Friend has two months to live- what do you say to them?

marylmiJuly 13, 2008

My friend just told me that her DH has only two months to live. He was getting chemo. and the doctors stopped it as it wasn't doing any good and told her to take him home and make him as comfortable as possible. He has Leukemia. We will see him tomorrow, BUT what in the world do you say to someone like that?? He knows of course, but it would be easier seeing him if he didn't know...at least for us.

Anyone have any words of wisdom to help DH and myself with this? Thanks~

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pfllh

Don't bring it up - let him. It may be too soon for him to talk about it and then again he may want you to know how he feels. If you plan on being there if they need you, then tell him so. He can call, come over or email and you'll be there. Just don't make any promises you won't be able to keep. Talk about some funny times when this or that happened with him. Let him know how much you treasure his friendship.
What have you all done together in the past that was enjoyed. Even if a BBQ, suggest and plan another one.
Don't treat him as if he's already gone or death is coming in the next few minutes. He's alive and help him enjoy the time he has left.
I really don't think anyone will be able to give you the magic words. Seeing him now will be so hard for you. It may be he greets you with a hug and you can hug back. He may cry and you may too. It's never easy when you know the goodbye is much too soon.
Take a deep breath and play it by ear taking his lead of how he wants things to go.
My heart goes out to you. I now live in a different state than my family. I had to go through this with my sister. I had not seen her for a while and the site of her just broke my heart. She didn't even talk of the cancer. The closest it came was when she asked me to go through her ceramics she'd made and take any I wanted. She died a month later. I miss her terribly but am so thankful I got to tell her face to face how much I loved her.
Your heart will know what to do.
God Bless
Lynn

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 3:13AM
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jkom51

Consider this:

Your friend has been given the inestimable gift of Time - time that will allow a graceful and compassionate exit. He can forgive hurts, surmount fears, and welcome each day as the gift that it is.

He can share that gift of life with his loved ones and friends. All the dross of life falls away and becomes unimportant.

I'd ask him what he thinks what help his wife may need, both when his death is imminent and afterwards. Remember that one almost universal complaint by the surviving spouse is that their friends are there before and for a few months afterwards. But as time goes by, most friends fall away.

I think the title of your post says it all. He doesn't have two months to die - he has two months to LIVE - and live well.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 12:15PM
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asolo

"Don't bring it up - let him."

Big ditto to that. He knows. You know. Everyone knows. Death will come on its own schedule. Right now he's still with you. Follow his lead. It will probably be apparent what he enjoys talking about. Unless there are other factors extant that you haven't spoken of, I see no need to walk on eggshells over it. Enjoy what there is to enjoy.

Two months ago, we lost a long-time family friend. He was 94, completely independent -- actually kind of an old fart, actually -- but he'd been part of our circle for sixty years. I visited him in the hospital many times over his three week stay there knowing full-well that his end was coming right up but said nothing...just followed his lead and enjoyed our conversations. Finally, one morning he turned to me and said "I'm dying." I said I knew, then told him he'd had a good run and had much to be proud of. The memories poured out and I tried to make sure they were all good ones. He seemed to take comfort from it. He dozed off with a smile on his face while I was still there. He was dead within hours.

What he had been doing before that, is showing concern over my feelings -- and I let him. He was trying to be a good friend until the last...and he was.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 1:21PM
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marylmi

Lynn,jkom51,and asolo, thank you so much for your responses, a lot of good advice here! We dropped in to see him today and his nephew was there sitting with him while his wife was running some errands. I was glad someone else was there too(as I was dreading the first visit) and we all sat and had coffee and just visited. If he ever does bring it up, then since reading these responses, I now know how I will answer him so thank you for that. We will certainly try and give him some happy times while we still have him!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:34PM
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