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Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: pbarra1
Date: March 12, 2018 09:05AM
I manage a pick-up soccer club and one of our members is dying of cancer. He only has a short time left. He has not played with us for over a year but various members families see his family members at various functions. He normally does not attend. Does anyone have any ideas for us to see him one last time? I feel conflicted about arranging a visit to see him before he dies because it seems like a last visit before someone dies visit. I know that there is no denying that that is the reality but I don't want our visit to remind him of the inevitable (if that makes sense). I thought I would arrange with his wife a "surprise" visit from the club, bring hotdogs, hamburgers, beer, etc and visit with him. While I suspect he would welcome such a visit it just feels like a wake with a person that hasn't quite died yet. Then when we are leaving and saying our goodbyes we will be saying goodbye forever again reinforcing the finality of it all. I know I am thinking of this from my perspective but I don't know the mindset / wishes of the person on the other end.

I have seen the collective wisdom of this forum many times over the years and I could really use it now. TIA
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: mikebw
Date: March 12, 2018 09:10AM
We went through a similar thing with my wife's grandfather recently. He was very old, dying of cancer and was making his last trip across the country to see all the family. We had lunch with him, his daughter, two granddaughters and the four great-grandkids. We just enjoyed the time together, did not talk about how it would be the last time, even though it was in the back of our minds.

Enjoy the time that you have, don't dwell on the finality of it too much.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 12, 2018 09:17AM
Talk to him and/or his family members. He's likely appreciate the gesture but it would be good to be in tune with how he is handling things.



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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: DP
Date: March 12, 2018 09:17AM
So sorry to hear it. As I'm getting older, I've lost a few longtime friends (as well as family). My advice would be to call it a "cheering up" party and when it's over, tell him to get better, hang in there, we'll be seeing you soon back on the field. Anything but "goodbye". I've found that lots of positive vibes and a party atmosphere goes a long way. My 2ยข...





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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 12, 2018 09:38AM
If knowing it'll be the last time you see this person makes you uncomfortable, either don't visit, or fake your attitude with positivity for the sake of the sick person's benefit of seeing you.

But that's if they actually want to see you. They may too sick to appreciate visitors --- it's for THEM, not for YOU. In my mom's final week, her sister-in-law and some nieces showed up but we did not permit them to see her. She was too weak. Point being, there eventually comes a time when very few are welcomed.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: March 12, 2018 09:52AM
People that are dying and who have gone through a long process like this can be very sensitive to being treated 'differently'..They want to be treated honestly and normally in some way..most.

Go there with a gift..something that will spark conversation..show and tell..talk to them, make them laugh..hold their hand if the allow..keep this simple and real..

I know it's hard to to approach these things but it's usually your own brain that is blowing it up to something it's not..If there are family members there..all the better..conversation will happen..let it..it's all we have..really.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: billb
Date: March 12, 2018 10:19AM
So call the wife and run the idea past her.
Don't keep putting it off, the "good" days where he might even be able to participate are often far and few in betweeen.



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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: lost in space
Date: March 12, 2018 10:24AM
Hard to say from this distance. Everybody's different. Definitely talk to his wife to get a sense of whether he'd want a visit, but tread lightly with the surprise.

I've had many goodbyes with friends and family passing. For each one, there was the underlying understanding that it would be the last time we'd see each other. For some, that was right up there on the surface and talked about directly, but for others, it was not talked about directly, but with the tacit understanding of the finality of the visit.



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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: mspace
Date: March 12, 2018 10:30AM
It's hard. Definitely talk to someone who can tell you what he wants. He may be feeling sad that people are staying away because of his situation, or glad that they are, since he may not want to deal with it. The only way to know is to ask.

If it's the former, then you are doing him a service, to matter how awkward it is for you.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 12, 2018 11:41AM
Sorry to hear that.

My wife has a friend that died of cancer, the Moms from the Moms Club tried to visit her, initially there was a larger group and the husband wrote an email asking the other Moms to come in smaller groups, since his dying wife was very tired after the first visit. My wife was supposed to visit a few days later after that email, but the friend died a day before my wife had a chance to visit.

