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Coping with loss

(46 Posts)
Morgana Sun 19-Mar-17 20:30:21

DD's best friend is dying and only wants close family to visit. DD is really upset. Have tried to think of reasons why her friend might not want to see her and talked about not knowing how people feel when we have not walked in their shoes, but it is hard. Any ideas? And what do we say to someone who is dying? Know I was at a loss when my dad was suffering.

MiniMouse Sun 19-Mar-17 20:41:43

Morgana We went through a similar situation a couple of years ago. The reasons given were that the sick friend did not want people to see her because of how she looked, but it was mainly because her husband wanted to be alone with her to spend as much time as they had left together and uninterrupted. Hard for those of us who wanted to visit, but it was their wishes and we had to respect that. It will be very hard for your DD, but hopefully she will understand and treasure her memories of better times with her best friend.

paddyann Sun 19-Mar-17 23:01:24

maybe she could write a letter to her friend talking about all the good memories they shared.It might help both of them to come to terms with whats ahead .Send photos too if she has them and say that she hopes they raise a smile .Like you say none of us knows how we'd be in those circumstances so resppecting her wishes is all she can do .

ninathenana Sun 19-Mar-17 23:50:08

Good idea paddyann

Kindle just changed your name to Pastrami grin

Elrel Mon 20-Mar-17 01:13:33

Yes, I was thinking a card or letter referring to good times they'd spend together was a possibility. Such a sad time for everyone.

cornergran Mon 20-Mar-17 06:15:24

morgana a friend of ours simply didn't have the energy to see people most of the time, no matter how close they had been. He also wanted to spend time just with his wife and just 'being' in his home. We phoned and spoke with his wife, also,a close friend, often. Sometimes he would say 'hello', no more than that, sometimes he didn't want to speak, or indeed couldn't speak. We kept in touch with cards, Some with images of places we had been together some gently humerous which he enjoyed, although not everyone would I know. His wife let us know if there was a time he could cope with a very short visit but as his illness progressed we couldn't see him at all. Hard after 40+ years of friendship. It is very difficult when our instinct is to be there. Maybe your daughter could speak with her friend's family and explain of course she will respect her friend's wishes, that she is thinking of them all and if her friend would ever like to see her then of course she will be there. In the meantime send cards, according to her friend's character, it is a very sad time for you all.

Anya Mon 20-Mar-17 07:17:26

How sad for both of them. People do this for all sorts of reasons that we may not understand and your daughter must respect her friend's wishes. Yes, send a card and a letter. I'm sure that would be really appreciated.

Jayanna9040 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:44:48

My husband simply couldn't cope with other people's emotion. His best companion was the man from Hospice at Home who didn't know him from Adam, didn't want to talk about illness or past happiness, who sat and watched rugby with him and then went home.
Sometimes the people you love the most are the ones you have to let go of first.

nannalyn53 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:46:53

Good advice as usual from Gransnetters with this experience.
It sounds as if your daughter's need to visit is - most understandably - based on how she feels about her imminent loss. But sadly it's the desperately ill person's needs that must prevail, along with their family's. You may be able to help your DD come to terms with this over time.

spabbygirl Mon 20-Mar-17 11:48:50

I think that's quite common cos its just too sad to keep saying goodbye, it kind of rubs it in somehow. Also, they probably don't feel very well and sleep a lot. I think close family just want to lap up every possible moment they have together now they know that time is so short.

starbird Mon 20-Mar-17 11:54:26

Suggest that she send a card/letter as suggested and maybe offer to help if the family should need anything - eg shopping, giving a lift, looking after children/grandchildren if there are any, for say, an afternoon, perhaps take them out for a treat to take their mind off what is happening, so that her family can enjoy their time together in peace. I hope your DD will get to understand and not resent her friend's decision - maybe the friend wants her friend to remember her as she was, and she herself may prefer to remember the good times too. I assume that if she is the same age as your DD she is not that old, and she may be struggling to come to terms with what is happening. How sad for everyone.

Stansgran Mon 20-Mar-17 11:57:49

I suppose you have to say to your dd that it isn't what she wants but what her friend and her family want. I know when my brother was dying he didn't want to see me because I was living and he was soon not to be yet our blood group was identical ( he had had blood from me but was advised not to go through it again) many different reasons are possible

Nona4ever Mon 20-Mar-17 12:05:21

My friend was in this position when his late wife had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She refused to see anyone except her doctor, carer, husband and children. One friend of hers just refused to accept this request. She went round and effectively barged her way in, much to the distress of all concerned. I have rarely heard of such a selfish act. I think there had been some ill-feeling between the two friends in the past, and she clearly wanted to expiate her guilt. What part of 'no' don't some people get?

chrislou Mon 20-Mar-17 12:16:45

Good idea I kept in touch with my friend whose husband was dying with little ancedotes and something to make them both smile. It is a difficult situation but unfortunately you have to respect their decision, its not personal against your daughter

Ufton123 Mon 20-Mar-17 12:21:19

I had a friend who didn't want visiters I sent her a short text every Day with a memory we shared or a bit of gossip I knew she would enjoy. Near the end I know her texts were read to her and she enjoyed them. Its the hardest thing to do but tell your daughter just to think of her friends needs, not her own thats the best thing a "best friend can do"
There are some really helpful poems she might like to look for!

cc Mon 20-Mar-17 12:29:42

My DH's best friend is dying, he does like company when he feels well enough, so we text every now and again to see if he would like us to go. A phone call is more obtrusive, particularly if he is feeling really bad. Fortunately they know us well enough to say if it is a bad day, or simply not convenient.

