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                             Words to Try for Families:
( from Handbook for Mortals; Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness by Joanne Lynn, MD and Joan Harrold, M.D.)
When you think you want to say:                       Try this instead:
Dad, you are going to be fine.                     Dad, are there things
                                                               that worry you?
Don't talk like that! You can beat this!         It must be hard to
                                                              come to terms
                                                              with all of this.
I just can't talk about this.                        I am feeling a bit
                                                             overwhelmed right
                                                             now. Can we talk
                                                             about this later?
Please don't give up. I need you here.         I need you here. I will
                                                             miss you terribly. But
                                                             we will get through
                                                             this somehow.
Don't be glum. You will get well.               It must be hard. Can I
                                                            just sit here with you
                                                            for a while?

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Listen, listen and then listen some more. There are some times that silence speaks louder than words. Often ill people appreciate more than anything, someone sitting next to him or her, quietly, patiently and compassionately. There is no need to fix or advise or judge. Just learn to sit and be. There is a great saying," don't just do something, sit there" that fits perfectly now.

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