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BS: What do you say when they're dying?

gnu 22 Jul 11 - 07:43 PM
SINSULL 22 Jul 11 - 07:50 PM
olddude 22 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM
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bobad 22 Jul 11 - 08:02 PM
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Subject: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:43 PM

I spoke to one of my best friends on the phone tonight. It was obvious. He talked of getting together for a meal out at the pub when he gets better but it was obvious. I could hear it in his voice. He is not well, plain and simple. Two rounds of cheemo and now cheemo pills and he can't make it to the curb and back without resting at the curb.

I tried to regale him with a few old stories of mine that he hadn't heard before and I got a few chuckles out of him but they were tough to pull. At the end of the conversation I said something I have never said to a buddy... "I love ya Reggie... you are one of the finest men I have ever known." He said "You too. When these cheemo pills do their job we'll get out for an ale and a scoff."... but it was obvious.

Whaddya say?

Sorry... just venting. Didn't mean ta bring ya down. But, if anyone has any good advice, I'd appreciate hearing it. I ain't so good at this kinda thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: SINSULL
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:50 PM

The truth, gnu. If you love him, say so. I am about to do the same. It hurts.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: olddude
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM

The truth and tell him you will be there for him no matter what happens


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:54 PM

You don't have to ask, Gnu. You nailed it in one.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:57 PM

You've said it, gnu.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: bobad
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:02 PM

I hope you and him get together for that ale and scoff.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:41 PM

Well, bobad, me too. Every minute with Reggie was a laugh and a half. Tonight was the first time in 30 years that he wasn't 100% positive (including during the two rounds of cheemo) and just "bubbly", for lack of a better term. He was always laughing. Always cracking jokes. Even when he was pissed off about something, he'd crack a half-assed joke and laugh... the kind of laugh that was infetious... he could make you laugh just by laughing.

Same with Dougie, his best friend and a friend of mine. Dougie keeled over the steering wheel at age 52 in his driveway after going home from work at noon because he didn't feel good. Dougie could drink black rum all day and night and be as fresh as a rose at dawn. Reggie quit smoking the day Dougie died. Fifteen years later, Reggie got lung cancer. And he... nevermind.

I could tell you stories for hours about them two lads. Lord dyin Moly Joeseph the stories. We logged a lotta miles from East Overshoe, Nova Scotia to WTF Am I Doin Here, Labrador and all points in between. I never met two men who knew SO much about concrete and I'll never again. Dougie could look at asphaltic concrete in the hopper and say, "That's gap graded on the fourty so you'd better get the wheels on it after the first pass with the steel and you still might have to lift it if junior here (me) doesn't pass it fer checkin in the mat." These guys were good. If there ever was such a thing as a crete gunslinger, Dougie and Reggie were top stars and I was lucky to be a deputy. Airport paving is a tight spec.

Sorry... I am rambling. Maybe that's what I wanna do? If yer still reading and yer not keen on what I am writin, stop readin.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:46 PM

Just being there is all that is required... Lotta folks don't do that... That avoid the dieing...

Just be there...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:47 PM

Still reading, me.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Bobert
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:00 PM

When my friend, Joe, died of lung cancer I went to see him every couple months (he lived 3 hours away) and after he died his widow told me that other me and his family people didn't come by...

Like I said, "Just be there..." Anything you say isn't what it's about...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:12 PM

"Just be there"- exactly right.
You don't have to spell it out to him that you know, just keep on being there.

And gnu, we're here, so tell more stories, please.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:13 PM

It was the same after the fire. It felt like we had died after all, when friends didn't come see us. Walk alongside as much as you can.

Be there, yes- but the words do matter when they are backed up with action.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:17 PM

Gnu, don't be SURE he's dying. Sometimes the chemo kicks a person's ass harder than the cancer.

In any event, I'd say just fall back on the friendship. There will be people who want to avoid the subject, and there will be people who expect him to spill his guts. Don't be either--just let him be whatever he needs to be. You guys are buddies and that's all you have to be. Cancer is a big, big shadow. Even if it will eventually get him, there's a lot more to life NOW. Keep making him laugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,Nick E
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:20 PM

This is very easy. Tell them you love them.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,Nick E
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:22 PM

Then hit him with a pie.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:34 PM

Thanks all. And, Jeri... "NOW"... cool.