I really cannot give any advice.

My uncle was in a similar situation in 2009, everyone in his family knew he was dying, but he did not know. he thought he had some gastrointestinal issues that will be cured with an additional surgery. We visited him, he got a chance to see my first son, meet my wife a second time (first time was at our wedding), and the hardest part was saying goodbye. He was making plans to meet again next time we fly to Europe, and we knew it was the last time we saw him. That was very hard.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 12, 2018 12:00PM
Quote
deckeda
But that's if they actually want to see you. They may too sick to appreciate visitors --- it's for THEM, not for YOU.

I submit it's actually for both. I agree that the afflicted's ability and desire to entertain guests is the overriding factor to consider, however.



It is what it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2018 12:06PM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: J Marston
Date: March 12, 2018 01:53PM
I have had to adopt a standard: "Is there anything you want to talk about? Is there anything you want me to remember?"

Usually the answer is "no."

"Can I just sit here for a while with you? I just want to enjoy your company."

I will then sit there; often they have something they want to say, often not.

This presumes that the family has given you some go ahead, of course. You are allowed to mourn them while they are still alive; and they are allowed to mourn themselves.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: Buzz
Date: March 12, 2018 04:43PM
When my sister was dying of cancer in the early 90's, there were some people she wanted to see before she passed, and others she didn't. At the very end, her childhood BFF that had long ago moved to Idaho w/ her husband, had sent word they were coming for a last visit. That made my sister very happy, but then word came down that her friends were going to Hawaii, and my sister knew she'd be dead before her friends could ever go Hawaii and back to SF. That made my sister very sad. Thankfully, it turned out that "Hawaii" was really Owyhee, Idaho, not too far from Boise where her friends lived. Friends showed up in SF a couple of hours later than originally planned, and that made my sister extremely happy, and everyone got a belated chuckle out of the mix up of travel destinations.

I would go with whatever your friend's wife says, as she probably knows best. If not, he probably has another friend or confidant that knows what his real wishes are, and go with that person's recommendation. At the other extreme, I lost a good friend to cancer a couple of years ago, and he threw himself a massive goodbye gala at a swanky local night spot, and invited everyone he cared to see one last time. He knew he would be deteriorating shortly after the party, and cut way down on the visitations from most people afterwards, and then lasted about six weeks during which he withered away rapidly, and didn't want people remembering him, or seeing him like that.

Find out what your teammate's wishes are, and respect them. Definitely clear any "surprise" party-like encounter w/ his closest peeps; some folks might appreciate it, while others would not. His wishes need to be honored ahead of anyone else's. If you get the thumbs up, just let everyone go with the flow; the guests needn't bring up any "last visit" stuff, but if your friend acknowledges the "final goodbyes", just reaffirm that he is a deserving person and is much cared about... and maybe bring him a favorite food, if he likes something better than hamburgers and hot dogs.
==
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: Janit
Date: March 12, 2018 06:26PM
Even though your friend may be dying, he is still living right now, so visit him as though he is a living person, with needs and preferences that should be respected. Consider visiting him to say Hello rather than to say Goodbye. Ask his wife about frequency of visits and how many people at a time. If one at a time feels too awkward, try two or three at a time. There may be more benefit to once a week in small groups rather than a big bash. Ask the wife.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: pbarra1
Date: March 13, 2018 09:08AM
I will contact the wife as planned and respect her advice regarding the visit as she knows him best. Thank you all.
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Re: Dying Friend Advice
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 13, 2018 08:32PM
Quote
Janit
Even though your friend may be dying, he is still living right now, so visit him as though he is a living person, with needs and preferences that should be respected. Consider visiting him to say Hello rather than to say Goodbye. Ask his wife about frequency of visits and how many people at a time. If one at a time feels too awkward, try two or three at a time. There may be more benefit to once a week in small groups rather than a big bash. Ask the wife.

excellent advice Janit! You are always wise.
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