There are no set rules or guidelines to help your loved one who is dealing with a potentially deadly disease. Even though we all mean well, sometimes our concern is a cause of irritation for the patients and in such cases we have to dig deep for understanding, patience and love.
A few tips to help you support your loved one:
First Deal with Your Own Feelings
As hard as it might be, your loved is looking to you for support and understanding. To be there for them in every way, it is important that you deal with what you are feeling first. You might feel helpless, scared and alone and sometimes feel that you just can't do this. But you can! All you have to remember is that you have to be there in every way you can and the rest will follow.
You want to fix things. You want to make this all better and you can do it by consciously listening to someone with cancer. It is easier said than done, as many times you have to let the patient talk it all out, even though it might make you uncomfortable. Death is something no one wants to talk about, but in such cases is something that plays on every one's mind, so let them speak about whatever they like and just be there for them. Listen. Listen with your ears, with your eyes and with your body.
Lend a Hand of Help
You will have to be initiative and say that you will do certain things. Cancer has a lot of ill effects on the body and simple daily chores, like folding your clothes, become an ordeal. In such cases, don't wait for your loved one to ask for help, offer it before.
Go to Appointments with Them
Hospitals and clinics can be an added stress or a downright frightening experience for some. Going with your loved for their appointments shows that you care for them and are with them through everything.
I Love You
Many of us forget to say this to the people we love and it is a sad shame if we need a disease to remind us. But amongst all the people, your loved one suffering from a disease needs to hear it as often as possible. Let them know that they are special and valued and they mean the world to you. No one will ever tire of hearing the words, "I Love You".
Humor is the Best Medicine
Laughing with your loved one lets them take their mind off the experience they are going through. A simple smile goes a long way, so why not go all the way with a laugh?
Give them their Alone Time
You might want to make sure that they are OK at all times, but you have to give them their space and respect their privacy. Also, don't let visitors and well wishers tire the patient out. Your loved one might not want to appear impolite by asking them to leave, so learn to read your loved one's moods so you can
Take Care of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one. Eat well, sleep well and take a break whenever you can. If you are in a relaxed frame of mind, it will have the same effect on your loved one.
Educating yourself and your loved one is the best thing you can do. Don't hide anything from each other and always tell the truth, even if it's shocking. It is better than lies.
Support for your loved one is most important and you can find helpful resources in cancer books. You can try Secrets of Cancer Survivors by Elizabeth Gould. For more information, please click here: www.secretsofcancersurvivors.com
Danielle Summers works as a counsellor specialising in helping the patients of life threatening diseases such as cancer. She also likes to talk about her work through her articles over the internet.
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