In hospice care, it is understood that the patient is going to die. There is time to think, to reconcile, to say goodbye. For the patient, there is time to worry, to wonder if their family will be okay without them. They can actually hold on to life, for a time, with these thoughts. Though death waits, they cling to life.
In hospice work, the most important guidance we gave a family member was to give their loved one permission to die. Release them from the responsibilities of this life by telling them it was okay to go; a hard thing to do, but necessary. As a family member gave their loved one permission to die, without realizing it, they gave themselves permission to live.