When a loved one is struggling

Susan Brumbaugh
4 min readMay 9, 2021

How to offer spiritual support

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

When a loved one receives a difficult diagnosis and is facing uncertain treatment and outcomes, we can feel anxious and helpless. By first allowing ourselves to experience our own emotions and feel compassion for ourselves, we’re then better able to offer support to those we love.

I’m a licensed mental health counselor who enjoys sharing mindful meditations and information about mindfulness. Below is a transcript of a meditation I led on this topic, and at the end of the article, you’ll find a link to the meditation video. In this meditation, the group I led prayed and extended their hearts to their own loved ones and to those who would eventually watch the recording and those they love.

Meditation Transcript

Let’s begin this time of meditation and wishes and prayers of support and comfort by first coming into ourselves and transitioning into this time of cloistering, of opening our hearts, and uttering those fears that we might have for those we love.

You can close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you. It’s also fine to have them open.

If you’re sitting, notice that you are supported by whatever you are sitting on, and by the ground beneath your feet. You are rooted, you are anchored, you are grounded in this moment.

If you’re lying down, allow the floor or the bed beneath you to fully support your body. Release yourself into what is beneath you and around you.

As you move into this time, whatever thoughts might be swirling, allow them to swirl in the background or next to you so that you can create some space and clearance for this time. Of course, thoughts are going to come as we sit, and when they do you can notice them and re-center yourself.

I’ll invite you to bring to mind one or more people that you hold in your heart who are struggling with a diagnosis or a treatment, an illness of some sort that is difficult for them. Picture them in your mind, silently say their name or names, and see if you can sense a spiritual connection with them in this moment.

As you are tethered to this person spiritually let’s use the breath as a symbol or a sign, a metaphor for comfort and healing. With each…



Susan Brumbaugh

Susan Brumbaugh is a criminal justice researcher who telecommutes, a licensed counselor, a mindfulness meditation practitioner, and a perpetual learner.