Loving someone with a terminal illness will change you. Whether it’s a family member, a dear friend, or even a stranger- you don’t get to walk away unscathed. It’s watching them try and shield you from the grim reality of their situation. No matter how terrible the news is they will always attempt to say it straight-faced. You are already in pain and they know that. A tear or two may slip, but you can’t show them how upset you really are. You tell yourself you must remain strong to keep their spirits up. In reality that just means a lot of crying behind closed doors and to your significant other.
You feel like you’re never doing enough. Someone terminally ill always needs help with something or other and if you aren’t there to do it it’ll eat away at you. Finding joy in small moments becomes what you live for. You live to see them actually laugh- the real laugh and not the fake one they adopted after getting so sickly. You stop asking “How’d your day go?” and instead ask “How’s the pain been today?” followed by a million other ‘how can I help’ type questions. Sometimes it’s better to not ask and just start doing things they need help with.
You can try and be positive about the situation but realistically you’re getting a full blown beat down from life. There is nothing positive about losing someone you love to an illness except for the prospects of them finally being pain-free. They’ll be sure to remind you, too. The little comments about being “better off dead” or “being a burden” are incredibly hard to hear as you struggle to keep the ship afloat.
Can you really blame somebody for self-preservation though? I can’t. Terminal illness is trying to be the most selfless person you can be while falling apart for somebody else.