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Pushing away loved ones when seriously ill

(10 Posts)
Emily7708 Thu 08-Feb-18 20:34:13

Just wondering if anyone has experienced being cut off by a loved one or was the one doing the cutting off after finding out they are ill?

My best friend has struggled with her health and has a degenerative condition which she has always known will eventually kill her and unfortunately she has been feeling much worse recently.

We are usually in touch every day, haven’t missed a day for several years. I love her dearly, it is an amazing friendship. Christmas was good, exchanged lovely gifts, contact every day, received lovely card from her and nice New Years message.

She had a consultant’s appointment on 2nd January and since then has refused any contact with me. Blocked me from all social media, hasn’t replied to any messages apart from a few really rude and nasty replies where she says she is concentrating on herself and her health and she doesn’t have the emotional energy to be drained by or bothered with me. I’ve asked for an explanation and just received a brief note saying this is not about you or anything you have done - this is how it is now so just accept it. That was weeks ago and I’ve had nothing since.

What should I do? It seems like she’s received awful news and just decided to cut me off, but why? I don’t know whether to still keep trying to contact her and possibly annoy her even more, or just leave her alone and risk her being upset because I haven’t fought hard enough for her. Would sending little cards and gifts be ok?

Would be very grateful for any insights or advice as I am so upset about this I’m struggling to think clearly.

cansu Thu 08-Feb-18 20:38:02

I think I would just write to her telling her you love and miss her. Ask her to get in touch if she changes her mind and leave it at that.

FinallyHere Thu 08-Feb-18 20:40:05

Sorry to read that you are going through this. In your shoes, I would honestly try to accept that, with your friend having to cope with a life limiting illness, it really is not about you. She is preparing herself to leave this world and may not have the courage to do it, without withdrawing from the people she has loved most. There may even be jealousy, that you are not going through it. That would be perfectly understandable in the circumstances but she probably is not proud of how low the illness has brought her.

The kindest thing for you to do is to remember her as she was, and not think too much about what she is going through now. I do know how it might feel to you, please accept a kindly meant hand hold.

ChaosNeverRains Thu 08-Feb-18 20:46:03

Does she have a partner?

I think that life limiting/terminal illness is often very difficult even for the sufferer as they do often feel that they’re responsible for the feelings of their friends etc even though that is likely not the case.

My mum’s best friend died of cancer about eleven years ago, and she literally didn’t tell anyone she was terminally ill, even her own child. Her thinking was that she didn’t want people to know and treat her differently knowing that her time was going to be limited iyswim. Apart from her DD it was easy to do because her friends and family all lived a distance away and hadn’t seen her for a while. But a mutual friend went to see them and as soon as he walked in he knew something was wrong and her h, who had been sworn to secrecy, told him.

That was on the Saturday,Sunday she was rushed into hospital, and by Tuesday she had died. sad sad she wanted people to remember her as she was. My parents had to track down her family abroad to tell them that she had died when they hadn’t even known she was ill. (This was a long-standing family friend, talking about someone who was closer to me growing up than family members and so on hence how my parents were so involved iyswim.

I think having some of the information you are perhaps in a position where you at least can have a conversation with her partner or perhaps someone who is likely to be supporting her to see whether she (and they) are going to be needing extra support over the coming months.

If her time is limited she may not want to think about how her time with certain friends etc is counting down. flowers.

notwantingtooutmyself1 Thu 08-Feb-18 20:46:44

Sorry this is happening to you flowers

My best friend of more than 40 years is terminally ill. She stopped getting in touch and didnt tell me her cancer was back, it was only when her husband rang that I found out. We dont do phone calls very often now and visits are virtually non-existent, we mostly WhatsApp and I've accepted that this is her life and its important to do it her way. It isnt what I'd choose, but to be honest, what I want doesn't matter a jot in this situation.

Please dont ask her for an explanation again, that might be really distressing for her, she has other things to think about. And you dont need to 'fight ' for her. Just be there if and when she needs you, send the occasional message sending your love. I wouldnt send presents either.

In the nicest possible way, this is all about her, and your job is to do - or not do - whatever she prefers, and put your own feelings to one side. It is so hard, but her wishes must come first in this awfully sad scenario.

Shack1 Sun 11-Mar-18 16:21:32

I think your friend is pushing you away, she's feeling lonely at the moment because of what she is going through. She probably feels like she is a burden to everyone one around her. I have two life shortening illnesses and I'm guilty of this. I don't want to become a burden. However, since being diagnosed with heart failure and primary biliary cirrhosis I have found that most of my friends and some family have not bothered with me. I feel so let down, isolated and lonely that I find myself pushing everyone else away so that I won't be let down are hurt by others. My advice with your friend is to turn up to hers tell her that you are there for her and that no amount of pushing you away will work, trust me she will love you for it, I know I would. X

helhathnofury Thu 15-Mar-18 20:42:04

I have stage 4 cancer and so far have kept my friends around me, but I think closer to the time I will shut off and distance myself. Not that I will make that decision consciously, but it has already happened with dh though we do try harder to reconnect. It's protecting ourselves if we detach and let others go, getting things in order I suppose. Perhaps a simple card that you love her and she knows where you are?

SantaClauseMightWork Thu 15-Mar-18 20:49:58

You are so so strong. Bless you sweetheart flowers

Samewitches Thu 15-Mar-18 21:53:02

I think a card is the way to go, she may well not thank you for just turning up. I know my dm would have hated that when she was terminally ill. Perhaps send a card or letter telling her you love her, are here for her if ever she needs you and that if distance us what she needs right now you will respect that. But make it clear that you will be there if she changes her mind. thanks

Mike8 Thu 05-Apr-18 11:22:23

I am going through something similar at the moment ‘I have been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and over the last few months my wife has become more and more distant ‘I have constantly tried to talk and get her to understand that although it’s bad for her it’s also bad for me and I would hate her to regret how she spent her time with me ‘you worry that could do damage to her long term ‘all I could suggest is maybe contact your friend one last time and just let her know you are there no matter what. I have learnt people all respond differently so all you can do is stand back and hopefully it will change ,hope this was helpful

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