Message when someone is sick
50 Best Get Well Soon Messages
When a loved one in your life is feeling down, all you want to do is be there for them. Whether they're sick, injured, or dealing with a personal challenge—one of the greatest ways to show you care is with a heartfelt, personalized "get well soon" message. (Tied with a delicious homemade lasagna, of course.) But sometimes, expressing your thoughts with words isn't exactly easy, especially when you want to make sure you're saying the right thing. Your goal is to offer support and lift their spirits without being overbearing or insensitive—it's not easy!
The good news: there are plenty of encouraging, warm, and comforting things to say to your family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker going through a tough time.
If you're feeling a bit stuck crafting your special handwritten card to go with the flower delivery headed their way, we're here to help! This list of the best get well soon wishes has something for every circumstance from what to write in a sympathy card to sentimental phrases and uplifting quotes. There's even a few messages on the funnier side to brighten someone's mood. Here, you'll find the perfect words for anyone in your life to let them know you're rooting for them on their road to recovery. You might even include a warming bowl of chicken noodle soup or a food gift basket! Whatever the wishes—they're sure to appreciate your thoughtful gesture.
Short Get Well Messages
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- Wishing you a speedy recovery.
- Feel better soon!
- Sending lots of love and hugs your way.
- You're in my thoughts.
- Take extra good care of yourself.
- I miss having you around.
- You’ll be feeling healthy and strong again soon!
- Praying for an easy recovery.
- You can call me whenever you need anything.
- I can't wait to see you again!
Meaningful Get Well Messages
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- May you be blessed with good health and a quick recovery.
- I'm hoping you get better soon so you can be back where you belong. I miss you more than you know.
- Sending get-well sunshine your way because you always brighten my days.
- You're one of the strongest people I know, and I have no doubt you'll overcome this.
- I will be here to care for you and nurse you back to health as long as you need it. I love you.
- You are not alone. I'm here for you every step of the way.
- You're in all of our thoughts and prayers as you continue to heal.
- I've always admired your courage and ability to handle anything life throws your way. I know you'll get through this, too.
- I hope you feel all the love surrounding you right now. We can't wait to see you smiling again.
- Gift yourself patience and time while you work to recover. I hope each day brings more comfort and strength.
Funny Get Well Messages
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- If cuddles were medicine, you'd already be better. But I'm here for you regardless!
- I hope you're not as contagious as your smile is! Keep up the positive thoughts.
- Sorry to hear you're using sick days for an actual sickness!
- I guess germs like you as much as I do. I don't blame them. Get well soon!
- Looks like you forgot to eat an apple a day! Here's to a quick recovery.
- Feel better soon so I don’t get sick of missing you!
- I'm sorry you have to eat hospital food. Feel better soon so we can get your favorites!
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- "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." —A. A. Milne
- "Resting is not laziness, it's medicine!" —Glenn Schweitzer
- "Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for the blessing instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can't do it all, but you can do your best. " —Doe Zantamata
- "Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." —Lord Byron
- "We are stronger in the places we have been broken." —Ernest Hemingway
- "Sometimes, the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take a step." —Naeem Callaway
- "Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it." —Tori Amos
- "There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow." —Orison Swett Marden
Get Well Messages for Family
- Life feels incomplete without you. I miss you and how well you cared for me. I hope you recover quickly and come home soon!
- You always taught me that a positive attitude can make anything better. Well, I'm sending you all the positivity as you work to recover. I love you!
- To the woman/man who raised me to be the strong person I am today, I'm sending you some of that strength now. I know you'll get through this.
- You are always in my heart. Get well soon so we can continue doing life together!
- Just reminding you how important you are to me. Thank you for everything you do. I hope you feel better and better each day.
- Soon we'll trade the soup and crackers for dinner at your favorite restaurant. I can't wait to spend time with you again.
- We will always be here for you just as you've always been there for us. Whatever you need, as long as you need it.
- I'll keep taking care of things at home so you don't have to worry about anything but recovery. Please just focus on feeling better.
- I can't wait to hug you again. I've missed the constant light you bring to my life. I hope you get better soon.
- To my son/daughter, I'm wishing on every star that you get better soon! I love you.
Get Well Messages for Colleagues
Kristal O'Neal//Getty Images
- Now that you're out of commission, I realize just how much I need you. Feel better soon!
- We miss you at the office and can't wait to have you back at your desk.
- I'm sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
- Looking forward to seeing you back at our home away from home. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
- I hope you're recovering well! Rest up and please don't stress about the job. We're happy to help and wish you the best while you're away.
