Accepting a Sibling’s Illness

accepting-illnessRachel was crying frequently for the last months. She was so sad that her younger sister, Irene, the one she’d always looked out for, was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Rachel had already told Irene that she would send her money each month to help ease the financial burden that she and her husband were experiencing. But somehow that didn’t seem like enough and it didn’t ease Rachel’s pain.

They lived two thousand miles away. Rachel had to accept that she couldn’t protect Irene from her cancer and couldn’t visit her but once a month.

More importantly, Rachel had to accept that she was doing everything she could. She needed to face and internalize the reality. She repeated, There’s nothing more I can do. I can’t do anything. This is the way it is. Irene had cancer.

Then she needed to stop projecting into the future about all the what-ifs. So in addition, she repeated over and over, “I’ll handle the future in the future.” Rachel realized that all that she could do was to be there for Irene on the telephone and by Skype, as frequently as Irene so desired. She could listen and offer emotional support over the phone. That was all she could do, and that’s was exactly what she needs.

Rachel realized that she was doing everything she could. And that indeed, she was there for her sis. She felt a palpable relief wash over her.

Tip: Accepting the reality doesn’t leave you feeling passive and defeated. It creates the foundation for you to listen within and decide what is your best course of action, and then do that without the mental static of beating yourself up and feeling sad.

 

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