Geeks Vs Loneliness: when a relative is very ill

Just a few words on keeping going when a friend or relative is seriously ill...

Hello and welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our spot on the site where we try and talk about things that may be affecting you, or people around you. A warm welcome is offered to you here, although sadly we have no stock of miracle cures. But what we do have, hopefully, is something in this series that will be of use to people around you, or maybe you yourself. Hope so.

This week’s is difficult, as we want to talk about when a friend or relative falls seriously ill, possibly with no happy ending in sight. Stories like this are playing out around us all the time, and you never know who is hiding one behind the face that they present to the rest of the world. That doesn’t hide that fact that there are few things in the world more heartbreaking than seeing someone you love go through suffering.

Firstly, a hug from us if this applies to you. A huge hug.

Secondly, another one.

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Thirdly, just a few things that have been useful to us over the years in this situation. We’re no experts, but hopefully there’s something here that’s of use to you.

The hardest thing often to keep hold of is self-care, but heck, this needs to be right near the top of your agenda. Keep yourself fed, watered and washed. Try and sleep as well as you can. If possible, try and get into a daily routine, just to ensure that you’ll find pockets of time to keep your own strength up. It’s no coincidence that on a flight, you’re always told to secure your own oxygen mask first before anyone else’s. As selfish as it may feel, there’s truth to that. You need your own strength, and chances are people around you need it too.

Next, crying. Because what you’re going through is tough, and as much as you may try and act otherwise, you’re a human being. There’s no weakness in crying. Making time at least for a good, proper, ugly, guttural cry every day is no bad thing to do.

Talking to people, that’s on the list too. Friends and relatives: talk to them. Don’t hide your feelings, and try not to let them hide theirs. A difficult situation is rarely made easier by bottling things up.

Talking, too, to medical staff. Try to base as much of day to day on hard facts if you can. Everyone is different there, certainly, but often, facts tend to work a lot better than a brain filling in the blanks. Avoiding Dr Google comes highly recommended on the list too.

Finally, and lord, this is one of the hardest things of all to wrap our head around, so we can’t promise this is easy for you either. But things go on. Even if the worst happens, the sun still rises. It may feel bleak, it may feel like there’s nothing but darkness ahead of you. Please talk. Because as brutal as life can be sometimes, it does go on. Things, as much as they may feel otherwise, are surmountable.

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If any of this applies to you, then huge, huge hugs. More of them. Please know that you’re allowed to be a human being. You’re allowed to be perfect. And we dearly hope that even in the most difficult, horrible of times, life finds you a smile somewhere.

All the best, folks. Thanks, as always, for reading.