AllisonA... ok... At one point during the phone call I said, "Fuck me, here I am lightin a smoke... WTF am I doin? I am supposed to be quittin." Reggie says, "Oh, it wasn't tha smokes. It was the trichloroethylene." and he took to laughin. And I took to laughin too. There is a concrete test used to determine the bitumen content in asphaltic concrete. The lads used to take the odd "sniff" when it was boiling. Made those long days in the lab trailer a little shorter than the 14/7 they were. 14/7 for three weeks on with a weekend break in between would tempt anyone to take a sniff.

I never did take a sniff on accounta I smoked weed back then. Minds me a the time me and Dougie and Reggie went fishin on Simms Lake in Labrador. No trout. Not a nibble. On the third trawl past a point I hauled a Maui Wowie toothpick (I don't like to waste dope) and threw the dreg into the lake (the lads "looked the other way"). Bang, bang, bang. All three of us had trout on and mine was the smallest... about 6 pounds. Dougie says, "Ya got any more of that shit? Don't smoke it. Throw it in the lake." Of course, Reggie took ta laughin.

Gee whiz... I got at least a half dozen stories about that one fishin trip. I GOTTA get ta reminisce with Reggie before... you know.

Thanks for your kind words. Youse guys are good buddies too. Thanks for listenin.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: LilyFestre
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:57 PM

Gnu,

   I'm really sorry to hear about your friend. As someone who went through chemo last year I can tell you that it can kick your ass all over the place and make you feel like anything but yourself. I hate to say that I hope it's the chemo that is making him sound the way he does but I do hope it's the chemo and that he'll be ok.
   Did he tell you that there was nothing more they could do?

   You know what I wanted more than anything when I was going through all that? I wanted my life to be normal. I wanted people to talk to me about anything that was just about regular life. I wanted to talk about the cancer stuff too but mostly I wanted my friends to just treat me the same as they always had. A cancer diagnosis freaks out people far beyond the person with the cancer and it does a pretty good job of weeding out who your real friends are. Lots of folks back away. I don't know if they think they can catch it or they feel so awkward and don't know what to say or it if it just creates fear in them. Can't be mad at them really...it's a creepy thing and makes everybody feel bad.
   I'd say just be yourself, after all, that's why you are friends in the first place. And letting someone know that you love them is never, ever wrong. Love & friendship is what life is all about!!!!

    If it's really weird for you, just call and say hello. Your friend will lead you where he's comfortable.

Love to you.

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:08 PM

Thanks agian all and...

Thanks LilyFestre... especially for "but mostly I wanted my friends to just treat me the same as they always had." Thay is way cool in my books.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:18 PM

If the moment was right you could say "Ya sound like you're dyiog. Don't do that."


A


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:37 PM

Can't add much to what's already been said and I do think you nailed it just in what you already said to him. And, I'd love to hear more stories. I hope it's just the chemo, but as everyone has said, just be the friend you are and let him know you are there when he needs you, as long as you take care of yourself, first. It can take a lot to be there, so it's important you pace yourself and/or find other ways to deal with it, too, such as coming to your other friends and telling more stories, how you are feeling, etc. We are here for you, too.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Gurney
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:33 PM

Gnu, know just how you feel, a lovely lady friend of ours just went from the big C.
I lent them my copies of Phil Coulter's 'Tranquility' and 'Sea of Tranquility.' The last thing she heard was beautiful folk music.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:35 PM

You say that thing that you are worried will make you bust out into tears. You won't bust out, maybe just leak a little; that one thing will be the thing you will wish you had said, later, if you hold it inside-- and the thing he will wish he had heard you say, when he has an alone moment of missing you as he looks forwardly. Don't worry if you feel selfish thinking about saying it. If it goes along with that lump in your throat, it's as much for him as it is for you, even if it doesn't feel that way. And do not try too hard to get it "right"-- just be you, cuz he does already actually know the real you. But leave the spigot running wide open.

He will be in charge of being near enough to you, for you to have these opportunities. If he is coming close enough, now, for you to have something to say-- it is because he needs it from you and because he has faith that you will give it to him. He's already decided about that. So all you have to do is your end of it.

(And then the next time one of US asks these questions, in our turn-- tell us what YOU have learned about these times, please!)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:49 PM

It ain't your job to fix it, Friend. Like others have said-just be there in whatever way it seems good to you to be.

Love you, gnu.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 01:13 AM

Actually, Nick E.'s "hit him with a pie" suggestion is a good one. Humor helps, and people don't lose their sense of humor when they're dying.

