Whenever we find out that someone we love is terminally ill, we automatically check our actions and words when we are around that person. We are afraid that the words we say or the actions we do might send the dying person spiraling into despair.
Unfortunately, there are still some people who think that some words and actions are appropriate to say and do to someone very sick.
“How are you?”
You might be surprised to know that if you ask someone from hospice care services in Indiana how they are, you are basically opening the floodgates to a well of tears. That is because the terminally ill person will be forced to think about their current condition, which could make them feel depressed.
Instead, what you can say to someone who is dying is “How are you today?” or “How are you feeling today?” When you phrase the question like this, you are somehow limiting their thoughts to the current moment. So, instead of them thinking about the limited time they have, they can focus on what they are feeling at the moment, which hopefully is okay.
“Maybe you want to sit this one out.”
When we encounter someone who is terminally ill, most of us assume that they are already too weak to join any activity, such as going to the mall or hiking up a hill. However, when a person is gravely ill, it is even more important to ask them if they want to get out of the house.
If your loved one is still capable of walking around and is not hooked up to machines, then do not assume that they are too weak. Do not make the decision for them. Excluding them from any enjoyable activity will only make them feel more depressed. If you have a day trip coming up, ask your terminally ill friend or relative if they want to join you.
“Do you need anything?”
Instead of waiting for your loved one to ask you for help, it would be better if you go ahead and assist them. Also, it does not help if you ask what kind of help they need because they already have lots of things in their mind. They do not have the energy to tell you what specific assistance they need.
Instead, you can go ahead and help clean their house, wash the dishes, feed their pets, cook dinner, or put their clothes in the washing machine. You need to be more proactive when it comes to terminally ill people because they are preoccupied with their condition.
“So tell me more about your condition.”
Perhaps it would be okay to talk to your friend or family member about their cancer or any disease that is killing them on some days, but most days, they would rather not focus on it. If you are going to spend lots of time with your dying friend, you should find other things to talk about. Preferably, stuff that they enjoy, too, such as their hobbies or the places they want to visit.