Advice Needed Please


jujusamples
on May 24, 2016 @ 04:54 pm

My friend of childhood (very long time friend) We are pretty much sisters has just told me her mom has cancer and only has less than a year left to live. 
My heart was completely torn for her when she told me. She only  has her mom (and siblings but no Dad)  her entire life so I can't imagine how much this hurts her.
As a friend, I'm really lost for words and don't know what I could do to make her feel better. We have always been there for each other, no matter what the hardship is but this time, I really don't know what I could do to help her through this time. I feel like I'm such a bad friend because I was just speechless when I heard the news. Part of it is because I don't want to say the wrong thing.
Any suggestions ladies? Have you ever gone through this and if so what could a good friend do to help make it better?
 

16 Replies


atasteofmadness
. on May 24, 2016 @ 05:06 pm

This came at such a good time for me too! I don't have an answer for you, but one of my students broke down in tears in the middle of my class because his grandmother died. I was speechless: I really had no idea what to do.

I would also like some suggestions.
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gotmills
Advice on May 24, 2016 @ 05:12 pm

Just be there for her when she needs you. It is tough I lost my Dad to Cancer and my friends had no clue what to do or say but sometimes just having someone there even if you are sitting in silence helps or even just a hug. You can also maybe help the family in preparing some meals or clean their house. Just the little things are so helpful. Running errands there always seems to be so much to do medical appointments etc.
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wonderwhatif
. on May 24, 2016 @ 07:08 pm

Honestly, I'm in the same situation as you when a friend loses someone or is about to. I've never lost anyone so I just don't know what to help. Sometimes if you're not sure what to say, the best thing can just be to say 'I don't know how this feels and I wish I could help, is there anything I can do?' But just being there with love and support is the most important thing.

As gotmills says, I've heard from multiple people that it can be really helpful having someone help with meals and errands.
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crystaljam
Be There on May 24, 2016 @ 07:54 pm

Just let her know that you are there for her whenever she needs an ear, shoulder, or just to be there for her.

I would probably make them a few meals she can put in the freezer, bring over their favourite movies, and anything that might seem simple to you, but meaningful to them.

Maybe take them to a ceramics shop to paint bowls, mugs, or something of meaning so you all have a good last memory together - it will mean so much to your friend when her mom passes.

Offer to help with any cleaning or organizing as well - it can be overwhelming to handle on your own.
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fly_eyez
This is all too familiar... on May 25, 2016 @ 02:39 am

My husband and I went through this less than a year ago. His mom was diagnosed as terminal and only lasted 5 months after diagnosis. It was devastating for my husband, an only child. We immediately took her to live with us and cared for her 24/7 up until the end. She wanted to die at home and we tried to honor that but at the very end we had no choice but to put her in hospice - the cancer metastasized to her brain and she was unaware of her actions. She was a safety risk to herself and others and we just could no longer do it by ourselves. We admitted her and stayed with her in hospice. She only lasted 5 days after admission. When she was diagnosed no one knew what to say or do - I don't think anyone really does. and we understood that. What we needed was just someone to listen, to tell us they care. It would have been nice if someone had offered to make meals or to run errands. Or to ask before visiting to make sure it was a good time. A lot of times people would just show up and it was not a good time - she was resting or very sick. After radiation treatment she was so ill that many smells would make her physically sick. People often paid no heed to our request to not wear scents or to not bring smelly items. It would have meant the world to us if anyone had offered to give us a break of any kind. We gave her 24/7 care as she declined very quickly. This meant little sleep or rest for us. She was given a year but only lived for 5 months. It's really important for the caregiver (s) to have a break and focus on themselves and their families in order to give such intensive care to another person. If you are unable to care for yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually it is very difficult to give the best care to the patient. It would have given us time to recharge and take our minds off it if only for a short while. This is the first thing I would recommend next to just offering your support and a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Don't worry so much about saying something, just be there and listen. There's really nothing anyone can say to make her feel better; just acknowledge her pain. Don't avoid her. Make a point to call her and check in. She will be far too busy to be the one to reach out to you. Offer to give her a break if you can. Offer to cook, run errands, take kids to events / school / appointments, etc. There were a bunch of people who said awful things that were not helpful - from recommending food to eat to "cure" the cancer (the unwanted advice was not malicious in nature but it was definitely not something she or we wanted to hear) to the most horrible thing I could imagine. One of her "friends" sent a card with a long note detailing how it was her fault she got cancer because she sinned and smoked. That she deserved to have cancer and she had better pray that God would forgive her and she wouldn't be sent to hell. That she deserved to suffer for her sins. It was one of the most evil things I have witnessed another human being saying to a terminally ill person. I could not even imagine what would possess someone to write such horrible things to another human being. Don't offer advice unless specifically asked. Don't spout cliches like "everything happens for a reason". This is not helpful. Just try to be yourself around your friend. Check in often and offer certain things you can commit to such as doing laundry or walking the dog. don't just say "let me know if I can do anything". Ask if it's okay to come over for coffee and bring something for your friend to eat and drink - chances are she's not taking care of herself because she's too busy with other things. Give hugs. Let her vent or cry or be angry or feel whatever emotion she is feeling - you don't have to say anything or offer words of wisdom. Just be there for her. Be positive but don't offer cliches or give false hope. If you don't know what to say just tell her that. She will be glad to have a friend like you to lean on during these tough times ahead.
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Anonymous
jujusamples on May 25, 2016 @ 02:50 am

Sometimes, actually most times, people don't know what to say. Don't say anything, just go up to her and give her a long strong hug, whisper in her ear that you will always be there for her. When the conversation is less sstressed for her, tell her to spend as much time as she can and enjoy her time that she has left with her mom.Remid her that her mom will live on in all her memories of her.
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jujusamples
. on May 25, 2016 @ 03:44 am

Thanks Chicks, there are some great advice here. I guess the only thing I could and can do is just to be there when she needs a shoulder.
It's just so sad to hear someone so close to you loosing their mom. I really appreciate all the advice here. Normally, it's her that I would go to for this kind of advice, but this time I can't. Thanks again, Chicks! You ladies are such a great bunch. :)
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fly_eyez
@juju on May 25, 2016 @ 03:48 am

You are very sweet and caring and your friend will be glad to have you to lean on in this difficult time in her life. You're going to be a great support.
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prettyrainbow
. on May 25, 2016 @ 11:32 am

I don't know what else I can add that these wonderful ladies haven't told you already. I just want you to know I'm sending positive thoughts your way for your friend to get through this challenge and that her mom will be as comfortable as possible in her condition. I'm sure you'll be there exactly in the way your friend needs you to be. All the best...
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prettyrainbow
. on May 25, 2016 @ 11:49 am

@atasteofmadness I'm not sure what age your student is, but when this happens in my classroom, I ask the student (elementary level) if they would like to draw a picture or write a letter as a way of remembering the deceased loved one. I leave it up to them to share it with the rest of their classmates or to keep it private. I had a student who lost her mom and I suggested that she could bring in a picture of her to keep inside her desk so that she could be reminded that her mom would always be by her side throughout the day. This was a great way for this particular child to cope with her grief, but it can be a little more of a sensitive issue for others. You just need to judge as you go along.

Since the student broke down in front of the rest of the students, it could be a good opportunity to have a discussion about how to handle grief or to share similar experiences so that the child understands that he/she is not alone in feeling the way he/she does.

Just keep an eye out for any behavior changes after this. If you notice anything worrisome, consult with the school's psychologist or counsellor if you have one. They can have individual sessions with the student.

Good luck and all the best to your student.

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