Buy books by AWers

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 45

Thread: Talking to a dying friend

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002

    Talking to a dying friend

    Last week I found out that one of my oldest friends doesn't have long to live. I spoke with him yesterday for a few minutes, but since it's affected his lungs, it seemed like he was struggling to talk and I didn't want to keep him on the phone. But when we were hanging up he said, "Keep in touch." Our mutual friends are also urging me to stay in touch with him, and of course I'm more than willing to, but (a) it seems like it's difficult for him, and (b) I'm having trouble keeping the conversation "up". The reason is he knows he's dying. He knows I know he's dying, and so it just seems frivolous and a bit insulting for me to be talking about things we did when we were younger, the sports teams we were on together (this guy was a great all-around athlete, but naturally, his best sport was baseball--he was a starting pitcher for a major US college), or any of our other antics. We even lived together for a short time when we were just out of college.

    So I'm just wondering if any of you have ever been in a situation like this, and how you handled it. Not the least of the difficulties is I am truly brokenhearted about this--can hardly get him out of my mind--but I think the last thing I want to do is show that to him.
    Last edited by Maze Runner; 06-20-2017 at 09:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    28,824
    I'm sorry you're going through this. I have experienced this on more than one occasion. Talk about the past. Share those stories. AND...tell him you're sad. Tell him you're going to miss him. There is always time, while they are alive, to tell them how much you appreciate their friendship, their presence in your life. Make him matter to you in his eyes. Let him know you value him, he changed you. But don't think the past is not a thing to speak of. Speak of it.

    This is not the same, but my mother was dying in April 2016...I had been out of communication with her for several years...I don't want to say how long. When I got to the hospital, I didn't recognize her...that's how much she had aged since the last time we spoke. We mended fences in the day prior to her dying. And we spoke endlessly of the past. She, too, had difficulty speaking. But it's where we both wanted to be---way back in the past.

    Say the things you want to say and remember NOW is the time.

    Sorry for your struggle. It's a really difficult time to go through. <3
    Get Burn Baby Burn Baby today! Now on the 2016 In the Margins Book Awards List!
    I blog
    I INSTAGRAM
    I Tweet
    I have 5 novels published. You can see them here on my Amazon Author Page if you're at all interested.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    Now, is the time. Thank you. Man, I am so raw about this, like my nerves are outside my skin. I need to keep it 'up', I think that would be best for him, I hope I can pull it off. I'm all sighs.

  4. #4
    reading all the things Anna Iguana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    US
    Posts
    522
    My thoughts are with you. I hear you having all the right impulses. Be there, don't disappear. It's okay for you to do most of the chatting, to enjoy pleasant memories with your friend. There's a saying, "Comfort in, dump out." You've got feelings, find people to support you through your friend's end of life, too (like here, and more).

    It's not the same, but I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's, and now my mother is losing her memory. It's harder for her to keep a conversation going, so I chat about cheery things. I'm so sorry for what your friend is going through, and what you are going through, too. Your time with him on the phone is a comfort; it's love.
    WebsiteTwitter#51writers for folks writing strong female characters

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    I'm sorry, Anna. What does that mean? Comfort in, dump out? thanks

  6. #6
    standing on head, typing one-handed... muse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    8,308
    I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Maze Runner. Such a tough situation.

    I'm with KTC. Tell your friend how much you care for him, and that you will miss him. Speak of the past, of good times. Those old memories can be so good to revisit while you still have the chance.

    And don't feel like you have to be 'up' all the time. It's okay to show that you're sad.

    Thinking of you both.
    PUBLISHED:
    Novel:
    Where There's Smoke. Links:

    Short Story: A Killer Week, available to read in the Anthology Crime AfterCrime

    CURRENT WORKS:

    The Hungry Ghost - Mystery/Suspense. Looking for beta readers. PM if interested.

    Legacy - The Beginning - First Draft - 54,443words so far.

    Website

    Twitter
    /Pinterest /Facebook/Goodreads/ Instagram






  7. #7
    reading all the things Anna Iguana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    US
    Posts
    522
    Oh, sorry I didn't explain well enough. Here is a link: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-oe-...#axzz2kF8iBw9U It's a "ring theory." The person most affected by an event--your friend, who is dying--is at the center, and people closest to him are the innermost circle of people affected, and so on out. Comfort people closer to the center of the event; seek comfort ("dump" painful emotions) from people who are more distant from your friend, who have more emotional reserves to share with you, as support.

