The feelings that you have when someone close to you is very ill can be very strong and hard to deal with. Trying to be open about the way you are feeling may help you to feel more in control. If you can’t do this with the person you’re caring for, try talking with someone else, like a friend or relative. Your feelings may be easier to deal with once you have discussed them.
Many people find it very difficult to be open together in this way, especially when they’re faced with a new and stressful situation. Some carers are uncomfortable about discussing their own feelings with the person with cancer because they don’t want to upset them. Others can’t bear to talk about it because they don’t think they’ll be able to comfort their friend or loved one, or because they’re worried about breaking down and crying in front of them.
Some people are simply not used to talking with each other about their feelings.
There are no right or wrong ways of communicating and often just being there, perhaps giving a hug or holding hands, is enough to show someone that you care. Be prepared for them to talk about their illness if they want to. Often they won’t expect you to provide answers but just to listen and understand so they don’t feel so alone.
If you both find it hard to talk about your feelings, it may be easier to bring in a third person to help you. This could be a trusted friend, a religious leader, a counsellor or one of the health professionals you’ve got to know and trust.
We have more information about talking to and supporting someone with cancer.