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Received devastating news and what is appropriate


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Just a few minutes ago, we learned of a friend’s very extensive and advanced cancer. This is someone I call a friend but I am not “inner circle” friend to her and am finding out through another person in her inner circle. Dh has known her his whole life. 

What is appropriate? Should we send a card? Dh could call her husband without it being weird; they talk periodically and dh has done work for them. But maybe that would be unwanted and really, what does he say beyond we care and would help in any way if needed? 

This is just devastating news. They are just about the nicest people I know and this does not look good. 

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I'd say yes to the card, no to the call. Maybe the call can happen in a few weeks if things calm down a bit. Let the inner circle friend know your availability for meal train, helping with yard work or child care during appointments or treatments if you are wanting to do that kind of thing.  Hugs/prayers for you and them.

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I think if DH is comfortable making the call, that would be nice. And perhaps a follow up card with an offer to help.  Or just one or the other.

I’m so sorry.  What terrible news.

Edited by Spryte
Typos, oh my
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19 minutes ago, Spryte said:

I think if DH is comfortable making the call, that would be nice. And perhaps a follow up card with an offer to help.  Or just one or the other.

I’m so sorry.  What terrible news.

There's something really alienating about receiving bad news, and then even more so about having to break it to others. Knowing others know can be helpful.

I like the idea of a card, reaching out for the meal train, maybe even sending a gift card for take out or house cleaning or something.

And I like the idea of a call in a few days. But if they just got the news themselves, give them a few days to process.

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I have no idea how I would feel if I was the friend getting the news.  But did she tell the inner circle friend she could tell people?  If not I would lean on not making contact right now.  But volunteer for any help that they are arranging.    I am so sorry for your friend.   Sending lots of prayers. 

Edited by mommyoffive
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9 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

I have no idea how I would feel if I was the friend getting the news.  But did she tell the inner circle friend she could tell people?  Of not I would lean on not making contact right now.  But volunteer for any help that they are arranging.    I am so sorry for your friend.   Sending lots of prayers. 

I’m very certain they told the inner circle friend knowing she would inform the rest of us. I’m sure one doesnt want to repeat the story again and again amongst “same level” friends. 

I am leaning towards send a card, let inner circle friend know we are in for any help we can provide, and maybe dh calls the husband in a few weeks. 

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48 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

There's something really alienating about receiving bad news, and then even more so about having to break it to others. Knowing others know can be helpful.

I like the idea of a card, reaching out for the meal train, maybe even sending a gift card for take out or house cleaning or something.

And I like the idea of a call in a few days. But if they just got the news themselves, give them a few days to process.

Definitely not an immediate phone call.  Totally agree.  I would want to give them processing time before either option.

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I'm so sorry.

I'd have DH bring some freezer meals and a card from both of you.  It wouldn't have to be homemade, a Stauffer's Lasagna or family size mac and cheese would work, or some slow cooker meals in a gallon bag with instructions on the front in sharpie. Maybe follow up in a month with something else, gift cards for the restaurants near her hospital, a few visits from Merry Maids if they don't have housekeeping help, a parking pass for her hospital if needed in your area, a starbucks gift card if her hospital has one.

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We're not generally card people, but after DH's cancer diagnosis they did bring a small bit of comfort. It was nice knowing people cared enough to send one. Phone calls would have been way too intrusive, nor would we have wanted to have been bombarded with food. No one was eating much at all during that time, and when we could muster up an appetite it was usually for specific things, so excess food that didn't appeal would have been yet another stressful thing to deal with.

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I agree with sending a card along with the offer to help.  It can never hurt and they will appreciate the kind thoughts.  I also agree with sending a gift card for food or something to help with housekeeping, shopping, etc.  if you want to do that.  I'm so sorry - that is very sad.  

 

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I'm so sorry about your friend, Quill. That is hard.

My two cents is to send the card and mention any specific offer(s) of help you may want to give, rather than the vague "let us know if we can  do anything." When I was handling contacts for a seriously ill family member, the last thing I  needed was another  phone call, no matter how well meant. I just did not have it in me to explain things one.more.time or offer comfort to someone else one.more.time when my own heart was breaking.

Again, I am sorry. I know people want to reach out in personn. Sometimes, though, it's just overwhelming to those who are most involved.

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