I think I've told this story before. I was at the Getaway in September, 2000, and my friend Jim left me a voice mail, simply saying, "I guess you've heard I'm terminal." Well, I hadn't even heard Jim was sick. His wife told me that Jim had lots of buddies through clogging and his interest in Corvettes, but that I was his "heart friend" - and he wanted me to go with him on his journey to death. I had never spent time before with a person who was facing death, but I made a point of visiting Jim every three weeks or so, from late November until he died the following April. We'd sing and chat and laugh much of the time, and it was good - and not too challenging. Three weeks before he died, Jim was different. We sat on a park bench in the garden, talking and singing. I was noodling around on my harmonica (I still don't play it well). Jim borrowed my harmonica, and played a wonderful rendition of "I'll Fly Away." I made up my mind right then that I'd sing that at his funeral.

Then we went inside, and Jim, a former officer in the British Army, wanted to make me a proper cup of tea. He was shaking pretty badly by that time, and having some trouble breathing. His wife gave him some morphine to help him settle down, and helped him make the tea. Then everybody disappeared, and I was left alone with this man who was clearly getting close to death. He was having trouble speaking, but I understood that he wanted me to watch out for his wife Christina and his stepson Josh - and if anything romantic should happen, that would be wonderful. I told him I'd watch out for Christina and Josh, but I doubted anything romantic would develop.

I saw Jim once more, three days before he died. There was a dramatic change in him in just those three weeks. By that time, there was nothing left of him but skin and bones - and his bright eyes and big smile. He couldn't talk, but he wanted me to hold him up. I held him for three hours, and talked to him about what a wonderful person he was and what a difference I'd seen him make in the lives of Josh and Christina. I sang to him 'til I ran out of songs, and I sang him the two other songs I had chosen for his funeral - Bob Franke's Thanksgiving Eve and Alleluia, The Great Storm Is Over.

That last day, I got tired of holding Jim for three hours, and I finally dropped him when I was trying to put him down. I felt so bad about hurting him when he was so sick, but he didn't seem to mind. He died peacefully three days later, a man who had lived life as a wonderful adventure.

I did sing those three songs at Jim's funeral, and they went well. His widow Christina took me on a wildflower hike in the American River Canyon. I had known her before Jim even met her, but on that hike I was moved by her gentle depth and her love of nature, and by the fact that she knew all the flowers*. Within two weeks after Jim's death, I proposed to her - knowing I had Jim's blessing. We were engaged for ten months and got married in January, 2002. It will be ten years this coming January, and I think Saint Jim continues to bless our marriage.

So, gnu, spend time with your friend. You won't regret it.

-Joe-

*I found out later she made up names for some the flowers, and didn't actually know the real names of some of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: mauvepink
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 07:12 AM

When one man tells another he loves him, I think it takes a great man to do that. Men often skirt they love each other, but never forget that friendship is often love in another form. What you did with your friend is wonderful and I bet he treasures it. There should be lots more of it.

Chemo can be worse than the cancer itself for sure but where there is life there is hope. I hope he gets past this all and manages more time to make newer memories for you both.

My Mum had lung cancer over twenty years ago. She sadly died last week, but not from the cancer. That was conquered and she had the heart of a lioness. Her time had come. I knew she was going to die but was lucky enough to have got the time to be able to say the things I needed to say to her...

Your friend deserves your honesty. You deserve each other's friendship. In life and death it is important to be genuine and sincere. Seems that is what you are doing.

I have seen a lot of death in my life. I have been at too many bedsides when people have died. The ones that passed on the most settled were those who knew they were not alone... You being there for him will be worth so much just now to him and for you in the future

I wish you both well

mauve


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 07:17 AM

Thanks for that, Joe.

Gnu, my rowdy, laughing cousin is dying from cancer; terminal without further reprieve. She wants to live until she dies, not waste what time she has left.

So yes; pay attention to NOW, speak your love, laugh often, feel what you are feeling, respond to what your friend is feeling- remember your friend is alive until he's dead.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 08:30 AM

I've seen death in well over two dozen friends and close relatives, but I have never been able to deal with it, and I don't know what to say.

I talked to Utah P. about two weeks before he died and I could tell he was slipping fast. Fighting the lump in my throat and blinking back the tears I said to him "How are you doing? the truth now, I need to know."
Long pause and I knew he was near the end.
Finally, he came back with, "I'm not doing well at all. In fact, I'm suicidal."
I said, "Tell me about it."
He said, "I called the suicide hot line and got a man with a middle eastern accent.I told I told him I was suicidal and he said, "Great, can you drive a truck"?