Macie ReynoldsAssistant Editor
Macie Reynolds is the assistant editor of E-Commerce and SEO for The Pioneer Woman.
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Get Well Wishes: What to Write in a Get Well Card
By Keely Chace on August 30, 2018
It’s not always easy finding the words to write in a get-well card. We want to offer what comfort we can. We want to bring a smile in the middle of a tough day. We definitely DON’T want to say something insensitive.
Well, relax, because there are plenty of warm, hopeful, encouraging and even funny things you can say to someone who’s injured or ill. And whatever you write, the simple gesture of reaching out with a card will go a long way toward lifting that person’s spirits.
The get-well wishes you write will depend a lot on your recipient and his or her specific health situation. Whether it’s a minor injury or a serious illness, Hallmark’s writers have message ideas to guide you. We hope our tips take some of the pressure off and help you extend a little heartfelt caring to someone who needs it.
- Get-Well Wishes
- For Family or Friends
- For a Child
- Offer to Help
- Serious Injury or Illness
- Terminal Illness
- Warm Closings
You don’t have to write a whole lot to lift your recipient’s spirits in a big way. It’s fine to keep your personal message short, sweet and upbeat—especially when the card itself has already said quite a bit.
- “Hope you get to feeling better soon!”
- “Looking forward to seeing you back at practice when you’re ready.”
- “Wishing you well.”
- “Take extra good care!”
- “Here’s to you—steadier, stronger and better every day.”
- “We hope you’re taking it slow and easy right now.”
- “Take your sweet time getting well!”
- “Sending good, healthy vibes your way.”
- “Warmest wishes for a speedy recovery!”
- “Miss you around here!”
- “Lifting you up in my prayers during your treatments.”
- “I’m sure you’ll be up to your old tricks again in no time!”
- “Hope you feel a little better every day.”
- “You’re in all our warmest thoughts as you recover from your accident.”
- “Hope it won’t be long till you’re out of the hospital.”
- “Think of this as the universe telling you to watch more TV. ”
- “Hope you’re catching up on your cookbook reading!”
Writing tip: A short “miss you” message can be great for a classmate, co-worker or neighbor confined to a hospital or home because of an injury or illness. It’s a nice little reminder that they’re important to you.
For Family or Friends
Get-well wishes expressing love, gratitude and support are great for family or friends facing illness or injury. A healthy dose of humor can also make a nice, uplifting message for someone you know well.
- “You mean so much to me. Hope you’re feeling better very soon.”
- “Hope it helps a little to know how lovingly you’re thought of.”
- “God bless you through your recovery.”
- “Just sending a little get-well sunshine your way because you’re always a bright spot in my days.”
- “Love you and think of you all the time.”
- “Love you…hate that you’re sick.”
- “I know you, and I know you’ll beat this. ”
- “Ugh. I hate it when my favorite people get hurt.”
- “I have faith that you’ll be better really soon.”
- “Sending hugs and love.”
- “Saying extra prayers for your recovery.”
- “No fair. You’re way too nice to be this sick.”
- “The things you’ll do for attention! 😉 Well, you’ve got mine for as long as this takes.”
- “Get better and get back to your amazing self soon!”
- “I realize just how much I need you when you’re out of commission.”
- “If you need me to come over and tell you that you don’t look sick, call me.”
- “Go ahead and milk this as long as you can. I would.”
Writing tip: Steer clear of serious advice about treating a health issue, but feel free to offer more general and lighthearted tips about resting up, healing and passing the time. Those should come as a welcome distraction and day brightener.
For a Child
A get-well message to a child is a chance to encourage, send a hug or a smile, and take their mind off the scary or unpleasant stuff for a little while.
- “Use your superpowers and get well soon!”
- “You’re being so brave, [Princess]. Love you lots.”
- “[Baxter] and I are thinking about you. He says ‘Woof,’ which is doggy for ‘Feel better soon!’”
- “There are easier ways to get out of school, you know. Glad you’re on the mend.”
- “I know things are tough right now. I know you’re tougher.”
- “You are way cooler than this. You’ll be back to your awesome self soon.”
- “Please come back home from the hospital soon! Your toys really miss you.”
- “Wishing on every star that you get better soon.”
- “Can’t wait to see you smiling again!”
- “Sorry things are so un-fun right now. Hoping that changes soon.”
- “Sick stinks. You rock. Get well soon!”
- “Even school is cool when you’re here. Hope to see you back soon.”
- “Like a big ol’ basketball, you’ll bounce back!”
- “I bet your friends miss you at school. You’re very miss-able. ”
- “See? You’re so great, even germs like you!”
