The Ring Theory is helpful for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential.
Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma (e.g. person A). Now draw a larger circle around the first one and in that circle put the name of the person next closest to the trauma (e.g. person A’s husband). Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order.
The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can complain and whine and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings. Comfort IN, dump OUT.
When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. Listening is often more helpful than talking.