How to give a hug from far away.
November 25, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

How can I help my long distance boyfriend get through his grandmother's serious illness?

(Hello all. This is my first question!)

My boyfriend of a few months and I (both in our early twenties) are in a long distance relationship. So far, so (very very) good. We get along extremely well, have tons of things in common, have strong feelings for each other, can see our relationship going somewhere, etc etc. It's the first serious relationship for both of us.

Currently, his grandmother is in very poor condition. She's just been diagnosed with lung cancer, just had a stroke, is in the hospital, etc. He is close to her and is, understandably, quite upset and affected by this.

I just came back from visiting him for a few days before Thanksgiving, and he said that my presence there was very helpful in taking his mind off of what was going on and helped bring his mood up. Which of course, leads me to want to be around and available a lot to him because I know it helps...except that he's two buses and several hours away, which makes me feel kind of helpless and unable to give him the proper support in the case of his emotional distress. I guess my question is, is there anything specific I can do to make him feel better?

I know the obvious stuff--tell him I love him, that I'm here for him, that he can call me anytime he needs to talk--all of which I do often. I send him texts throughout the day to see how he is and we've been talking on the phone most nights, but I guess I'm looking for suggestions of more creative things to do to help make it better. Maybe an online card or something...?

Any suggestions are welcome. I really care about this guy and it hurts me to see him hurting. I know he's obviously going to hurt in this situation no matter what, I'm just trying to find way to ease his pain when options like cooking him meals/going over to his house with movies and cookies/taking him out for a drink/hugging him/etc. are not possible. (If the worst happens and she passes away, I do plan on going back up there if I can.)

Thank you in advance!
posted by Emms to Human Relations (6 answers total)
You could go old-fashioned and physically mail him some happiness packages - start with those cookies!
posted by Occula at 4:18 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with Occula, technology and internet kind of makes things dull. Definitely try to hand-write some mail to him or perhaps send him some things he might like!
posted by Trinergy at 4:35 PM on November 25, 2011

You could make a goofy/ distracting box with like a slinky, rubiks' cube, pop rocks, etc.
posted by Occula at 5:03 PM on November 25, 2011

My grandmother died a couple days ago. I flew home but she was in quite poor condition for a week or so before I got here. I would have wanted cookies.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

On the other end of the spectrum, be understanding if he gets cranky. If he gets upset with you for no reason, or says something that seems completely unreasonable, just let it slide off you for now. It's likely just stress.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:13 PM on November 25, 2011

Be understanding if he doesn't want a lot of contact sometimes, if he is unable to put his feelings into words. Sometimes when I'm having a rough time, talking is hard and something like IM is a lot easier. I also second the care packages, sounds like this would be a really good time for it. Is there an online game the two of you could do together? He may just need something frivolous to take his mind off things too.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2011

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