The man is on his death bed and he had to have one more shot at me! He once bragged that he was able to put one over on me, and he went to his grave chuckling about that second shot.

So, GNU, sounds to me like you did the right thing and I'll bet your friend thinks so too.

Most men have a hard time showing affection for other men, but I believe that real men don't worry about what real men do.
If some dude calls me a sissy, I'll hit him with my purse.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 09:05 AM

What a lot of great advice. Wise people. Trust your instincts, Gnu, and like everyone has said, be there and speak your truth with love.

It's different when you're used to working alongside someone and now he barely has the energy to sit and stand. A change in how we express friendship is one of the hardest things to figure out in life. Partly that's because few of us truly want to embrace change. It's also partly because there aren't the social norms to guide friendship as there are for other relationships, like parent-child or spouse-spouse; even when we choose to buck those norms still have the guidepost-rules for context.

For me one of the hard things about 'just being there' was the smell. I have a very astute sense of smell and the smell of cancer bowls me over. I sort of got used to it but not really; it took a lot of my energy to be with the smell.

When the time comes that he IS dying--keeping in mind that it's totally true what's been said about chemo kicking worse than cancer, being why some people choose to let the cancer run its course--it might help to give permission to die, letting him know you don't wish for the final good-bye but when it's time you don't want him to hang on for your sake.

Let's hope that day is a long way off yet.

Here's a hug for both of you...


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for sharing that Gnu.

Reggie is lucky to have you as a friend.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 10:00 AM

This reminds me of Rick, towards the end. What came to me was that there was no need to do anything other than be what we were, and that is friends. I remember one conversation where I simply told him that I hated this damn disease and that it would take him. But I told him that I wasn't going to let it define our friendship. That friendship was, and is, eternal. So could we just get on with being friends? And we did.

Just pay attention, my friend. Listen for what your friend needs. Never forget that you were friends first, and the essence of that should never change. And then just do what a friend would do when your buddy asks.

And times like this remind us that we do not know the length of days, so enjoy one another, don't let petty squabbles germinate. There will come a time that you will wish you could have just one more day with those you love.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 10:11 AM

Years ago when my childhood sweetheart was getting ready to make the trip (bone cancer) I spent as much time as I could with her in the hospital. Whoever said lots of it is about spending time was right, imo.
She died in the hospital, but not before telling her sisters that my daily visits had meant so much to her. Mick's right about wishing for one more day, but if ya just show up and pass the time, you'll get said what needs saying over the hours. I've missed her smile and goodness over the years, but I know we did the best we could as 15 year olds, and sometimes it just don't get better than that.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 10:45 AM

I make sure that at some point I, in so many words, tell them how great it was to have had them in my life, and as appropriate what great adults their kids have become and how that was because of what great parents they were, or what great kids they have and how well prepared they have made them for life, along with how much they have taught me and how happy I am to know whatever it was or know how to do whatever it was. I do not, during this particular speech, tell them how much I'll miss them or ask what I can do for them, both of which are separate speeches, the former later and the latter earlier.

And I do not say that I know they are dying unless they bring it up. I also play a lot of Do you remember the time when, especially if it was one of those things that was bad at the time but makes a great story now. I also ask them to tell me things that happened with them and our mutual friends/relatives when I wasn't there, so I can acquire additional memories of them.

Poor you, and your poor friend. I wish them a good death and you peace with it and your memories.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 12:18 PM

When cancer was gaining on my youngest brother he had a lot of visitors. He was a musician, a car mechanic and a roofer (when he got tired of one, he switched to the other for awhile)so his friends were a varied lot.

One day he told me in bemusement that he had finally figured out what was different. He said, Some of those people treat me as though I'm facing something that they never will. But we all die. I have the diagnosis but any one of them could beat me to the line.

Gnu, you are a good buddy.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 01:11 PM

My very good friend, Gary, died at the age of 52 last October. Big C of the aesophagus. It was very difficult when we all found out - It was only in around June or July - but the best advice I can give is spend as much time with him as HE wants. Ring him or text him. Ask if he is up to it. If he is get your butt round there! If he isn't up to it leave it a while. If he doesn't want to see anyone at all repect his wishes.

