“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing” – Mother Theresa
Experiencing terminal illness is a fact in life that we have to endure, either personally or in caring for someone else and the journey is not an easy one by any means. The best and only thing that we can do is make sure to look after and care for one another and be as helpful and supportive as possible. Caring for a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness can take you on a very difficult and deeply emotional journey. While caring for them might be difficult, it’s very important to remember that most terminally ill people just want to live a normal life. You don’t have to change your relationship with them and nor do you need to be extra sensitive around them. They are just the same people so behave and love them just the same way.
Knowing how to support and care for a loved one with a terminal illness is far more challenging than imaginable. Most people have no idea what to say or do, how they can help their loved one to cope with the diagnosis and how they can personally deal with the grief. There is one guaranteed way in which you can care and help someone who has a terminal illness and that’s by being there for them and giving them emotional support. Give them a shoulder to lean on and listen to them. Talk to them about everyday things, joke with them, recall your memories and make your relationship with them a special one. Also remember, that most terminally ill patients want to cling to their normal life as much as they can so if they want to carry on with their daily chores, allow them to do so. Respect their wishes at all times and whenever and wherever possible, help them out in every way, from grocery shopping for them to just being there when they need you.
When a loved one has been diagnosed with terminal illness, most people start mourning their loss before they are even gone, and in doing so, they miss out on these special moments with them. It’s very important to spend your time with them while you still can and keep the conversations light-hearted as easy. You obviously wouldn’t want to look back at these trying times and think to yourself “Why didn’t I make the most of it?”
For some, the journey might be days, for others it can be weeks or even months and years. All the same, in the time period of caring for a loved one with a terminal illness, you should encourage them to talk about his or her life, how they met their partner, their greatest and proudest moment and so on. Trust us, you will be absolutely amazed by their stories. Another benefit of talking about old memories is that it helps to affirm the fact that their life mattered and that he or she will be remembered. To make these moments even more special, you can even record these conversations.
Finally, keep in mind that you loved one is still very much the same person he or she was before being diagnosed with terminal illness. Don’t allow an illness to create a gap in your relationship but make it a means to come closer to them and cherish them even more. These days are numbered so love, care and be there for them so one day, you can look back and be glad for the times you had together.