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My friends Mum has just been diagnosed with cancer...what can I do to help my friend?

2 replies

pepsi · 23/04/2005 20:25

My friend has just found out that her Mum has pancreatic cancer. Our Mums went to school together, as did we. I dont know what I can do to help, other than be there and offer a shoulder to cry on or be someone to shout at. I dont know how to behave realy, Ive luckily never had to deal with this before myself. Should I phone her a couple of times a week and offer support to should I leave her alone and phone less. Any advice on how she might be feeling about all this extra attention and kindness appreciated.

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wordsmith · 23/04/2005 20:35

Pepsi, sorry to hear this. The big C seems to be all around - 2 friends/acquaintances of mine have died in the last 2 months from cancer and another friend is fighting breast cancer, hopefully successfully. The one friend who died, who was a very close friend, told NO-ONE of her illness except her husband and close family, All her friends and relatives were so shocked when we were told of her death (she lived some way from most of us so it was easier for her to keep it a secret than if she'd seen us every week). I know her family have since been greatly supported by people phoning, coming round, and offering support, as has the family of the other girl who died. In answer to your question, I would say emphatically YES - call her and offer support, she can always say no but IME she will be very grateful. You'll never know unless you try.

Another reason why friends should keep in touch with relatives of cancer sufferers is that the relatives usually feel they have to put on a brave face for their mum/sister/daughter whatever and keep positive for them. But they often feel very negative themselves and I know from talking to the sister of my friend who kept it secret that there were times over the 5 years of her sister's illness that she really wanted to offload onto someone without burdening her mum, dad, or brother in law who were suffering with her. But because she had promised to keep it secret she couldn't. How they managed it I will never know, but they and my close friend who died were all incredibly brave and strong and I don't know if I could have done it.

Please phone her, Pepsi.

pepsi · 23/04/2005 22:07

Thanks for that. Regular contact is what Id like to do to help but I wasnt sure if that was what someone else might want as we are all different. My friend is single, although has a teenage daughter so doesnt have a dp/dh to lean on. Its the first time cancer has affected anyone so close to me.

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