Hot answers tagged

140

I've been the dying person (I got better, long story.) Trust me, inviting me to a party would not have "reminded me of my limitations." I already knew. It's more likely that I would be offended at having decisions made for me, as though I was no longer capable of that myself. (There were no family occasions I was excluded from in the bad months, in fact I ...


82

As a cancer survivor, who was looking death in the face, I can tell you that the most valuable thing for me was friendship. Ask your children to make a card expressing what a great friend and companion this family member is and how great it is to have them in your life.


70

A "We love you!" card is great. It's honest, direct, and it doesn't rub the terminal condition into the person's face. Whatever you do, be in the moment, because that's where the patient/person should be. Share the sadness (if she's sad), share the pain (if she's in pain.) Don't be afraid to be funny if something funny has happened that you want to share. ...


63

As no one else has suggested it: 'Thinking of you' - lets them know they are in your thoughts. 'Hello!' - simply let someone know you're ready to be there for them, when they need you. 'Pretty picture' - literally something pretty the children have made, as with all of these it shows you and the children have spent some time thinking of the person.


35

A few years ago I helped my grandparents write down their invitations (to a 50 year wedding anniversary). They too had relatives with serious health problems and terminal illnesses at the time. What they, as very religious people did, was to include the following sentence of Latin in their invitations (it's often used in their church's communications as ...


25

This answer is highly dependent on you. Your schedule, your life, what you do, how much are you around the family in any given day; you could be an excellent shield here and that won't be possible if you cannot be around enough. My mom has an 88-year old uncle and his 79-year old wife. I just call them grandma and grandpa because it is easier and we don't ...


23

I have a somewhat similar experience... Not one to one, but similar. My mom was hit pretty young with early onset Alzheimers/dementia. It's still a very cringe worthy experience when people I barely know ask about her condition. It's usually well meaning people who my mom used to serve/work with in her church. She was a clergy person, so she touched a lot ...


21

Give her some time. My situation I'm a teenager with epilepsy, which is has been in remission (at the least) for the past four years. I was first diagnosed eight years ago, at the age of ten. Things were difficult to deal with for a while, but I had the support of my friends. The worst part was knowing that symptoms could manifest themselves without much ...


17

You have hit the nail on the head that these are well-meaning people. Your question has the beginning of your answer. With someone reasonably close to you, the next time that someone says something unhelpful, I'd respond with, "Thanks for the advice/for asking. You know what? I realize you want to help, but I've heard that from a ton of people already. ...


17

I'd like to try a small "frame challenge" with you. Try to help me answer this imaginary question: How can I tell my friend I was wrong to over-react when they forgot my birthday? I have a friend who has been struggling a lot with mental health over the last few weeks and was nearly hospitalised on multiple occasions. A few days before my birthday, they ...


15

It's actually not common at all to have 5 years left to live. A few months, a year or two, or "there's nothing we can do" are the usual diagnoses. That said, whether a person is dying or not, their birthday is a time to say "I am glad you haven't died yet" in one way or another, and so it would be proper and good to celebrate their birthday, knowing it may ...


14

Start with a very short opening. You don't want to just walk in and say, "so .... died today". Open by saying there is some sad news in the family. Keep it short. After your opening, just say what needs to be said, that your relative has died. Let her respond. Let your wife react, and take your cue from her reaction. If she indicates she wants support, give ...


9

I think it does not really matter what you mention as feedback. I assume your colleagues are well aware of the long term positives: I am on treatment plans and actually in a great place health-wise compared to a few years ago As well as the short term variations: , but some days are inevitably rougher than others. Whatever you say, if you end with ...


9

the invitation will indicate a lack of understanding for their situation and/or remind them of their bad health and limitations One counter argument that comes to mind instantly is: not inviting those people to the party just because they are terminally ill is much worse. It's almost like treating them as they were already dead. If you think that inviting ...


8

I don't know your relationship and communication style, but your email looks good to me. Having had a bit of flirtation with death myself, I didn't want people avoiding me because of awkwardness. Your suggested lines are generally good. "How are you?" isn't intended to evoke an answer like "Dying of cancer, what do you think?" but "Having a good/bad day." ...