- “Ouch! I’m so sorry about your broken leg, [Emma]. Sending you lots of feel-better hugs.”
- “So sorry to hear your ankle will keep you out of action for the rest of the season. Hope you’re able to focus on resting, healing and coming back stronger than ever next year!”
- “Bye-bye tonsils. Hello feeling lots better!”
Writing tip: If you’re sending a get-well gift along with your card, you could mention it in your message: “I hope hugging this teddy bear helps you feel better!”
Offer to Help
If you’re able to help with meals, housework, childcare or something else while your recipient is laid up, then feel free to include an offer to do so as part of your message. Just be sure to follow up and follow through.
- “I’d love to help around the house until you’re up and around again. I’ll text to see about a good time to come over. ”
- “You’re going to beat this thing! Until then, don’t worry about the lawn. We’ve got it covered.”
- “You need it, I got it. Whatever it is.”
- “For now, let somebody else do all the doing. I’d love to bring over some meals, for starters.”
- “I promise I won’t pretend that I can cook for you. How’s takeout sound?”
- “No matter what, no matter when, I want to be there for you. I’ll be in touch soon.”
- “We’re having fun getting [Ella] to and from school with us. Hope that makes one less thing to worry about as you heal up.”
- “Don’t worry about a thing while you’re in the hospital. There’s a whole crew of ‘elves’ taking care of everything. Hope those doctors are taking good care of you!”
- “I’m here for you. For whatever. For as long as you need.”
- “We’ll pick up and clean up. You rest up.”
Writing tip: In general, the more specific your offer of help, the better. And no task is too small.
Serious Injury or Illness
Don’t let your fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from saying anything at all to someone facing a serious injury or illness. Writing a few lines in a card is a relatively comfortable way to reach out—and your caring will come through loud and clear, whatever you write.
- “I was so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Sending lots of caring thoughts your way as you begin treatment.”
- “Praying you’ll feel God’s healing hand at work in you.”
- “I don’t know why bad things like cancer have to happen to good people like you. But I want you to know how much I’m thinking about you and how much I want to help in whatever way I can.”
- “Whatever makes you feel better, that’s what I wish for you as you work through your physical therapy.”
- “Praying with you.”
- “I don’t know what to say, except I love you and I’m thinking of you.”
- “Let’s hang out. As soon as you’re ready, I’m ready.”
- “Wishing you some well-deserved good days to make up for all the crummy ones lately.”
- “This is some serious @#$%. I’m ready to take it on together. ”
- “Call me when you’re up to it. It would be great to hear your voice.”
- “I’ve seen a million of your smiles, and I’m gonna see a million more…”
Writing tip: If you don’t know what to say, it’s fine to admit it. Your recipient will still appreciate hearing from you, along with your willingness to be honest and real with them.
Even when we know for sure that someone is not going to get well, it’s still important to reach out in caring.
- “Thinking about you every day. Have [Steve] let me know if you’d like a visitor sometime.”
- “Thoughts of you are always some of my happiest. Always will be.”
- “It’s good to know you’re receiving wonderful care.”
- “Praying with you.”
- “In my heart and in my prayers. Always…especially now.”
- “Thinking about you today and hoping it’s a good one for you.”
- “It’s always so great when we get together and talk about everything and nothing. I would love for us to do that again soon.”
- “I’m praying for a miracle cure. Hey, doesn’t hurt to ask!”
- “Just wanted to remind you how important you are to me.”
- “You’re in all our warmest thoughts and prayers.”
- “Hope you feel all the love surrounding you right now.”
Writing tip: Near the end of life, there’s a natural opportunity, not only to speak, but also to listen. Consider making your written message an offer to call or visit and do just that.
A warm closing before your signature is a perfect way to wrap up any get-well message. Choose one of ours, or come up with one of your own.
- With love,
- Lots of love,
- Love always,
- Love and prayers,
- Thinking of you,
- Take care,
- Take extra good care,
- Best wishes as you recover,
- Wishing you healing,
- Wishing you rest,
- Wishing you health,
- Good health to you,
- Happy healing,
- God bless you,
- Be well,
- Greeting Card Messages and Ideas
- Additional contributions from Allyson Cook, Jake Gahr, Matt Gowen, Megan Haave and Molly Wigand.
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"Grief, but live for yourself and for that guy" - Pro Palliative
Fear, anger, resentment: different reactions in the same family
"Hiding the diagnosis is unethical, dishonest and harmful"
Family composition and illness : more does not mean easier
Guilt is replaced by anger - on oneself, on doctors, on a deceased person
Psychologist Marina Travkova told the Pro Palliative portal about how incurable diagnoses change relationships within the family and with loved ones, why it is impossible to hide diagnosis and how specialists can help cope with the pain of losing a person.
