What I have learned when loved ones were seriously ill and or dying. Advice

What I have learned when loved ones where seriously ill and or dying. Advice
My best friend my twin soul friend died when he was 29. Nine other friends died the same year.
No one wants to gain experience in dealing with a sick and or terminally ill loved one. But, if you go
through that very painful and intimate experience you do learn ways of coping. Here is what I learned about myself when Shane was shot, Roy and other friends of mine where dying and Dominic had a stroke.

1.       When you are dealing with your grief that a loved one is dying you have to remember every single day when all you want to do is weep and stay under the covers, that you are losing one person but, the person who is dying is losing everyone they know, their home, everything object, every beautiful bit of their natural world and their own life. Their grief is huge.
2.       When people are sick you have to remember every day that they're in pain. So many of their verbal and nonverbal messages are to say to you and the world, “I hurt!” “I am in pain.” You need to communicate that you see, hear and feel their pain.” They are often unable to see feel and hear your pain, because their message is so overwhelming. I know I have tried out for the role more than once, but Martyrs are characters in books and movies, and kind of hard to be in real life.  If you feel unheard, and it’s effecting your ability to be a helpmate, communicate! A possible message.  So how about, “I know you are in great pain, I am in pain too and I know you care so please let me share my pain with you as well so we stay close.” Or “I find that I am stuffing my pain, to not burden you with it, but it is making me feel inauthentic with you when I want to us to stay our real loving selves so can I share a little bit of my pain with you?”
3.       Because they are in pain, they may be mad at God, the world and you. They may be mean, they may get mad, they may even be abusive. Don't take it personally. Don't think it reflects what they truly feel about you. Don't think it's a reflection of their lack of love. They are raging against their illness and you just happened to be the closest person to them so you get the rage.  
Roy would say to me, “Patti, you are the only one I can really get mad at, because I know that you love me. I know that you know my soul and no matter what I do you will keep on loving me anyway.” But, don't be afraid to call them on their stuff.  Just because they're sick and dying doesn't mean that they can be cruel.
4.       Embrace laughter embrace humor, embrace silliness. Embrace funny moments, embrace the joys of life and the absurdity of death and dying. When my best friend Roy was dying we laughed so very much. When he was hooked up to an IV that was his sole means of sustenance the last eight months of his life we had so many jokes about it. We used humor “tenderize” the pain. We had jokes about the Wendy's drive-through, Big Mac's, ice cream and steaks and fries coming in through the IV. Both of us where dealing with a very real reality that he would never taste and savor real food again before he died, but he could still laugh. Our laughter confirmed the fact that even as he was dying he was still living.

Illness and dying create a unique intimacy between you and your loved one, take the gifts of that intimacy and may you be supported and know that you are loved.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com.