There is an elderly man I know who is dying of cancer. He lives comfortably in a chronic care home and is well cared for with meals brought to his flat and regular medical assistance.
He had his first cancer operation and now the tumor has returned and needs another. He is very depressed and his family are all out of town, but one daughter comes to town to handle his needs and he enjoys the weekends of her visit.
I don’t know how to present myself with him. If I plan to be cheerful, I say to myself that would be inappropriate. I thought I could bring magazines on a subject he enjoyed, but I doubt now they have any importance to him. I could talk about the positive aspects of the afterlife, but that would be presumptious(miracles happen), besides I don’t know him that deeply.
He shuns social interaction at the home. That I feel puts an extra burden on his family and those who visit as he could get comfort from them in some ways also. He is desperate for conversation, but doesn’t help by withdrawing, complaining and finding something wrong with the residents. A part of the problem I realize is our modern generation. The situation he is in I feel is abnormal anyway. Years ago he would be with his children being taken care of by them in their home. In 3rd world countries and some cultures of today, the family responsibility still includes care of aged parents.
So I don’t know how to act with him. I usually force myself cheerfully to talk about anything to kill time, but the conversation goes dead immediately. Of course he is preoccupied with this anxiety and I don’t blame him. Perhaps it is OK to just sit and say nothing, but I don’t know how to do that without mistakenly risking the impression I would rather leave and of course I don’t.
What are your thoughts.?