    Thoughts to you <3
    WebsiteTwitter#51writers for folks writing strong female characters

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    I just feel like he's got enough sadness of his own, without mine thrown into the mix.

  9. #9
    reading all the things Anna Iguana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    US
    Posts
    522
    I think whatever you do is gonna be okay.
    WebsiteTwitter#51writers for folks writing strong female characters

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    They're not letting me read the article, but thanks, I think I understand.

    ETA: This probably should have been in Conquering Challenges. Mods want to move, that's fine with me. Sorry.
    Last edited by Maze Runner; 06-19-2017 at 11:14 PM.

  11. #11
    storm central stormie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Still three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean
    Posts
    12,465
    Just sending you hugs. A lot of good advice here. My wish is that I had visited or called dying friends more often. I was always there for family, but held back from friends. And I've lost quite a few close friends to long illnesses.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    Thanks, stormie. I've never been in this situation before. The only time someone very close to me was terminal was when we were told that my mother had only a few months, but we never told her, so I've never faced these 'this-is-the-end' kind of conversations, and I have to admit I'm feeling a bit intimidated. But if he wants to talk to me then we will. This came on fast. It seems he skipped the early stages of the disease and hadn't showed any symptoms until recently. He was only diagnosed a couple weeks ago. I haven't seen him, on opposite ends of the country.

  13. #13
    Never Surrender AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    On a Pedestal
    Posts
    39,706
    I, too, am sorry you're going through this. It's painful for those who are going to lose him, but it's worse for him. Bear that in mind if it helps you be stronger. (It helped me.)

    It's okay for him to know you're sad. And by all means, it's okay to say you'll really miss him and that you're angry he has this nasty illness instead of someone who deserves it. What he needs now are distractions and good memories. Talk about the old days. Talk about sports or TV or whatever else he's interested in. If he's able to Skype or Facetime with you, it may lessen the need for him to talk if it's difficult for him--plus you can share old pictures, yearbooks, etc. as if you were in the same room.

    Maryn, with two hugs, one for him, one for you
    Get to work. Success isn't built on the power of your dreams.


    Brick by Brick, a ménage à trois novel
    Taming the Wilde, FemDom spotted--and striped--in the wild
    Men in Love, anthology about--hey, you're already there, aren't you?
    Maryn Says, an irregular blog almost never about writing
    The Occasional Tweet

  14. #14
    Did...did I do that? cmhbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Green Country, OK
    Posts
    3,179
    My pastor a long time ago was talking about how to help someone who's grieving, and one thing he focused on was "the power of silent presence." Simply sitting with your friend may be all he needs.

    I like Maryn's suggestions and would extend that to include old favorite movies, or even new favorite movies. I'm not sure if sports movies would help or not. but consider that. But maybe avoid "Brian's Song."

    Ergh - just saw the part about travel distance. My ideas don't make any sense then, and Maryn's are much better. Sorry.

    Grace and peace to everyone.
    Bob Mueller
    Books | Web | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Author Instagram | Personal Instagram
    I am slowly building a Twitter List of AW members.

  15. #15
    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    In the Castle, of course.
    Posts
    23,854
    Letting him know how much you care is important, for both of you. Don't draw away from him. The time you spend with him will be time you will cherish when he is finally gone.

    As many hugs as you want.
    ..
    "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
    Michelangelo

    "You don't need thick skin, you just need perseverance." leifwright

    New blog post 1/22/17 blog
    ...

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    It's true, every time I start to feel really bad I ask myself, "Yeah, how do you think he feels?"

    I think I have to be willing to talk about anything he wants to talk about, and I am (though I hadn't realized till this thread that I'd been trying to prepare myself for that conversation in my head), but I guess I just want to be careful not to make him talk about (or just hear) anything he doesn't want to. It would be better if I could follow his lead--maybe I can, but it might be difficult.

    Distractions and good memories, and laughs, we had a lot of those. We have a lot to talk about. Skype is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that.

    Bob, I thought of sending him some classic games or fights, I might do that. I'd have to work it out with his wife.

