Things you should do when someone you love has cancer

Receiving the diagnosis of cancer is heartbreaking for everyone involved in someone's life, but here are some methods to help you stay strong and cherish the time you have together.

Dealing with cancer
Living in the present and staying positive will help you to make the most of the time you have with your loved one. Photo: Dimid_86, Bigstock.

“Everybody dies”. At least, that’s what we try to tell ourselves when we attempt to come to terms with a loved one who has cancer. We tell ourselves this whether or not they have a decent chance at survival, because that’s the only way most of us know to deal with the thought of it. Acceptance.

But what if there were other ways to deal with your grievance? Ways that, if your loved one is heading for the last stretch of their life, you can bring more love into their final times. There are many other ways to deal with this horrible situation than most think.

Whether it is our panicked minds that fail to see these methods, or otherwise, too many people lack the support they need to deal with grieving the loss and/or possible loss of someone they care about.

That being said, hopefully you may find some gems in this article to help you through this most difficult of times.

Embrace

How many times have you swallowed your grievance and sadness during this ordeal? It’s likely a fair bet to say it has happened quite a few times. This is an unhealthy way of coping with the situation and needs to be fixed.

Not many people will tell you to be sad. Most will say “It’ll be okay”, or “cheer up”, because not many people are aware that you being sad and dealing with the full process of sadness is what will enable you, when the time comes, to celebrate the person you love’s life, rather than grieve their death.

Let yourself cry. Be sad. Go through the emotions that come and DO NOT, whatever you do, fight them. Withdrawing yourself emotionally from the situation only leaves you worse off in the end, as you will find it much harder to accept the loss of your loved one, should worse come to worse. It is a sad time, so let it be sad.

Enrichment

How would you like to spend your last moments? With people sitting around your bedside, being miserable; or would you rather your loved ones sat with you and spoke of the memories you share and cherish?

It is most likely that anyone facing their final days/weeks/months will very much prefer that you speak to them as you would any other time, but with more meaning. Speak about things you love and care about and that they love and care about.

In the last section, you were advised to allow yourself to cry. This is still very much valid. But you can let youself cry without making your loved one’s final moments miserable.

Share their final moments with them. Enrich the time they have left and both you and your loved one will be very much grateful for having done so.

Empathise

You may not have considered it yet, but you most certainly aren’t the only one who is suffering from the grief of your loved one’s ailment. Their family, friends, etc. will be very much in need of your support in these times as well.

Everyone is in the same boat when dealing with the loss of a loved one and working together to overcome the grief is your best hope of moving on in a healthy way. What does it mean to empathise?

Don’t push people away. That’s a good start. Embrace your loved one’s family and friends and offer a shoulder to cry on. Goodness knows that you may need the same from them either in the near or distant future.

Celebrate

No, don’t celebrate your loved one’s death! Celebrate their life! The very best thing you can do for yourself and everyone dealing with this grief is to think of and celebrate the person in question’s life.

All their achievements and what they meant to you are important things to recognise when dealing with their loss. Never forget 2 things- who they were as a person and who they were to you.

Keeping an honest and clear image in your mind of the passed loved one is the best way you can ensure they live on in your heart for the remainder of your own life.

Dealing with this kind of loss is never easy. Especially when you are dealing with the months beforehand and watching the strong, amazing person you know grow weaker and weaker.

People who tell you it’ll be ok aren’t lying. They mean it. You will be ok and so will they. This is how life intended they leave the world and that is the only thing that must be accepted.

Never blame yourself. Whoever they are to you and to others, they would not want you to carry that guilt on your shoulders for even a second. This won’t be easy. Just stay strong.