If you do get to see him talk as if all is OK. Mention the Cancer by all means but don't be glum about it. Just be honest. We were there one day when the nurse came to catheterise Gary.

'Can we watch?' said John. The nurse wasn't sure if we were joking or not but when Gary said 'No, they are not joking. Piss off you perverts.', it made my day. Laugh a lot. Cry a bit. But most of all, remember all the good times.

Good luck

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM

Joe... I just read your post... I'll have to read the others a bit later... I can barely see to type this... thanks for sharing that.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 01:53 PM

I think one of the most useful phrases is "I was thinking of you." You don't have to mention that he's ill, that he's dying, or anything. Just call and say "Hi. I was thinking about you. How are you doing?"

The worst thing some people do is not make any contact because they feel tongue-tied and embarrassed. Then the ill friend feels shunned and abandoned, and for no good reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:11 PM

I just read em all. Thank you.

This morning "after", I kinda rued starting this thread. But, now I am glad I did. It's wonderful to learn from such kind and wise people and perhaps it will help others. I have seen death up close more than once but they were relatives or buddies that were killed by other than disease. This is the first time I have dealt with the impending death of a long time buddy.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:15 PM

We had a friend and neighbor die of cancer last year. Your first post made me kindly remember him.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Dave Swan
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 02:37 PM

In the plague years of the 80's when AIDS (when it finally had that name) was taking so many people, a friend of ours received the death sentence that it then carried. He moved back to the San Francsico area from Los Angeles, still bright and handsome. He didn't look sick yet but we all knew what was coming. There was an uncomfortable period when none of us knew what to say now that he was back in the neighborhood. Finally our friend Michael called Phil and said "I hear you're dying, that sucks......wanna have a beer?" It was the right line at the right time, breaking the ice and putting many of us back in touch with a guy who did his best to live until he died.

There are no rules, as far as I can tell, except this : Show up.

D


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:06 PM

On death, I think it was a Mudcatter who reminded me of this...does a butterfly remember when it was a caterpillar...is death the butterfly of our lives? Just something to think about.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Amergin
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:13 PM

I was with my opa (lung cancer) when he died, and more recently with my other grandfather, when we got the call that his last sister, my aunt (renal failure) when she moved on...

Both when the time came were barely coherent, as they're organs slowly failed. With my opa, I made sure that he knew I loved him, and I gave him humourous books for him to enjoy, one of which was Kendall's Stories Told In the Kitchen, which he dearly loved. Thank you, Kendall, for writing such a great book. It meant alot to an old man in his final months. When the call came, I was taking a bath and reading a book. I immediately got dressed and rushed over, to say goodbye, and we showered him with love as his spirit slowly gasped from the world. Then we embraced each other and cried.

The end for my aunt was similar, except that right up to the end she kept her humour up, and so did we, everyone in and out, to check on her, to be with her, and to joke with her, and more importantly fences were mended with certain people. When the final stage came, it came with a vengeance, one day she was up and about, smoking, and laughing with friends and family, and the next she was bedridden. The last few days, we knew the end was coming, and she slipped in and out of consciousness, seeing ghosts, the spirits of the dead that still haunted her heart, sometimes crying out for them. Then, her last night, she went to sleep, and never woke up again, dying the next afternoon....we were just 20 minutes away, so we couldn't say goodbye to her, just to the husk she vacated.

However, in the end, both knew they were loved, and both knew we would feel the pain of their loss. In my way of thinking, there can be no better way to go, than surrounded by the people who matter the most to you, than surrounded by love.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: fat B****rd
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:16 PM

Good words as usual on Mudcat, Gnu. I'm sorry to hear about your friend.
Some years ago my best friend over thirty years died form stomach cabcer. We drove down to Lincolnshire to say 'goodbye' and I ended up being bollocked for being a crap parent, among other things, and waving cheerio as we pulled away. There always will be 'different strokes' but having a good friend like yourself is always a good thing.
Take care and all the best from Charlie.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Smokey.
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 03:43 PM

Be there, and be yourself. Your strength and your company will be both needed and appreciated.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 04:58 PM

Amergin, thank you so much for your appreciation of my book. I'm so pleased that it helped someone over a rough spot.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 06:37 PM

He ain't answerin his phone or answering machine. Last time we talked, he was havin a hard time walkin to the end of his driveway and back once a day.