    No, I won't draw away from him, but I guess I understand the instinct. It hurts, and nobody thinks that's fun. Thanks, hugs are good!

  17. #17
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
    Posts
    7,561
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I had an aunt who died of Lou Ehrig's. She couldn't talk at all by the time she died, but she did like having family/friends around. My deepest sympathy to both you and him.

    Just be there now.

    Please let me know when he dies and we'll chant for him.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    Siri, can you tell me how long it was after she couldn't talk before she died?

  19. #19
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
    Posts
    7,561
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I wasn't around her during that time. But it may have been more than a year. It varies wildly.

    Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie? It's about a man whose teacher teaches him while dying of Lou Ehrig's. Morrie could speak 'til nearly the end. On the other hand, Stephen Hawking is still alive after decades of being unable to speak with the same disease/syndrome.

    Side note: My aunt's daughter married an engineer/inventor and he started a company to manufacture technology that allows people without speech to speak and write. Aunt Lu wasn't able to use it before she passed. But that's why Stephen Hawking can lecture and write books.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    No one's told me how long they think he has, but the sense I get is that it's not long. I think I need to do a little research. Interesting about that technology. I guess it's pretty expensive. I think he's got pretty good insurance.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW chompers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    2,487
    One of my mother's friends has Lou Gherig's. They are predicting she will die this year. She's already immobile. But to be honest, I thought she'd be catatonic, from the way my mom was describing it. But when I went to visit her, she looked like she was just down with the flu or something, just looked tired more than anything, although she couldn't speak. But she still had slight movement in her head and was able to type (that was her form of communication, since she could no longer speak).

    Just go spend time with your friend. I think he'll appreciate that you aren't scared off. And use this time to talk while y'all still can. Let the conversation go however it takes you. And he's going to need a lot of physical help too. Be there for him, even if he gets a caregiver. I think having a friend there to help out will help.

    ETA: How aggressive the progression of the disease varies on each person. My mom's friend had it a few years now. I only visit my mom during the holidays, so I saw the deterioration of her friend's health in starkness, and even then it didn't seem to be as fast as I imagined. At first she was just a tiny bit slower in movement. Then a lot slower (shuffled) and had to have her daughter be her human crutch and she could talk, but a bit slower. Then this last time I saw her, she was propped in a chaise and she could no longer speak. But like I said, it just looked like she was sick with the flu and just tired.
    Last edited by chompers; 06-20-2017 at 03:30 AM.

  22. #22
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
    Posts
    7,561
    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Yes, unfortunately, the technology is bespoke, tailored to each individual. But in case...I think the name of the company is Words Plus.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    Quote Originally Posted by chompers View Post
    One of my mother's friends has Lou Gherig's. They are predicting she will die this year. She's already immobile. But to be honest, I thought she'd be catatonic, from the way my mom was describing it. But when I went to visit her, she looked like she was just down with the flu or something, just looked tired more than anything, although she couldn't speak. But she still had slight movement in her head and was able to type (that was her form of communication, since she could no longer speak).

    Just go spend time with your friend. I think he'll appreciate that you aren't scared off. And use this time to talk while y'all still can. Let the conversation go however it takes you. And he's going to need a lot of physical help too. Be there for him, even if he gets a caregiver. I think having a friend there to help out will help.
    The first symptom he showed was something in his neck--they told me that it looked out of place, and everyone thought it was an injury of some kind. This guy's stayed active, still working out all the time, and his work was physical, but it's only been two weeks since his diagnosis and they're already saying it's over. I'm out of town, so I'm getting all this second or third hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Siri Kirpal View Post
    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Yes, unfortunately, the technology is bespoke, tailored to each individual. But in case...I think the name of the company is Words Plus.

    Blessings,

    Siri Kirpal
    Thanks, Siri. I doubt his insurance would pay for something like that, but good to know.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW chompers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    2,487
    My mom's friend was pretty active too. Not majorly into sports, but she was always going out and moving about.

    They had told her she wasn't going to live long either. They made it sound like it'd be at most 1 year or something. It's been I think like 5 years now or something.

    This might be helpful: http://www.alsa.org/about-als/symptoms.html

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    5,002
    That is helpful, thank you. I think this is where he's at: When the breathing muscles become affected, ultimately, people with the disease will need permanent ventilatory support to assist with breathing.


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search