People who are physically or emotionally ill need to hear honest words that express empathy and availability. They want to hear statements such as “Tell me how I can help," "I'm here if you want to talk," or “That sounds awful; I can’t even imagine the pain.”
Someone trying to help an ill person should avoid common statements such as “Everything happens for a reason” or “You need to be strong for your kids.” While these statements sound positive, they don't ease the burden from an ill person's perspective, and they don't express what help the person is actually offering. It's important to be sensitive while conversing and to know the medical facts before making any remark. Ill people often appreciate the opportunity to talk about positive things that are not related to the illness.