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She had surgery in 2018 followed by chemo & radiation & now she has terrible stomach pains, & not hungry. She has 1 daughter & 2 sons— they thought she would outlive them as their grandmother lived to be 96. (My friend is 78). Any suggestions on how to comfort her?

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I’d send your friend postcards, or photos in an envelope, with just a few words on the back - ‘thinking of you’. She can look at them when she feels like it. Her family can prop them up for her to see in bed. She doesn’t have to make any effort. I’d send one every couple of days. It’s a difficult time for her, her family and for you. Best wishes.
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Jakies Oct 18, 2019
Thankyou for your suggestions—I will use your ideas!
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Saying prayers for you in this difficult time. My best friend passed away last year and it was very hard to witness this part of her life. I would visit with her and mostly just follow her lead and some things you instinctively know to do or not to do with a dear friend you've known for so long. So, if I cracked a little joke she would laugh a little. You are involved with her journey but you can't take it on you. Say your I love you's and reminisce because she might be scared, or she might be at peace with her life. It's about her after all. Her gifts to you are the memories you have-good and bad. I still mourn my friend, and I feel blessed that we were part of each others lives.
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Jakies Oct 18, 2019
Thankyou for your insightful answers—we both have so many memories over many years—good & bad
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Would she like for you to read to her? Or watch a movie together? Can u do her nails for her, or play cards awhile? I don't know if she's strong enough to enjoy any of that.
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Jakies Oct 18, 2019
thankyou for your suggestions—I will try to implement some of those ideas
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Dear Jakies. I am so sorry to learn of Your best Friend Who is dying of cancer. How Blessed She is to have such a beautiful Caring Friend as You. You being there must be such
a great comfort to Her.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
Thankyou—I am going to visit tomorrow & see how she is doing
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Don't make use of any platitudes. None of this "going to a better place" stuff. She has now chosen hospice and she will know what journey she is one. Ask her if there is anything you can do for her. Tell her you love her and she has taught you many things. Ask after her comfort. Ask if there is anything you can do for her. Do not suggest food. Ask her if they are giving her "the good drugs" to help her be comfortable.
Many are tired and want it over at this point. Keep it short as you said. Some do not wish to do anything but "turn the face to the wall" and they can sink often into a world of their own. This is not a journey you can join people on, and this is often very upsetting to friends and family. If she shares things that she is sorry about, about not being able to live to see....anything at all, tell her that you are sorry.
In some latino cultures the belief is that you die 3 deathes. The actual death, the death at your services or the celebrations of your life, and the death when there is no one in the world to remember you. Your friend is 78. She may feel lucky to have lived this long. When I had cancer at age 45 I felt so luck that my children were grown.
Just basically be guided by her. Remember you are not there to tell her anything.
You are there to ask her very little other than is she comfortable, are people being good to her, is there anything you can do for her.
You are THERE. That is what is important. You are not afraid to be there. So many are afraid of the realities of life.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
thankyou—your suggestions were very helpful & you’re right; I hate platitudes myself!!
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During this run with cancer, I have found who is my true friend and who isn't. How? The true friends take the ride with you. They call or text. We go to lunch and if I don't eat anything, they don't push. They are there 24/7 and would do anything. They call before they run to Costco b/c they know you hate Costco but you love their chicken salad and you're too sick to go yourself.

I have one friend with whom I have been in contact over the course of 60 years. We will go out and talk about our lives--we were close until we married and had kids and were just too busy to really talk. Now, in our "golden years"---we find we can talk about anything, she's always there.

You know who HASN'T made an effort to even TALK to me? My mother. 3 of my sibs. A LOT of neighbors, who have been around for 40 years. My kids. My husband. He's traveled as much as he possibly can, and when he is home, he is absolutely clueless about what to do for me. So, he does nothing.

I didn't want to be fussed----and I got my wish.

When daddy was in Hospice, he just wanted me to sit there, watching RoadRunner cartoons and laughing, or letting him doze. I held his hand. Sometimes I sang to him.

I say, find what comforts this particular individual and try to meet those needs, Likely it's not something 'tangible'. It's your heart.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 11, 2019
So well said , MidKid.
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Good suggestions from everyone.    When my sister and father were dying, they didn't want to be touched; I think their skin might have been so thin that it made them sensitive to any kind of touch.    And they rarely spoke; it was apparently too difficult.

