‘Love is not what you say it’s what you do’ (unknown) 

I recently found out my sister has breast cancer to say I’m heartbroken is an understatement and I feel more for my sister who is having panic attacks left right and centre. 

Therefore I pulled myself together and done research on how I could make my sister feel more comfortable. Here’s a list of what followed; 

  1. Do what is needed, not what you think you should do. That is, do what is asked of you. Many of us have dreams of being the valiant caregiver who selflessly never leaves the hospital bedside for a moment. If that’s how you think it will go down, I want to tell you something: that may not be what your loved one needs from you.
  2. If your loved one wants to talk to you about death, listen. As difficult as it sounds it’s not about you it’s about them. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear what your loved one wishes for you, because you think you’ll be able to do it later. Later, may never come.
  3. Every so often check in with the support person. It’s natural for people to be curious about what’s happening with the illness and the patient. But illness impacts all the people close to the patient, too. Caretakers shift our work schedules so we can be there at the important doctor appointments. We file the bureaucratic hospital paperwork. 
  4.  Don’t hide the fact that you’re unhappy for months. If you’re feeling unhappy about a relationship with a person who is sick, don’t bottle it up and hope it will go away. If you’re just showing up out of a sense of duty, you won’t have much staying power. And that day when you disappear with no chance of returning is more than a disappointment for your sick loved one. It’s a crisis.
  5. Understand that “cheering up” a sick person may backfire.  your loved one is really sick, be sensitive. Acknowledge how tough things are before you gush about your magical vacation, your budding romance, or the wild dance party you went to last night. And if your loved one tells you they’re not in the mood for happy stories right now, honor their wishes.
  6. Realise that your chicken soup may not be wanted or helpful.  you do make food for someone on a restricted diet, know that you are not just making food. You are making medicine. And your care and attention to detail needs to be the same as if you were preparing to give someone medicine.
  7. 7. Be prepared for plans to change. If your loved one is sick, the fact that they need to change plans in no way reflects how much they care about you. They are not in control of what happens. Trust that they are doing their best. Don’t take it personally.
  8. 8. Take all of these guidelines with a grain of salt. he one certain rule is that there are no certain rules. Depending on the circumstances and the people involved, all of these things could change. he one certain rule is that there are no certain rules. Depending on the circumstances and the people involved, all of these things could change. Some people may want you to distract them from the circumstances or the pain by pretending that everything is like it used to be. Or they may appreciate you holding your tongue

Have you ever been ill? What did you find best with receiving support? 

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