QUESTION: Talk about denial.
All of us deny the realities of life to some degree. The operative words here are “to some degree.” Some of us rely on denial more than others to get through life.
We approach dying the same way we approach other challenges in living so if denial is our coping mechanism of choice we will use it as we approach our death or someone else's.
What do we do about someone close to us who denies the seriousness of their diagnosis and prognosis? Be supportive in the choice they have made. Remember, not making a choice or not taking an action is still making a choice. Everyone must find their own way in their life. We can suggest, give ideas, even do the research for another but ultimately everyone makes their own choices and then must live and die with them.
It is nonproductive to constantly remind someone of the direction their choices are taking them. Being supportive of a person who has chosen to deny their medical prognosis requires us, the support person, to walk a thin line. We are a presence but a silent presence: keeping our opinions to ourselves as to how this other person's life is to unfold.
One of the hardest things to do is to offer a suggestion for what we consider is a “better” way to do something and then stand by with love in our hearts while someone we care about struggles in a manner we inwardly feel is the result of a wrong choice.