To the family of a suffering loved one…
As tough as it is to watch, the most you can do is be a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on. Be a place of solace, a warm body of comfort when the world around them feels cold and hopeless. Whatever disease your loved one may be suffering from, whether it be mental or physical, we know you are suffering too. The only thing harder than having an actual illness yourself is watching someone you love suffer.
The sad reality is there is nothing you can do to take away the pain your loved on is experiencing, but you can make sure they do not feel alone in their time of need. It is okay to not know how to act, as long as you are putting him or her first. Everyone processes struggle and fights their battles differently. That being said it is important not to judge your person on how they are managing, but be their strength when they have none.
To be there for someone is to pass your love onto him or her when they may not have within themselves. I don’t think there is any such thing as checking in on somebody too much. You may think you sound annoying. You might even be annoying your person, but trust me, you will never regret being “too there” for someone. However, you will always regret the missed opportunities you don’t take. I will never forget the instantaneous knots formed in my stomach and overwhelming heat I felt as blood immediately rushed to my face. This sickly feeling came from my ill family member revealing that they had been suicidal for a period of time. My initial thought being, “What the f***?” I couldn’t wrap my head around her being in such a dark place; when to me she appeared to be managing her autoimmune disease just fine. There was also a lot of shame in hearing this months after the fact, from a family member I considered myself very close to. I should have known sooner. I should have been there. This is when I learned you can never be there for someone enough. Always reach out, always send a checking in text, and always offer them a safe place to be open about what they’re up against. What your eyes perceive is only a sliver of his or her reality. You have to dig deep to understand what you’re person is going through and yes, that is your job.
No one should ever suffer in silence, you included. Take care of yourself and be the best version of yourself you can be. Seek help if you need help coming to terms with the overwhelming monster hurting your family. Be open with your person about how his or her illness is affecting you. Let this person know that he or she is not in this alone, because after all, we are all in this fight together.