Living with a Terminal Illness

Sometimes all that’s needed to regain one’s sense of emotional equilibrium while facing terminal illness, is the love and support of friends and family.

“The biggest smile is the one who struggles through tears.” – Unknown


Being diagnosed with a terminal or life threatening illness results in mix of negative emotions – fear, anger, panic, loneliness, and even depression. One can easily lose sight of the things in life which bring joy and pleasure. Sometimes all that’s needed to regain one’s sense of emotional equilibrium, to find the energy and enthusiasm necessary to continue living positively for as long as possible, is the love and support of friends and family. Someone willing to lend an ear or an understanding shoulder, someone with whom one can share special moments or indulge impulsive whims, can make all the difference.


One of our clients, Alice*, is living with a terminal illness. Initially she had trouble coming to terms with her condition, and became withdrawn and desperately unhappy. Alice had lost much of her independence, was no longer able to get out of her house much and felt life was unbearably burdensome. She had no family living close by, so after struggling alone for a while, she eventually contacted the CareCompany to see if we could assist.


Alice and her new companion, Rosetta, struck up an immediate rapport. Having a companion made shopping trips to the mall and visits to friends possible for Alice, and the effect on her well-being soon became evident to friends and family. Rosetta’s reassuring presence has contributed to Alice’s renewed enjoyment of life, enabled her to be more positive in her approach and more adventurous in her planning of excursions.


The two ‘friends’ have lots of fun together, often visiting the catwalk on Fish Hoek beach, taking trips in to Cape Town or to nurseries for flower picking and a cup of coffee. Recently, Alice enlisted Rosetta’s assistance in hosting a luncheon at her home where she was able to entertain all her friends.


The Buddhists believe that “if we are not truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” At the CareCompany our companions aim to help clients live actively and socially so that they are able to enjoy every day to the fullest.


*The name has been changed to protect privacy.

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