Sorry if that sounds maudlin or wimpy or whatever. Dunno why I even posted. Just pisses me of that tobacco is still sold here... marketed to kids... it ain't right. It just ain't right.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 07:12 PM

Nope. It ain't right. And neither is war. Or poverty. Or lack of medical help when you need it. Or lack of community when you need it. Or cruelty of a thousand common kinds.

Good friends, however, are a blessing that cannot be overestimated.

If I knew I was going to die soon...and I will, of course, at some point...I think I'd actually be kind of relieved at finally making the great crossing out of "here" and leaving all the usual troubles of this 3-D existence behind me...troubles like money, aging, illness, conflict, etc. I expect to become the metaphorical butterfly that used to be a caterpillar (alluding to Kat's post above), and I think that might turn out to be the best thing that ever happened when it comes.

And if not...then it might just be a quiet and eternal rest instead. Like falling asleep. And that would be just fine too. Either way, I would call it a good resolution.

My friend Helen had a close relative die awhile back, and she soon started seeing him in dreams. What he said to her was, "The thing that's really different here is that there are no problems. Absolutely no problems at all." She said that he seemed happy and very relieved, and that made her feel much better about his having passed on. She feels that those dreams were a real contact. I have no reason to doubt her.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 07:33 PM

So sorry, gnu. My cousin says sometimes she doesn't have the energy to answer the phone. She still likes to listen to messages from friends and family.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 08:13 PM

m.... I hadn't thought of that. I have some excellent jokes to leave on his answering machine. Few that I could tell here as they are obscene.... hehehehee... my friends here know what I mean by that. THAT was a good one, eh? Politically beyond correct but there is the crux of the biscuit.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 08:26 PM

Worth a try.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 08:39 PM

I left a message... again... this time it was a great joke that I wrote years ago and that's all it was - just the joke. Thanks m.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: maeve
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 08:59 PM

Well done, gnu.

T & P,

Maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Neil D
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 09:11 PM

One time I was sitting with my best friend Susie after a crisis not quite knowing what to say, so not saying anything for quite a long while. After an hour or so, I apologized for being so quiet but told her I really was at a loss for words. I will always remember what she said to me, " Chrissy, sometimes it's nicer to have someone to just be quiet with than have someone trying to find the right things to say, you are a very good friend, and I have enjoyed just being with you." Sometimes I think it is just about "being" with another person.

                                  Christina


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Janie
Date: 19 Aug 11 - 11:10 PM

Well said, Christina.

My sister had a neighbor who had turned into a very close friend over the years. After it was clear Sis was going to die, but before she got so sick she was house-bound, we were chatting one weekend when I drove up for a visit, and she talked about how much the neighbor meant to her. "We can go out and shop or do other things when I feel like it, or she can just come over and sit in the easy chair while I lie on the couch, and we don't have to say anything, for an hour or more at a time. I can just be when we are together."


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 02:33 AM

Gnu, if he doesn't answer the phone, think about stopping in. Maybe he won't answer the door, either - but maybe he needs a visit. It takes a lot of courage to visit a friend in his last days, but it's worth it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 09:17 PM

He picked up the phone today. We chatted but I could tell he didn't wanna talk. He's got another week with the second round of chemo but he doesn't have much hope. When the conversation became strained I asked if he had any news about another buddy of ours. No.

I called our other buddy. The radiation has his throat in knots and pain. He tried to soothe it with rye tonight... you can inagine how that worked out... PAIN! (He was making a joke but he was in pain.) He asked me to come down to his place and take him out hunting. I said I would if I could find a day when I could but it wouldn't be likely (I decline to say herein why that ain't gonna happen).

Fuckin tobacco.

And if any sumbitch says too bad, it's yer own fault...

I am so pissed off right now I wanna scream.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,ChanteyLass
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 11:42 PM

Go ahead. Scream. I'm listening, and i'm sure others are, too.

I have two friends who are constant smokers. Finish one cigarette, light another. One at about 68 was just diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Went from being "normal" one minute to having a seizure. Diagnoses: brain tumor, lung cancer, breast cancer, rib tumors. Another at 83 has never had any signs of cancer. People who have never smoked have died of lung cancer.

When someone you care about is suffering or dying, it is time to scream.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: GUEST,Bluesman
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 03:43 AM

Make a point of spending time with them, go over the old times, get him laughing. If he wants to talk about the illness, let him, if he does, reassure him that you will be there for his family. Knowing someone will be there for them means a lot.

