- Try to “fix” it by taking over as much as possible, such as cutting the kids’ hair (for the first time ever), cooking three months worth of meals and weather-proofing the deck (or all of the above. And that’s just Sunday).
- Go into hiding (either in front of the TV or in a bottle or elsewhere).
- Become an emotional mess, turning to the spouse — who is busy having cancer — as an emotional crutch.
- Yell. At doctors. At nurses. At anyone who looks at you funny, because dammit, your wife/husband/significant other has cancer.
- Play the cancer card for free stuff and sympathy.
But what should you do? That depends on your personality and your relationship, but here are some suggestions from a cancer survivor and spouse:
- Ask your spouse/partner what he or she would like you to do.
- Gather up a support network of family, friends and neighbors who can help you run the house, care for the kids and try to keep life as “normal” as possible during treatments.
- See a therapist.
- Find therapists for your kids and/or ask school counselors for help.
- Be there, emotionally and otherwise, for your spouse or partner and for your kids.
- Take care of yourself, because your family depends on you more now than ever. This is no time to be Supermom or Superdad. It’s time to pare down to the basics of what you all truly need and to reach out for help where you need it most.
- Laugh. You’ll all need it and benefit from it.
Tell us: What kinds of help has worked for your family?