What happens in the family when one of the relatives finds out about an incurable diagnosis?
It all depends on many factors: some people wait for the test results, hoping for the best to the last, while someone is inundated with news at once. A huge role is played by the social environment, the resources that a family or person has, and the economic situation. And of course, in the case of a disease with a high or imminent risk of death, much depends on how the person is told such news and whether they can be taken care of immediately.
In many countries, medical ethics and communication skills are compulsory disciplines for physicians. Unfortunately, we don't. It is important that the conversation does not take place in a hurry. I would like people not to be told the news about the diagnosis casually, then putting the patient out the door. It would be nice to give a person some time to realize what happened, to make sure that he understands where to go and who to call, if there is someone next to him.
Why is this important?
Emergency events knock us out of the channel, we seem to be out of control, we lose control. The state of helplessness and confusion, abandonment is difficult for a person. Therefore, casually dropping information on a person and not explaining what to do next means leaving them in a situation of horror and panic, and this is simply inhumane. On the other hand, bad news is so bad that there are no good ways to report it.
It is important to endure what happens after such a conversation, especially for a specialist. He must understand that, of course, different people have different attitudes to life and death, differently represent the image of a completely healthy person, and someone may not be traumatized by the news of the diagnosis, someone does not immediately believe him. But if the message about the diagnosis traumatized a person, the space around him immediately narrows, all attention is fixed here and now. Therefore, it is very important that the doctor speaks out the features of the disease and says what the future of the patient can expect with it.
What happens to a person from a psychological point of view?
According to the Kübler-Ross model, a person finds himself in the first stage of mourning - denial. Experts have long called for the stages according to Kübler-Ross not to be treated as periodicals, they can go in any order.
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There are people who seem to freeze in shock, but continue to live and act as if nothing had happened. And there are those who immediately enter into a "bargaining" and fight: they are looking for an alternative treatment, a different opinion, they double-check the tests.
Those who are in denial may not immediately tell their loved ones about the diagnosis and do nothing from what the doctors have prescribed. All this is dangerous when the account goes on hours and days. Therefore, it is desirable that the doctor reporting the diagnosis should immediately give some recommendations, an idea of the next step.
From a psychotherapeutic point of view, diagnosis is a loss. And everyone loses something of their own, so the grief experience is unique. There can be no universal recipes, only a general universal mode is possible: a person is worse than you, so you need to try to alleviate the situation, and not vice versa.
What are the most difficult experiences people can have when they find out that they are sick?
Helplessness and loneliness. Then fear. And then - in different ways, it depends on many things, even on exposure to gender stereotypes. Women in our Russian culture are allowed to complain and cry. It is more difficult for men to survive the identity of the “weak”, by the way, for the same reason, men drag out going to the doctor to the last, we have such a heroic discourse “endure if a man”.
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Fear, anger, resentment: different reactions in one family
It depends on who will be waiting for him at home, who will be next to him. Such news is always unexpected, no one is ever ready for it. In difficult times, support is needed. For those who have someone to go after her, it’s easier. Those who have someone in front of whom they can fall apart and not restrain their affect are doubly lucky. It is more difficult for those who have to restrain their reaction and at the same time also reassure loved ones: for them, this is also stressful. And of course, it is very hard for those who are lonely.
A person who learns about the diagnosis may awaken anger, and it can be directed at anyone, including loved ones. A person who screams “I have been plowing at all of you all my life, and now I have an illness, and now you don’t need me,” is actually experiencing a fear of death and loneliness.
Relatives do not understand the internal mechanics, they think that a person in illness has become intolerable character. As a result, everyone in the family is left with their own complex feelings and resentment.
Therefore, I always say that the last thing to do at this time is to portray a hero or heroes who can handle everything themselves. You should not be afraid to accept the help that is offered, contact support groups, psychologists and psychotherapists. It helps a lot to make plans. If it is important for a person to have time to do something, to go somewhere, or something depends on his actions, this greatly facilitates the situation.
What happens in the family after a person has told about his illness?
Such situations are stressful for everyone. And everyone can have their own reaction, and this can also cause misunderstanding of loved ones. One cries, prays, goes to doctors and healers, and the other family member at this time is “frozen”, behaves as if nothing had happened, even avoids talking about the disease. The first may accuse the second of being callous, but in fact, both of them are grieving, but they have different reactions to stress. One "attacks" the problem, the other avoids it.
