A close friend died recently. She had had incurable cancer but after a round of chemo had gone into remission. She was persuaded by doctors to have a v risky therapy to try to delay the return of the cancer and underwent four weeks of gruelling treatment. It went ok. She was discharged and died within 48 hours, no one knows why. I felt a lot of guilt because i never had the big talk with her. When she was first diagnosed i did express some of my feelings but i did not want to talk like she was dying. During her treatment i kept it touch but found it hard to find things to talk about. My life seemed so banal and we avoided the elephant in the room. I told myself there wd be plenty of time durng her recuperation to have proper chats and then she died. I say all this because there is a piece in the guardian today by a man whose father died about how he did not have the big talk and how losing his father was not how he expected it wd be. I am sorry i don,t know how to link to it, but the writer,s first name was luke. I found both the piece and reader comments v moving and helpful.
I think sometimes the dying don't want to have the big talk, Stella, and we have to take our lead from them. If your friend didn't mention the subject herself when you met, then probably she was enjoying everything being normal and familiar with you. I imagine that was a great comfort to her. You have absolutely no need to feel guilty. I am very sorry you have lost your close friend.
Yes, it was a good article in the Guardian 'Family' supplement which is in it on Saturdays. I read it as the dad died from a brain tumour and I was interested in the experiences of others as our daughter died from a brain tumour in July, we had no big talk either, she was only 6, mainly as we didn't have time, she died 17 days after we were told it had spread. I don't know how I feel about this just yet.