The following information is provided by Lindsay Dobson, MA, Family Therapist at East Cheshire Hospice:
Watching someone we love suffer is one of the hardest experiences of life – that awful helpless feeling that you have, when you know you can’t make it stop or take it away is unbearable. Yet we do bare it and we do carry on. If you are right now in that position, then the fact your reading this means you are bearing the unbearable and that takes a lot of strength and courage. Strength and courage that you can harness and use for the rest of this difficult journey.
Most families I have worked with have at some point struggled for things like child-minding, lifts – the practicalities of life – as cancer treatments take up so much time and energy. It leaves everyone drained and tired and feeling like life is never going to be the same again – compounded if during this you’re also preparing for a new baby in the family. So talk to the family, find out how you can help – offer to childmind or give lifts, make tea or go out and do something nice.
Be there if and when needed and don’t be scared of talking about what is happening, but also don’t make it the only topic of conversation. If there is a child in the family, check out with the parents what they are telling the child, so you’re all on the same page and there are no confusing differences in what’s being told to the child. But mostly if you’re not sure ask – each person is different and each family different they can tell you better than anyone else what they need.