Someone tries to get away from stress with favorite folk ways, such as alcohol or immersion in work. Some "run away", turning to healers, astrologers, fortune-tellers in search of miraculous cures. Family members who live under the same roof may react in different ways, and without realizing this, start blaming each other.
That is, if a person lives in a family, together with a partner, parents and children, is it not a good idea to bring them all together and announce the diagnosis to everyone at the same time?
This may be available to a particular family that has a tradition of gathering about good and bad news. But usually everything is individual. Old parents need to find the right moment and say it separately, with young children you need to talk so that they understand what happened. But if the carrier of the diagnosis wants to inform everyone at once, he can probably afford it, and hopes to get support from everyone at once. More often, people report to those relatives that they seem "stronger."
It is very difficult for us to find the right words A monologue of a woman who fought cancer - about what words support and what hurt
Is it better to talk with a partner first, and then with a child?
You need to start a conversation with someone who has more resources for this and who is closer to the carrier of the diagnosis. Unfortunately, this is not always a partner.
Often the news of a sick father or mother falls on a child who is growing up prematurely. Because the second parent is unavailable for various reasons. In my practice, there was a case when a 16-year-old son became a support for his mother, since his father suffered from alcoholism.
When such stress sets in, and illness is a huge stress, it is advised to divide all the people around you into those with whom it becomes easier after communication, and those after communication with whom it is worse. You need to understand that people can try to help, do something for you, give advice, but this can make it harder for you. We have a very developed sympathy from the series "God gave - God took", "we must pray" or "well, you hang on there." This is both inappropriate and difficult. It is better to distance yourself from such sympathizers, at least for a while. If someone says: “Oh, well, nothing, my second cousin also had such a diagnosis,” this information is not relevant. No one understands what a person is like inside, and all attempts to compare, examples of cases only annoy. Here it is more appropriate to ask: “What can I do for myself? How can I be of service to you?" Lamentations from the series: “God, how terrible, you have three more small children!” They certainly don't make life easier either. And sympathy and an offer to take the children for a walk on the weekend - this is what can support.
Quite often, parents and other close people are included in the list of people after communication with whom it becomes difficult. If they do not know how to support, what to say, and what not to say, then for a person with a diagnosis, communication with them becomes a double burden - you have to worry yourself and still cope with the feelings of your parents. It is important to realize this point, because if close people in such a situation did not become support, you need to move them away for some time. This does not mean cutting off communication, you need to make it clear to them that you need help and you can get it elsewhere. Otherwise, it turns out that the beaten unbeaten is lucky. The family finds itself in a situation where the “wounded” people have to look after each other. Therefore, there is no need to be afraid of external help. These can be support groups where there are people with similar situations. Of course, you need to make sure that the information from them is relevant, so that it is a resource.
Test. Can you comfort someone in grief? Someone else's grief disarms, frightens, makes one move away. How to support a person and not make him even more painful?
There is another problem - we often get lost and do not know what to say when a person has a grief.
Yes, many people do not understand how to respond to someone else's misfortune. That is why people with a diagnosis or some kind of trouble often feel isolated. It seems to those around them that with just one touch on this topic, they again remind the person of what happened. And from their considerations of delicacy, they begin to bypass a person, and hush up the topic. But for the victim, it may look like everyone has abandoned him.
Therefore, it is important for those around you not to hesitate to ask if they need help. You can even set yourself a reminder on your calendar and ask the person every two weeks. With long and viscous processes, this is how: at first everyone sympathizes, and after a month or two they get used to it and the person with the problem is left alone.
And the most difficult thing often comes just when you need medicines, money, doctors, so check and monitor what the needs of the person you want to help are.
“Hiding a diagnosis is unethical, dishonest and harmful”
Why do you think some people hide their diagnosis from their loved ones?
There are always reasons for this, which seem to be significant. Often this happens because the carrier of the diagnosis does not want to burden loved ones, or perhaps considers them completely unable to withstand such news. It happens that a person wants to first prepare them for this news, to have time to do something that will soften the blow.
Often, bad news is hidden from children: they are sent somewhere to their grandmother for 3-4 months, protecting them from difficult scenes and the effects of the disease. But even the smallest children are better off telling the truth, and if a fatal outcome is inevitable, then give them the opportunity to be together and say goodbye. It will be easier for the child to know that his mother or father did not leave him, but are in the hospital. If the child is sent to live with his grandmother, everyone lies to him, and when talking about his parents in the eyes of those around him, he can fantasize that he was very guilty, that he was guilty of something, and his act is so terrible that they don’t tell him about it.
