I think it is best to say something--anything, even if trivial--than to say nothing at all. If someone says nothing, because they don't want to sound trivial and can't think of anything profound to say, it is indulging one's own self-centeredness at the expense of comforting the patient.
#3 'Have you tried the mango colonic I recommended' (and other alternative treatments) is one of the worst things to say to the seriously ill.
And sometimes there's nothing wrong with a heartfelt sweet fib.
All the best to you and your wife as you cope with her illness.
Post Edited (Tim G) : 6/20/2011 12:56:48 AM (GMT-6)