TW: Multiple Sclerosis
I just got a call from my dad today, telling me that my cousin is getting married. After my initial being very excited for her (she and her boyfriend have been dating for years, she's been wanting this for some time, they're great together). But then he tells me the reason he proposed was because she was just diagnosed with MS.
Now, on the one hand, the family is happy/relieved that hearing this made him propose rather than run away. Not everyone is willing to stay with a sick partner, and we're happy he loves her so much. She's amazing, wonderful, and deserves all the happiness in the world.
On the other hand, my cousin is 28. She has just been handed life-changing news. I will be the first to admit, at this time, everything I know about MS I learned from The West Wing. I'm going to be doing my research so that my knowledge isn't totally President Bartlet-based, but right now, my main concern is how to be there for her. I'm usually good at intuitively knowing what people need from me. It's a skill I've always had and one I'm grateful for. I have not, however, had many people in my life have physical illnesses. Mental illness, I'm well versed in and able to do what I can. Friends who have people in THEIR lives who are ill, I can do. I've never had to be there for someone who is sick, and just getting the diagnosis.
Groupthink, any suggestions? Any advice? Bring up her illness? Wait for her to bring it up with me? Do all the research to be helpful? Assume she's already doing it herself, and let her educate me if she wants? I just don't know!!!