8

I am coming from a different cultural background (US), but I was in a similar experience with my family. My paternal grandmother moved in with us (mom, dad, me) because of her failing health. Both of my parents were retired, but because of the division of labor in the household, my mother wound up doing much of the care giving. I could act as a buffer for a ...


7

I would not use the word luck in this context, because luck implies the possibility of not being lucky (a bad outcome). Luck in gambling would be a good example, where the majority isn't lucky. In a medical context, if you say "Good Luck", there is the hidden implication that that person may not be lucky (have some complications or worse). I'm sure you don'...


6

I think the main thing here is You want to let them know they are welcome, and you will be very happy if they can indeed make it. And you're happy to make whatever accommodations they need, if they do decide to come. You are not putting them under any pressure to come, or to stay if they get tired. Of course conveying both 1 and 2 is a challenge. Pulling ...


5

I recommend being explicit: Thank you so much for your concern and support, but honestly I've got a handle on things, as much as anyone can. I'll [X]/I'm already [X]/I've already [X], and we're doing as well as can be expected. I'd much rather talk about [Y]. Where X is "make time for myself", "look into support groups", etc. You don't need to explain ...


5

Maybe a "thank you" for the joy they've brought to your life, including "best wishes" for making the most of the time they have left, or "blessings" if the recipient follows a religion. All of us (human readers) are going to die at some point. It's just that some of us can see it coming sooner than others. So you can reflect on the message and its ...


4

I don't know how feasible it is, but perhaps you could write up something sharing as much about your condition as you feel comfortable, thanking people for their concerns and saying that you do worry sometimes that you aren't sure how to answer when asked certain questions, but you love that they care. And if you like you can share "the spoon story". A ...


4

First of all: People genuinely asking how you feel are one of the best thing that could happen to you. How I would answer: I'd explain them that you still have a long road until you're over the illness and that it's hard to tell if one day is better or worse - but you feel that generally its better and it gets better every day. Volatility is something ...


4

I have faced a number of health problems recently. I am trying to imagine a condition that I wouldn't be constantly aware of, and would be saddened by having someone mention it. I can't think of anything. I am not going to forget I have cancer until you bring it up. But when I needed my gallbladder out, there was a 6 week or so gap until I had it done, and ...


4

Wow... I was pretty taken aback by your story. Recently, I had an abdominal surgery (appendix rupture) and I know, to the lesser extent, how difficult a recovery is and that consequences of complex surgeries often leave horrible scars and decrease your quality of life. Sometimes temporary, sometimes indefinitely. Some people will never understand the ...


4

Caring for my wife these past 6 years, I have learned a few tactics myself. Everyone's situation and culture will be different (I am a tall man in my mid 30's living in Midwestern US), but let me offer my experience. During the first few years, I got so good at shutting down these worthless suggestions, that most of my family and close friends don't bother ...


4

"The bad" I was in a similar situation 10+ years ago. The situation was actually worse - after a successful pregnancy, the child of a colleague was born dead. I wanted to say something nice / helpful, so I decided to go with something like: I am sorry for the loss. I am sure God has bet plans... I understood easily that my feelings were taken as an ...


3

A common thread in the answers here accommodations - what can you do to accommodate disabilities? The answers you've got, have got the visible stuff covered (although I didn't see a note about wheelchair accessibility, which matters a lot with the company I keep), and at least one reply covers making none of it seem like an effort on your part. This answer ...


3

To give a different perspective to this. It sounds to me with phrases like "can't stop thinking about it", "I hope you understand that the problem is with me and not you. I'm also sad but that's how I feel", "something that I can't control (that it's actively working all the time)" and "I think I'm not mentally ready for it." that she in fact has a fear of ...


3

I've been involved in Grief Management sessions and am finishing seminary... perhaps I can offer some thoughts here. As your friend goes through the stages of grieving (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Sadness, and Acceptance), it is important for you as a friend to do one thing: listen to them. Too many people try to help the grieving by saying what they think ...


3

People can't read thoughts and can't really know what are things that could comfort you through grief. Usually people either copy what is the social norm where you live by in expressing condolences, or they try to say things they would imagine be supportive in your situation. If this is in your location a common way to express support and condolence, you ...


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