Recently, a very close friend of mine's mother has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I know her mother decently well and she's a very good woman. My friend is extremely close to her mother and I truly feel for both of them. There have been a number of nights in the past few weeks where myself and one other person have stayed up all night with her (the daughter, my friend) while she broke down. But every time the situation arises, I feel like there is nothing I can say or do to help. Generally, the third person goes very far to be reassuring, trying to soft-pedal certain aspects and things of that nature. I, on the other hand, am very quiet. I don't feel like I can talk to her about her feelings at the moment, as I don't have experience with a similar situation. It'd be insulting to pretend to know it. And I don't have that instinct to soft-sell (not lie about, the other people don't really lie) what, for all intents and purposes, is probably something they know, and know better than me, is true. It feels almost deceitful to me. So, instead, I wind up in this impenetrable wall of uncertainty on [i]what to do to help[/].
So how is it my INTP brothers and sisters respond? What do you other types find important about supporting someone in a difficult time? Is it about what you say to them, or is just about being there well into the morning, being ready to stay as long as they want? I can do the latter, and will gladly. But something about the former eludes me.
I attempted a search for a similar thread, which I'm sure exists, but I couldn't find it.