How to talk to children about a serious illness of a loved one 10 tips from psychologists
Sometimes Russian doctors report the diagnosis first to the patient's relatives. And relatives do not always say this to the most sick person. Sometimes the patient can only guess that he is sick. What is the danger of such a situation?
Doctors have no right to hide a diagnosis. But if this happens, then I dare to hope that it is also from good intentions. However, this is unethical, dishonest and even harmful.
A person in consciousness and memory has the right to know what is happening to him. In a word, there must be extremely serious grounds for such secrets.
I knew families where, for example, an old mother was not told until the last moment that she had lung cancer, they said that she had severe bronchitis so as not to frighten her. It is difficult to say how good such a deception is. But a person has the right to know what is wrong with him, what illness he has, how much time he has, if this time is limited. Everyone has the right to keep his life his own to the very end, as far as possible.
What is the main danger for family relations if a person is not told that he is ill?
This is at least inhumane. Even an adult, even a child, still notices that something is wrong: droppers, hospitals, doctors. The known is always less scary than the unknown.
And most importantly, in this way close people are deprived of the opportunity to say something important and hear something important. Therefore, at any age, it is better to carefully and gently, but honestly tell how the disease will proceed, what to expect from it and what to prepare for.
Family composition and illness: bigger is not easier
Do you think family composition affects how it rebuilds when someone is sick?
In theory, the more family members, the easier it is to distribute responsibilities. But in each case, it all depends on the function. It happens that there are seven people in a family, but in fact, one person is the functional or economic core.
There may be cultural differences as well. It happens that there are 12 people in a family, and only one mother takes care of an old grandmother. All the rest are brothers and uncles, as if nothing to do with it. Care falls on the shoulders of one person.
As for care, what should be done if a sick person manipulates loved ones, overloads them with their worries?
There really can be manipulations. And they may be the result of a misunderstanding of two perspectives. Let's say a dying grandmother may really need attention all the time, and her adult children do not feel the strength to constantly respond to this. This is where professional nurses can help. It's important to share the load. Let's not forget about hospices, they give the right to a dignified end of life. Here, unfortunately, the proverb “the well-fed does not understand the hungry” is true. A person and his relatives in the face of death are at different distances from the “center of pain”, so to speak, and it is unlikely that a healthy person can understand a sick person here.
How can a person who has learned about his diagnosis talk to his loved ones about death? After all, usually relatives do not want to talk about it or postpone the conversation “for later”.
If this happens, then again I dare to hope that it is not because close people are not responsive, most likely, they are in fear and confusion. You can give them time to recover if you have it. It is necessary and useful to ask for specific help. You can still ask them to sit down and discuss the situation, maybe not right tomorrow, but in a couple of days.
Simply voicing “it will be easier for me if you talk to me”, “do this and that for me” helps here. When you don't know how to help, it's hard. Direct orders during life and after it facilitate the process: what to do with things, with documents, how to bury. This is something precious that can be discussed if a fatal outcome is inevitable.
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Guilt is replaced by anger - at oneself, at doctors, at a deceased person
What happens to family relationships after a person dies?
Any stress always aggravates and worsens relationships, throws them into a "minus". In the context of the family, the disease is dangerous because this event overtakes everyone. Illness and death of a loved one hit everyone at once. And due to the fact that everyone's reactions are different, resentment and misunderstandings can arise.
The most difficult event is the death of children, because this is a multiple loss: the family loses not only a loved one, but also the image of the future. And if a child is diagnosed with a disease, then this is also often the loss of a future that has already been drawn. Here we must understand that parents can grieve when the child is still alive.
According to statistics, in most cases the loss of an only child leads to divorce. We are so arranged that the death of a loved one makes us feel guilty. When someone nearby dies, our first reaction is a feeling of guilt that you are alive. Especially if relatives have an idea that they didn’t do something, didn’t find a magic doctor and didn’t buy some kind of medicine. And then they can blame each other. It is very important not to go too far into this guilt.
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Guilt will be replaced by anger, and there may be several objects for it. Anger can be directed at oneself, especially if the person was a participant in the events. For example, the head of the family was driving, had an accident, his mother or wife died. And even if the accident was not provoked by him, he can still consider himself guilty. And of course, often anger is directed at loved ones. And there is such a force that it is difficult to withstand it. That is why, when someone in the family falls ill or dies, there is a great risk of quarrels and accusations, and often at this time there are claims against partners who have not provided support.
Anger can also be directed at the sick person himself. Suppose a woman has a spouse who has been diagnosed with an incurable diagnosis. A wife can say: “And I told you all your life - take care of your health. Don't drink, don't smoke!" She is angry. But behind that anger is pain.