Treatment for cancer is painful, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Sometimes you ask yourself if it is worth it. Treatment, you live two to three years with virtually no quality of life for two of them, four sessions of Chemo, one run of Radio, possibly a second blast of Chemo a year later if the tumour shows increase in size. Opposed to no treatment, 12 to 14 months, nine of them good. Okay everyone differs, sorry for drifting.

Anyway, try to lift your friends spirits by talking about old times and as I said, let him know you will be there for his family.

Remember, understanding helps, sympathy only reinforces.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:52 PM

I tried to make him laugh during the last phone call. Reggie was always the first to laugh and his laugh was the most infectious laugh I have ever heard. I couldn't make him laugh. So I knew. He was a gem. A true gentleman.

A few years ago, he gave me mounted sets of moose and caribou antlers for my camp. I told him I was gonna sell my camp. He said that I might get another camp some day and he wanted me to have them as a reminder of him when he bit the dust... and he laughed big time. So, he knew then.

He will have one last BBQ and he requested that his ashes be placed in the top row of the vault rather than out in the grounds... so the dogs cannot piss on him.

I love you Reggie. When I come to visit you in heaven I'll bring a bottle of Screech. WHAT am I sayin? Surely they have Screech in heaven... if only just for Reggie. And I'll bet God is LHAO right now. And the girls are after Reggie... tall, handsome, curly dirty red hair... the girls were always after Reggie. Now I am babbling.

Goodbye Reg. RIP buddy.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 06:44 PM

Sorry for your loss Gnu. It's been just about a year since I lost a good friend too. But it still feels fresh. Take care.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Neil D
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 07:09 PM

So very sorry for your loss Gnu, I am sure that he knew you cared. You did get to say the things you wanted to say, and be there for him up to the end. We just lost a friend that took the privilege of saying goodbye or anything else to him away from us. Guess it was just too painful for him to stay. We will keep you in our thoughts.

                              Christina D.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: SINSULL
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 07:33 PM

I am glad that you had an amazing friend who enjoyed Screech (I buy it when I can find it) and with the good sense not to be pissed on by dogs.
Rest easy, Reggie.
I am genuinely sorry that our paths haven't crossed.
So sorry, Gary.
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 08:11 PM

My deepest condolences, gnu. I echo what Sinsull and others have said. You are/were a good friend who did right by Reggie and I wish we could have known him, too. Lots of {{{hugs}}} for you, too.

luvyakat


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 08:21 PM

Like I said a few months ago when this thread was started: make time to see your buddies...

My buddy, Joe, also a smoker (pipes and cigars) died of lung cancer... Other than family I was the only "old friend" to visit him toward the end... His widow has told me over and over how much that meant to him...

Make the time, Gn-ze...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: KT
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 04:00 AM

What a treasure your friendship has been for both of you. I'm so sorry for your loss, Gnu.
KT


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: bfdk
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 11:28 AM

So sorry to hear about your loss, Gary.

Big hug,

Bente


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 06:48 PM

Thanks everyone.

Got my say prepared in my head. If I can stand up... or even stay at the funeral. I get emotional, but that's not news to anyone who knows me.

Our last words in the last telecon before we said goodbye were, "I love you, Reggie."... "I love you too, Gary."

Glad I did.

Been talkin on the net. Gonna be a bash after the reception. Peeps from NB, NS, PEI, NFLD, ONT, AB and BC... at least.

I was gonna ask that this thread be closed but it may help someone else in future so I'll just say...

RIP Reggie and thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:12 PM

gnu: I only know what I didn't say when my friend was dying. Never seemed the right time, and now there's no time. You had the courage to say what you meant, he had the courage to listen, you both leave each other with no regrets. Wish i'd been you.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Janie
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 08:10 PM

gnu.....{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 10:55 PM

I'm sorry, too, gnu. I'm glad you let him know you cared. Also, I am glad you started this thread and that I looked at it.

My friend with cancer died about 3 weeks ago, just a little more than two months after she was diagnosed. This thread affirmed that I was not alone in wondering what to say and do.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 11:48 PM

What a moving thread.
Gnu -- and you others who have posted -- you done good. You are good people and even better friends,
and I hope I can be as good a friend as you all have been when someone I love becomes a "short-timer".

Respect.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 11:52 PM

Well there ya go eh? I am glad I did not ask that this thread be closed just because of the latest posts.

