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When somebody is terminal...

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by damonlab, Dec 18, 2002.

  1. damonlab

    damonlab Veteran Member

    What can you say to them to give them comfort without getting into religious speak? A friend of mine has less then 6 months to live. She cannot get a liver transplant. What the heck can I say? I can't say get well soon. It does not even feel right to say that I wish her the best. What would be an approptiate thing to say?
  2. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    I am sorry that your friend is in this position.

    I think that to do less than honestly examine your feelings and express them to her would be a disservice. Communicating what is in your heart is the paramount display of affection and respect. My advice would be to start there and see what unfolds.
  3. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Been through nursing two loved ones through the final months of life. You need to be there often enough to let them know they are not abandoned. You should be ready to feel from them what they want to talk about. If you previously called the person "you old SOB" don't change that. But as Coot said, don't hesitate to share your feelings towards them. If you say something that upsets them don't get the guilts and stay away. It's impossible to get far enough in their head to avoid the occasional hurt just as with all loved ones and friends. They know you true feelings. I think your friend is lucky in having you care enough to ask.
  4. damonlab

    damonlab Veteran Member

    To clarify my relationship between me and this person...

    She is basically my second mother. I am good friends/ best friends with two of her daughters. I have known her for almost ten years. The whole family feels like a second family to me, if anybody knows what that means. I am an only child, and I believe that makes me closer to everybody I know then if I had any real brothers or sisters. I wish I had something good to say. My real mom and me will be visiting over the holidays. My real mom made good friends with my second mom a nmber of years ago. My real mom might even become a primary care giver / nurse to my second mom after new years until the inevitable end.

    I feel so bad about everything and am not exactly sure how to express my feelings. I'm not even sure what to say to my good friends /sisters. Everything I can think of saying to my friends' mom (my second mom) just does not seem appropriate to say considering the circumstances.

    My mom is coming down and we will be with them over the holidays. This is the LAST Christmas that we are likely to spend with her. I feel so much pain in my heart. I just wanna do everything the best way that I possibly could.

    It is so hard on my friends. They are so burdened by this whole thing. I commend my mom for being an unpaid volunteer for caregiver. I just feel so bad about things and wonder what are the best things for me to do.
  5. damonlab

    damonlab Veteran Member

    Damn tear ducts. I thought men were not supposed to have tears. Why do I have water spurting out of my eyes?
  6. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    Crying? It happens, believe me damonlab it happens. I am sorry to read about your friend, but if you feel like crying do it. One good burst now can save you three later and give you the strength to do what you must now do. Visit her often and dont worry yourself about what you will say. You will say the right thing.
  7. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    There is no magical subject to bring up. As everybody has said, being there is the important thing. This last few precious months are what you will have left and it will be most important she does know you really care.

    There is a different tact you may want to consider with her daughters (your friends). They need to be told that they are free to discuss this with you. They probably already know you are there for them but by saying this directly to them you are opening the subject and showing your concern.

    If anything, the tears show you are a real person. If you are interested in pretending to be some macho asshole, the only person you will impress is yourself. In my opinion, you will only be cheating yourself.

    I feel for you and about the only thing I can say to help is we are all here for you anytime you need to talk about this or deal with your feelings.
  8. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    She needs to hear that you love her and that you'll miss her terribly. She needs to hear it and you need to say it.

    Beyond that, talk about the good times, reminisce over people, places, and events. Get her to laugh.

    Help her to focus on the life that was <u>lived</u>, not the life that will go unlived.
  9. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Let that person know how much they meant to you and the impact they had on your life. Then find out what they would like to talk about and do. Then do your best to talk about those things or to do those things. Just be yourself and enjoy the time that you have with that special person. Make sure they know how much you love them, leave no regrets about how you spend the rest of your time with them.
  10. rowd

    rowd Spark Maker

    From The Prophet


    Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way, which you always used. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, and think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be the household word it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of our mind because I am out of your sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near. All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before - only better; infinitely happier and forever - we will all be one together with Christ.


    Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

    Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

    And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

    And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

    And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

    Much of your pain is self-chosen.

    It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

    Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

    For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

    And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

    You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.

    Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

    Love one another but make not a bond of love:

    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

    Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

    And stand together, yet not too near together:

    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
  11. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    This is going to be a very difficult time for all involved.