They are almost always angry at those who have departed. Here is this Russian tradition of throwing yourself on the lid of the coffin with a cry: “Well, who did you leave us for!” is, in fact, a claim and anger. But in our culture, anger in such situations is taboo, so it's hard for people. If they know that it is normal for them to be angry with the deceased, it may be easier for many.
Death often causes a surge of vitality: people rethink values, change the environment, desires “about life” appear, adultery is often preceded by someone's death that happened six months or a year before, by the way about the separating function of grief. After all, from the outside it seems "the family is in grief, but he went on a spree." Many grab onto something that does not contain a hint of death and illness: they go on difficult trips, radically change their lives.
“Our job is to help the patient accept the reality of the illness” Psycho-oncologist Natalia Rivkina on the principles of complex conversations, protocols, and the problem of using the word “death”
What to do when patients or relatives try to take out their anger on medical staff?
As a psychologist, I tell my clients that everything is possible with a therapist, just don't hit him physically. Physicians and other professionals who work with palliative patients must also be prepared and trained to receive any reactions. Anger can be spontaneous. “Yes, what do you understand! No one has died! And you walk here healthy! ”- there is a lot of pain in this, you don’t need to take it personally. No need to respond with a conflict in response or argue. In psychology, there is such a thing as "contain". Conventionally, you seem to open a box and put anger into it. You recognize that a person is angry and he has the right to be angry. And it is understood that this is not for you personally, which means that you do not succumb to this anger yourself. But attempts of physical influence must be quickly stopped.
In departments where they are constantly faced with difficult diagnoses, death, a professional support system is absolutely necessary. So that people, working in groups with a psychologist, can unload their collected "containers" with different feelings. It can be a specialist who comes at least once a week and helps people cope with sore, talk. For the hospice staff, one of the most difficult emotions is: “You try, you try, but people are so ungrateful.” A nurse spent the whole night with someone's sick relative, and in the morning the patient's relatives ran into her and accused her of something else. It's hard not to start experiencing your feelings, we're not robots. And in order to avoid burnout, specialists need to monitor the rest. This is especially true for volunteers. There is such a correlation: the more enthusiastic they are at the beginning, the sooner they burn out and leave the help system. The people who went to work with moderate expectations last longer. Medical staff, volunteers, psychologists - everyone who works with such topics should remember that an indispensable part of their profession is taking care of themselves. This is the secret of how to work and not collapse.
And one more very important question. How is it right for the medical staff to support the patient's relatives, but at the same time not create hope for a brighter future, that a person with a palliative diagnosis can recover?
People need to be told the truth. Everything that has happened has already happened. If relatives ask: “Is he dying?”, you need to honestly say that yes, unfortunately, he is dying. Perhaps the staff, like all people, is afraid of making things worse with words, but it will be worse if you do not tell the truth.
And if it so happened that a person died, it is important that the staff is not afraid to tell relatives about it, leave their coordinates, explain what they need to do in the near future. And for families whose loved one died in a hospice, it is very important to be able to come to the place where the last hours of a loved one passed. It can be either support groups for relatives, or the opportunity to just come and be there, talk with someone from the staff. It is very important to keep the doors of the hospice open.
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How to support a loved one who is seriously illFreepik
It is very difficult to find out that the person you love is ill, had an accident or received a terrible diagnosis. Perhaps this is the most difficult thing that many face in life. But unfortunately, no one is immune from such a situation.
“The person may be shocked, frightened, preoccupied with their thoughts, or overwhelmed with anxiety for their loved one,” says Anna Moyer, professor of psychology at Stony Brook University.
“All these feelings are perfectly normal. Any significant health problem is a powerful change in life, it is always scary, ”adds Melody Vinaver, a neurologist and neurophysiologist at Columbia University.
“Suddenly, all plans go to waste: expectations and ideas about how life should have gone in general collapse,” Melody continues. “And this sudden change is very difficult to survive. Both."
There are no clear rules and guidelines on how to deal with a crisis. But there are some key principles to keep in mind to support your loved one. So, what is worth and what is not worth doing if a loved one is seriously ill.
“It's better to say something than not to say anything,” says Ron Blake, a survivor of sexual abuse and now struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. - You can even say something like "I don't know what to say, I just want to say at least something." In this way, you will let your loved one know that you are nearby, ready to help. Silence destroys."
If a person does not know what to say, but makes it clear that he recognizes and sees the current situation, then he does not deny it. It's worth trying to genuinely express empathy, such as, "I don't know how I can help, but I'm with you," or "I feel terrible, but I'll do anything to help you," Moyer suggests.