So I just stayed with them, silently with only an occasional comment when I came and left, and always a light touch to let them know I was there, or leaving.

Dad died in hospice at the facility where he initially went for rehab, so there was a TV in the room.  One of the pastors found a very appropriate channel with nothing but soothing music, so we left that on 24/7 to relax him.   I wouldn't consider anything else at that point; soothing music was the best.  

I always made sure they were covered well; I think at that point their bodies' abilities to keep them warm had diminished.  

Will your friend be spending her last days at home or in a hospice facility?   Techie's ideas for stocking the frig and preparing for guests is a good idea.    My sister also couldn't tolerate noise of any kind, so pre-prepping of food for guests would avoid any kitchen activity when they do come to visit.

Oh, and warm, comfy blankets over loosely fitting but warm clothing would help if she doesn't already have it.

Telling her how much she's meant to you, and giving her permission to go might help as well.   Sometimes the dying are conflicted when families are still trying to save them, well beyond the stage when that can be done. 
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
Thankyou—she will be spending her last days at home so I think I will get some warm pj’s & robe for her. I am visiting tomorrow to see what her needs are -great ideas
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Every one has different needs and personalities so it isn't a one size fits all kind of thing. Sometimes just being there, holding her hand, being willing to be quiet and listen are enough.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
Thankyou—I am going to visit for a while tomorrow & just be there for her
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For your friend personally, I would ask if there's any lotions she would like refilled or applied? Was your friend a gardener? Would she like plants or fresh flowers in her room? Or some recent photos of her grandchildren? Would she like you to read to her? Or maybe a book from the library her children could read to her? Photo albums you could get out for the kids to look through during visits?

Although the hospice nurse was very good with my sister's bath she didn't spend much time on things like massaging lotion between her toes. Sis liked a scented lotion on her neck, upper chest and upper arms (where she didn't have any treatment wounds or sore spots) so she could smell it and not the medical smells. She enjoyed gentle massages of her lower arms, hands, lower legs and feet. If she was positioned on her side, she would ask for lotion to be applied to her back too.

Does the family have time to keep up the basic housekeeping? Stock the fridge? With permission, I would try to keep the kitchen stocked with some quick meals and snacks for family and other visitors and basic housekeeping going if her children are not able to take care of it. Like pitchers of iced tea or lemonade along with some sandwich fixings, quick snacks, coffee supplies, a good filling soup or casserole and maybe a stable cake. A pot of soup can serve not only as a food offering but also make the house smell better when it simmers on the stove. Same thing for baking some cookies in the house during a visit.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
thankyou—I loved all your suggestions! The use of lotion & bringing flowers in for her to enjoy & I can make chicken soup—good ideas!
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First of all, I am so sorry about your friend. You know what? She is your very best friend so she already knows that you love her. Just be at her side. Sometimes words aren’t even necessary. Hold her hand if you like. As long as touching doesn’t cause her any pain.

When my daddy was dying in the hospital I would stay with him and sometimes words were not even spoken. He was happy with me just being by his side. Sometimes he was so tired that he wanted me to speak to the nurse for him. She will let you know what she needs.

Same with my brother when he was in the end of life hospice facility. I asked the nurse if I could touch him and she said to gently hold his hand if I wanted to.

You can tell her that you love her and you have been blessed with having her as a beautiful friend. You can ask if she would like to speak to clergy if she is a spiritual person.

You can make phone calls for her if she would like you too. You can ask if she would like to listen to soft music. My brother asked for a novel by his favorite author so I brought it. You can read from the Bible if she would like to hear the psalms or other meaningful scriptures.

You could bring photos of your good times together. My brother loved seeing old photos.

You’ll know what to do. Follow your instincts. You could pray with her if she would like that.

If she wants to talk, just listen.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
Thankyou, your suggestions were very helpful—we have a lot of funny memories & pictures—I will do that
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I'm so sorry to read this about your dear friend. I know it can be so heartbreaking. I posted about my dear friend who died of cancer earlier this year. My friend was very private and did not want much attention or visiting. So, I respected that, even though, I wanted to do so much. I'd just see if the family is receptive to you going over and taking food, flowers, running errands for them, etc. I hope others here will have more ideas.

I'll also add that it helped me to read material about the dying process, so, I could understand what they would going through.
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Jakies Oct 13, 2019
Thankyou—my friend is very private also & the suggestion to read about death & dying sounds like a great idea!
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