    At the same time it is an opportunity to express your feelings that you have for her.

    Let her know just how much she has meant to you all your life.

    Say all the things you meant to say but never got the around to saying.

    There will be times when she may not feel like talking and that is ok. Let her lead and you follow. Just e there for her and giver comfort and strength to face what she must.

    It may sound funny, but I think you will find that you will each draw strength from each other.

    Love has a way of doing that.

    All the very best in this most difficult of times.

  12. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    Damon, I'm very sorry to hear about your second mother. Very sorry. Don't give up hope...it's not over till it's over.

    What I would do is make her know what an important part of your life she was. How she affected you in a positive way and thank her for it. Tell her you're there for her should she need to cry or talk or just sit and do a puzzle. I hope the best for you and this woman you care so deeply about.
  13. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Jeez, I have tears just reading this thread.
  14. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Having worked in the terminal ill ward for years I think I can offer something that I have learned.

    1. Don't brood too much on the situation. Everyone knows what's up, so there's no need to have a cloud hanging.

    2. Last time for the holidays? Make it memorable, not only for her but everyone as well. You want to have happy times and KNOWING you have done good things that made her happy. The biggest regret people have -- other than expressing their love-- is how to maximize the fun for that person.

    It's the number 1 reason why Make a Wish Foundation exists and flourishes. To give kids who will die something that most living kids will never see or experience.

    3. See Stevent's post but do not do this during the holidays, I'd do it before, like now. Letting someone know how you felt and will feel forever for them is precious and should be maximized. Let them know that they will always be in your heart and your kid's heart.

    4. Not sure how she is with her kids but the kids, for this woman, is very important. Perhaps mentioning your friendship and help for the kids in anyway will alleviate the anxiety many people have leaving their siblings.

    It sounds as if she has Cihrosis due to HCV? If so, the death will probably be painless, which is #1 concern for people who are dying.

    The biggest fear people have is pain, not death.
  15. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    An excellent book I read as a much younger man is, On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. While looking for the correct spelling of her name, I came across this site.

    I honestly hope it helps and if there is anything anyone here can do, please ask.
  16. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    Say 'I love you very much, ya know that?'

    Then all you have to do is LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN.

    Do not fear the spaces in between words. Let that silence sit and be comfortable with it as it too is saying something.

    Smile for her, be quiet and when you do speak, speak softly.

    More important than anything is that you listen as carefully as you possibly can.
  17. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    That is a very delicate situation to be in. I would just like to point out that I think everyone should be organ donors. I am amazed that so many people are so selfish that they would rather that their organs rot away and be eaten by worms than to give other people a chance to live longer.

    I carry an organ donor card, and I have made my wishes VERY CLEAR to my family. Unfortunately, they could probably still override my wishes once I am dead, if they choose to. They are very superstitious people(you know...religion and all that), and I told them I will haunt them until they die if they do not follow my wishes. ;)

    There really is not much you can say to comfort someone who is dying. My best friend's mother was diagnosed in June a few years ago with a form of lymphoma, and she was dead before Christmas. I had no idea what to say to her as she deteriorated, so I just talked to her the same as I usually did and almost pretended that she wasn't even sick.
  18. btdude

    btdude Veteran Member

    Half smile here. Damn you all, anyway, just as the tears dry from another thread, here comes this one.

    " I love you for all you are, for all that you have taught me, for all that I have taught you. I love you because you showed me that it is ok to be sad, and that is ok to be brave. I love you because you let me be me, and because you were just you. I love you because you have shown me that life is more than just an accumulation of years. Life is what you make of the time that we do have on this earth. My dear friend, I am going to be lonely and sad without you in my life. I will miss you. My heart aches, but it aches because of my love for you. I am honored that you shared part of you with me. I have shared with you in this short time, things I do not think others have had the benefit of sharing. I am a better person for having known you. Please do not be sad that I, nor your survivors will not fare well once you are gone. For, you are part of us, and it is for that reason, that in some aspects, my dear friend, you will always be here with me.
  19. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    That was fantastic BTDude. My eyes were dry until I read that fantastic good bye.
  20. damonlab

    damonlab Veteran Member

    Thanks for all of the kind replies everybody. I'm still not exactly sure what to say, but I think I will be a bit more confident saying what I do say, if that makes any sense.

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