Hi everyone,
Thank you so much for the opportunity to ask for advice. I tried to search the forum for what I'm looking for, but if I missed it and I was supposed to look somewhere else, my apologies in advance.

Long story short, my partner of 3 years (we are currently long distance) is dealing with one parent with stage 4 cancer and one who is being told they are precancerous or at risk for cancer. Neither have been given a terminal status, but understandably it is very very upsetting for my partner, not knowing how things will end up. I noticed that they began to pull away a few months ago saying things like "I just need to be alone today", which I completely understood, so I backed off on calling and texting and gave them a lot of space and tried to mind my own business and be very upbeat and supportive when we did talk. I'm someone who likes to talk and process my pain, but I felt like it was wrong to assume that that's how they wanted to handle things. I was quite worried though because they said to me on a couple of occasions, "I'm not sure how well I'm going to cope", and I would try to ask for clarification on what that meant but they didn't seem sure. I told them to please start seeing a therapist, but they didn't seem to take me very seriously. I was worried if I pushed too hard they'd pull farther away. Then two weeks ago they told me that they need a break from our relationship and they want to try casually sleeping with other people. I was completely devastated. They said that they need to be free to do whatever they need to do and can't deal with the challenges and responsibilities of a relationship. I'm really worried because it doesn't strike me as the healthiest coping mechanism to pull away from the person that is your closest support, but I have no choice right now but to trust that this is what they feel they need to do I begged them to take this time to commit to therapy and practicing self-care and maybe joining a group about grief or reading a book - I'm scared that without me there, they may not do these things. From what I can tell from our super limited interaction right now, they seem to be coping by working a ton (because they are worried about their parents' financial stability and their own financial future), which I understand, but I'm still really worried and hurt and confused

Is needing to break away from a partner something other people experienced feeling when they were dealing with the mortality of a parent? My brain is screaming at me to cling on desperately and try to offer advice and support, but they've made very clear they need a lot of space, so I'm honoring that and trying to trust them. Is there some way I can support them from afar? Is there anything I can say or do? Is there any book or article I can read to better understand what my partner is going through?

Thank you so much for your help. If the answer is just to leave them alone, then I will do that. I love them and I will do whatever it takes.