Sadly, more and more people are finding themselves having to live with terminally ill partners. A recent study published by medical journal Lancet predicts that South Africa could see an increase of 78% in the number of cancer cases by 2030. Another report found that one in six men and one in seven women in South Africa will get cancer during their lives.
Witnessing your loved one suffering is overwhelming. You may feel helpless. Although you cannot bring their health back, there are things that you can do to ensure that you cope.
Accept the situation and be fair to yourself
The first step is to accept the situation. Choosing to be in denial will do you more harm than good. However, be fair to yourself. There are days where you might feel down, days where you might find it hard to cope, days where you might need to get outside help. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s only normal that seeing the one you love suffer may leave you feeling devastated. So take it one day at a time.
Talk to someone
Many people may choose to keep their struggles to themselves, but talking about them will help you feel better. There are many support groups that you can join. These groups will enable you to share your experiences with others who are also going through the same thing and get support.
Don’t be hard on your spouse
Understand that being diagnosed with a terminal illness is devastating for your partner. You may notice a change in their behavior and they might need you to be a little bit more understanding and loving.
Re-affirm your love for them
Let your partner know that you love them no matter their state of health. Say more re-affirming words such as “I love you”, “I appreciate you”, “I’m happy you are in my life”. Kind words really have a way of warming the heart.
Don’t stop living
Sometimes those who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses can feel so hopeless that they stop doing fun activities. Those who care for them can also put their lives on hold. This shouldn’t be so. Ensure that you make the most of your time. Choose to have fun and do activities that both of you love. This will also help you create beautiful memories that you can cherish even when they are gone.