His wife appreciates his having company sometimes, particularly if she needs to go out as she doesn't like to leave him alone for too long. If he's feeling well and we go to visit I usually take a meal with us, not wanting to make their day-to-day life any more difficult than it already is.

DH is very upset about everything - but it isn't his death so he always tries to be cheerful when we are there, and be normal.

When my father was dying he really didn't want to see anybody other than very close family, not even his brother. This caused resentment after his death as his brother was annoyed that we had not invited him to visit - we were worried that if he knew how sick my father was he might have turned up unannounced and we would have had to refuse to let him in.

wilygran Mon 20-Mar-17 12:34:12

One of my oldest friends broke off contact with me (and others) entirely when her cancer became terminal. She told us not to contact her at all in any way.
I sympathise so much with your daughter. I found it very hard to bear and it still is one of my biggest regrets that I could not communicate in any way.
But as others have said above, you have to respect how people choose to deal with this. Only they know what they can cope with. I have found what the others here have experienced very reassuring, as you realise that this cutting off is a way a number of people find necessary, for all sorts of reasons, to manage their last weeks or months.
And it is a comfort to know that the last and best thing you can do as a friend, is to honour how they choose to take their leave.

radicalnan Mon 20-Mar-17 12:36:46

Letting go is hard work for the sick person, they may have already let go of friends and just want to spend remaining time with family.

It is important to respect that for their sake.

Perhaps a nice picture of them together to be there on the bedside, silent testament to friendship and send that via family so the right moment to hand it over (if there is one) can be chosen.

Sad, but it just isn't about others at the end.............just the one person.

I pray that she has a gentle passing.

Your DD will eventualy derive more peace from not inruding than a visit which can really sap the energies.

I love the story of the Hospice friend above, just the company of a stranger can almost be more of a bleesing, how many times can one say goodbye?

gagsy Mon 20-Mar-17 12:43:02

Its nice to send a card. Just put that you send your love and a big hug

Newquay Mon 20-Mar-17 12:45:40

What a terribly sad time for all involved but, of course, especially the friend concerned. Her wishes have to be paramount. I like the idea of a photo of happier times to show she will not be forgotten.
CC taking a meal round is the best thing you can do too. . . .

sarahellenwhitney Mon 20-Mar-17 12:48:30

Morgana.The saying blood is thicker than water is so very true.
I felt 'rejected' in a similar situation and it is hard to accept after knowing someone for so long.
All your DD can do when the end comes is to either send flowers or, as some families request, donate to a charity her dear friend may have supported.

Sylviann60 Mon 20-Mar-17 13:01:42

My best friend died two years ago she had cancer and had said she only wanted family to visit but I called on her a way she was really pleased to see me and said I knew you'd come and I was so glad I had ignored her request for no visitors it's worth taking the chance even if your turned away you know you tried

gillybob Mon 20-Mar-17 13:04:51

When my mum came home from hospital last year, she (and we) knew that she was coming home to die. It was her choice to be at home surrounded by things and people she knew and loved . Me, my dad, sister and my daughter, took it in turns to sit with her (day and night). My mum loved music and my sister and I acted like DJ's playing her various requests (over and over). We talked about everything and anything and my mum asked us to tell stories about holidays we remembered as children. We each talked about our happiest memories. My mum had no desire to be "visited" by anyone outside the immediate family as she said wanted to spend her last days remembering happy times and not being constantly reminded of the fact that she was dying (who could forget?) with people coming in and out crying and expressing their sorrow. Pretty much what spabbygirl said. Just a couple of days before she died she enjoyed (and I mean enjoyed) a visit form my three grandchildren (her great grandchildren) who behaved just as normal despite my mum lying in a hospital bed complete with oxygen etc. they played around her and took turns at telling her about their day. All topped off with a little squabble (which made her smile). She told them all that she loved them and to have a happy life. I am upset writing this, but it was so beautiful. I guess what i am trying to say Morgana is that your DD should not take her friends refusal to see her as a personal insult. She could maybe drop a card with a very short message (although we were very reluctant to read some of these to my mum due to their upsetting content) but needs to respect that dying is THE most personal thing we will ever do and there is no wrong way or right way. Sending flowers to your DD and her friend. x

Yorkshiregel Mon 20-Mar-17 13:07:43

We just went to the funeral of our BILaw who was dying of bone cancer. He also asked only for visits from immediate family members. My OH introduced him to his wife, OH's sister. We were not included in immediate family, but you just have to accept that and stay away. The reason might be that this person wants to be remembered for who she was, not as the shell that she is now. Send a letter if you must or a card, but DO NOT just turn up after being asked not to. Have some respect. Send flowers (or not if requested not to). She wants to be with her family, so be it.

Janet14 Mon 20-Mar-17 13:17:14

texts are a great way to send love and hugs without being intrusive