My 2-year-old niece is battling cancer. What can I say to be supportive?
June 5, 2014 2:35 AM Subscribe
I have been with my partner for over 5 years and know his family fairly well.
A little over a year ago his brother's one year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. His daughter, whom I consider as a niece even though my partner and I are not married, has now been battling cancer for over a year. It appears to be quite aggressive. When my sister-in-law calls to give me updates about their daughter's condition (or vice-versa), what can I say to be supportive and express that I care?
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posted by Blissful to Human Relations (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am introverted and have trouble expressing myself in general and tend to overthink what I should say. I send her text messages of support when I know her daughter will be going into surgery or have chemo. I have also offered to babysit when needed (which they have taken me up on before). However, when I talk with my sister-in-law on the phone I don't know what to say after she expresses her fears and gives me updates on her daughter's conditions. These updates tend to be negative.
I want to remain positive. She has said to me before that she can't stand it when people say they don't know how she is doing this, this is just such terrible news, etc. because she of course already knows how terrible it is. She is not religious, nor am I, so it seems inappropriate to say "I am praying for you".
As a side-note, I live abroad and all these conversations are taking place in my second language, which adds to my anxiety of saying the wrong thing.