Pastor Rick Taylor and counselor Bruce Campbell have both suffered tragic losses in their immediate families. They’ve counseled grieving families as well as individuals with terminal illnesses. Here they offer practical ideas to help a dying friend.
Be there. Whether you sit silently at his bedside, pray with him, or take him for a drive in the country, nothing makes a stronger statement of his significance to you than your time and presence.
Be honest. It’s okay to tell him how difficult his illness is for you or how much you’ll miss him.
Send cards and notes between visits. Call often.
Offer specific assistance. Ask, “What can I do for you right now?” Better yet, find a burden and lift it.
Make yourself available. Give the chief caregiver a respite from the physically and emotionally draining tasks of nursing a loved one.
Honor your friend’s wishes. If he’s still mobile, he may choose to carry out tasks independently. But always be ready to pitch in as allowed.
Bring dinner or groceries. Food is a universal need.
— Denise Carlson