@Alex70, so sorry for your loss.
with much metta
It’s beautiul that you want to offer your friend the most appropriate kind of support duing this difficult time. A very close friend of mine recently passed from cancer. I think what’s most helpful is to listen with a recepetive and compassionate heart, really be present to the other person and take your cues from them as to how much they want to talk about it, what kind of support is helpful, etc. Sensitivity, an open receptive presence, willingness to truly listen and a compassionate heart go a very longs way. It’s rare to have a friend who can really be present in the face of a very difficult situation.
Many people facing the death of friends and dear ones understandably get triggered by their own feelings–sadness, fear, loss, etc. But if not recognized and dealth with, it can prevent them from really being present for the other person. Often it takes the form of trying to ‘fix’, offering unwanted or unasked for advice or even telling the person they can just get well through the power of their mind. The latter can even trigger guilt in the person facing death, that they somehow should be able to get well if only they did this or that or got their mind straightened out and if they don’t get physically better that somehow they did something wrong.
@tingyang3899, I’m certainly not at all suggesting you’re doing this, I’m just making a general comment about things that can get in the way especially when one is not aware of their own feelings getting triggered.
Of course our minds play a part in our well-being but we are ultimately not in control of the nature of this body. Although the condition of our body often affects our mind, true well-being (and ultimately liberation) really has nothing to do with the physical health of the body.
@Gregory, thank you for your beautiful post. I too have found the discourses on the Bojjhana to be profoundly healing.