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How to email friend?

(6 Posts)
RoseC Thu 14-Jul-11 10:39:46

I found out last night that a friend and ex-colleague at home has had a return of her cancer and been given four months to live.

We aren't close but when I go home we'll chat and we got on very well when we worked together. She works with a relative at the moment and is always asking after me. Without being too identifiable, where we worked was very small and I was the youngest (with no experience) by twenty years. She was new to the company and really gave me a great example of what it means to be a strong, professional person and taught me a lot about determination and diplomacy. Our company wasn't following best practice and wasn't keen to do so (still dragging their heels four years later, that's how bad the culture is, so she's done an awful lot, up against many brick walls, to reform it) and without her insistence and rallying other new members of staff I don't think anything would have changed. I admire her an awful lot.

I want to tell her this but she is still (understandably) in denial and I've not got any experience of friends dying and having coherent time beforehand (either I wasn't told relatives had cancer because I was too young or, recently, everyone who has died has been senile). I want to email her (don't want to call in case I cry, which would be very selfish) but I don't know what to say. Obviously I hope that we'll be able to exchange more than one email in four months so I think that my sentiments can be left for the end (or do you think she would want to hear them now?) but then I don't know what to say now to her.

Does anyone have any advice please? The person who told me is DM (who I usually ask) but DM is a good friend of hers - hence being told so early on (my colleague only found out this week) - so I don't want to ask her. I am waiting for DM to tell me if I am meant to know how ill she is before I email. Had a good cry last night and am much calmer this morning - I'd forgotten how much I hate cancer (lost all my GPs to it, two aunts and an uncle have had it).

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 14-Jul-11 10:42:42

I wouldnt send an email, I think it would be nicer to write a letter or send a card. You dont have to mention that she has a few months to live, just that you heard she was ill again and you wanted to tell her what she meant to you and your life.

I think a letter/card would be much more personal and nicer for her to read/keep.

So sorry to hear that your friend has this terrible disease again. It is the bastard of all illness. sad

RoseC Thu 14-Jul-11 11:06:56

Thank you. You're right, a handwritten letter would be better and I'll use your opener - I'm terrible of thinking of openers.

Cancer is a bastard. I did the Race for Life with DSis and her colleague a few weeks ago and as we were going round we couldn't believe how many people had a name, rather than 'all survivors' etc., on their backs. I think we need big events like that to see how many people it affects. Statistics sometimes don't hit home.

RoseC Thu 14-Jul-11 11:07:29

*terrible at

CoffeeIsMyFriend Fri 15-Jul-11 18:01:01

You are right, no matter how many times you hear or read all the stats, it only hits home when you see something like the Race for life names on the t shirts.


Did you write your letter yet?

RoseC Sun 14-Aug-11 17:52:40

I'm writing the letter now... I've been putting it off because I didn't know what to say but I can no longer do that. So far I have the following, but I don't know how to continue - can anyone help please?

"Dear X,

I am so sorry to hear that you are ill again.

I wanted to thank you for being such a wonderful colleague and friend X and also for giving me such a great example of how to be a strong, professional woman who attains her goals. Without you I do not feel we would have worked towards X status or improved towards best practice. You have taught me a lot about determination and diplomacy and I admire what you have achieved."

I want to say I appreciate her always asking after me and how she was always ready to lend an ear in a personal/professional capacity and was always asking how my education was going (worked part time). But I don't want to sound too funereal and don't want it to be me-me-me. Until the terminal diagnosis she was getting a lot of stick in the company (recently promoted to a more senior position where she could enact things much faster) and I want to let her know that there are people who think she was/is doing the right thing. I supported her when there but moved 300 miles away two years ago and she's taken a lot of flack in those two years.

Any help is greatly appreciated, thank you.

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