A week into our reconnection, he started getting possessive and irritated that I wasn’t spending enough time talking to him. He’d say things like I was the only thing in his life worth fighting for, and I had to tell him that while I cared for him, he was making me feel uncomfortable; he responded by telling me that he had lied about the original diagnosis and that it was much worse and he didn’t “have much time left.” I honestly did not know what to think of this, and perhaps in shock, I canceled my plans to see him and haven’t spoken to him since. I feel guilty, that regardless of our past relationship, simply because I care about him as a person I owe him some measure of compassion in this really messed-up place in his life. I also feel ashamed that I’m being selfish, that I don’t want to accept the responsibility of being there for him as he dies. I want to reach out and apologize for overreacting, but I also don’t want to be subject to a situation where he expects me to be an emotional crutch from the other side of the country. I don’t really know what the right answer here is.
—How to Help