Think only of yourself
"It's human nature to focus on your own personality," says neurologist Melody Winaver. But you need to try to refrain from this when communicating with a loved one who has learned a terrible diagnosis. It is important to abstract from yourself, not to take yourself into account, but to give the other person the opportunity to say what he feels and try not to be intrusive.
“You can say something along the lines of: “I can’t even imagine how you feel right now. How are you?" or “I have no idea how to behave in this situation, but I would really like to understand how you feel,” Dr. Vinaver suggests.
Offer specific help
Many people think it's normal to offer help like this: "If you need anything, just let me know." “However, this puts a person who has learned about a serious diagnosis in a difficult and strange position: he will have to think about exactly how you can help him,” says Nick Arquette, founder and CEO of Walking with Sally Foundation (Walk with Sally), which helps families whose loved ones have cancer.
“When your friend or loved one finds out about a difficult diagnosis, one of the best ways to show support is to save them the trouble of asking,” says Nick. - In other words, take on their daily worries, for example, washing or paying and sending invoices on time, cooking dinner for the whole family. Or simply offer to walk down the street together and get some fresh air so that the person can talk, open up and clear his head if he needs it.
Christine Pandapas was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer at age 46. “If someone cooks food for the whole family, this is a huge help. If someone can take the children to their matinees at school. Or maybe take them to her place for the night,” she says. “Anything that can somehow add fun and a sense of normality reduces the stress of the whole family.”
You can also ask the partner of the sick person what kind of help will bring the most benefit. “It is far from easy for everyone to accept the help that is offered,” says Christina. “My husband became a real expert at this and helped his friends deal with my ego.”
Play an expert
Even if a doctor with experience in managing patients with a similar disease wants to support a friend, you need to remember that each person has his own personal, always individual experience. What can we say about other situations.
“Most people who have a health problem have a team of specialists who supervise them,” says Christina Pandapas. “And most likely, your loved one does not need incompetent recommendations that will be based on the experience of your great-aunt’s great-nephew.”
“You also shouldn't be overly optimistic, no matter how well-intentioned you are,” says Rachel Soper Sanders, who was in a severe car accident and lives with chronic pain. “Don’t tell a person ‘everything will be fine,’ because no one really knows what will happen.”
According to Rachel, don't assume that a person is fine just because they look good on the outside. With many diseases, there are no visible changes, so comments about appearance can sound peremptory and even hurt.
Of course, knowing how the person you love is doing is important. But it’s better not to ask questions like “How are you? How are you?” because they may inadvertently remind a person of their illness.
“I was always fine until someone asked me how I was doing. And then I could hardly hold back the tears,” shares Christina Pandapas.
If you really need to know about a person’s treatment or well-being, it’s better to ask “What’s the news?”
Take rejection to heart
“Each person reacts differently to their disease and condition. For most, discussing their problems brings relief, but there will be those who do not want to open up, ”comments Melody Vinaver.
Do not put pressure on a person if they are not ready to speak. The best thing to say is, "Just let me know if you want me to leave or stop asking questions - it won't hurt me," Vinaver says. “Try to learn how to keep pauses, not try to fill them with some phrases about yourself. Sometimes a person needs to be close to someone, but in silence.
Giving a sense of “normality”
“Realize that being around someone who is having health problems is a constant search for balance. says Christina Pandapas. “Maybe he needs support. But there may come a moment when he gets tired of being a patient. If you are around and go about your normal life as you always do - watching TV, talking about everyday things, walking your dog and talking about anything but illness - it will bring great relief.
Rachel Sanders could not leave the house for a long time after the accident. Her relationships with people and social interaction suffered greatly because of this. “What a joy it was when there was someone next to me with whom you could just have a chat, who could just be at home with me,” she recalls.
“When everyone hears about a diagnosis or immediately after an incident, there is usually a burst of activity and willingness to help,” says Melody Winaver. - But after a few days or weeks, many people disappear, despite the fact that the person continues to live in the conditions of the disease and his diagnosis. Stay close as long as possible, send SMS from time to time, this will show that you care about the condition of your loved one, give him or her a certificate for a massage or manicure.
Christina Pandapas says that during her recovery, her friends were always there to support her, which meant a lot to her.
“They had some amazing, irrational sense of time. When I was tired and I had a breakdown, the courier suddenly called and brought me flowers, or one of my friends wrote me a very heartfelt letter just to find out how I was, ”Kristina shares. “Perhaps the most important thing for me was that they highly appreciated my strength.