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Should I visit terminally ill friend who has just moved to a hospice?

(72 Posts)
crystaltipps Sat 27-Apr-19 06:45:03

I have a long standing friend, an ex colleague I worked with for many years, we have met up over the years , together with another ex colleague friend, regularly for lunches, trips out etc. Just after our last meeting we received an email from her saying she had been diagnosed with a nasty form of cancer and was starting various treatments - radiotherapy, chemo etc. For a while we have kept in touch with chatty upbeat emails about how her treatment was going , but with lots of everyday chat as well. She said she wasn’t able to face the world yet, but would let us know when she felt up for lunching. Then last week we received an email from her husband saying she was in hospital with an infection. Reading between the lines it sounded worrying. The next day we got an email again from her husband, saying she could have no further treatment and had been moved to a local hospice and sent her love. I emailed straight back saying how sad I was and could he let me know if it would be ok to visit, but I would totally understand if she just wanted the family there ( she has 2 AC who have young families). I have had no reply as yet. Do you think we ( our mutual friend and me) should just wait for an email or just go to the hospice and ask the staff to ask the family if we could see her? The hospice is very close by so not a long journey. We would understand if she is too unwell or the family say no. What would you do? Should we just wait for an email, or try to visit our friend for probably the last time?

Grammaretto Sat 27-Apr-19 07:10:10

I would phone the hospice and ask about her but not go in without "permission"
I wouldn't have wanted anyone but family at DM's deathbed.
Sad times flowers

mumofmadboys Sat 27-Apr-19 07:27:29

Could you phone the husband and ask him whether you could pop in for 5 -10 minutes to see her?

kittylester Sat 27-Apr-19 07:32:46

I'd wait for a reply to your email. Events could have overtaken them or she is deciding whether she does want to see you.

Could you in the, meantime, send her a small gift - flowers or a plant?

phoenix Sat 27-Apr-19 07:58:27

Don't go without phoning first. The hospice staff will ask her if she would like you to visit.

kittylester Sat 27-Apr-19 08:07:24

Dont bypass her DH as you have asked him.

Alima Sat 27-Apr-19 08:22:15

I lost a very dear friend several months ago. She did not want anyone other than her husband and daughter to know she was so close to dying let alone visit her. I am sorry about your friend.

maryeliza54 Sat 27-Apr-19 08:28:02

I think I’d try one more email ( as this has been the method of contact) along the lines of simply saying you are thinking of them all and is there anything you can do. It’s hard isn’t it especially as you have been such good friends over the years

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 27-Apr-19 08:31:07

How sad. I think it's better to wait until you get a message from her DH, he may be by her side at this moment and can't reply to your message. She may only want close family to visit. flowers

crazyH Sat 27-Apr-19 08:43:44

Her husband is probably too distraught to even check his emails. I would phone the hospice and see how your friend is. They may not give you the information, on the other hand, the family might have given the permission to pass information on to friends who ring them.
When my friend was dying, her daughter rang me and suggested I go straight away to the hospice, as time was running out. I did see my friend, who by then was in a coma. I sat with her and talked to her. I 'm almost sure she heard me because her eyes blinked.
Please try and see her. You will feel so much better and your friend will too. So sorry xx

sodapop Sat 27-Apr-19 08:46:05

So sorry for your friend crystaltipps if you still haven't heard anything I would ring the hospice and explain the situation, they will be able to advise you.

Harris27 Sat 27-Apr-19 08:59:34

So sorry to hear about your friend i would do as others suggest ring hospice and see if she's ready to see anyone other than family. X

CarlyD7 Sat 27-Apr-19 09:14:05

Definitely ring the hospice and find out if it would be okay to visit her. Send her a card telling her that she's in your thoughts and that you would really like to visit (include your phone number as she may not have it with her). Husband is probably completely overwhelmed so I don't think I would wait for his reply. When my ex-colleague (same age as me) went into a hospice I sent her a card with my number on it and she rang me, and wanted me to visit - so I did. The staff there also arranged a "goodbye party" for her - and invited lots of people that she knew (friends and family and ex-colleagues). It was horribly poignant but I was so glad that I got to say how much I had appreciated working with her, how glad I was to have known her and how much she had added to my life. 2 days later she died. So, please don't give up too easily.

Granmary18 Sat 27-Apr-19 09:34:32

Send her a card and tell her you are thinking of her. Add your phone number and wait. If she can have no further treatment and has been moved immediately to a hospice she may be nearing the end of her life pretty soon and be unable to respond. Her husband will do as he sees fit and able to cope with. flowers

eazybee Sat 27-Apr-19 09:40:03

Contact the husband and/or adult children; time is precious.

Telly Sat 27-Apr-19 12:22:48

Phone the hospice and ask whether it would be ok. I guess that they would speak to her or the family. I would also email again. Apart from that I would send a card and small gift. It's always good to know that people are thinking of you when things are difficult. XX

jeanie99 Sat 27-Apr-19 12:34:38

I would phone her husband and ask for permission if he is not in agreement send a letter.
Say how you think of her often and the good times you had chatting about all the old days. Bring up some memories you share and send some old photos if you have any.
I am absolutely certain she will love to recieve the letter and if she cannot read her husband and family can read for her.
We are told the last thing to loose at death is our hearing.
Ring the hospice up for an update and ask the nurse to tell your friend you have rung and that you are thinking of her.

Anja Sat 27-Apr-19 12:53:09

Ask her first if she would like a visit.

crystaltipps Sat 27-Apr-19 15:32:28

Thank you for all your wise advice. I think we will drop a card off later today to the hospice, as many of you have suggested, but not ask to see her as the weekend will most likely be the time when many of the family will be able to visit. We’ll include our phone details in the card, as the family won’t have them and we don’t have any of their numbers. If we then haven’t heard anything by Tuesday we will phone the hospice for any news. At least we will have done what we could without being too intrusive.

Nonnie Sat 27-Apr-19 15:58:07

I agree that her husband has too much to think about and that you shouldn't stress him. I also agree that phoning the hospice is the better option as they will know the full picture. So sorry to hear about your friend.

BlueBelle Sat 27-Apr-19 17:30:50

I agree with everyone Ring the hospice for advice and to see if you could make a brief visit but i know I would want to say goodbye to my close friends as well as my family

Floradora9 Sat 27-Apr-19 17:38:22

Do not phone please , when my mother was really ill in hospital I just dreaded the phone ringing . Unless you are close family wait and see if the husband wants you to visit.

Sparklefizz Sat 27-Apr-19 19:09:50

^ You will feel so much better and your friend will too.^

The friend may not necessarily feel "so much better" at all. My own friend didn't want anyone to see her with her hair loss and weight loss. She always took great care of her appearance and only wanted close family there.

absam1 Sun 28-Apr-19 10:34:07

A friend of mine of over 50 years had lung cancer and didn't want to see her closest friends once she was diagnosed - I think she wanted us to remember her how she was. Although she was beautiful inside and out. We respected her wishes and kept in touch with emails and texts but we wish we'd known when she only had a few weeks left and could have seen her that last time - to have given her a kiss and a hug.

deanswaydolly Sun 28-Apr-19 10:36:30

It broke my heart when my oldest friend, my bridesmaid? Godmother to my daughter did not tell me she was ill. She refused to see anyone but immediate family. She had very many close friends who loved hear dearly. Her sisters told me she wanted us to remember her how she was and didn't want our last memories of her to be how she was. It was hell. I needed to see her. However that was my own need and it was the hardest period of my life to give her the respect she had asked for. She was 59 and so so vibrant a person. Please just respect the family's wishes no matter how hard it is for you. I am sorry you are also going through this.