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Old 02-23-2010, 04:02 PM   #1
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What to say....

I have a dear friend who has terminal cancer. While she has not directly told me how long she has our conversations have me knowing the truth- that it is weeks. She has 2 teenage children, one of my children and her child are dating and have been for months.

We live in a small community and I have had people ask me how long she has, what is going on, etc. I have not broken any confidences nor would I ever say anything about her condition. She had someone call her husband and say I heard XXXXX was in the hospital. This was very very upsetting to her.

I am know people are wanting to know so they can help and offer assistance but what do you say. I know a few of the people are the town gossipers who want to talk.

I am having a hard enough time coping with this. I have NEVER had anyone close pass (my grandparents all passed by 2nd grade so I don't remember them well). My children have never had anyone close pass and went to their first visitation last summer. It scares me--in church when everyone else has the tears, I sit next to my friend and hold her hand on her childs as she sits next to mine.

What do you tell people when they ask? I don't want to sound rude, uncaring. I know many people love her dearly and want to help but I am at a loss at how to respond.

Thank you ....
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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not about ears

I'm sorry to hear what you are going thru. I am 40ish , married, with 2 kids, and have lost both an adult brother and sister (both very close) to cancer in the last 9 years. I never knew the extent of their conditions, either b/c of my parents (both still alive) not telling me everything, or my sister never telling anyone (including her husband or my mom) of the real state of her condition. I live 500 miles from them both (when they were both alive), and always wish I could have done more. Unfortunately, you have to respect their wishes about what you can disclose. All you can do is try to be there for them, and you have to respect their wishes. Losing anyone is tough, but you have to remember that what you are going thru is probably not as tough as what it is to others. Whenever I think how hard it is to lose a close adult brother and sister (they were my best friends too) , my parents have had to bury 2 children, which no one should ever go thru, nor should a 7 and 9 yr old have to bury their mother. The only thing you can do is be there for them. It sucks, but that's how it is. It's their choice, and you have no right to go against it. All you can do is try to be there for them and all of your/their friends. Whatever you are going thru, others are going thru far worse- keep them in mind, and try to support them as well as you can, while relyinIg on thise close to you to get thru it. Time does heal, but it's not quick. I hope this helps.
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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My best friend is dying with cancer. Doctors have said it could be any day now. I talked to her the other day. She has chosen not to believe she has cancer. I am not the one to tell her she has it. I just listen as she talks about how she is doing. The other day she said to me that I sounded sad. Why was that? I was at a loss for words for a few seconds. I have said everything I needed to say to her. I hope her passing is peaceful.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:30 PM   #4
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First thing is, and I know you know, death is scary and cancer bites!

Just sitting with your friend in church is no small thing. It's so hard when people don't know what to do, and so stay away. Even if she doesn't want to share any details, just let her know you love her.

If others are asking you, just tell them "When I saw her yesterday she felt fine" or "I don't know any details, but she said she was having a rough day today" or whatever, speak to the current situation, not her prognosis. We never really know what to expect or how long it will be.

I lost my Mom to lung cancer in '07, after a 363-day battle, and my sister to a brain tumor last Sept after a 16.5-year battle. The church family was great. During all the ups and downs, folks just sent cards of love and encouragement, and showed up with casseroles... it's what we do. Even when they would ask "What can we do to help?", and you don't really know what there is to do, they would bring a meal.

I'm sorry you are faced with gossipers who are only interested in talking about why someone doesn't want to share their most private details. But if she doesn't want to disclose and thus get any attention, and someone feels like they just HAVE to do something, suggest that they make a donation to the American Cancer Society, a local Relay for Life, and contribute to finding a cure.

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Old 03-11-2010, 03:20 PM   #5
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I understand what you are going thru. Without making this a long post, I'll just say, I can relate. I found saying XXXX has faith and appreciates everyones prayers. When they ask the specific questions like .... is she still vomitting,etc. I found, "she is as God has it for her right now. Gods' will not ours...Thank you for asking. Or Thank you for asking, but as you know XXX is a private person, she doesn't complain much.

Either way, God Bless you for being the caring friend you are.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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I understand not knowing what to say

I have experienced both sides. In August my wife lost her dad and two brothers in a plane accident. I never knew what to say before, but now that we have experienced this loss, I understand how important it is to let them know you love them and are there for them in words and in ACTION. Here is a website that helped me:

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