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#280546 - 11/12/06 07:40 PM URGENT... Etiquette for visiting terminally ill  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1
qoe2u Offline
qoe2u  Offline

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1
Need help...

A very dear friend is in the last stages of cancer, and her death will be within the next couple of days.

I will be going to see her in her home shortly and need advice on what to do and NOT do. Our relationship is good, no unresolved issues.

Do I talk of about our friendship? Do I talk about the joy she has given me? Do I tell her she can 'move' on? How do I try to peace to both of us? Do I take a small token, plant, or item for her or her caregiver? What would be the proper etiquette for this situation?

I am so dreading this visit as it will be as time I will she her alive.



#280547 - 11/12/06 11:48 PM Re: URGENT... Etiquette for visiting terminally ill  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,186
Chelle - Marriage Editor Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chelle - Marriage Editor  Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,186
Lake Lanier, Georgia
I would just take my cues from her. If she wants to reminisce then go for it, if she is frightened about what is to come - then comfort her, etc.

Just remember she is your friend and go in treating her as such - not like she were a china doll or a stranger that you had never met. And try not to be the first to start crying. I realize that may be difficult, but you don't want to put her in the position of comforting you.

My prayers and condolences go with you.

Michelle Taylor
Marriage Editor
#358020 - 12/05/07 07:48 AM Re: URGENT... Etiquette for visiting terminally ill [Re: Chelle - Marriage Editor]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 727
Maxwell Offline
Maxwell  Offline

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 727
Hi qoe - I'm so sorry to hear about your friend - it's a difficult time.
My SIL died last year from cancer - we flew interstate three times to visit in her last months. She knew the end was near but greeted us cheerfully - we were apprehensive before we arrived but decided we would arrive the way we always arrived - with wine and chocolates. We talked about all the things we'd normally talk and laugh about - she wanted our BIL to take a photo of us all sitting in her garden - she also, wanted the wine open and enjoyed a small glass. I think it was a break from the "illness" - there was no talk of death or cancer - she did talk about her treatment and drugs briefly.
So, I agree you should take her lead - but I also, think it's a good idea to treat her normally and not like a person with cancer.
We knew our goodbyes and kisses at the end of the last visit were probably the last - we didn't want to get upset and risk upsetting her - she squeezed our hands and thanked us for coming such a long way to visit her. We managed to avoid tears because she was so strong and in control - she died a few days later.
If you haven't seen your friend for some time I'd get an update from her carer - just so you're prepared.
It's a difficult time.....I'm sure your visit will be appreciated.

#358024 - 12/05/07 08:37 AM Re: URGENT... Etiquette for visiting terminally ill [Re: Maxwell]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 371
Skeeter Offline
Skeeter  Offline

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 371
Idaho, USA
I think both previous posters hit this right on the head. From my past exp. I have seen that most often the terminally ill don't really want to think about their illness when you are visiting. They want to remember good times, and try to have one more good time while they are still able too.

Unless you normally would bring a gift when you went to visit her I wouldn't this time. It's hard but you just have to treat it like any other visit you have ever made to her in your life. Be prepared but try not to show it.


"Militi Succurimus".."We hasten aid to the soldier"

Moderated by  Decorum-Is-Key Lisa 

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