Visitors, well-wishers, friends (so many disappear… ) overall do not know how to be with a sick person. It seems as if THEY would like to be taken care of because THEY cannot handle the stress of being with you…
I remember a friend from those days having a hard time accepting that “No, things were not better” and this was not changing fast enough… but a sick person cannot be teaching a healthy person how to be (with a sick person).
From my point of view, besides the good tips below,
just BE with the other person, NO need to fill in the gaps.
Presence is 100 percent of life.
An excerpt from the NYTimes article by Bruce Feiler:
1. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? Most patients I know grow to hate this ubiquitous, if heartfelt question because it puts the burden back on them.
2. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. In my experience, some people think about you, which is nice.
3. DID YOU TRY THAT MANGO COLONIC I RECOMMENDED? I was stunned by the number of friends and strangers alike who inundated me with tips for miracle tonics.
4. EVERYTHING WILL BE O.K. Unsure what to say, many well-wishers fall back on chirpy feel-goodisms.
5. HOW ARE WE TODAY? Every adult patient I know complains about being infantilized.
6. YOU LOOK GREAT. Nice try, but patients can see right through this chestnut.