Friend has two months to live- what do you say to them?


My friend just told me that her DH has only two months to live. He was getting chemo. and the doctors stopped it as it wasn't doing any good and told her to take him home and make him as comfortable as possible. He has Leukemia. We will see him tomorrow, BUT what in the world do you say to someone like that?? He knows of course, but it would be easier seeing him if he didn't least for us.

Anyone have any words of wisdom to help DH and myself with this? Thanks~

Comments (10)
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Don't bring it up - let him. It may be too soon for him to talk about it and then again he may want you to know how he feels. If you plan on being there if they need you, then tell him so. He can call, come over or email and you'll be there. Just don't make any promises you won't be able to keep. Talk about some funny times when this or that happened with him. Let him know how much you treasure his friendship.
What have you all done together in the past that was enjoyed. Even if a BBQ, suggest and plan another one.
Don't treat him as if he's already gone or death is coming in the next few minutes. He's alive and help him enjoy the time he has left.
I really don't think anyone will be able to give you the magic words. Seeing him now will be so hard for you. It may be he greets you with a hug and you can hug back. He may cry and you may too. It's never easy when you know the goodbye is much too soon.
Take a deep breath and play it by ear taking his lead of how he wants things to go.
My heart goes out to you. I now live in a different state than my family. I had to go through this with my sister. I had not seen her for a while and the site of her just broke my heart. She didn't even talk of the cancer. The closest it came was when she asked me to go through her ceramics she'd made and take any I wanted. She died a month later. I miss her terribly but am so thankful I got to tell her face to face how much I loved her.
Your heart will know what to do.
God Bless

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Consider this:

Your friend has been given the inestimable gift of Time - time that will allow a graceful and compassionate exit. He can forgive hurts, surmount fears, and welcome each day as the gift that it is.

He can share that gift of life with his loved ones and friends. All the dross of life falls away and becomes unimportant.

I'd ask him what he thinks what help his wife may need, both when his death is imminent and afterwards. Remember that one almost universal complaint by the surviving spouse is that their friends are there before and for a few months afterwards. But as time goes by, most friends fall away.

I think the title of your post says it all. He doesn't have two months to die - he has two months to LIVE - and live well.

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"Don't bring it up - let him."

Big ditto to that. He knows. You know. Everyone knows. Death will come on its own schedule. Right now he's still with you. Follow his lead. It will probably be apparent what he enjoys talking about. Unless there are other factors extant that you haven't spoken of, I see no need to walk on eggshells over it. Enjoy what there is to enjoy.

Two months ago, we lost a long-time family friend. He was 94, completely independent -- actually kind of an old fart, actually -- but he'd been part of our circle for sixty years. I visited him in the hospital many times over his three week stay there knowing full-well that his end was coming right up but said nothing...just followed his lead and enjoyed our conversations. Finally, one morning he turned to me and said "I'm dying." I said I knew, then told him he'd had a good run and had much to be proud of. The memories poured out and I tried to make sure they were all good ones. He seemed to take comfort from it. He dozed off with a smile on his face while I was still there. He was dead within hours.

What he had been doing before that, is showing concern over my feelings -- and I let him. He was trying to be a good friend until the last...and he was.

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Lynn,jkom51,and asolo, thank you so much for your responses, a lot of good advice here! We dropped in to see him today and his nephew was there sitting with him while his wife was running some errands. I was glad someone else was there too(as I was dreading the first visit) and we all sat and had coffee and just visited. If he ever does bring it up, then since reading these responses, I now know how I will answer him so thank you for that. We will certainly try and give him some happy times while we still have him!

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Thanks to all,that have given their hearts to those.

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Although this is an old thread, bringing it back up to the top made me remember that early last month, I ran across an article (with examples) on amazing website run by a cancer survivor. The cards are what she would have wanted to receive/hear, and hopefully it will help others:

I ran across this article in Slate and loved it. I want to
find these cards, because they are amazing. And I could have used some of them,
too, in the last few years:

A Cancer Survivor Designs the Cards She Wishes She’d
Received From Friends and Family, May 6, 2015

(excerpt) "Los Angeles–based designer Emily McDowell
was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 24, enduring nine months
of chemo and radiation before going into remission.

“The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my
hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from
chemo,” McDowell writes on her website. “It was the loneliness and isolation I
felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they
didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing

The 38-year-old designer has been cancer-free ever since.
But the emotional impact of the experience lingered, inspiring her to design a
newly launched series of Empathy Cards—emotionally direct greeting cards that
say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill."

article & examples of the cards:

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CA Kate z9

Good cards! Some of these would work for Caretakers too.

Once DH was diagnosed with PSP our pool of 'friends' diminished rapidly. I think most didn't know what to say or do and so just stayed away. It was the very few really good ones that were there until the end, and I treasure them.

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Mary Chouinard

I would do and say what comes to your heart. Tell this person exactly what you said here. Be honest and open. Tell him that you dont kniw what to say. That your not sure if he wants to talk about it, but you know he has a short time to live and you want him to know just how much he means to you. I've cared for many hospice patients and it's best to live in the truth. Imagine yourself as this person. How would you feel if people came by to visit yet never mentioned the pain and heartache your going through? It's kind of insensitive and a waste of quality time you could be sharing. Talking about the weather or what you just had for lunch while someone is laying there in pain, possibly scared and also uncomfortable because he doesnt want you to feel uncomfortable. Bottom line is, talk about it. It's real. It's happening. Feel your feelings and share your words. These words will be a gift that you will carry forever.

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susanzone5 (NY)

I reminisce with them about all the good memories. We laugh about things we did and tell how much we care for them in our hearts. It's closure for us both, and it feels good for us both.

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Visual Senses Design

I have a lady friend 80+ looking good a beauty like Ingrid Bergman type from similar origins. She is a three time survivor already last was a total mastectomy last year. I am quite sure she is not on this site

Today she writes this

Hi xxx

I have lately not been feeling all that well.So yesterday because of pain I went to the xxxx hospital.

They did quite a few tests and informed me that my cancer has spread to my abdomen, lung and liver.

I am now waiting to hear from my oncologist and my GP for further information.

I will let you know when I know. I am again back home with painkillers.


I did not know what to say, have lost so many friends in pas five years and to corona also and now this. I told her next sunshine day " I pick you up and we are going to flaunt ourselves on a great lunch on a terrace"

I am planning on overspending on the best there is. What else can one say?

Came here of all places on a Google search and as I am a member I say

My "life is a bitch" day herewith is done, thanks for reading or commenting.

I am 20 years younger gay man rather of the emotional caring type.

I promise I'll post stuff on Houzz again which I hadn't done in ages. And thanks for expensive advertising and Corona19 for teaching me "How to kill a business"

I now go lie back into on one of my favourite murphy bed designs

Thanks Internet

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