I went to visit a dear friend in hospital today who has cancer and probably not that much time left. It was one of her not-so-good days, when she seemed to barely notice all the people who'd gone to see her. So I put the flowers in the basin, said hi, and proceeded to ignore her for a good ten minutes.
I'm not very good during sad times like these. It's not that I don't feel anything, because I surely do. But I do have an awfully difficult time with saying and doing the right things. I want to tell her this is so unfair, what's happening to her. But I don't, because maybe she'd rather be cheered up. But it's hard to think of anything cheerful to say, and maybe it'd be inappropriate anyway.
Eventually I did talk to her about some inane stuff, and it did seem to amuse her at least for a moment. But I fear the awkwardness behind my chatter was clanging loudly in the background that whole time.
At times like this it would be really handy to have a religion.