It is difficult to watch someone you love face an extended or terminal illness. I think the very nature of a woman’s heart is to want to fix situations, to do something. Being in this situation can leave you feeling helpless. It doesn’t have to be that way. While it is true you can’t change the situation, you can help by doing things that show you care about that person and make their battle a little easier to face.
You can offer support. Sometimes the biggest help is a shoulder to cry on. Be there when your loved one needs to talk. You may not have all the right words and that’s okay. Just listening is a gift we can give to others. Agreeing that what they are going through is tough is validating their words. Let them know they are in your prayers.
You can also help by offering encouragement and a bit of a smile. Maybe a card can say the right thing to uplift their day. Say things to make them smile; tell them the funny things that have happened to you or your children have said. Talk about normal life. Sometimes it makes you feel selfish to do so, but when you do you are giving them a bit of a break from constantly thinking about their illness.
Offer to do specific tasks, or if you are close enough to the individual, step in and do them. Maybe you can offer to do their grocery shopping or throw a load of laundry in while you are there. Taking meals is always a good way to help. No matter what happens in life, people still have to eat. Just be careful to find out and follow any dietary restrictions they might have.
Give thoughtful gifts. True, a gift won’t fix anything but it can give them a bit of respite. Care packages are a wonderful choice. Fill them with books or dvds, things to fill their time while they are unable to do anything active. Distractions can be a blessing.
Let them know you love them. That helps more than anything.