I have found that having hope is the driving force behind life. And that without hope, the road turns to despair. This become particularly important in helping those with long-term illnesses keep up the will to live.
Living, for all of us, has its challenges, but for one who faces each day with the prospect of pain, or the haze of drug-induced pain killers, and no end in sight except eventual death, well, that is far more challenging than everyday life for most of us. This is where something to hope for can help the person with a chronic illness cope.
If they have big plans for the future, something to look forward to, they can place their trust in that hope. If we who care of them take away that hope through our choices or actions, we cause them to drift down the road to despair. We need to be very careful when we make life decisions to include those who need hope the most, just to survive, to continue to have the will to keep fighting. If we don't think about the effect our decisions make have on our loved ones with chronic illnesses, then we can end up hurting them in ways we really didn't know we would.
The best solution then is to help them put their trust in God, but also to not take away their dreams. It's often a difficult and impossible conundrum, when we feel we must act a certain way, but that way seems to put their hope in jeopardy.
Life is a challenge, but people matter. Putting others above ones self is the most important. I'm a firm believer that once we do that, all things will eventually work out, even though it may take much longer than we thought. We can still treasure our own hopes and dreams in our hearts as we care for our loved ones.