BTW... (BTW is a convenient intro in many situations)... when you get to the funeral parlour and there is a BIG lineup to sign the visitor's book, walk right past it and go to the stateroom rather than follow the crowd to the sign-in and then into the service room. I did and I spent ten wonderful minutes talking with Reg's wife... alone. We almost broke up together a few times but managed not to start crying with humour... I am sure Reg was proud of us both.

They had to bring in chairs and then keep the doors open for peeps standing in the hallway.

I know Reg isn't the only special person in the world. But he was to me and to many.

Thanks again for all the kind comments. To me, they mean that you trust me when I say Reg is a loss to all that knew him and moreso to those whot did not... that you also know/knew someone like Reg. Celebrate them and tell them that you do. Just as has been said on this thread many times by many people... by wise people.

Thanks for listening. Means a lot.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 05:20 AM

I had a similar experience. Last year a long-time friend of mine was very sick. I got a phone call from him in which I could barely recognise his voice. He described his symptoms and I realised he felt he was near to death. He said he just wanted a chat about old times, and we did that, but before I hung up I told him, 'I love you Jim'. He said, 'I love you too, it's been great' He made some recovery, and didn't die until last week. I couldn't make it to his funeral, but I'll never forget that conversation. I'm really glad that it took place. If you ever find yourself in a position like this, don't be shy of saying what you feel. Genuine friends are a blessing in life. Let them know.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 07:46 AM

My condolences, burl.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 08:27 AM

I gotta tell ya, Reggie woulda been proud of me. I have lost 100 pounds over the last two and a half years and I was able to wear my 30 year old three piece blue pin-stripe suit replete with red silk tri-corner pocket square and a poppy on the lapel. I didn't go in the service room but waited alongside while the line was going in in order to greet old friends. Doesn't sound like much but here is the kicker... I looked so damn good that people who didn't know me thought I was on staff! One lady in the line to get in the service room tried to take my programme!!! Hahahahaa. Reggie woulda laughed THAT laugh at that one... I hope he did.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 10:13 AM

I have few words for you. We all know that you are a good bloke you are, Gnu, and Reggie knew it too. The friendship you had was a gift. Sometime, hopefully soon, you will be able to focus on the gift and not the loss.

Hugs


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 03:44 PM

A thought that keeps recurring to me: it may be difficult to know what to say - and some people stay away because of that difficulty - when someone you love has received the curtain call but the fact is that you yourself can get away from the subject, can go skiing or on a family outing or attend a party or a myriad other activities, but the person involved cannot ever get away. S/he has thought about little else ever since the diagnosis and even before, so get thee hence. Your presence alone says much.

The last thing I said to my brother was on the phone when we knew that death was imminent and I had returned home so he could be alone with his family was: Happy Trails to you.

And he laughed and said, The same to you.

The next morning he went into a coma, and he died two days later.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 10:12 PM

Hugs Ebbie.

Ebbie... "Your presence alone says much." Yes, even tho he didn't want me to visit, I am sure the phone calls meant a lot to him. I know that even more now after talking to his widow at the funeral.

BTW... I have always celebrated my times with Reg, even after his death. I do not focus on the loss. But it still sucks. Allow me that.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 11:50 PM

I know, Gary.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Nov 11 - 04:40 PM

Gnu

I didn't mean to take anything away from how this death is hurting you. I have always been rubbish at offering words of wisdom or comfort. I think you know that I understand first hand that memories are no substitute for the real live person. Sorry if I offended. It was not my intention.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: alison
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 09:24 AM

so sorry for your loss Gnu.

and thank you for all of the wise advice in this thread, and the stories.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 04:28 PM

No worries, VTam... never.


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Subject: RE: BS: What do you say when they're dying?
From: gnu
Date: 11 Nov 11 - 08:51 PM

Something JUST struck me. Several conversations ago, Reggie said he had lost a lot of weight but that he did it for his own well being in order to get through chemo. I have another friend who is on his way out and he is doing the same thing but he said it was because he wanted his last days when he gets "really sick" to be less. He figures if he loses weight, he will die faster when things get really bad, thus lessening his pain and the pain his family and friends will have to go through.

Anybody ever experience this? His family and friends keep asking him if he is sick because he has lost a lot of weight and doesn't "look good" but he doesn't tell any of them shit... just me and one other buddy. Again, it's hard to know what to say.

I suppose it's all been said on this thread before. Just pisses me off that I can't do better.


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