward doing so (particularly between sons and fathers, I think). Don’t let this go without saying it as there will not be a chance to do so in years to come.


I definitely agree that being there and the time spent together is most important, also learning their wishes medically and otherwise.

Anyone I loved who has died so far lived through times in history I wish I had asked them about. I haven’t had any strong I wish I had asked them regrets.

So when my husband asked this, I turned to the internet. Any lists I found of that nature were really selfish awful things to ask a person. Things about their regrets or what you should do differently than they did. If a person wanted to tell you those things, they would. You don’t force them to dredge up things like that as they’re checking out.

I think he must feel like he wants to know that he really knew his Dad before the time comes, since it seems like there is some warning and an indefinite amount of time. His parents got divorced when he was a teen and got back together a little over ten years later. The in between time was sort of a mystery and he didn’t see him much. Since then, they are super close, take any chace to hang out and talk late into the night. His dad was his best man at our wedding. I suspect that is where this feeling is coming from.

The only thing I would ask them is if there was anything I could do to make them feel better or help them be comfortable.


If he or she is a Catholic, i would ask, Can i bring you a Catholic Priest for anointing of the sick and Confession since the soul is more important than the body


This is definitely a priority. He is a non-practicing Catholic who has not been to mass other than other people’s special occasions in probably 50 years. He does not consider himself Catholic at this time.

The help of a good priest will be needed here for sure.


yes, also salvation depends upon the last moment it is the best thing you can do to save his soul

1422 "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."4


1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father5 from whom one has strayed by sin.

It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.

1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.

It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent "pardon and peace."6

It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: "Be reconciled to God."7 He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: "Go; first be reconciled to your brother."8

1 Like

Our Humane Society also has a program you can join before anything happens to you. The paperwork is not legally binding but it gives you peace of mind that the Humane Society is willing to take your pets and find a new home for them.

I saw different pets on their website. Cats, dogs, birds, white rats, gerbils, hamsters…

The thing is that I cannot depend upon any of my relatives to take my animals. I often thought that I would rather live in a cave if it meant keeping my pets or not. So, when I die, they will be rehomed. Just thought I would mention it because it could be an option.



An ancient Christian writer wrote that, “of all divine things, the most divine is to share with God in the saving of souls.”

Interestingly, God and Souls was the motto of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, whose revelations in the 1930s led to the modern Divine Mercy movement.

Our Lord asked St. Faustina to pray and offer the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for sinners and the dying, saying:

Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties [that is, insistent prayers], obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul." (Diary of St. Faustina, 1777)

Saint Faustina was often given the grace to know when a certain dying person desired or needed prayer; she would be alerted to the moment, by her Guardian Angel or by our Lord Himself. At those times she would pray until she no longer felt the need to pray, or a sense of peace came upon her, or she learned that the person had died, or heard the soul say, “Thank You!” She wrote: “Oh, dying souls are in such great need of prayer! O Jesus, inspire souls to pray often for the dying” (Diary, 1015)

**One of the best means of assisting the dying is the one that Jesus revealed to St. Faustina and insisted that she use often, even continuously: The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. Jesus said, “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. … Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior” (Diary, 1541). **

Earlier, our Lord said to her, “At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same” (Diary, 811).

What if the person prays from a distance? Saint Faustina had a love for the sick and dying, and she prayed for them with great fervor. The following experiences recorded in her Diary make it clear that one does not have to be at the bedside physically. She wrote, “It sometimes happens that the dying person is in the second or third building away, yet for the spirit, space does not exist. It sometimes happens that I know about a death occurring several hundred kilometers away. This has happened several times with regard to my family and relatives and also sisters in religion, and even souls whom I have not known during their lifetime” (Diary, 835).
… Read on …

1 Like

The Promises of the Chaplet of Mercy
Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy – Jesus
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a prayer of intercession prayed on ordinary rosary beads in as little as ten minutes, yet its prayerful recitation comes with a plethora of graces and promises. Jesus instructed Saint Faustina,

If the Lord is saying “It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet,” shouldn’t we take every opportunity to recite this prayer with intentions for our country, our neighbors, our world?

As are many of us today, St. Faustina was greatly concerned for all mankind. Her lamentations then sound remarkably familiar to what one might hear today. She records in Diary passage 929:


Good idea. I was going to have the kids join us for a (hopefully) daily rosary. They know Pawpaw is sick. That’s all they know for now. The Divine Mercy chaplet may be most fitting as mercy is really what we need right now.

1 Like

yes, i practically experienced while my Mom was in the ICU ,i said it so many time, like i was mad, all night till the morning,i never felt tired ,and felt so calm and peaceful.i was not giving up on her,was fighting and pleading for her life to Jesus weeping ,but then a thought came to me that i should give up my will and surrender to the will and in the hands of Jesus as did it, i felt a heavy burden from me lifted up, she passed away peaceful in the evening.


“Sooo… about that bank account…?”

I’d probably think that a person’s dying hours are the time for telling, not asking. Telling how much they mean to you, how much they’ve impacted you, how much God loves them even now, especially now. And when the time comes, to “Go forth, Christian soul…”

The hours of death should be times of no more asking, no more questions. Only statements of love, encouragement, support, and commendation.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit